Listen to 15 Literary Icons Reading Their Own Work

One of the most important experiences you can have with your favorite author is to hear them read aloud from their works. But many of us will never get the chance to see our most beloved writer in the flesh. So, after the jump is a collection of 15 writers — some alive, some long gone — reading their own words (all fiction, with the exception of William Faulkner, whose Nobel Prize speech is included because it’s now often taught alongside his novels and stories, and Joan Didion’s memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking). 

Flannery O’Connor, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find”

William Faulkner, “Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1950″

Sylvia Plath, “Lady Lazarus”

Truman Capote, reading from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Anne Sexton, “Wanting to Die”

James Baldwin, reading from Another Country

Jeffrey Eugenides, reading from Middlesex

Frank O’Hara, “Having a Coke With You”

Dorothy Parker, “Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom”

Kurt Vonnegut, reading from Breakfast of Champions

Zadie Smith, reading from On Beauty

David Foster Wallace, “Suicide as a Sort of Present”

Joan Didion, reading from The Year of Magical Thinking

Saul Bellow, reading from Henderson the Rain King

Marilynne Robinson, reading from Gilead