A New York-based novelist and journalist whose varied interests and talents are evident in his six novels and frequent non-fiction contributions to The New York Times, Salon, and The Village Voice.

Whitehead was born in New York in 1969, attended Trinity School, and graduated from Harvard in 1991. Post-college, Whitehead wrote TV, book, and music reviews for The Village Voice while, simultaneously, drafting his first novel. His first published novel, The Intuitionist, was released in 1999. Beyond falling under the umbrella of fiction and being penned by the same man, very little unites Whitehead's novels: 2001's John Henry Days is historical fiction that explores American folklore; 2003's The Colossus of New York is a collection of essays revolving around New York; 2006's Apex Hides the Hurt is a humorous look at American culture; 2009's Sag Harbor is loosely based on Whitehead's own teenage experiences; and 2011's Zone One belongs to the horror genre, as it's centered on zombies. The diversity among texts, Whitehead has been quoted saying, is to keep things interesting and rich not only for him, but also for the readers who follow him.

Whitehead, unlike the majority of other contemporary novelists, doesn't save his writing purely for the page: he is active on Twitter, with well over 100,000 followers. [Image via Getty]