Jean Auel

The creator of prehistoric adventures on three far-flung tales.

When Jean Auel conceived of the epic story that would become the “Earth’s Children” series, she thought it would be contained within a single book, chronicling the adventures, in a painstakingly reconstructed prehistoric world, of a Cro-Magnon woman who had been raised in a society of Neanderthals. Four years later, in 1980, she published The Clan of the Cave Bear, but by then it was clear that multiple novels would be needed to unfold the story of her heroine, Ayla. That story culminates with the newly released sixth volume, The Land of Painted Caves. Jean Auel shared three of her favorite books with us.

Books by Jean Auel

“East of the Sun, West of the Moon” in The Blue Fairy Book

Edited by Andrew Lang

“I read this fairy tale when I was young and although I didn’t consider all the implications then, I realize now that it was the girl in the tale who was the one who did the heroic deeds. She was the one who made it interesting for me.”

The Left Hand of Darkness

By Ursula K. Le Guin

“The characters in this interesting story fascinated me because they changed their gender and reversed roles.”


By James A. Michener

“In this novel I especially liked all of  the background detail that the author provided in building the story.”