Best Authors To Come Out Of Minnesota

July 1, 2013 7:00 AM

Minnesota and literacy are synonymous. Here are five of the many Minnesota writers who have made an impact on defining the times and the culture in our nation. While each is unique in style and genre, they are consummate writers who enjoy a large following.

Vince Flynn

Flynn has had a top 20 book almost every year. He has been writing since 1997. All 15 of his political thriller novels are adventure novels based on true facts but following a fictional CIA counter-terrorism agent, Mitch Rapp. Flynn is a St. Thomas Academy and St. Thomas University grad. He made his home in the Twin Cities with his wife and three children. Just recently, he passed away from a battle with prostate cancer and will be greatly missed.

Nathan Jorgenson
Fairmont dentist, Jorgenson started writing short pieces to read to his bedridden father in a nursing home. He wrote about two men in a duck boat and the conversation they were having. Nate did not get very far into the story. His dad died by about page 30. But the men in the boat were saying things that Nate needed to hear. His writing became cathartic and he finished the story 492 pages later. He and his wife, Terry, decided to publish his work on their own. The book, “Waiting for White Horses” was highly acclaimed as was his second book, “The Mulligan.” He finished a prequel to his first novel in 2011 and called it “A Crooked Number.” It too has received recent recognition and awards.

Jon Hassler

Hassler mastered the art of writing fiction in a way that captured a wide following and critical praise. After graduating from Staples High School and St. John’s University, Hassler pursued an academic life teaching English. He first taught English at the high school level but matriculated to three northern Minnesota colleges after receiving a Master of Arts at North Dakota University. Hassler finished his career as Regents Professor Emeritus and Writer-in-Residence at St. John’s University. He wrote mostly about life in small towns, crafting 12 novels, four non-fiction books, some short story collections, children’s novels and anthologized stories.

Sinclair Lewis

This first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature grew up in Sauk Centre. After graduating from Yale, Lewis sought various writing jobs not finding himself until 12 years later with a novel about hypocritical and back-stabbing behaviors in a small town. The novel, “Main Street,” was an instant success. Lewis followed up with another satirical novel, “Babbit,” a broadside of the American commercial culture. Following this formula, he wrote 28 novels in all.

Related: 5 Must-Read Books By Minnesota Authors

F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The Great Gatsby” was Fitzgerald’s third of five novels and it brought this St. Paul native acclaim as a literary giant, but only posthumously. The book did not sell many copies while Fitzgerald was living, but became a staple in high school reading, generated five films and a recent play at the Guthrie. His late fame arose from the realization that Fitzgerald’s creations captured the essence of an era gone by which he aptly coined “The Jazz Age.”

Related: New Books By Twin Cities Authors

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at