Thursday, October 11, 2012


Having trouble at school and wonder if you'll ever make it as a great author? I don't see why not.

1.                JACK LONDON

Famous for Call of the Wild, he worked a variety of odd jobs, including being an oyster pirate (whatever that is). He dropped out of school at 13, but continued to read books. His first collection of short stories were published when he was just 24.

2.                H.G. WELLS

Famous for early science fiction, including The Time Machine. He was pulled out of school when he was 11. His father was a professional cricket player who fractured his thigh, forcing his children to take up apprenticeships. Wells worked as a draper and hated, though his experience later inspired novels like The Wheels of Chance and Kipps.


Famous for plays like: Pygmalion, and Man and Superman. He dropped out of school at age 14. He had this to say of formal education: “Schools and schoolmasters, as we have them today,” he once wrote, “are not popular as places of education and teachers, but rather prisons and turnkeys in which children are kept to prevent them disturbing and chaperoning their parents.”  

4.             HARVEY PEKAR

Best known for his dyspeptic comic series “American Splendor,” begun in 1976. Graduated from high school in 1957 but later dropped out of Case Western University after a year because “the pressure of required math classes became too much to bear.”

5.                 MARK TWAIN

The author of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn dropped out of school at age 12. When his father died he and his siblings had to help support the family. He worked with his older brother as a printer – and of course later as a steamboat captain. He worked with his brother for a while before breaking out on his own.


The author of Grapes of Wrath was already writing as a teenager (just poetry at first). He didn’t care much for school and dropped out at age 15. Even though he didn’t have a high school diploma he managed to get into Ole Miss as a special student at the age of 22 – his father worked there. But, he dropped out of there too after only three semesters.

7.            JACK KEROUAC

This underground celebrity who help found the beatnik generation, a progenitor of the hippy movement, penned such classics as On the Road, and Big Sur. When in high school, however, he was a jock, not a poet. As the star of his football team he won a scholarship to Columbia University. Unfortunately he and his coach didn’t get along and he was benched most of his freshman year. His football career ended abruptly when he cracked his tibia, so he dropped out of school.


With such classics as A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations (not to mention A Christmas Carol), it’s hard to believe that Charles Dickens was a dropout. But at the age of 12 his father was tossed into debtors’ prison and he was forced to out of his private education to work at a boot blacking warehouse. He worked ten-hour days making six shillings a week. His father eventually got out of prison thanks to an inheritance and Charles was able to return to school, but his time in the factories colored almost everything he produced.


An American memoirist and comic essayist, he is best known for his New York Times bestselling memoir Running with Scissors. Augusten wanted to drop out of school at age 13, and his mother actually helped him do it. Together they faked his suicide. By 17 he got his GED and changed his name. No sooner had he enrolled in Holyoke Community College than he flunked out. Later he moved to New York and worked in an advertising agency then published his first memoir, Running with Scissors, when he was just 37 years old.

10.            HARPER LEE

You might remember a little story called, To Kill a Mockingbird. Harper loved literature during high school, but once she got into college pursued a legal career. By her junior year she had the opportunity to start her law studies while concurrently continuing with her undergraduate work. She ditched it all after a couple of semesters and get this, moved to New York to become a writer…and so she did.

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