7 Literary One Hit Wonders

This week sees the latest instalment in my famous author series. Last week’s post, 7 Famous Authors Who Died Poor, proved to be very popular, receiving approximately 700 page views last weekend. This week’s post is devoted to 7 literary one hit wonders.

 Emily Brontë: Wuthering Heights (1847)

Wuthering Heights

Emily Brontë, the sister of literary greats Charlotte and Anne Brontë, died at the age of 30, 1 year after the publication of Wuthering Heights. Regarded as a classic of English literature, Wuthering Heights has been adapted for film, television and radio.

Anna Sewell: Black Beauty (1877)

Black Beauty

English novelist Anna Sewell was passionate about horses from a young age. But it was not until late in her life that she wrote this equine children’s classic. 50 million copies of Black Beauty have been sold worldwide, making it one of the best-selling books of all time.

Margaret Mitchell: Gone with the Wind (1936)

Gone with the WindMargaret Mitchell won the Pulitzer Prize for her debut novel, which was later adapted for the silver screen. The author did not like fame and vowed never to write another word. More than 30 million copies of this coming-of-age, historical novel have been printed.

Ross Lockridge Jr.: Raintree County  (1948)

Raintree County

Raintree County is today regarded as a classic of American literature. It took Lockbridge 6 and a half years to complete, in part because his publisher demanded that he shorten the manuscript considerably. The author committed suicide 3 months after the novel’s publication.

J. D. Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

The Catcher in the Rye2

Reclusive American author J.D. Salinger’s novel The Catcher in the Rye spent 30 weeks on the New York Bestseller List, and went on to sell over 10 million copies worldwide. The book continues to sell around a quarter of a million copies a year. J.D. Salinger never published another novel.

Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird (1960) 

To Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee is best known for her one and only published book, the 1960 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel To Kill a Mockingbird. However the reclusive 88-year-old has a second novel, Go Set a Watchman, due to be published in July of this year.

John Kennedy Toole: A Confederacy of Dunces (1980)

A Confederacy of DuncesJohn Kennedy Toole was unsuccessful in getting A Confederacy of Dunces published during his lifetime. In 1980, 11 years after his death, his mother succeeded in getting it published. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1981.


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