Literary Legends: Poll of Hoosiers Reveals Kurt Vonnegut as Indiana’s Favorite Author Of All Time

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – JUNE 4: Kurt Vonnegut’s Nature Tour of the Century during the Granfalloon festival on June 4, 2022, in Bloomington, Indiana. “Granfalloon is an annual festival of arts, music, and scholarship inspired by Hoosier author Kurt Vonnegut,” according to the event’s webpage. The festival takes place in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Staff report

Bloomington, Ind.  — August 26, 2023

In a recent survey conducted by, 3,000 respondents from across the United States revealed their most beloved authors from their respective states, shedding light on the diverse literary preferences that shape each region’s cultural tapestry.

In Indiana, the survey unveiled Kurt Vonnegut as the Hoosier State’s most cherished author. Born in Indianapolis in 1922, Vonnegut’s ties to Indiana were deeply ingrained in his personal and literary identity. His distinctive voice, shaped by his experiences in the state, resonated with Hoosiers, making him their top pick. Following Vonnegut were Theodore Dreiser, Booth Tarkington, and James Whitcomb Riley, showcasing Indiana’s rich literary heritage.

Among the iconic names that have graced American literature, some unexpected choices emerged, adding nuance to the literary landscape. In Alabama, for instance, the revered author Helen Keller, known for her triumph over adversity, surpassed Harper Lee as the state’s favorite author. Keller’s transformative journey from being blind and deaf to becoming an accomplished writer resonated deeply with Alabamians, who honored her legacy through this survey.

Similarly, New Yorkers favored James Baldwin, the author of “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” over F. Scott Fitzgerald, showcasing the resonance of Baldwin’s exploration of profound subjects like race, religion, and identity within the state’s literary heritage.

New Hampshire’s choice also took an unexpected turn, as Grace Metalious, the author of “Peyton Place,” secured the top spot over J.D. Salinger, renowned for “The Catcher in the Rye.” Metalious’s candid portrayal of taboo topics against the backdrop of a seemingly ordinary New Hampshire town captured the hearts of the state’s readers.

While some states diverged from the anticipated choices, others aligned with well-known literary figures. Mark Twain’s enduring legacy resonated with Nutmeggers, Mississippians paid homage to Tennessee Williams, and the literary prowess of Ernest Hemingway was celebrated by both Idaho and Florida.

“This survey not only highlights the iconic authors we all know and love but also brings attention to the often unsung heroes of literature who’ve left an indelible mark on their home states,” remarked Shaun Connell from, underlining the significance of the literary contributions that have shaped the nation’s cultural and historical narrative.

For a comprehensive view of each state’s favorite author, an interactive map has been included, providing insight into the diverse literary landscapes that define the United States.

All data and insights from the survey are made available by for public use.

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 5 / 5. Vote count: 1

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!