Celebrating heroines real and imagined, we asked five novelists to share their favorite characters from literature and then dress the part. Playing make believe off the page in the season’s latest clothes, many of these rising authors chose to honor writers who have influenced their work, from Toni Morrison to Patricia Highsmith. “In my mind she was like a literary foremother,” Naomi Jackson said of her character’s author, Jamaica Kincaid.
Two of the writers photographed here, Angela Flournoy and Hanya Yanagihara, are National Book Award finalists and will attend a ceremony this week, on November 18, where winners will be announced.
Click ahead to see photographer Maxine Helfmman’s stunning portraits.
Photographs by Maxine Helfman. Styling by Rebecca Ramsey. Interviews by Catie L’Heureux. Hair and makeup by Al Tidwell. Fashion assistance by Indya Brown. Producer: Tamber Johnson.
*This article appears in the November 16, 2015 issue of New York Magazine.