Here are some drawings I did of various literary figures, with fun facts about them. You can purchase these drawings in the form of a coloring book at BOOKMACHINE books + zines in Fullerton.
Name: Allen Ginsberg (1926-1997), American poet
Fun Fact: He was a major figure in The Beat Generation.
Major Works: Howl, Kaddish
Quote: “America when will you be angelic?”
Name: Anne Lamott (1954-), American novelist
Fun Fact: She has a son named Sam.
Major Works: Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Crooked Little Heart
Quote: “The only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.”
Name: August Strindberg (1849-1912), Swedish playwright
Fun Fact: He wrote 19th century experimental plays and went insane.
Major works: Miss Julie, To Danascus, The Ghost Sonata
Quote: “I dream, therefore I exist.”
Name: Billy Collins (1941-), American poet
Fun Fact: He was Poet Laureate of the United States from 2001-2003.
Major Works: Sailing Alone Around the Room, Nine Horses
Quote: "One of these days I'm-a make me a book out of you."
Name: Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), Argentine writer, librarian
Fun Fact: He was director of the National Public Library in Buenos Aires
Major Works: Ficciones, The Aleph
Quote: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library. “
Name: Bret Easton Ellis (1964-), American novelist
Fun Fact: Three of his novels (American Psycho, Less Than Zero, and The Rules of Attraction) have been made into movies.
Major Works: see above
Quote: "I'm into, oh murders and executions mostly. It depends."
Names: Charlotte (1816-1855) and Emily (1818-1848) Bronte, British novelists
Fun Fact: They were sisters!
Major Works: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights
Quote: “Better to be without logic than without feeling.”
Name: George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824), British poet
Fun Fact: He was described as "mad, bad and dangerous to know" (he was a badass).
Major Works: “She Walks in Beauty,” “When We Two Parted,” Manfred, Don Juan
Quote: “Fame is the thirst of youth.”
Name: Charles Bukowski (1920-1994), American novelist and poet
Fun Fact: He worked for the Postal Service for 12 years, and hated it.
Major Works: Post Office, Ham on Rye, The Days Run Away Like Wild Horses Over the Fields.
Qhote: “Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.”
Name: Charles Dickens (1812-1870), British novelist
Fun Fact: Many of his novels were first published in serial form, so he was a master of the “cliffhanger”, to keep people reading.
Major Works: Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities
Quote: “Charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.”
Name: Chuck Palahniuk (1962-), American novelist
Fun Fact: He grew up in a mobile home.
Major Works: Fight Club, Choke, Survivor
Quote: “I used to work in a funeral home to feel good about myself, just the fact that I was breathing.”
Name: D.J. Waldie (1948-), American essayist, memoirist
Fun Fact: He has lived his entire life in the same house in Lakewood, CA.
Major Works: Holy Land: A Suburban Memoir, California Romantic
Quote: “Sometimes I think the only real forces are circumstance and grace.”
Name: Dave Eggers (1970-), American novelist, memoirist
Fun Fact: He founded McSweeney’s, one of the coolest independent publishing houses in the world.
Major Works: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What is the What
Quote: “We are unusual and tragic and alive.”
Name: David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), American novelist, essayist
Not Fun Fact: He committed suicide at age 47.
Major Works: Infinite Jest, Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, Consider the Lobster
Quote: “Getting rid of the pain without addressing the deeper cause would be like shutting off a fire alarm while the fire's still going.”
Name: David Sedaris (1956-), American memoirist, humorist
Fun Fact: He is gay.
Major Works: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Naked, Barrel Fever
Quote: “I love things made out of animals. It's just so funny to think of someone saying, 'I need a letter opener. I guess I'll have to kill a deer.’”
Name: Derrick C. Brown (1976-), American poet
Fun Fact: He founded Write Bloody publishing.
Major Works: Born in the Year of the Butterfly Knife, Scandalabra
Quote: "I can not love you until you can love our beautiful waitress in the simple way that I do."
Name: Earl Lovelace (1935-), Trinidadian novelist
Fun Fact: He is from Trinidad.
Major Works: While Gods are Falling, The Wine of Astonishment
Quote: “Out of all the shoulders in the world our shoulders could bear more weight. And out of all the flesh in the world, our flesh could hold more pain, and out of all the hearts in the world our heart could stomach more ache, without breaking or burning or bursting, than any other shoulder or flesh or heart.”
