Many people around the world are entertained by books every day. However, the lives of these books’ authors are often fascinating as well. With that in mind, here are fifteen amazing authors you should know about.
- Ambrose Bierce: Bierce became an active horror writer after his time as a soldier in the U.S. Civil War. His talent for portraying gory details is almost unmatched in the literary world.
- Zora Neale Hurston: Hurston was a part of the famous Harlem Renaissance. According to Valerie Boyd on the Zora Neal Hurston site, “Hurston became the most successful and most significant black woman writer of the first half of the 20th century.” Zora Neale Hurston published many works including novels, newspaper articles, and short stories.
- Allen Ginsberg: Ginsberg was an influential writer during the Beat Movement in the 1950s. His mentor was none other than William Carlos Williams. Ginsberg shocked many with his raw and notable work “Howl.”
- William Carlos Williams: Williams began writing during his high school years. Ezra Pound greatly influenced Williams’ work. Both authors attended the University of Pennsylvania, according to poets.org. Though Williams’ work was often overshadowed by the giant of the day, his poems are widely respected as classics. His work started to become very popular in the later 1950s and 1960s.
- Ezra Pound: Pound is most remembered for his strong influence on the modernist movement. Pound traveled a great deal throughout his life, and he subsequently became interested in Chinese and Japanese styles of poetry. Controversially, Pound became involved in the fascist movement during World War II. In 1945, he was charged with treason (poetry.org).
- Sylvia Plath: Plath was greatly affected by her father’s death, which occurred when she was only eight years old. She was a very driven writer, and she kept a journal from the age of eleven. Plath published her first piece of writing just after she graduated from high school. Plath infamously committed suicide in 1963 (poetry.org).
- Franz Kafka: Kafka grew up in the Czech Republic. He was an insurance worker by day, and he wrote in the evenings. In 1923, Kafka moved to Berlin in order to focus more on his writing. Unfortunately, Kafka caught tuberculosis and died shortly after he moved. Many of Kafka’s works were published by his friend Max Brod after his death (biography.com).
- Susan Glaspell: Like many authors, Glaspell started out writing for a newspaper. She was a passionate feminist author of the day. Glaspell’s writing often dealt with the plight and thoughts of women of her time. She was a prolific playwright. Alongside her husband, she founded the Provincetown Players on Cape Cod (learner.org).
- John Keats: Keats was a Romantic poet. He was a licensed apothecary. Instead of working in this area, however, Keats decided to follow his passion for writing poetry. His very first piece of writing was published in 1817. Some of Keats’ finest works were written between 1818 and 1819 while he was in love with a woman named Fanny Brawne. Keats later contracted tuberculosis in 1821, and he died young (poetry.org).
- Paul Laurence Dunbar: Dunbar was one of the very first African-American poets to gain national recognition. Dunbar’s very first piece of writing was published when he was only fourteen. At a meeting of the Western Association for Writers, Dunbar gained popularity for reading his poems aloud. After he met Fredrick Douglas, Dunbar worked as a clerk and read poems. Dunbar’s dialect poems helped him gain both national and international popularity (poetry.org).
- Fredrick Douglass: Douglass was born into slavery. He became an abolitionist after escaping from slavery and became one of the most famous intellects of his time. Douglass lectured on a diverse range of subjects. He often spoke about his escape from slavery and lectured on his experience. In 1845, he published “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” (biography.com).
- Jack London: London’s was born John Griffith Chaney. He was an adventurer, and he traveled to many places including the Klondike. After winning a writing contest in 1893, London dedicated his life to writing. London published over fifty books during a sixteen-year span. London eventually passed away due to kidney disease in 1916 (biography.com).
- James Baldwin: Baldwin challenged the norms of his time by mentioning both racial and societal issues in his works. In order to support himself while writing, Baldwin worked a multitude of jobs. After he began to write for some fellowships, Baldwin’s career took off. Baldwin also wrote about homosexuality in “Giovanni’s Room,” published in 1954. Baldwin was a prolific author and he firmly believed in equality for all (biography.com).
- Flannery O’Connor: O’Connor wrote about religious themes as well as life in the South. O’Connor grew up in Savannah, Georgia. In 1947, Flannery O’Connor decided to officially pursue a career in writing. O’Connor wrote novels, yet she was most famous for her short stories. After struggling with lupus for many years, O’Connor passed away in 1964. Her writing received a great deal of recognition and multiple awards (biography.com).
- James Joyce: Joyce was an Irish poet who was known for his explicit content. His relationship with his home country, Ireland, was very complicated. His writing career did begin in Ireland. However, Joyce eventually left his home to live in Italy and Paris. His most popular novel was “Ulysses,” which came out in 1904. The story drew praise as well as harsh criticisms regarding its content. This controversy led to the book becoming even more popular (biography.com).
This information comes from the following websites:
Allen Ginsberg. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/allen-ginsberg
Ambrose Bierce. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.online-literature.com/bierce/
Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). Franz Kafka Biography. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/franz-kafka-9359401
Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). Fredrick Douglas. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/frederick-douglass-9278324#freedom-and-abolitionism
Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). Jack London Biography. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/jack-london-9385499#commercial-success
Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). Flannery O’Connor. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/flannery-oconnor-9426760#early-life-and-education
Biography.com Editors. (n.d.). James Joyce Biography. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.biography.com/people/james-joyce-9358676#profile
Boyd, V. (n.d.). Zora Neale Hurston. Retrieved July 11, 2016, from http://www.zoranealehurston.com/about/index.html
Ezra Pound. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/ezra-pound
John Keats. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/john-keats
Sylvia Plath. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/sylvia-plath
William Carlos Williams. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2016, from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/william-carlos-williams
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons