20 best genre fiction writers from other countries to expand your horizons

1 of 21

MAINZ, GERMANY – OCTOBER 02: Umberto Eco, writer and professor, receives the 10.000 Euro Gutenberg price, on October 2, 2014 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images)

Science fiction, fantasy and other genres aren’t solely American. Here are 20 of the best genre fiction writers from outside the United States.

Trying to define something like “genre fiction” is admittedly a bit of a cheat. A genre is really just a way of putting up imaginary fences that cordon off different kinds of writing from one another. Theoretically, it should be just a way to organize things and not another method to judge them.

In practice, however, so-called “genre fiction” is often less well-regarded than its literary counterparts. In this case, “genre” refers to some of the wilder stuff books have to offer, like horror, science fiction and fantasy. Dedicated fans of any of these genres will be able to tell you that there are example in each subset that are just as well-written and moving as anything written by, say, Ian McEwan.

Even Margaret Atwood throwing a mini fit over being lumped in with science fiction authors can’t really deter sci-fi fans. Don’t worry — Atwood has mellowed out considerably on this front.

In the English-speaking world, that’s usually enough drama to consider. But what about all of the non-English authors who are writing and publishing in beloved genres? That’s the kind of thought that can keep writers and fans awake at night. Whose work is passing us by? What could we be missing, and not even know about it?

Thankfully, better communication and more dedicated translators have helped to bridge some of these gaps. More and more, readers and authors working in one language have a greater chance of seeing what else is out there. In that spirit, read on for 20 of the best genre fiction writers from outside America.