...and here they are...
5. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria
Works: Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), The Thing Around Your Neck (2009)
Awards: Best First Book, Commonwealth Writers' Prize, Orange Prize for Fiction
Quote: "I always say I'm the kind of feminist who likes lip gloss."
Style: poetic, soul-bearing, cultural
4. Edward P. Jones
Birthplace: Washington, DC
Works: Lost in the City (1992), The Known World (2003), All Aunt Hagar's Children (2006)
Awards: Pen/Hemingway Award, Lannan Foundation Grant, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, The National Book Critics Circle Award
Quote: "Almost all the books I read in those first years, when I was 13 years old and beyond, were by Southern authors, black and white, so I think I feel a particular affinity for any organization that involves Southern writers"
Style: reminiscent, ornate, detailed
3. Junot Diaz
Birthplace: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Works: Drown (1996), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007)
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, National Book Critics Circle Award, Eugene McDermott Award, Lila Acheson Wallace Readers Digest Award, Pen/Malamud Award, Rome Prize
Quote: "It's never the changes we want that change everything."
Style: witty, hip, vernacular
2. Zadie Smith
Birthplace: London, England
Works: White Teeth (2000), The Autograph Man (2002), On Beauty (2005)
Awards: Orange Prize for Fiction, Shortlist for Man Booker Prize
Quote: "The past is always tense, the future perfect"
Style: humorous, clever, warm
1. Toni Morrison
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Works: The Bluest Eye (1970), Sula (1974), Song of Solomon (1977), Tar Baby (1981), Beloved (1987), Jazz (1992), Paradise (1999), Love (2003), A Mercy (2008)
Awards: National Book Critics Circle Award, Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, Nobel Prize for Literature
Quote: "Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another."
Style: concise, poetic, wise