Name: Emily Dickinson (1830-1886), American poet
Fun Fact: Most of her poetry was discovered after her death.
Major Works: None of her poems had titles. Editors gave them titles, based on the first line.
Quote: “A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day.”
Name: Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), American novelist, short story writer
Fun Fact: His gritty, sparse, journalistic writing style changed American literature in the 20th century.
Major Works: For Whom the Bell Tolls (also a good Metallica song), A Farewell to Arms, The Old Man and the Sea
Quote: “A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.”
Name: F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940), American novelist
Fun Fact: He coined the term “The Jazz Age.”
Major Works: The Great Gatsby, The Beautiful and the Damned
Quote: “Action is character.”
Name: Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964), American short story writer, novelist
Fun Fact: She died of lupus at age 39.
Major Works: A Good Man is Hard to Find, Wise Blood, Everything That Rises Must Converge
Quote: “At its best our age is an age of searchers and discoverers, and at its worst, an age that has domesticated despair and learned to live with it happily.”
Name: Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), Russian novelist
Fun Fact: He was exiled in Siberia for four years, for being a part of a revolutionary group in Russia.
Major Works: Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, Notes from Underground
Quote: “If there is no God, everything is permitted.”
Name: Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-), Colombian novelist
Fun Fact: He popularized a literary style knows as “magical realism.”
Major Works: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Love in the Time of Cholera
Quote: “A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father.”
Name: Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400), British poet
Fun Fact: He helped legitimize English as a language, when the dominant literary languages were French and Latin.
Major Works: The Canterbury Tales
Quote: “Love is blind.” (Seriously, he was the first person to write this.)
Name: Gustavo Arellano (1979-), Mexican-American journalist, satirist
Fun Fact: He writes the “Ask a Mexican!” column in OC Weekly
Major Works: Ask a Mexican!, Orange County: A Personal history
Quote: “Of course it’s offenseive. That’s the “Mexican” that’s been in the minds of Americans for many years. By running it week after week, it loses its power.”
Name: Harvey Pekar (1939-2010), American comic book writer
Fun Fact: He worked most of his adult life as a file clerk at the Cleveland VA Hospital
Major Works: American Splendor (comic book series)
Quote: “Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.”
Name: Jaime (1959-) and Gilbert (1957-) Hernandez, American comic writer/artists
Fun Fact: These underground comic icons are from Oxnard, CA
Major Works: Love and Rockets (comic series)
Quote: “Comics as art. I do comics as comics, and my opportunity to tell stories. Simple. Basic. Let the characters have the excitement, not the package. That's where I come from.”
Name: Homer (around 850 BCE), Greek poet
Fun Fact: He might not have actually existed.
Major Works: The Iliad, the Odyssey
Quote: “Be still my heart; thou hast known worse than this.”
Name: Hunter S. Thompson (1937-2005), American journalist
Fun Fact: He is credited as the creator of “Gonzo” journalism, a style of reporting where reporters involve themselves in the action to such a degree that they become central figures in their stories.
Major Works: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hells Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga
Quote: “I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.”
Name: Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), American poet
Fun Fact: Along with Allen Ginsberg, he was another pioneer of The Beat Generation, badass writers who defied convention, materialism, and apathy.
Major Works: On the Road, The Dharma Bums, Big Sur
Quote: “A pain stabbed my heart as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.”
Name: Jamaica Kincaid (1949-), Caribbean novelist and gardener
Fun Fact: She is a convert to Judaism.
Major Works: “Girl”, A Small Place, Lucy
Quote: “This is how to bully a man; this is how a man bullies you.”
Name: James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist
Fun Fact: He was a pioneer of the “stream-of-consciousness” writing technique.”
Major Works: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Dubliners, Ulysses (a tough read), Finnegan’s Wake (a near impossible read)
Quote: “And then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will yes.”
Name: Jane Austen (1775-1817), British novelist
Fun Fact: She was not widely accepted as a great novelist until the 1940s
Major Works: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma
Quote: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Name: J.D. Salinger (1919-2010), American novelist, short story writer
Fun Fact: He only published four books in his lifetime.
Major Works: The Catcher in the Rye, Nine Stories, Franny and Zooey
Quote: “Goddam money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.”
