Some of your favorite writers have some amazing and completely awesome backgrounds that have helped shape not only who they are, or were, but also what they’ve written about over the years. These are some of the most amazing and surprising facts about some of the most famous authors in the history of the written word.
Have you ever wondered the stories behind your favorite authors? After all, these are the people who are responsible for so many of our favorite stories, whether we’re talking about books or, eventually, movies. They are incredibly creative people with unique backgrounds, but as writers aren’t particularly flashy by nature, there are likely a lot of things you don’t know about them.
When Stephen King was a kid, he saw a friend get struck and killed by a train, so you can look at The Body (better known as Stand By Me) in a whole new light.
Roald Dahl, a guy who wrote about chocolate factories and witches actually worked as a spy during World War II.
12J. K. Rowling
If you’re ever wondering why Hagrid was gruff and rode a motorcycle, it’s because he was based on a Hell’s Angels biker JK Rowling once met.
John Grisham was working in the Mississippi House of Representatives when his first attempt at a novel was rejected 28 times before someone finally decided to publish it.
Douglas Adams, the author of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, was the first person in the United Kingdom to buy a Mac computer.
Believe it or not, Ernest Hemingway actually tried – and failed – to become a spy for the KGB, though some think it was an attempt to further his creative inspiration.
One of the great wits in history, Oscar Wilde’s last words were, “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has got to go.”
Perhaps fittingly given his themes and style, George Orwell’s first word was, reportedly, “beastly.”
The famous science fiction author never bothered to get his driver’s license, because he was adamantly against anyone driving a car after witnessing a fatal accident as a kid.
Walt Whitman, perhaps the most beloved American poet in history, was actually a teacher…at age 17.
One of the most legendary authors ever, Charles Dickens was also, amazingly, an early ghost hunter, belonging to a London group called the “Ghost Club.”
Also known as Theodor Geisel, Dr. Seuss started writing under that name after getting kicked off of the staff of Dartmouth’s humor magazine for drinking bootleg gin.
2C. S. Lewis
CS Lewis is known as a writer with religious inclinations, but he was actually converted to Christianity by another famous author, JRR Tolkien, in 1931.
1J. R. R. Tolkien
And speaking of Tolkien, it’s said that, rather astonishingly, he knew roughly 20 languages – which is maybe why it was so easy for him to create his own, full Elvish language.