One of the most profound categories of the Terkel archive is the collection of conversations with novelists and short story writers. Terkel read the works of fiction by his interviewees with uncommon attention and he avoided the common pitfall of treating fiction as merely as "case study" for sociological or political analysis but instead treated fiction as its own autonomous space. Among the many fiction writers with whom he engaged were: Nelson Algren, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, Anthony Burgess, Raymond Chandler, Joan Didion, Lawrence Durrell, Ralph Ellison, Carlos Fuentes, Gunter Grass, Jamaica Kincaid, Doris Lessing, Toni Morrison, Grace Paley, Salman Rushdie, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Susan Sontag, Hunter S. Thompson, Gore Vidal and Kurt Vonnegut.