Name: J.K. Rowling (1965-), British novelist
Fun Fact: The first Harry Potter book was rejected by twelve publishers before it was published.
Major Works: The Harry Potter Series
Quote: “It is our choices... that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
Name: J.M. Coetzee (1940-), South Afrrican novelist
Fun Fact: He was at the forfront of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.
Major Works: Waiting for the Barbarians, Disgrace, In the Heart of the Country
Quote: “In order to be cruel we have to close our hearts to the suffering of the other.”
Name: John Fante (1909-1983), American novelist
Fun Fact: Charles Bukowski said, “Fante was my god.” He was one of the pioneers of the literary movement called “Dirty Realism”
Major Works: Ask the Dust
Quote: "Ask the dust on the road! Ask the Joshua trees standing alone where the Mojave begins. Ask them about Camilla Lopez, and they will whisper her name."
Name: John Keats (1795-1821), British poet
Fun Fact: He died at age 25.
Major Works: “To Autumn,” “Ode to a Nightengale,” lots of odes.
Quote: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
Name: John Steinbeck (1902-1968), American novelist
Fun Fact: In 1960, he traveled across the US in a camper with his poodle Charley.
Major Works: The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice and Men
Quote: “If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones.”
Name: Jonathan Saran Foer (1977-), American novelist
Fun Fact: He dropped out of medical school to pursue his career as a writer.
Major Works: Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Quote: "You cannot protect yourself from sadness without protecting yourself from happiness."
Name: J.R.R. Tolkein (1892-1973), British novelist
Fun Fact: He was a professor of literature at Oxford University
Major Works: The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit
Quote: “Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul. (Elvish). One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. (English)”
Name: Junot Diaz (1968-), Dominican-American novelist
Fun Fact: He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his first novel.
Major Works: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Drown
Quote: "You really want to know what being an X-Man feels like? Just be a smart bookish boy of color in a contemporary U.S. ghetto. Mamma mia! Like having bat wings or a pair of tentacle growing out of your chest."
Name: Kathleen Norris (1940-), American poet, essayist
Fun Fact: She spent a lot of time in a Benedectine monastery.
Major Works: The Cloister Walk, Dakota: A Spiritual Geography
Quote: "A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."
Name: Kazuo Ishiguro (1954-), Japanese-British novelist
Fun Fact: You know that English movie The Remains of the Day with Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson? He wrote the novel that was based on. That’s right, a Japanese guy wrote that.
Major Works: The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go
Quote: “All children have to be deceived if they are to grow up without trauma.”
Name Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007), American novelist
Fun Fact: Vonnegut smoked unfiltered Pall Mall cigarettes, a habit he referred to as a "classy way to commit suicide"
Major Works: Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, Cat’s Cradle
Quote: “Call me Jonah. My parents did, or nearly did. They called me John.”
Name: Louise Erdrich (1954-), Native American novelist, poet
Fun Fact: She is widely acclaimed as one of the most significant writers of the second wave of what critic Kenneth Lincoln has called the Native American Renaissance.
Major Works: Love Medicine, The Plague of Doves
Quote: “Columbus only discovered that he was in some new place. He didn't discover America.”
Name: Margaret Atwood (1939-), Canadian novelist
Fun Fact: She and her partner Graeme Gibson are the Joint Honourary Presidents of the Rare Bird Club.
Major Works: The Handmaid’s Tale, Survival: A Thematic Guide to Canadian Literature
Quote: “Canada was built on dead beavers.”
Name: Marjane Satrapi (1969-), Persian-French graphic novelist
Fun Fact: She grew up in Tehran during the Iranian Revolution in the 1980s.
Major Works: Persepolis
Quote: “The real war is not between the West and the East. The real war is between intelligent and stupid people.”
Name: Mark Twain, aka Samuel Clemens (1835-1910), American novelist, humorist
Fun Fact: He was born during a visit by Halley’s comet, and died on its return.
Major Works: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Pudd’nhead Wilson
Quote: “A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read.”
Name: Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616), Spanish novelist
Fun Fact: His book Don Quixote is considered the first modern novel.
Major Works: Don Quixote
Quote: “Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest of all, to see life as it is and not as it should be.”
Name: Haruki Murakami (1949-), Japanese novelist
Fun Fact: He is a marathon runner and triathlete.
Major Works: Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World
Quote: “Most young people were getting jobs in big companies, becoming company men. I wanted to be individual.”
