That's right, we're reading a book by Ayn Rand this week! Don't worry... it's not The Fountainhead (1943) or Atlas Shrugged (1957). In fact, I hadn't heard of this week's book, Anthem, until a friend recommended it to me as a good introduction to Ayn Rand's work.
Ayn Rand lived from 1905 to 1982; she lived in Russia until she moved to the United States in 1926. She is best known for the two ginormous novels I mentioned above, as well as developing the philosophy known as Objectivism.
At its most basic, Objectivism has a few central tenets: reality exists independently from consciousness, people have direct contact with reality through their senses, people can obtain objective knowledge via perception using concept formation and inductive logic, the moral purpose of your life is the pursuit of your own happiness, the only social system that matches this concept is laissez-faire capitalism, and art's role in human life is transforming humans' metaphysical ideas via selective reproduction of reality into physical forms that nobody comprehends and people can respond to emotionally. Yeah... I did say that was "at its most basic."
As you can probably guess, Rand wrote a lot of essays about these concepts and more, in addition to her body of fictional works.
For more on the woman and her work, check out aynrand.org.