1Edgar Rice Burroughs, born in 1875. After reading Darwin's book Descent of Man, and he was fascinated by the idea that human beings were related to apes. It was the inspiration behind his only famous novel "Tarzan of the Apes,"
Read Tarzan of the Apes
2JRR Tolkien died 1973. He was an Oxford professor of Anglo-Saxon language 1925-1945, during which time he completed and published The Hobbit (1937). The three volumes of Lord of the Rings were published 1954-55.
Read books by J R R Tolkien
3Sebastian Faulk's - best-selling Birdsong published 1993 - He wanted to be a taxi driver until he first read George Orwell in 1968 when he decided on becoming a novelist. Birdsong is based on experiences of his grandfather during WWI.
Read Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
4Percy Bysshe Shelley (Husband to Mary Shelley) born 1792. He was a major poet of the English Romantic period. His foremost works, including The Revolt of Islam, Prometheus Unbound, Adonais, and The Triumph of Life.
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51957, American writer Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road was published by Viking Press. Kerouac completed the work in 1951, but it took time before he found a publisher willing to take a chance on the avant garde novel.
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6China Mieville sci fi author of King Rat and Arthur C Clark award-winning Perdio Street Staion was born in Norwich in 1972.
Read books by China Tom Miéville
7Eric Hill, children's author and creator of Spot the Dog was born in Holloway North London in 1927.
Read Spot books
8We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
9Leo Tolstoy born 1828 and died Nov 20th of a cold during winter of 1910. He wrote 11 novels, 28 short stories, 3 plays, and 7 philosophical works in his lifetime.
Read work by Leo Tolstoy
10We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
11D.H. Lawrence born 1885. Highly acclaimed as a forerunner in adapting psychological themes for literary purposes in such novels as Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow, Women in Love, and Lady Chatterley's Lover
Read Lady Chatterley's Lover
121846. The poet Elizabeth Barrett eloped at age 40 from the parental home to marry the poet Robert Browning. A week later the couple would leave Britain heading to Florence, where resided until her death in 1861.
13J.G. Ballard - 1984 - Empire of the Sun published which recounts his experiences in Japanese POW camp
Read Empire of the Sun
14Italian Medieval poet Durante degli Alighieri (a.k.a. Dante) died in 1321. His central work, the Divine Comedy, originally called Commedia is often considered one of the greatest literary works composed in the Italian language.
Read the Divine Comedy by Dante
15Agatha Christie born in 1890. Best known for her 80 detective novels including her most memorable characters Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple.
Read stories by Agatha Christie
16Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol breaks the record for most adult hardback copies sold, with more than 300,000 copies flying off the shelves in the UK alone within 36 hours of its release.
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17American author Ken Kesey, born 1935, in La Junta, Colorado. He is best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1962).
Read One Flew Ove the Cukoo's Nest
181915: The fictional twosome of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves is introduced by P. G. Wodehouse in the story 'Extricating Young Gussie,' first published in The Saturday Evening Post. Many books followed.
Listen to some Jeeves and Wooster
19William Golding born 1911. He won the 1983 Nobel Prize in literature but is best known for his first work The Lord of the Flies (1954) which examines the conflict between the forces of light and dark within the human soul.
Read The Lord of the Flies
20Fantasy author George R R Martin born 1948. His best known books are the epic Song of Ice and Fire series, the fifth book was published in July 2011. He has also written for TV including the HBO series Game of Thrones
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21J.R.R. Tolkien looked up from pile of student exam papers he was marking, gazed out the window and then after a time wrote down the first line of the book that would bring him fame: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."
Read The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
22We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
23We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
24F. Scott Fitzgerald born 1896: He is regarded as one of the most influential novelists and short-story writers of the twentieth century. His most famous novel was The Great Gatsby published in 1925.
Read The Great Gatsby
25American Nobel laureate William Faulkner born 1897 His considerable literary reputation is based on his novels, novellas, and short stories, but he was also a published poet and occasional screenwriter.
Read work by William Faulkner
26Thomas Stearns Eliot (a.k.a. T.S. Eliot) born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1888. Among Eliot's most famous writings are The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats" and his epic poem, The Waste Land.
Read works by T S Eliot
27German-American caricaturist and editorial cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1840 in Ludwig, Bavaria. He is famous for providing us with the commonly perceived 'plump and bearded' image of Father Christmas.
28Herman Melville - died 1891 - His book Moby Dick or "The Whale" 1st published October 18th 1851. Whilst famous for this novel, Melville also wrote poetry and had five collections published.
Read Moby Dick by Herman Melville
29W. H. Auden dies 1973. W. H. Auden is considered one of the preeminent English-language poets of the twentieth century. His poem 'Stop all the Clocks' featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Read Poems by W H Auden
30Truman Capote born 1924. born Truman Streckfus Persons was an American writer, many of whose short stories, novels, plays and nonfiction are recognized literary classics, including the novella Breakfast at Tiffany's (1958).
Read Breakfast at Tiffany's