Writers With Literary Siblings

August 14, 2015

Keeping it in the family! Here’s a list of writers with siblings who also write.

A cozy house

The Brontë Sisters – The oldest and perhaps the most famous of literary siblings, The Brontë Sisters include Charlotte, Emily, and Anne who authored the titles Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, respectively. The sisters published and funded several volumes of poetry and wrote novels under male pseudonyms. Jane Eyre was an immediate success, and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall also sold well, but Wuthering Heights didn’t see critical acclaim until later. The Brontë Sisters remain a favorite among critics and readers as a literary family with talent to boot.

Jacob and Wilhlem Grimm – We owe these literary siblings, better known as The Grimm Brothers, many thanks for their beloved Grimm’s Fairy Tales, published in 1812. The work was initially criticized as not being suitable for children, with classics such as “Snow White” and “Hansel and Gretel” changed so that the wicked mother became a wicked stepmother in later volumes. The stories have undergone many changes and iterations throughout the years, but remain stalwarts of children’s literature.

David and Amy Sedaris – This well-known and funny pair co-authored many plays under the name “The Talent Family.” Separately, these siblings are equally prolific. David Sedaris’s essay collections have sold millions of copies worldwide, and are known for featuring autobiographical material. David was a regular contributor to This American Life, where much of his early success can be attributed. Amy’s writing includes a monthly advice column in The Believer, co-authorship with Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello, and a guide to entertaining titled Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. The cover of her book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People! can be made into a hat.

Benjamin and Jen Percy – Jen Percy has won a number of awards for her writing, including first place in American Short Fiction’s Story Contest, a Pushcart Prize, and NEA fellowship. She is currently a Truman Capote Fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and received an Iowa arts fellowship from the nonfiction writing program. She wrote the book Demon Camp, which was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Pick. Ben Percy’s most recent novel The Dead Lands is a post-apocalyptic re-imagining of the Lewis and Clark journey. He is also the author of Red Moon, The Wilding, and the story collection Refresh, Refresh. His honors include an NEA fellowship, the Whiting Writers’ Award, two Pushcart Prizes, the Plimpton Prize, and inclusion in Best American Short Stories and Best American Comics. And there’s more.  We interviewed Ben Percy, here.

Karen and Kent Russell – Karen Russell’s story collections St. Lucy’s Home For Girls Raised by Wolves and Vampires in The Lemon Grove and her novel Swamplandia saw much popular and critical success. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Genius Fellowship, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35, a New Yorker 20 under 40, and won the Young Lions Fiction Award. Her brother, Kent Russell, who is new to the literary scene, recently published a book of essays titled, I’m Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised A Timid Son. The collection debuted to excellent reviews: “A surprising, beautiful book, at once tough and tender, hilarious and dark, and above all, deeply original,” says NPR, and from Vanity Fair, “A ludicrously smart, tragicomic man-on-the-edge memoir in essays.” Quite a pair!

Lev and Austin Grossman – Lev Grossman is a familiar name around here. He judged the third volume of our anthology, which recently won an INDIEFAB silver medal for best short story collection and is available for purchase, here. Lev’s bestselling The Magician’s trilogy has been published in over twenty-five countries. Lev also wrote the novels Warp and Codex and is a book critic for Time Magazine. His twin brother, Austin Grossman, is a novelist and game designer. His books include Soon I Will Be Invincible, YOU, and Crooked, forthcoming in 2015. Soon I Will Be Invincible was nominated for the 2007 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize. His writing has also appeared in Granta, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.

Did you know… Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman (also known as Dear Abby and Ann Landers) are famous identical twins and advice columnists. Both sisters are famous for the Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers columns.

Which literary siblings do you know? Share with us in the comments!


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