There are writers who went to prison for political reasons such as writing against the government. However, not all writers were imprisoned for political reasons, some were imprisoned for committing actual crimes. Here are 6 authors with criminal records:
Authors With Criminal Records:
Anne Perry is an English author of detective fiction. In mid-90s readers learnt about Anne Perry’s true identity. Her name was Juliet Hulme. When she was 13 years she moved to New Zealand, where she met her former best friend Pauline Parker. In 1954 at the age of 15, because of her parents separation she was being forced to move to South Africa. Her best friend, Pauline wanted to go with her but her mother would not allow it. After a few days of getting denied, the two girls went for a walk in a park with Pauline’s mother, where they bludgeoned her to death with a brick.
The girls were arrested and released after five years of sentence on condition that they would never communicate or see each other. So this author falls in our list of Authors With Criminal Records. After her release, Juliet Hulme moved to Scotland and changed her name to Anne Perry. She has written over 60 books. Her case was turned into a film titled ‘Heavenly Creatures’ by Peter Jackson in 1994.
Krystian Bala was a Polish writer and a photographer who was sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2007. He was convicted for cold murder of Dariusz Janiszewki, who was a small business owner and lover of his ex-wife. Dariusz body was found in 2002 by fishermen weeks after he went missing. The local police failed to find leads in the investigation and the case was shelved after six months. In 2003 Krystian Bala published his novel ‘Amok’ which became a best-seller in Poland. After the publication of the book, an anonymous tip was given to police about the contents of the book.
In the book, there were details of the murder of a young woman that police thought to be very close to the murder of Dariusz Janiszewki. Bala argued that the evidence against him was circumstantial and that he was inspired by the information that was published by the press. The prosecution argued that the details of murder described in the book could only be known by the police and the murderer. The psychologist involved in the case said that he was guilty and that he had a sadistic personality.
Maria Carolina Geel:
Maria Carolina Geel was a Chilean writer. Some of her notable works include The Sleeping World of Yenia, Strange Summer, and Little Architect among others. In April, 1956, Maria Carolina at the age of 46, shot and killed her lover Roberto Pumarino Valenzuela who was just 32 years old at the Hotel Crillon. She was sentenced to three years in prison. While she was in prison she wrote one of her famous novels ‘Women’s Prison’. Maria Carolina did not serve her entire sentence because she was pardoned by President Carlos Ibanez Del Campo. Maria continued writing until her death in 1996.
Issei Sagawa is a Japanese writer who was accused of murder and cannibalism. In 1981 in France, Sagawa shot and killed his classmate Renne Hartevelt. Sagawa was arrested by French police. However, the judge presiding the case found Sagawa to be legally insane, making him unable to stand trial. He was deported back to Japan and was institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital. In 1986, he was released from the hospital. Since his release he has published several books and articles. He is considered a minor celebrity in his hometown.
Jack Henry Abbott was an American criminal and author. He had long history of criminal convictions. Abbott penned his novel ‘In The Belly Of The Beast’ in prison. The book follows Abbott’s 25 years in prison and also depicts what a cruel and unjust prison system do to a person’s mental state. The book also includes his correspondence with author Norman Mailer. Mailer was very impressed with Abbott’s writing and he helped him get parole in 1981, the same year Abbott’s book was published. However, six after getting released he was sent back to prison on a murder charge.
Alice B. Sheldon:
Alice B. Sheldon was a science-fiction writer, who wrote books under the pen name James Tiptree Jr. She began using the pseudonym in 1968 because she thought she would get more success as a male author. She submitted several short science-fiction stories to magazines. Her book ‘The Girl Who Was Plugged In’ earned her a Hugo Award for best novella. Her real identity was discovered in 1976, however she continued to write and release her work as James Tiptree Jr. Alice suffered from depression. In 1987, Alice shot and killed her husband while he was sleeping and then she killed herself.