Why So Serious?: Reimagining the Author Photo

Everyone loves a good Serious Author Photo.

Capturing writers in their natural habitat of intense concentration, brows furrowed in pensive fury, these august portraits let us readers know that it is time to set aside petty concerns and pay VERY. CLOSE. ATTENTION.

But you can’t help but feel sorry for the poor soul in the Serious Author Photo. By honing in on one aspect of their personality, the picture airbrushes their very humanity out of the portrait.  So we’ve decided to liberate a few from the dim mood lighting of the Serious Author Photo and shine a light on those traits that may otherwise never make it onto the dust jacket.

Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy, author of Blood Meridian and The Road


Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri, author of The Namesake and The Lowland


Nicholas Sparks
Nicholas Sparks, author of A Walk to Remember and The Notebook


Jonathan Franzen
Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections and Freedom


Donna Tartt, author of The Secret History and The Goldfinch
Donna Tartt, author of The Secret History and The Goldfinch


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Minh is the author of Let Me Finish! a debut picture book that will be published by Disney-Hyperion in 2016. By day he works in early childhood policy and in 2010 helped design 826DC‘s Museum of Unnatural History (the only place you can both support youth creative writing and get your daily supply of unicorn tears). He also writes about children’s lit at Bottom Shelf Books and occasionally for the Huffington Post and others. Follow him on Twitter @bottomshelfbks.