'Hollywood Reporter's List of 25 Most Powerful Authors in Hollywood Is Eclectic, But Has a Few Problems

Turning books into movies has been a popular move since... well, at least since Gone With the Wind came out in 1939. But have you ever wondered which of your favorite authors are the most powerful literary figures in the motion picture world? Well, here to answer that questions is The Hollywood Reporter's list of "Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors." Because if there are going to be so many book-to-movie adaptations nowadays, we should all really know which of our favorite literary superstars has the most pull.

Which lucky author is the one with the most power in the land of palm trees and video cameras? Well, don't act too surprised when you find out it's J.K. Rowling — because, of course. It may be years since the last Harry Potter movie, but this is still the Potter franchise we're talking about. Plus, if the way we're all chomping at the bit for the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them movie is any indication, Rowling will continue to rule the Hollywood roost for quite some time.

Overall, the list is fairly eclectic. It includes quite a few young adult authors such as Rowling and John Green, well-known genre authors such as John Grishom and Nicholas Sparks, as well as a few more literary authors like Hilary Mantel and Gillian Flynn. There are also a few non-fiction authors represented as well, such as Laura Hillenbrand, author of the book Unbroken, whose film adaptation will be released on Christmas this year.

It's also worth noting that, of the 25 names on the list, eight are women, which does represent and unfortunate gender gap, but seems to be significantly smaller than the typical gender gap found among the more influential positions in Hollywood.

According to the Women's Media Center analysis, women consistently make up fewer than 10 percent of all directors. In fact, in 2013, only 6 percent of the directors of the top 250 films were women. Female writers are similarly underrepresented, and in 2013 only 10 percent of the writers for the top 250 films in the U.S. were women. The gender gap in Hollywood is seemingly smallest among producers, but still women consistently seem to make up only about a fourth of all producers.

So, that women make up about a third of the people on the most powerful authors in Hollywood list is pretty good. Not, you know, actually equitable, but better than things generally seem to be in Hollywood.

The list is however, woefully lacking in diversity, with only one author of color — Outlander author Diana Gabaldon — making the cut. It's not so much a judgement against The Hollywood Reporter as it is a commentary on Hollywood's ongoing diversity problem — and also an indirect commentary on the diversity issues in publishing as well.

So who are the rest of these powerful literary types? Here are the authors that Hollywood Reporter ranks as the top 10:

  1. J.K. Rowling
  2. Stephen King
  3. George R.R. Martin
  4. E.L. James
  5. John Green
  6. Nicholas Sparks
  7. Gillian Flynn
  8. James Patterson
  9. Michael Lewis
  10. Laura Hillenbrand

For the other 15 names, you can check out the full list at The Hollywood Reporter.