I’ve been thinking about potential names for my theoretical kids ever since I was little. It’s really weird, I know. What’s even weirder is that I recently found out many of my colleagues have been thinking about the same thing. And we’ve all thought about which authors we’d name our kids after. As it currently stands, these are the authors my future kids could call namesakes.
Baby girl name: Evie
How cute is the name Evie?! But cute is one thing Evie Wyld’s novel certainly isn’t. And that’s what I love about it. A mesmerizing mystery of missing sheep and past intrigue, ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING is a profound testament to the hardships of being a woman in a man’s world. I’d be in heaven if my daughter inherited Wyld’s compassion and ferocity along with her cute name.
Baby girl name: Lois
Now, Lois is a name my mother might be okay with. Not only was it my maternal grandmother’s name, but my mom and I fell in love with Lois Lowry at the same time. I have such fond memories of snuggling in bed reading THE GIVER (and the following three books) or NUMBER THE STARS and with my mom. These are some of the books I’m most excited to read with my own kids.
The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
Baby girl name: Nina
Not only would Nina be a supercute name, but this baby girl would be named after a very talented writer. In Janina Matthewson’s debut novel, OF THINGS GONE ASTRAY, each character—except for one, who finds himself attracted to lost things—wakes up missing the one thing they care about the most. One character, for example, values privacy above all else—and loses the front walls of her house. Here’s hoping I wouldn’t wake up unable to find my daughter. . . .
Baby girl name: Toni
What a namesake! I’d almost be afraid of putting this kind of pressure on a baby. Can you imagine her asking where her name comes from when she’s a little older? Oh, honey—just one of the greatest writers of all time. One of my most prized possessions is an original first edition of SONG OF SOLOMON. I’m not even sure I would let this fictitious daughter touch it.
Baby girl name: Catton
Eleanor Catton’s THE LUMINARIES is one of my top five favorite books of all time. Rich and utterly absorbing, it’s an incredible tale of fortunes and fates set amid New Zealand’s gold rush. I’m obsessed with Catton’s gorgeous, vivid writing and unforgettable scenes. Rumor has it she just sold her next book for over a million dollars. Maybe I’ll have a little Catton of my own by the time it hits shelves.
We like big books and we cannot lie—we buy them, we shelve them, and we stare at them, promising that someday, when we have the time, we’ll read them. Winter is the perfect season for crossing some of those wonderful doorstops off your list.
Baby boy name: Saunders
I tried to get my parents to name our golden retriever Saunders, but they didn’t go for it. Fine with me—I’ll just name my hypothetical son after one of my favorite male writers. My only regret is that it will probably take 20+ years for this baby to reach the reading level at which he can appreciate a masterpiece like LINCOLN IN THE BARDO.
George Saunders is an acclaimed short story writer of collections THE TENTH OF DECEMBER, PASTORALIA, and more. His first novel, LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, is a mesmerizing blend of historical fact and fiction. It is the story of the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, told almost entirely through the voices of the spirits in the graveyard where Willie is laid to rest and where Lincoln returns to hold his son’s body. —Erin
Baby boy name: Harper
Wouldn’t naming a baby Harper almost guarantee that he would be universally loved in the way that Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is? I already feel a little delusional writing this list, so what’s the harm in taking it a step farther.
Wendy’s Fictional Dinner Party Guest: Atticus Finch
Perhaps it’s a cliché to want to have dinner with Atticus Finch—lawyer, father, all-around good man. Atticus is known for his conscience, grace, compassion, and morality. I suspect that his words would be full of insight and wisdom, and challenge me to sit straighter in my chair.
Baby boy name: Alcott
Baby boy Alcott would be such a feminist, which any son of mine has to be. I’m not sure how my (hypothetical) husband would feel about naming our son after the beloved author of LITTLE WOMEN, but I also don’t care. It’s a great name. If very hard pressed, I’d concede to naming our son Laurie after the male protagonist in LITTLE WOMEN.
The wonderful story of the March sisters Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy and their wonderful Marmee and their joys and mishaps they face as young women and as a family. Based on Louise May Alcott's childhood, this lively portrait of nineteenth-century family life possesses a lasting vitality that has endeared it to generations of readers.
Baby boy name: Nelson
I’ve never met a Nelson I didn’t like. While I haven’t met Jandy Nelson, I absolutely love her novel I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN. When Nelson is older, this book—about twins who used to be inseparable but are barely speaking after a devastating incident—could also teach him a lot about being a brother and the sacrifices we make for our families.
Baby boy name: Ian
I’ve always liked the name Ian, and I’ve always enjoyed reading Ian McEwan. From ENDURING LOVE to ATONEMENT, I’m continually impressed by McEwan’s beautiful sentences and insights into what it means to be human. If baby Ian had a hundredth of McEwan’s genius, I’d be a proud parent.