Buried In A Book

10 Virginia Authors You Need To Read

10 Virginia-based authors for your summer reading list.

Ah, summer. There’s nothing better than relaxing on the beach with your toes in the sand, a book in your lap, and a tropical cocktail in your hand. But wait—maybe it can get better. Why not make that book one that was written by a Virginian? Below, you’ll find a list of 10 Virginia-based authors whose books and novels will help you while away the summer days.

Donna Andrews

Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Comedy, Whodunit

Donna Andrews is another crime writer, but her books have something a little bit more unique: comedy. She has received multiple Lefty awards and nominations for Best Humorous Mystery Novel. Some of her comic titles include Crouching Buzzard, Leaping LoonWe’ll Always Have ParrotsThe Penguin Who Knew Too MuchMeg Langslow series contains 26 books set in Yorktown, whose title character is both a very successful blacksmith and amateur sleuth. The first in the series, Murder with Peacocks, follows Meg as she prepares for her role of bridesmaid in not one, not two, but three weddings, only to end up investigating the disappearance and death of her soon-to-be stepfather’s former sister-in-law (…did you catch that?). Andrews’s books are charming, witty, and hilarious, but that certainly does not take away from the intricate mysteries and characters she weaves into each and every story. DonnaAndrews.com

David Baldacci

David Baldacci

Fiction, Thriller, Mystery

With 41 novels for adults published in more than 45 languages and available in more than 80 countries, David Baldacci is a Virginia-native, graduate of the University of Virginia, and a renowned author. Many of his novels have even been adapted for film and television, such as Wish You Well and Absolute Power. He has written 11 series and 11 standalone books, including children’s books and books for all ages such as Freddie and the French Fries and the Vega Jane series. His novels are thrillers that keep audiences on the edge of their seats, turning page after page to find out what happens next, losing oneself in the complicated web of intrigue he spins into each tale. One of his most recent publications, Walk the Wire (April 2020), is the sixth book in his Memory Man series, which details the adventures of FBI consultant Amos Decker whose perfect memory makes him the best man for the job of solving grisly murders across the country. DavidBaldacci.com

Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine

Fiction, Steampunk, Adventure

If you or someone you know is really into steampunk, then we’ve got the authors for you. Steampunk, according to Ballantine and Morris, is “…modern technology… powered by steam and set in the 1800’s… With a backdrop of either Victorian England or America’s Wild West at hand, modern technologies are re-imagined and realized as elaborate works of art, fashion, and mechanics.” The husband-and-wife pair have written numerous series, novellas, and short stories. Their longest-running series, The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, comprises six books and has its own set of short stories, known as Tales from the ArchivesMinistryOfPeculiarOccurrences.com

Rita Mae Brown

Fiction, Cozy Mystery, Animals, Whodunit

With more than 60 publications, it is safe to say that Rita Mae Brown is the most prolific writer on this list. Her longest series, the Mrs. Murphy series has 29 books and a cookbook from Brown’s feline co-author, Sneaky Pie Brown. The Mrs. Murphy series, as well as many of Brown’s other books, follow feline, canine, and bovine characters-turned-detectives as they investigate murders with their human companions. These books are a perfect blend of humor, intrigue, and mystery, but Brown has plenty more up her sleeve. Her Runnymede series is a woman-focused series whose characters and stories are as detailed and colorful as if they were real, popping up from the page and living out their tales in front of your eyes. She has also written many nonfiction books and standalone novels, such as the famous Rubyfruit Jungle, her very first publication and an autobiographical (though fictional) account of Brown’s coming of age and emergence as an LGBTQ+ author. RitaMaeBrownBooks.com

Bradley Harper

Bradley Harper

Historical Fiction, Mystery, Sherlockian

Former board-certified Army pathologist, Bradley Harper has worked in the Pentagon, speaks five languages, and takes time every Christmas to act as Santa Claus, with his wife playing the role of Mrs. Claus. He earned his associate’s degree in creative writing from Full Sail University in 2018, and since then has written and published three books, one of which is a collection of short stories. His two most recent books, A Knife in the Fog and Queen’s Gambit, follow author Margaret Harkness in her hunt for Jack the Ripper, with other notable characters such as Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell, real-life Doyle’s inspiration for Sherlock Holmes.  BHarperAuthor.com

