"For two days and nights, Odysseus was alone in the wild water. The sea was so rough that he couldn't see beyond the nearest wave. Over and over again, he thought he was going to die." Neil Packer/Candlewick Press hide caption

itoggle caption Neil Packer/Candlewick Press

Author J.K. Rowling arrives at the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in Leicester Square in central London. Matt Crossick/PA Photos/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Matt Crossick/PA Photos/Landov

Salman Rushdie's other novels include Midnight's Children, Shame and Luka and the Fire of Life. Syrie Moskowitz/Random House hide caption

itoggle caption Syrie Moskowitz/Random House

In 2004, novelist Attica Locke attended the wedding of an interracial couple at Oak Alley Plantation in Vacherie, La. It was there that she became inspired to write her new work of fiction, The Cutting Season. roy.luck/via Flickr hide caption

itoggle caption roy.luck/via Flickr

Junot Diaz won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Nina Subin/Penguin Group hide caption

itoggle caption Nina Subin/Penguin Group