The rags to riches story isn’t a myth – these authors prove that it is indeed a ground reality if you believe in your dreams and pursue your passions. Poverty doesn’t have to be detrimental, it can be the reason for your literary ventures, and the treasure hunt to finding your literary voice. Here is the list of famous authors who have seen poverty.
J K Rowling wasn’t born poor, however she had tumultuous relationships with her parents. Plus, at the time that she wrote her blockbuster Harry Potter novels, she was a divorcee and single mother. In her words, she had just enough money not to be homeless. And today, she is the richest author in the world.
Ocean Vuong is a child of war – he was born to a war veteran in the Vietnamese war. He and his family arrived at a Philippines refugee camp, before seeking asylum in the USA. His father abandoned his family after that, and Vuong was the first person in his family to learn to read. And today, he’s the recipient of dozens of poetry awards, all of which incorporate his personal history and trauma.
The King of Horror Stories (get the pun?) was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His father abandoned their family when he was a tender child, causing a lot of financial trouble in the family. King had to work a full time job to pay for his college tuition, and even after that he was in the lower class. He incurred debt, his wife worked overtime and he worked at a poor paying teaching job to make ends meet. It was only after the publication of Carrie that he got his due recognition and his share of creature comforts.
Sparks is the renowned author of tragic love stories, but his life, fortunately, feels like a happy Bollywood story. After graduation, Sparks sought employment with publishing companies, but faced rejection on all accounts. It was only when he wrote The Notebook that his popularity soared – until then, he lived a modest life. Since then, however, he has written scores of books that are widely read across the world.
Sandra belonged to a humungous family with six siblings, causing a financial strain on her parents’ measly resources. They also migrated a lot between Chicago and Southern United States, which affected their finances. However, Sandra did not let her poverty become a disability and instead channeled it into her craft, using it to find her place in the literary world. Her book House on Mango Street won several accolades. She also received a McArthur Fellowship Grant of 225000 dollars.
Butler is the very embodiment of grit determination and passion because she hasn’t obtained her fame on a silver platter. Apart from battling with dyslexia and rejections, she also faced severe poverty. She worked as a dishwasher at times, and sometimes as a potato chip inspector or telemarketer to feed herself. Her success story began when she pitched her story to renowned author Harlan Ellison, securing her a distinct place in the science fiction universe.
Maya’s early life was anything but smooth, and this reflects in her tumultuous but hopeful stories that resonate with the world. Maya was not only sexually abused and a single mother at 17, she was also homeless for a while. She grew up in extreme poverty, struggling to feed herself and her son. But she eventually started getting stints as a singer or dancer, and eventually she channeled her early despair into the creative outlet of writing. Her work reeks of her difficult life, and people love it for its reality and poignancy.
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