Here was my answer ...
Donald Harington was an American author not wildly well known, but he's been compared to Chaucer, and I was privileged to converse with him electronically a year or two before his death. He told me he was working on a novel featuring one of his past characters (his novels often centered on a fictional Ozark town called Stay More, and picked up facets from one another), Latha Bourne.
It was not until after he died I read "Enduring", the novel he told me about, and it still brings up the little hairs along the back of my neck. As if his work hadn't power enough, that launched my experience of reading that book to a new level, and it felt joyous and intimate and meant so much to me.
Another of my favorite writers was Roger Ebert. I didn't tend to agree with his assessments of movies, but LOVED his manner of expression. I was able to exchange a few emails with him as well some years ago. He was an incredibly thoughtful (in the sense of intellectual openness and willingness to consider unaccustomed points of view) and generous man, and very kind. I still sometimes go back and read his reviews or his blog.
Much more recently, I met Hugh Howey, at the James River Writers Conference last October. He was sitting on his own and I chatted with him for a few minutes - not about my writing nor even his, but just the event and the people and the food or whatever. He could not have been more charming and pleasant.
The History Blog brings us two very different stories worth the click ...
First: three-hundred year old tea preserved by (whom else?) the Brits. In a museum. Because, of course!
Then: 98-year-old blackboards in Oklahoma - "frozen in time, if not in place." Incredible! I only wish I could get the video to play.
Okay, now your turn. Tell me about your heroes!