10 Best Debut Authors Of 2020

10 Best Debut Authors Of 2020

The year 2020 has been an unusual one for all of us. It was boresome and monotonous for some but relaxing and fun for others. One thing that I think was the same for most of us was that we all got some personal time to find ourselves new passions and hobbies. In the same way, numerous authors started their writing journey in 2020. Let me familiarize you with some of them.

I can’t even count the number of people I had turned into crazy readers like me in 2020. I never thought that those people could even complete a single book, let alone adopt it as a hobby! And in doing so, there were a few books that I took up first. A few debut books and by them, I felt a deep sense of admiration for their authors.

As in the year 2020, the world was in quarantine, there wasn’t much for people to do and I feel that that’s one of the main reasons why so many debut novels came out that year. People were exploring their skills during that time and in doing so, they gave out some extremely beautiful masterpieces for delighting us.

 Now, let me throw the spotlight upon a few of the many wonderful authors who started their careers as writers during the year 2020 when everything was in lockdown.

10 Best Debut Authors Of 2020

Many people turned to write during the lockdown period and everyone did a wonderful job but there were a specific few people that are still stuck in my brain because of their amazing work. Here I’m going to share about them with you guys so you can go and check out their work.

1. Brandon Taylor

brandon taylor picture
Source: the guardian.com

Brandon Taylor is an America-based writer. Born in 1989 in Alabama, his educational qualifications include graduate degrees from Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Lowa. In 2016, he began to pursue a career in creative writing.

Along with being the senior editor of Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, he is also a staff writer at Literary Hub. His short stories and essays have appeared in American Short Fiction, The New Yorker, The Literary Review, and many more. His debut novel, Real Life, published in 2020, is a fictional coming-of-age and partly autobiographical book. This book tells the experience of a black, gay doctorate student in a predominantly white Ph.D. program.

2. Melissa Faliveno

Melissa Faliveno picture
Source: melissafaliveno.com

Melissa Filipino, born and raised in the small town of Wisconsin, is a first-generation college graduate. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative writing from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA in Non-fiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College.

She has many achievements to be listed. To name a few, she was a former senior editor of Poets and Writers magazine, producer of Ampersand podcast, a former editor at Trails Books, a freelance features writer, and a columnist. Currently living in Brooklyn, New York, she published her debut book Tomboyland in August 2020, which turned out to be a great hit. This book is a collection of universal and personal essays by the writer herself.

3. Maisy Card

maisy card picture
Source: maisycard.com

Maisy Card was born in Portmore, Jamaica, and raised in Queens, New York. She graduated from Brooklyn College MDA in Fiction program. She currently lives in Newark, NJ. Her debut novel, These Ghosts Are Family, won several awards, including the American Book Award and the OCM Bocas Prize in fiction. It was a finalist for the Pen/Hemingway Award for Debut novels. This book is a Gothic Novel published in March 2020. This book shows how a Jamaican family can form and fall over generations.

4. Elisabeth Thomas

elizabeth thomas picture
Source: bibliolifestyle.com

Elisabeth Thomas was born and brought up in Brooklyn, New York. She is a graduate of Yale University and she currently works as an archivist in a modern museum of art. Her debut novel Catherine’s House is a Gothic suspense novel published in 2020.

The book’s plot revolves around a rebellious undergraduate student who makes various shocking revelations about a group of students and the truths hidden beneath her school’s promise of prestige. The school of higher learning, Catherine House, is hidden deep inside the woods of Pennsylvania which selects only a few lucky students due to its selective admission policies. Elizabeth even wins a nomination for Edgar Award for a best first novel by an American Author for this debut work.

5. Ashleigh Bryant Phillips

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips picture
Source: lithun.com

Ashleigh Bryant Philips was born and raised in rural Woodland, North Carolina. She graduated from Meredith College and did her MGA from North Carolina, Wilmington. Her debut book Sleepovers, published in 2020, is a collection of stories that won her the C.

Lauren Groff selected Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize. While given the award, this book was hailed by Lauren Groff as ‘fully committed to the truth no matter how dark or difficult or complicated it may be.’ The stories in the book take us for a trip to the forgotten corner of the rural South that is full of cemeteries, fishing holes, and soybean fields. Overall, this book is a dark, honest, and gritty portrait of a small Southern town and the lives of the people who live there.

6. Simon Han

simon han picture
Source: simonhannet.wordpress.com

Siman Han was born in Tianjin, China but was brought up in various cities in Texas. He completed his MFA from Vanderbilt University. His writings, such as essays and short stories, have been featured in the Atlantic, Guernica, Electric Literature, Lit hub, Virginia Quarterly Review, and the Texas Observer.

His debut novel Nights When Nothing Happened has been named the best book of the Year by TIME and The Washington Post. This book follows the plot of a Chinese immigrant family who moved to Texas. The father in the family has been wrongly accused of a crime and now. The children have to take things into their hands to restore the balance and the peace of their family.

7. Leah Hampton

leah hampton picture
Source: bombmagazine.org

Lean Hampton was born in Charleston and had lived in Western North Carolina for most of her life. She has dual citizenship as her mother is British and spends a lot of time overseas. Leah’s style mainly includes writing about corpses, eco-anxiety, Appalachia, and smart women.

Graduated from the Michener Center for writers, she serves as the environmentalist humanities fellow in residence at the University of Idaho. Her debut collection F*uckface and other stories were named one of the best books of 2020 by the Paris Review, the New York public library, Slate, and others. Her work has even appeared in Lit hub, electric Literature, Ecotone, Guernica, McSweeney’s, storySouth, and so many more places.

8. Chelsea Bieker

Chelsea Bieker picture
Source: observer.com

Chelsea Bieker is from Central Valley, California. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University. Her fictional works and essays have been published in Electric Literature, Granta, McSweeney’s, Joyland, and catapult magazine.

Her debut novel God shot is a fictional novel that revolves around subjects like motherhood, mother-loss, female friendship, and resilience with grit and humor. She received the Rona Jaffe writer’s Foundation Award. God shot was a finalist for the Oregon and California Book Award. It was long-listed for the center for fiction’s first novel prize and was named Barnes and Noble pick of the month.

9. Kyoung Frazier

kyoung Frazier picture
Source: pen.org

Jean Kyoung Frazier is a Korean-American writer. Her debut novel Pizza Girl was published in 2020 by Doubleday. This book was nominated for the Lambda Literary Award for lesbian fiction.

This work of fiction tells the story of a flawed, unforgettable young woman as she struggles to find her place in the world in a very funny, moving, and chaotic way. This book is bold yet tender, predictable yet unexpected, and propulsive yet weak in many aspects. This book is a whole package, capable of making you feel every kind of emotion.

10. Zaina Arafat

zaina arafat picture
Source: lithub.com

Zaina Arafat is a Brooklyn-based Palestinian American LGBTQ writer. After completing high school, she went for an undergraduate program as a dual foreign Affairs and philosophy major. After that, she went for a master’s degree in international media and communications at Columbia.

Her debut novel You Exist Too Much, published in 2020, was picked as an Indie Next pick for June. It is an LGBTQ coming-of-age book that covers many social aspects like effects of dear on a person, wanting and not wanting things, rejection, sexual identity, and societal judgment.


So these were those ten authors whom I admired the most during the year 2020. This was just their debut novel and they’ve already achieved so much with it. And what I liked the most is that there’s a female majority! It makes me so inspired and worked up to become a successful writer like them. You guys need to go and check out their work right now!

Also, if you’re a reader and a book lover, you’ve got to check these out:

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