10 Authors Who Were “One Novel Wonders”

One-novel wonder authors are a testament to the power of literature. They show that a single novel can have a lasting impact on readers and can become a classic of literary history and make its author immortal even if he or she never writes another word.

In addition to the quality of the novels themselves, there are a number of other factors that have contributed to their fame. For example, some of these novels were published at a time when there was a great deal of interest in the subject matter they addressed. For example, Gone With the Wind was published during the 1930s, when there was a great deal of interest in the American Civil War. Other novels, such as The Picture of Dorian Gray, were controversial when they were first published, which helped to generate interest in them.

It is worth noting that the authors of these novels were all talented writers who were able to create complex and memorable characters and stories. Their novels are a testament to their skill as writers and their ability to connect with readers.

Despite only publishing one novel, these ten authors all left a lasting legacy on American literature. Their novels are still read and studied today, and they continue to inspire and challenge readers.


Wuthering Heights (1847) by Emily Brontë (1818-1848)

This novel is a dark and passionate tale of love and revenge. It is set in the Yorkshire moors and features a number of gothic elements, such as a haunted house, a mysterious stranger, and a love triangle. The novel’s exploration of the themes of passion, obsession, and revenge made it a classic of English literature.


Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) wrote the novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. He was a master of the short story and is considered one of the founders of detective fiction and science fiction. Poe died at the age of 40, and it is believed that he was unable to complete another novel due to his alcoholism and mental health problems.


Anna Sewell (1820-1878): Black Beauty (1877)

Anna Sewell was an English author who wrote only one novel, Black Beauty. The novel was inspired by her own experiences with horses, and it tells the story of a horse named Black Beauty who is mistreated by his owners. Black Beauty is a classic children’s novel that teaches important lessons about kindness, compassion, and animal welfare.

Sewell died of a stroke just five months after the publication of Black Beauty. It is possible that she was unable to write more novels due to her health problems. However, it is also possible that she simply felt that she had said all she had wanted to say with Black Beauty.


Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) wrote the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was a celebrated playwright and poet, and The Picture of Dorian Gray is his only novel. Wilde was imprisoned for homosexuality in 1895, and after his release he was unable to publish any more novels.


Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) wrote the novel Doctor Zhivago. He was a Russian poet and novelist, and Doctor Zhivago is his only novel. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1958 for Doctor Zhivago, but he was forced to decline the award by the Soviet government. Pasternak died two years later, and it is believed that he was unable to complete another novel due to his health problems.


Margaret Mitchell (1900-1949)  wrote only one novel, Gone with the Wind (1936). The novel is a historical romance set during the American Civil War. It is one of the best-selling novels of all time and has been adapted into an Academy Award-winning film.

Mitchell was killed in a car accident at the age of 49, just six years after the publication of Gone with the Wind. It is possible that she was planning to write more novels, but she never had the chance.


Ralph Ellison (1914-1994) wrote Invisible Man. It was published in 1952 and won the National Book Award in the same year. The novel tells the story of an unnamed African American man who travels through the South and North of the United States. Invisible Man is a powerful allegory of the African American experience in America. Ellison never published another novel, but he did write a number of essays and nonfiction works. Ellison was dissatisfied with his second novel, Juneteenth, and it was not published until after his death, and, as Ellison had suspected it would be, it was unsuccessful.


J.D. Salinger (1919-2010) wrote the novel The Catcher in the Rye. It was published in 1951 and became an instant classic. The novel tells the story of Holden Caulfield, a teenage boy who is expelled from his boarding school and goes on a journey around New York City. The Catcher in the Rye is a coming-of-age story that explores themes of alienation, identity, and loss of innocence. Salinger never published another novel, but he did write a number of short stories and essays. He became a recluse after the publication of The Catcher in the Rye and refused to give interviews or publish any more of his work


Alice Munro (1931-) wrote the novel Lives of Girls and Women. She is a celebrated short story writer and has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Lives of Girls and Women is her only novel, and it tells the story of a young woman growing up in a small town in Canada. Munro has said that she did not want to write another novel because she found it too difficult to sustain a long narrative.


Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) wrote the The Bell Jar. It was published in 1963 and was based on her own experiences of mental illness. The Bell Jar is a semi-autobiographical novel that tells the story of Esther Greenwood, a young woman who suffers a nervous breakdown. Plath committed suicide at the age of 30, shortly before the posthumous publication of The Bell Jar.




And that’s our list of the 10 best gothic novels. What’s your take on these – any surprises, or any gothic novels not on this list that you feel should make the top 10?

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