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Here is a very brief list of influential American authors: 

Anne Bradstreet (1612 - 1672) was the first published American poet. 

Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 - 1896) was an American author whose books had great influence on the abolitionist movement. 

Edith Wharton (1862 - 1937) first female Pulitzer Prize winner and wrote over 50 novels. 

Toni Morrison (1931 - 2019) was an author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature and was acclaimed for her work on the black female experience. 

Harper Lee (1926 - 2016) wrote the influential To Kill a Mockingbird that addressed a child's awakening to racism and prejudice. 

Maya Angelou (1928 - 2014) was a writer, activist, dancer and so much more. 

Ayn Rand (1905 - 1982) was a writer whose controversial work dealt with individualism and laissez-faire capitalism. 

Shirley Jackson (1916 - 1965) was a novelist and short story writer. 

Alice Walker (born 1944) is an American writer whose recognized for her insightful treatment of African Americans. 

Nora Zeale Hurtston (1891 - 1960) was an American folklorist and writer who celebrated the African American culture of the South.