We make it easy to find your next favorite Western writer, from classic authors to today's writers who are reinventing the genre.
From Zane Grey to Cormac McCarthy, western writers have become a staple of American literature. And although the frontiers remaining are few and far between, hundreds of fiction and non-fiction authors and books have captured the spirit of the American West and its people, places and stories.
While some books have become classics over the years, many more have been lost to time and obscurity. At Western Authors, our goal is to make it easier to find all sorts of western books and authors from the 19th century to today. Authors like Louis L'Amour may be household names, but there are plenty of under-the-radar Western authors who have contributed much to the history of the genre. And it's our mission to bring as much of that writing to today's readers.
There is no standard definition for Western literature, and according to Western Writers of America, it includes "adventure, mystery, romance and more." According to the organization:
"In a phrase, it is the literature of America’s soul. In fact, the Western is America’s only unique brand of literature, now enjoyed throughout the world."
What may appear to be a cliched, trope-driven genre of writing is more complex and nuanced than many people imagine. It's not just about cowboys and Indians and outlaws. Westerns represent the same stories of human ambitions, fears and failures that have repeated themselves all over the world for thousands of years. It's a story of progress in some ways and mistakes and deterioration in other ways.
Sure, there are plenty of stale, overdone Western books and storylines, but there are also deep, meaningful works that have changed readers' lives across the country, and as the WWA points out, around the world. The story of the American West is still being written today, and we invite you to explore everything it has to offer.
Zane Grey on Writing
"In this materialistic age, this hard, practical, swift, greedy age of realism, it seems there is no place for writers of romance, no place for romance itself. For many years all the events leading up to the great war were realistic, and the war itself was horribly realistic, and the aftermath is likewise. Romance is only another name for idealism; and I contend that life without ideals is not worth living. Never in the history of the world were ideals needed so terribly as now. Walter Scott wrote romance; so did Victor Hugo; and likewise Kipling, Hawthorne, Stevenson. It was Stevenson, particularly, who wielded a bludgeon against the realists. People live for the dream in their hearts. And I have yet to know anyone who has not some secret dream, some hope, however dim, some storied wall to look at in the dusk, some painted window leading to the soul. How strange indeed to find that the realists have ideals and dreams! To read them one would think their lives held nothing significant. But they love, they hope, they dream, they sacrifice, they struggle on with that dream in their hearts just the same as others. We all are dreamers, if not in the heavy-lidded wasting of time, then in the meaning of life that makes us work on.
"It was Wordsworth who wrote, 'The world is too much with us'; and if I could give the secret of my ambition as a novelist in a few words it would be contained in that quotation. My inspiration to write has always come from nature. Character and action are subordinated to setting. In all that I have done I have tried to make people see how the world is too much with them. Getting and spending they lay waste their powers, with never a breath of the free and wonderful life of the open!"
Zane Grey, from the foreword of To The Last Man
Best Selling Western Authors
Here's a look at some of the bestselling western titles and writers today, along with some new and upcoming authors that are ready to shake things up. To find more western books, visit Amazon's bestsellers page.