7 Authors Who Only Wrote One Book, but Oh What Books ...

I wish I could emulate some amazing authors who only wrote one book. I have been writing my novel for about 4 years now and I really wonder if I will ever finish it. They do say there is a book in everyone and some writers have proved this. There are authors who only wrote one book, but that book sure left a major impression. Do you ask why they stopped at one? Is it because they believe that saying that there is a book in everyone and no more, or is it because their one and only book was such a masterpiece they couldn’t live up to it with another. My list of authors who wrote only one book contains some titles that are considered some of the best books ever written.

1. Harper Lee

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Could I really have begun my list of authors who only wrote one book with anyone other than Harper Lee? To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most profound novels about racism and injustice for Black Americans in the South. The novel took the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was made into a magnificent movie with Gregory Peck taking home the Oscar for his portrayal of lawyer Atticus Finch. Although Harper Lee worked on another novel, it was never finished.

2. Anna Sewell

(Your reaction) Thank you!

The author of Black Beauty unfortunately died five months after her book was published so never saw what a huge best seller it became. It is the most well known books about horses ever and is enjoyed by children and adults alike. Perhaps more people should read it today as it has a powerful message that humans should be kinder to animals.

3. Oscar Wilde

(Your reaction) Thank you!

It seems hard to believe that great wit and raconteur Oscar Wilde is among the authors who wrote only one book, but it’s true. While we think of him as a great storyteller, most of his works were plays and poetry. His one novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray was panned by the critics who thought it was too racy for the (Victorian) time and suffered from homoerotic and hedonistic overtones. With his massive ego severely stung, he never penned another novel but stuck to his plays and poems.

4. BoRIS PASTERNAK

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Boris Pasternak wrote Dr. Zhivago and while a truly great example of books from authors who only wrote one book, it has always been the Oscar winning movie that has received the greater acclaim and fame. Somewhat strange really because Pasternak is considered to be one of the greatest poets of the 20th century, and his masterpiece novel won him the Nobel Prize for Literature. The story of its production is as engrossing and romantic as the book itself. The manuscript had to be smuggled out of Russia in order for it to be published.

5. Emily Bronte

(Your reaction) Thank you!

The Bronte Sisters are so revered as writers, but the most well known of their works is Emily’s only novel. Wuthering Heights is one of our most beloved love stories. The sisters beavered away in Haworth Parsonage in England’s North Yorkshire at a time when it wasn’t done for ladies to be writers. They published an anthology of poems under the pen name of Bell, but eventually, Emily’s novel and those of the other sisters were published in their own names.

6. Arthur Golden

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Arthur Golden could well lose his place on the list of authors who only wrote one book because there have been rumors for some time that he is penning a follow up to Memoirs of a Geisha. His original novel took him six years to write and although it was an instant bestseller, he was sued by Iwasaki - one of the Geishas he had spoken to for his research – for not keeping her identity secret.

7. Margaret Mitchell

(Your reaction) Thank you!

Did you wonder when Gone with the Wind was going to make its appearance? I thought I’d keep you on tenterhooks. The Margaret Mitchell epic about the American Civil War was made into one of the greatest movies of all time, but you really should read the book – it’s just as masterful as the movie. Gone with the Wind was written in secret and won its author the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

Do you know of other authors who only wrote one book? Was it worth it do you think? I certainly think the ones I’ve listed are and I’d love to hear of your favorites.

Please rate this article
(click a star to vote)