Name: Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), American novelist
Fun Fact: The films Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Minority Report and many others were based on his writings.
Major Works: See above.
Quote: “It is sometimes an appropriate response to reality to go insane.”
Name: Ray Bradbury (1920-), American novelist and short story writer
Fun Fact: I once met Ray Bradbury at a book signing in Brea.
Major Works: Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man
Quote: “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.”
Name: R.L. Stine (1943-), American novelist
Fun Fact: He founded the publishing company that publishes his books (Parachute Press).
Major Works: Goosebumps, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room
Quote: “I feel happy to terrify kids.”
Name: Roald Dahl (1916-1990), British novelist
Fun Fact: He was also a fighter pilot.
Major Works: James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Danny the Champion of the World
Quote: “A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom.”
Name: Salman Rushdie (1947-), British-Indian novelist
Fun Fact: Ayatollah Roholla Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa (death threat) against him in 1989, after the publication of The Satanic Verses.
Major Works: Midnight’s Children, The Satanic Verses, The Ground Beneath Her Feet.
Quote: “Doubt, it seems to me, is the central condition of a human being in the twentieth century.”
Name: Sandra Cisneros (1954-), American novelist
Fun Fact: She is regarded as a key figure in Chicana literature.
Major Works: The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, Caramelo
Quote: “In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting.”
Name: William Shakespeare (1564-1616), British playwright, poet
Fun Fact: He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language ever.
Major Works: Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, etc.
Quote: “To be or not to be, that is the question.”
Name: Shel Silverstein (1930-1999), American poet, singer-songwriter
Fun Fact: Playboy published one of his books called Silverstein Around the World.
Major Works: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree
Quote: “I know a way to stay friends forever, There's really nothing to it, I tell you what to do, And you do it.”
Name: St. Augustine (354-430), Roman theologian, philosopher
Fun Fact: He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes
Major Works: The Confessions, The City of God
Quote: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”
Name: St. Luke (died c. 84), Greco-Syrian physician, writer
Fun Fact: He is credited with writing over half of the New Testament
Major Works: The Gospel According to Luke, The Acts of the Apostles
Quote: “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Name: Stephen King (1947-), American novelist
Fun Fact: He wrote the story that The Shawshank Redemption was based on.
Major Works: Carrie, Misery, The Shinging, On Writing
Quote: “I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and Fries.”
Name: Stephenie Meyer (1973-), American novelist
Fun Fact: She is not a very good writer.
Major Works: The Twilight Saga
Quote: "I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars."
Name: Steve Westbrook (1974-), American poet
Fun Fact: He likes to paint sad men with funny hats.
Major Works: Composition & Copyright: Perspectives on Teaching, Text-Making, and Fair Use, “Lost Dutchman, AZ,” “Binger, OK”
Quote: “I have a wild brother with an extra nose.”
Name: Sylvia Plath (1932-1963), American novelist, poet
Fun Fact: She committed suicide by putting her head in an oven.
Major Works: The Bell Jar, Ariel
Quote: “Kiss me and you will see how important I am.”
Name: T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), American poet, literary critic
Fun Fact: Despite his “serious” reputation, he also published a book of humorous illustrated poems called “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”
Major Works: The Waste Land, Four Quartets, Tradition and the Individual Talent
Quote: “These fragments I have shored against my ruins.”
Name: Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), British writer
Fun Fact: She drowned herself by filling her pockets with rocks and walking into a river.
Major Works: To The Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One’s Own
Quote: "A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction."
Name: Voltaire (1694-1778), French philosopher, satirist
Fun Fact: He wrote more than 2,000 books and pampllets
Major Works: Candide
Quote: “An ideal form of government is democracy tempered with assassination.”
Name: Walt Whitman (1819-1892), American poet
Fun Fact: He was a nurse during the Civil War
Major Works: Leaves of Grass
Quote: “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.”
Name: William Blake (1757-1827), British poet
Fun Fact: He is also regarded as a great visual artist and printmaker.
Major Works: Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Quote: “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”
Name: William Steig (1907-2003), American children’s book author, cartoonist
Fun Fact: He was a regular cartoonist for The New Yorker
Major Works: Shrek!, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Amos and Boris
Quote: “To tell the truth, I don't read children's books. I'm an adult. I just write them.”