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Celebrity Authors and the Books they Write

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Tyra Banks will become the newest celebrity novelist in the summer of 2011
Tyra Banks will become the newest celebrity novelist in the summer of 2011

By now the word has spread that superstar Tyra Banks is working on a three book series called Modelland. It’s to be fantasy set in, you guessed it, Modelland. Tyra promises “fierceness and magic, romance and mystery, crazy and wild adventures, and yeah, some danger too,” in her first foray into fiction writing. The first novel is expected to be published in the summer of 2011. While Tyra may be the next big thing in celebrity publishing, she’s by no means the first.

The world of celebrity publishing is rife with tell-alls, memoirs and “truth is stranger than fiction” tales. Let’s focus on celebrities who write fiction. The autobiographical genre doesn’t take much creativity to write — just a selective memory, decent writing, juicy gossip and a good editor. Fiction, on the other hand, takes imagination and skill to pull off.

Jamie Lee Curtis has written several children's books and made a name for herself in the field
Jamie Lee Curtis has written several children's books and made a name for herself in the field

Many celebrities take the children’s book route. The following list is by no means exhaustive. Most of the authors have written more than one book and certainly not every celebrity children’s book author is on this list. Jamie Lee Curtis is now well known for her children’s books, but you may be surprised at who else pops up. Barnes and Noble showcases “books by famous folks” with a list of Children’s Books with Star Power.

  • Holly Robinson Peete
  • Bernadette Peters
  • Tim McGraw
  • Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Carl Reiner
  • Julianne Moore
  • Brooke Shields
  • Henry Winkler
  • Whoopi Goldberg
  • John Lithgow
  • Fred Gwynne
  • Madonna

Celebrity Cowboy offers up a list of 40 Celebrity Book Authors that includes non-fiction as well as novels and children’s books. A short list of the celebrity novelists from the site (and note that an entire list of celebrities who write novels for adults would be MUCH shorter than children’s books authors):

  • Ethan Hawke
  • Courtney Thorne-Smith
  • Paulina Porizkova
  • Carrie Fisher
  • Meg Tilly
  • Steve Martin
  • Pamela Anderson
Viggo Mortensen writes poetry among his other accomplishments
Viggo Mortensen writes poetry among his other accomplishments

And let’s not forget the poets. Celebrity poets probably garner more scorn than any other writers, and Harriet, a blog from the Poetry Foundation explains why rather well.

  • Viggo Mortensen
  • Ally Sheedy
  • Tupac Shakur
  • Alicia Keys
  • Jill Scott
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Leonard Nimoy

As best as can be determined, all the celebrities here wrote their own books. Ghostwriting is becoming more common in the world of celebrity publishing, and Stephanie Merritt has a good article on the topic on the Guardian website.