There are many famous writers who had disabilities yet found success in their life. It’s true that the best art comes out of the worst adversities. Indeed, when physical and mental activity is inhibited by disease, creative activity flourishes. Lots of brilliant authors, writers and poets stand testament to this decree. Here is the list of a few successful authors with disabilities, many who have won critical acclaim and accolades for their literary talent.
Successful Authors With Disabilities | Famous Writers Who Had Disabilities:
Perhaps the first person who comes to the mind when talking of authors with disabilities is the famous, talented and wheelchair-ridden Stephen Hawking. With notable titles such as ‘A Brief History of Time’ and ‘The Universe in a Nutshell’ to his name, Hawking was originally a theoretical physicist. However, he was also a great writer – he wrote non-fiction novels, essays and even children’s books. He has also co-authored several books with other wonderful writers and novelists. Hawking suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a fatal neurogenerative disease that ultimately paralysed him.
The great poet of ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘On His Blindness’ was regarded by William Hayley as one of the greatest authors ever. He also wrote numerous works of prose during the 17th century. However, his magnum opus, Paradise Lost, which is an epic poem describing the Biblical story of the banishment of Adam and Eve from Eden, was written after he became completely blind in both his eyes.
F Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald was a versatile American writer – he wrote short stories, essays, novels, dramas and even screenplays. His novels were often set in the Jazz Age and were based on the themes of ambition, loss, money, romance and class. His most popular work was ‘The Great Gatsby’ and his other works include ‘Tender is the Night’ and ‘The Beautiful and Damned.’ He suffered from an unknown learning disability, presumable dyslexia and also alcoholism.
This great Russian author, philosopher and intellectual wrote extensively on the human psyche. His works such as ‘The Brothers Karamazov’ and ‘Crime and Punishment’ are not just beloved classics but also major works of philosophy. Dostoevsky describes himself has an epileptic, with temporal lobe epilepsy. In fact, he used his illness in his novels in a clever way, incorporating up to six epileptic characters. Thus, he transformed his neurological disorder into a constructive purpose.
Octavia E Butler
Butler was a prolific science fiction author in America, whose fame spread throughout the world. She wrote many modern classics, including ‘Kindred’ and the Parable series. She suffered from a learning disability known as dyslexia. Dyslexia makes it difficult to read, caused by impairment in the deciphering of speech sounds and their relationship with letters and syllables. However, this reading disability did not deter her from reading, and she described herself as a bookworm. It was her avid reading moulded her writing.
Jorge Luis Borges
Jorge Luis Borges is one of the most important and famous authors of Latin America, who proliferated the use of magical realism in literature. He also wrote extensively on philosophy and was a key figure in Spanish (and Argentinian) literature. He wrote several great works like ‘Ficciones’ and “The Aleph’ along with the short stories he is famous for. However, it is a lesser known fact that he was blind. This was a hereditary condition passed on to him by his father, and one that forced him to stop writing his work and start dictating it instead.
Christy Brown was an Irish writer and painter who suffered from a neurological condition called cerebral palsy. As a result, his limbs suffered from spasticity, or high muscle tone, leading to stiffness. His work, ‘My Left Foot’ which was his own memoir became a sensation. Later, he also wrote ‘Down all the Days,’ which became his magnum opus.
The ingenious and illustrious mystery writer and creator of Hercules Poirot and Miss Marple suffered from a learning disability called dysgraphia. She had difficulty with spelling words and her handwriting, so she too, like Borges, had to dictate her books to others. In addition, even though she created complex plots, she could barely handle her own accounting, She had trouble with calculations and arithmetic.
Capote was a versatile man – he was a writer of novels, dramas and screenplays, but was also a seasoned actor. His novel, ‘In Cold Blood’ was the account of a true crime of the 1959 murders of four people in a small farming community. He is also famous for writing ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. Apart from this, he also helped his lifelong friend Harper Lee to write his masterpiece, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. Capote was a victim of epilepsy.
George Bernard Shaw
Shaw was an Irish playwright who revolutionized comic drama. He wrote several plays such as ‘Pygmalion,’ ‘Arms and the Man’ and ‘Major Barbara.’ George Bernard Shaw suffered from a disorder called ADD – the attention deficit disorder. This disorder leads people to make impulsive decisions and be restless and unable to concentrate.