Jan Karon

Fiction, Faith, Family

Best-known for her famous The Mitford Years series, Jan Karon is an Albemarle County-based author who writes for both children and adults. The series comprises 14 novels, all of which take place in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina, detailing the life and experiences of Episcopal priest, Father Tim Kavanagh. Karon’s books have a little something for everyone, as the charming town is full of surprises, mysteries, love, and miracles. Karon has also published a cookbook (Mitford Cookbook & Kitchen Reader) inspired by the meals in The Mitford Years, as well as the author’s own recipes. Some of her children’s books include Miss Fannie’s Hat and Jeremy, The Tale of an Honest Bunny. MitfordBooks.com

Barbara Kingsolver

Barbara Kingsolver

Historical Fiction, Social Justice, Environmentalism

Originally from Kentucky, this southwest Virginia author has published 15 books, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages.  High schools and colleges across the country use her books as part of their curriculum, as many of her stories (though fictional) have important messages about preserving the natural world, as well as about the history of different lands, from the Belgian Congo to Appalachia. Various themes in her books include family, identity, nature and conservation, community, and belonging. When she’s not writing, Kingsolver can be found working in her family’s vegetable gardens or tending to their Icelandic sheep.  Kingsolver.com

Sharyn McCrumb

Historical Fiction, Appalachian

From the Blue Ridge Mountains comes Sharyn McCrumb who––though having written more than 20 books––is most famous for her “Ballad” novels, which focus on the rich history of Appalachia. Although they are works of fiction, McCrumb’s Ballad novels weave impressive historical accuracy and in-depth fictional characters together to create lives and stories that will stay with you long after you finish each novel. Each novel is different, with topics ranging from spirits and angels to the Revolutionary War, murder, and mystery. Also a NASCAR fan, McCrumb has three “Racing” novels, one of which––St. Dale––is McCrumb’s own 20th-century version of The Canterbury Tales, as it follows a group of tourists who embark on a pilgrimage in honor of the late Dale Earnhardt. SharynMcCrumb.com

Deanna Raybourn

Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

A native Texan, Deanna Raybourn now lives in Williamsburg and is perhaps most famous for her Lady Julia Grey series, which comprises five main books and four short stories. Raybourn was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel in 2007 for the first book in the series, Silent in the Grave. The series takes place in Victorian England, where Lady Julia Grey has just become a widow, but soon realizes that there is something suspicious about her husband’s death, causing her to embark on an investigation alongside private agent Nicholas Brisbane. Raybourn’s other five-book long series, The Veronica Speedwell Mysteries, has the same setting of Victorian England, though its heroine is adventuress and sleuth Veronica Speedwell, who encounters and investigates her own kidnapping, murders, curses, and more. Raybourn has written several other books, including some 1920’s adventure novels. In 2008, she won the RITA Award for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements, also for Silent in the GraveDeannaRaybourn.com

Adriana Trigiani

Fiction & Non-Fiction, Romance, Drama

A playwright, television writer, producer, filmmaker, and a novelist all walk into a bar and request a table for one. How is this possible? Adriana Trigiani is all four of them rolled into one! Trigiani made her off-Broadway debut in New York City in 1985 with her play, Secrets of the Lava Lamp, and has written for TV shows such as The Cosby Show. A few of her most famous novels have been adapted into shows and movies, such as Big Stone Gap and Very Valentine. Born and raised in Big Stone Gap, Trigiani has now published 18 fiction and non-fiction works, all of which are available in 38 languages. In an interview with Writer’s Digest, Trigiani claims her two themes in every book she writes are “…how we survive by the labor of our own hands, and who we choose to love.” AdrianaTrigiani.com

June 11, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
July 9, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum
August 13, 2022

Star Gazing and Laser Nights

Virginia Living Museum