Beowulf Sheehan: Putting Faces to Names

Authors are unlikely to be splashing the covers of magazines you'd see in the dentist's office. They're also rarely on television, except the occasional spot on shows like Late Night with Seth Meyers. As a result, even uber-famous writers like Margaret Atwood and John Irving don't have nearly the same face-recognition as your Beyoncés and various Hemsworths.


So, before you reach the end of this column, play a little game with me--in the spirit of the Highlights magazines I devoured in my dentist's office as a kid. Take a look at the four portraits here and see if you can name each author. The answers are below, but take your time. Test yourself.

The avid reader can probably name a handful of authors by portrait alone. New York photographer Beowulf Sheehan gives us a chance to learn a few more with his stunning photos in Author: The Portraits of Beowulf Sheehan (Black Dog & Leventhal, $40). Here are Booker Award winners and household names alongside those whose work may have slipped under your radar until now.

But bibliophiles won't be the only ones interested in this gorgeous collection. The portraits are striking specimens of an exceptional photographic eye. I've been flipping through this book for weeks now, and I sometimes forget that this severe gaze or that whimsical grin belongs to an accomplished writer, rather than an exquisite model chosen for look alone. Both a book lover's hall of fame and a captivating array of artistic genius, Author is a standout.

So, can you name all four? --Dave Wheeler, associate editor, Shelf Awareness

Answers: 1. Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch), 2. Jesmyn Ward (Sing, Unburied, Sing), 3. Marlon James (A Brief History of Seven Killings), 4. Elie Wiesel (Night)
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