A while back, I did a few posts highlighting examples of writers and books that overcame rejection and hardships to go on to huge success as a little reminder to us all that while the road is never easy, the rewards can be more than worth it. I’ve decided to collate a few more stories here to hopefully help spread some more positivity.
- Agatha Christie is surpassed only by Shakespeare in total book sales, having sold in excess of 4 billion copies (yes, billion). However, she described herself as an ‘extraordinarily bad speller’ and struggled with numbers, having what is now thought to be dysgraphia.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald also famously struggled to spell and is believed to have been kicked out of school when he was just 12 for being unable to focus on his work. It’s now thought that he most likely had dyslexia but persevered to become a bestselling author regardless.
- JK Rowling has suffered from clinical depression but rather than holding back her writing, she used the feelings of fear, emptiness and hopelessness as inspiration for the Dementors in her globally beloved Harry Potter series.
- Harper Lee never studied writing, choosing instead to go to law school. After just one semester, she dropped out and moved to New York with dreams of writing a book. Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, is generally considered one of the greatest pieces of American literature ever published.
- Celebrated poet and playwright, WB Yeats, had an undiagnosed learning difficulty, struggling greatly to read as a youngster and having problems with spelling throughout his life. This didn’t stop him from winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923.
- Not only was it rejected by 5 publishers before being released, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov was called ‘dull, dull, dull’ and ‘pretentious’ in a New York Times review. It is now considered a modern classic, being read and studied around the wold.
- George Orwell’s Animal Farm was called a ‘stupid and pointless fable’ but is now analysed and celebrated as an all-time great.
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was initially banned in many libraries and received a wave of bad reviews, including one that called it a ‘pointless and confusing story’. Children adored it regardless, eventually convincing critics to re-evaluate their stance. It has now sold around 20 million copies and was adapted into a popular film.
So, there we have it. Everyone has to overcome bumps in the road but it doesn’t mean we can’t get where we’re heading one day.