Finding Biographical Information About  Authors
Books and Media | Articles | Internet

Getting Started

These sources provide a good beginning.  Some contain general discussion or an overview.  This kind of background will often suggest topics, jargon, or keywords for further research.

American Writers: A Collection of Literary Biographies

REF PS129 A55

A multi-volume set that contains essays about the lives, careers, and works of American writers.


Contemporary Authors

REF PN451 C6

Published in several volumes, this source provides personal and career information for over 50,000 twentieth century authors. There is a cumulative index for all of the volumes.


Contemporary Dramatists

REF PR737 C57 1988

Over 300 entries on dramatists writing in English.


Contemporary Novelists

REF PR883 C76 1986

Provides biographical information on 600 major living English language novelists with critical essays.


Dictionary of Literary Biography

REF PS243 A54

Multi-volume set with brief to extensive articles on people who have contributed to North American literature-divided by topic and genre, includes author photographs.


Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century

REF PN774 L433

4-volume set containing 1,400 articles.


Nobel Prize Winners: Literature

REF PN451 N63 1987

3-volume set with biographical information on the Nobel laureates in literature from 1901-1987.


Writers Directory 1998-2000

REF PS1 W73 1998-2000

Guide to more than 15,000 living English language writers.

Books and Media

Use the Library Catalog http://www2.palomar.edu/pages/library/ to find books, DVDs, videos and other materials on your topic.  You can enter keywords of your own choosing, or you can identify the specific subject headings that the library catalogs use to group related materials together. 

Suggested Subject Headings
Authors Biography
African American Authors
Mexican American Authors
Women Authors
Detective and mystery stories
Science Fiction

Select Titles by Genre
African & African American | Chicano, Latin American, & Spanish | Children’s & Young Adult | Mystery & Science Fiction | Poets | Women



African Writers

REF PL8010 A453 1997

Information and critical essays on 20th century African authors from various countries.


Black Writers

REF PN490 B53 1989

Over 400 biographical entries on 20th century Black writing.


Twentieth Century Caribbean and Black African Writers

REF PR9205 A52 T893 1996

Biographical and critical material included.


Oxford Companion to African American Literature

REF PS153 N5 O96 1997

Lives, careers, major works and articles on literary genres.




Chicano Literature: A Reference Guide

REF PS153 M4 C46 1985

Information on Mexican American writers.


Hispanic Writers

REF PN466 H57 1991

Includes more than 400 authors.


Latin American Writers

REF PQ7081 A1 L37 1989

3-volumes include essays on life, work and literary contribution.


Women Writers of Latin America: Intimate Histories

REF PQ 7081 G3613 1991

Interviews with 10 writers.




Something About the Author (SATA)

REF PN451 S65

Facts and pictures of authors and illustrators.




St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers

REF PR888 D4 S7 1996

Includes biographies and lists of works.


Twentieth Century Crime and Mystery Writers

REF PR888 D4 T8 1991

Includes 700 mystery writers.


Twentieth Century Science Fiction Writers

REF PS374 S35 T89

Biographies, lists of works, and critical essays.




Contemporary Poets

REF PR603 C6 1980

Biographies of 800 living poets.


Contemporary Poets of the English Language

REF PR603 C6 1996

Living poets writing in English throughout world.




Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present

REF PR111 B57 1990


American Women Writers: A Critical Reference Guide from Colonial Times to the Present

REF PS147 A4

5-volume set with essays on women writers.


Oxford Companion to Women’s Writing in the United States

REF PS 147 O94 1995


Articles are usually identified by using online research databases or printed indexes.  Printed indexes are helpful for older material.  Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles can supply the latest information on a topic and often contain details not available elsewhere.

·         EBSCOhost http://prozy.palomar.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.asp?profile=web

·         EBSCOhost provides access to several databases including magazine, journal and  newspaper articles. For a guide on how to search EBSCOhost, go to Using EBSCOhost at http://www.palomar.edu/library/OnlineDatabases/ebsco.htm


·         Gale Literature Resource Center http://prozy.palomar.edu/login?url=http://infotrac.galegroup.com/itweb/cclc_palomar?db=LitRC  Biographies, bibliographies and critical analysis of literary authors from every period and discipline. Its resources cover more than 90,000 novelists, poets, essayists, journalists and other writers, with additional in-depth coverage of 2,500 of the most-studied authors


·         Humanities Index
AI3 .H85 (Index Tables, 2nd Floor Reference)


Basic internet Search Strategies - Use a directory, subject portal, or search engine to focus your Internet search. In addition to those listed below, find more information sites on the Palomar Library Subject Links site at http://www.palomar.edu/library/subjects.htm. Information on evaluating Internet sites is available at http://www.palomar.edu/library/ResearchAids/SelfHelp.htm#websearching

·         Literature http://www.palomar.edu/library/subjects/literature.htm

·         Literary Authors http://www.palomar.edu/library/subjects/authors.htm

Information on Citation Styles – In order to create a bibliography for your research paper, you will need to follow the rules of a specific style.  For a list of styles and information on how to use them, go to http://www.palomar.edu/library/ResearchAids/SubjectGuides/WritingStyles.htm.

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http://www.palomar.edu/library/subjects/SubjectGuides/AUTHORS.htm| Last Updated 10/1/07