What writers or books have most impacted you as a person?   Literature can have profound influence on who we are, what we do for a living, how we think or what we care about.  For example, a survey conducted several years ago by the American Bar Association asked its members what made them decide to be a lawyer.  Overwhelmingly, ABA attorneys cited the character of Atticus Finch from Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird for inspiring them to pursue the law. Of course the fact that Gregory Peck played Atticus in the film version might have played a role in the decision too!

For writers, the work of fellow authors, particularly those we encounter when we are first beginning our literary careers can literally shape not only how we write, but what we write about.

To get the discussion started, we asked some of our  editors and contributors to share insights into the writers who most influenced their literary aspirations and why.  We encourage all our readers to join in the discussion as well using the comments form below and participate in all our Talkback/Discussions on Community Forum.