All parents want academic success from their children. This can result in children losing interest in school work. Children learn at their own pace, some learn early, some late. They can be terrible in school but they still will grow up to become successful. Here are 7 famous authors who were terrible students.

Famous Authors Who Were Terrible Students
Student in school image

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is one of the great detective fiction writers. She is also one of those famous authors who were terrible students. She created and wrote about the detective Hercule Poirot. At young age she was a terrible speller and also extremely struggled with handwriting. She had trouble probably because of some form of dyslexia. She reportedly admitted, “I, myself, was always recognized as the ‘slow one’ in the family. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me.” As an adult Agatha Christie would often dictate her books so she didn’t have to write. She would often record her stories into a Dictaphone.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of one of the greatest classic novels The Great Gatsby, struggled at school. His teachers kicked him out at the age of 12, as he never finished his homework and had trouble with spelling. For a long time, even as a adult he faced this problem. After reading a typo-filled version of his first novel, This Side of Paradise, a literary critic called it, “one of the most illiterate books of any merit ever published.”

William Faulkner

William Faulkner, an author was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes. One in 1955 for his novel ‘The Fable’ and in 1963 for novel ‘The Reivers’ which he received posthumously. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949. Early on in school Faulkner had success. He excelled in the first grade, and skipped the second, still did well through the third and fourth grades. However, in the fourth and fifth grades, Faulkner became a quieter and more withdrawn child. He missed or bunked school occasionally and became quiet indifferent to his schoolwork. The decline of his performance in school continued, and Faulkner repeated the eleventh and twelfth grade, and never graduated from high school.

W.B Yeats

W.B Yeats was an Irish poet and playwright. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923. However, he is also one of those famous authors who were terrible students. W.B Yeats had trouble reading while growing up. Yeats’ academic performance school was only fair and he did not distinguish himself academically. He was bad at spelling and also had difficulty with mathematics and languages. He was better in Latin than in any other subject. At first Yeats was home-schooled by his parents. He has said that, “My father was an angry and impatient teacher and flung the reading book at my head.”

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was an essayist and playwright. He attended four schools and hated all four. He irregularly attended school, and dropped out as soon as he could. Later in life he compared school to a prison. Shaw had trouble focusing and adapting to a structured learning environment, and preferred to work at his own pace. Because of this problem he is counted as one among the authors who were terrible students.

John Irving

John Irving is a novelist and screenwriter. He is known for novels such as The World According to Garp, The Cider House Rules, The Hotel New Hampshire, etc. He won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay based on his novel ‘The Cider House Rules’. In school Irving’s teachers regarded him as “lazy” and “stupid.” He was neither, but his reading issues put him in classes intended for children with learning difficulties. He has said it wasn’t until his own son displayed the same slowness with reading that he understood that his own reading issues weren’t entirely his own fault.

Beverly Cleary

Beverly is an author of children’s and young adult fiction. She struggled in school. In first grade, she was behind her peers in both reading and writing and so her teacher placed her in a group for struggling readers. Cleary said about her first grade school year, “The first grade was separated into three reading groups—Bluebirds, Redbirds, and Blackbirds. I was a Blackbird. To be a Blackbird was to be disgraced. I wanted to read, but somehow could not.” She was helped by a school librarian who introduced her to books she enjoyed.

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