Literary One-Hit Wonders
July 10, 2012
Like winning the lottery, writing a best-selling novel can set you up for life or lead to your downfall. Some of the most famous authors in the world, whether by choice or by destiny, are actually one-hit wonders. Why would these talented authors have only one book as their claim to fame? I did some research on my top five, and here is what I found:
Margaret Mitchell – Gone with the Wind (1936) – deplored the fame and attention and vowed to never write another book as long as she lived. On August 16, 1949, she died from injuries sustained from being struck by a drunk driver.
Harper Lee – To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – lives a quiet life in New York City and avoids anything to do with her still popular novel. She also assisted her long-time friend Truman Capote with writing In Cold Blood, but apparently got no acknowledgement from him for her contributions.
Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890) – was arrested in 1895 for gross indecency and spent the last three years of his life wandering Europe unable to rekindle his creative fire. He died in 1900 of complications from a severe ear infection.
Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights (1847) – became ill during her brother’s funeral in September of 1848 and died that December of tuberculosis.
Anna Sewell – Black Beauty (1878) – became increasingly ill while writing her book and died just months after it was released. She was aware of its early popularity but never knew that it would become a beloved children’s classic.
So, for all you aspiring authors out there, maybe writing a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is not all it’s cracked up to be…or is it?
Blue Springs North Branch