Thursday, November 8, 2012

Interesting Facts About Famous Authors #2

“Vertical Authors”

The habit of standing to write is not as rare as you would think. Here are five famous authors that did their best work on their feet.

Ernest Hemingway 1899-1961: Hemingway stood in a pair of oversized loafers on the worn skin of a lesser kudu when he wrote. Standing to write was a habit he had from the beginning. He used pencil on onionskin typewriter paper, with a “boyish” handwriting which consisted of large letters, a lack of punctuation, and very few capitals. He only used his typewriter when he considered writing to be fast and simple, for example, dialogue. 

Author of For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Old Man and the Sea, Indian Camp, The Sun Also Rises, The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber

Thomas Wolfe 1900-1938: North Carolina's most famous writer. A very tall man, he reportedly wrote standing up beside a refrigerator, using the top of the refrigerator as a desk. Though Wolfe owned a typewriter he never used it, preferring to use pencils and writing only in longhand. 

Author of Look Homeward, Angel, Of Time and the River, From Death to Morning,and The Story of a Novel, which are the only works published during his lifetime. Most of Wolfe’s works were published posthumously. 

Lewis Carroll 1832-1898: His poor health, suffering from a chronically weak chest and a knee injury sustained in middle age, which left him stiff and awkward, did not stop Lewis from being one of the writers that stood to write. 

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”
― Lewis Carroll 

Author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

Vladimir Nabokov 1899-1977: Nabokov did a lot his writing standing up and on the move. He used a pencil and index cards so he could take them with him everywhere (much like we use laptops today) and because they allowed him to write scenes non-sequentially and reshuffle them as he wished.

His Novel Ada wound up taking over 2000 cards.

Author of Lolita, Pale Fire and Ada.

Philip Roth: Roth thinks on his feet. He writes while standing up and paces around his work area while he thinks. Not wanting to mix work with personal life, Roth has a studio away from his house where he can work without any interruption, he even avoids facing the window at his studio so the view won’t offer any distractions from his writing.

Author of novels such as Goodbye, Columbus, My Life As A Man, The Ghost Writer, and many more.


  1. I carry index cards in my pocket to write notes on, but I don't use them to order scenes.

    Interesting stuff.

  2. This is very interesting!! I love these facts!!! :)