He was born 1805, the only son of a washerwoman and a shoemaker. They were very poor, but his dad brought him to the local playhouse, developing his creative side by making him his own toys. He went to school occasionally, but spent most of the time reading and studying by himself. His fondest memories were that of his father’s work bench, which held many books and songs. The boy grew up to be tall, lanky, and awkward, with a love for singing and dancing, and an vivid imagination. Though he began writing at an early age, it was only in 1827 when first poem was published, and launched his career as a writer. His fairy tales of fantasy became popular around the world for their moral lessons. Some of his well-known works include The Little Match Girl, The Ugly Duckling, The Little Mermaid, The Emperor’s New Clothes, among many others. He became known as the famous Hans Christian Andersen.
In 1812, a wee baby was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England. He grew up with an older brother and several younger siblings. He attended school from time to time after their family moved to Kent County, although he was already an avid reader, having learned at home. He was described as a very good and apt pupil. When he was not in school, he would create plays and stories and recite poetry with his siblings. He was well-read at a very young age, with a sharp ear for conversations that helped him develop his characters in such a way that the readers could find out all about the individual personalities through simply reading the dialogues. Several of his characters were shaped by the people around him as he was growing up. Several stories and situations came from his own experiences. Among his well-known works are The Pickwick Papers, Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and A Christmas Carol. He was Charles Dickens.
In 1828, a baby boy of Russian nobility was born to Countess Maria Volkonsky (who died a couple of years later after giving birth to his younger sister) and Count Nicolay Ilyich Tolstoy. He grew up romping the fields and going on outings with his siblings and friends, often accompanied by his father and grandmother. Their house was a bustling, busy place, as the family often entertained guests for several days at a time. When friends or family members would come for a visit, they would put together plays, sing Russian and Gypsy songs, play the piano, and read stories and poetry aloud. This baby boy grew into a young man in the presence of many forms of literature, as the family home boasted of over twenty thousand books in over thirty different languages. He would often sit in his father’s study, where he would listen to the Count read. Sometimes, the Count would let him recite memorized passages from Alexander Pushkin. When he was 13, after the death of his Aunt Aline (who became the children’s guardian after the sudden death of their father, followed by the death of their grandmother), he traveled with his brothers to Kazan where he started preparations to enter Kazan University. He studied Arabic, Turkish, Latin, German, English, French, history, geography, and the literary works of famous authors. He did not finish college, as he did not agree to the conventional school system. A few years later, he began writing. Two of his most famous books are Anna Karenina and War and Peace. His name was Leo Tolstoy.
Samuel Langhorne Clemens, born in 1835, somewhere in Florida, Missouri, was a very interesting and creative baby. When he was several months old, he would pretend a pin was pricking him and he would yell and yell, just to see have someone come running. The Clemens family eventually moved to Hannibal, Missouri, where Samuel spent his childhood. When he was 11 years old, his father died suddenly. Samuel had to quit school (he was in Grade 5 then) and start working for a newspaper company. He did not stop learning, though, and often spent time reading and studying. He started writing as well, first publishing his own paper and then, eventually, his first book. In 1856, Samuel moved to Cincinnati, which renewed a boyish dream of his: to pilot a steamboat. He convinced the pilot to take him on as apprentice, and, 17 months later, got his license. As the steamboat was one of the major means of travel back then, Samuel would interact with the travelers, hearing their imaginative stories, some of which were true and some of which were not. Much of these became the backbone of his future plots. His most famous works include The Prince and the Pauper, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and Huckleberry Finn. He didn’t publish his books under his real name, though. He used a pseudonym: Mark Twain.
He was known to his family and friends as “Jack”—a nickname he coined for himself when the neighborhood dog, Jacksie, died. Born in 1898, he grew up in Belfast, Ireland, until his family moved to the outskirts. His mother died when he was 9 and he and his brother were sent to a boarding school. He withdrew a year later, then went to another school. This was where Jack renounced the Christian faith of his childhood and became an atheist. After serving for some time in WWI, Jack went on to be a professor in Oxford where he taught English Literature for 29 years. It was in Oxford where he gathered with a group of other writers and established the “Inklings.” It was in Oxford where he re-thought Christianity and became one of the most influential Christian writers in history. His books are mostly apologetics—in defense of the Christian faith. Mere Christianity, The Screwtape Letters are but two of them. His most famous books, however, are The Chronicles of Narnia. Jack was none other than Clive Staples Lewis.
She was born in 1980 in Torquay, England to an outgoing American father and a quiet, shy English mother. She herself was quiet and shy. Although her older sister, Madge, received a formal education, her mother decided that she would not be subject to conventional schooling and would learn to read as soon as she was eight. When she reached the age of five, however, she had already taught herself to read. Soon after, her mother taught her to write as well. She trained in music and acting as well, and enjoyed acting out stories. She only considered writing when her sister challenged her to write a novel. It was several years before that novel was published, but it was the springboard that launched her writing career. Eventually, she was awarded the highest honor in all of England: “Dame Commander of the British Empire” (equivalent to a knighthood) for her excellence in writing books. Many of her works are popular, but perhaps the most popular of them all is The Murder on the Orient Express. She was Dame Agatha Christie.
Into the Wardrobe
Hans Christian Andersen
Article Contributed by:
Alyssa Chua of http://pinkpinafore.blogspot.com/