10 Contemporary American Essayists to Read Right Now

By Emily Temple

A look at some of today's most talented writers

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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This week marks the release of celebrated novelist and essayist Marilynne Robinson's newest collection of essays, When I Was a Child I Read Books. We've been excited about this book for a while now.

Great as it is, Robinson's collection only whet our appetites for more essays by contemporary writers, so in case it does the same for you, we've put together a list of contemporary essayists we think everyone should be reading right now (or, you know, whenever you finish watching Downton Abbey). We've tried to stick to authors who are still alive—so David Foster Wallace and Christopher Hitchens are off the table, though they both would have made this list with flying colors were they still with us—and limited ourselves to American writers, but even with those caveats, there is enough in these writers' oeuvres to keep you up and thinking for weeks on end.

This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/03/10-contemporary-american-essayists-to-read-right-now/254478/