AuthorsToday, two authors who were not easy companions.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Wikipedia says,

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (15 October 1844 – 25 August 1900) was a German philologist, philosopher, cultural critic, poet and composer. He wrote several critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science, displaying a fondness for metaphor, irony and aphorism.

Nietzsche’s key ideas include the Apollonian/Dionysian dichotomy, perspectivism, the Will to Power, the “death of God”, the Übermensch and eternal recurrence. One of the key tenets of his philosophy is the concept of “life-affirmation,” which embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. It further champions the creative powers of the individual to strive beyond social, cultural, and moral contexts. His radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth has been the focus of extensive commentary, and his influence remains substantial, particularly in the continental philosophical schools of existentialism, postmodernism, and post-structuralism. His ideas of individual overcoming and transcendence beyond structure and context have had a profound impact on late-twentieth and early-twenty-first century thinkers, who have used these concepts as points of departure in the development of their philosophies.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist — a scholar of Greek and Roman textual criticism — before turning to philosophy. In 1869, at age twenty-four, he was appointed to the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel, the youngest individual to have held this position. He resigned in the summer of 1879 due to health problems that plagued him most of his life. In 1889, at age forty-four, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. The breakdown was later ascribed to atypical general paresis due to tertiary syphilis, but this diagnosis has come into question. Re-examination of Nietzsche’s medical evaluation papers show that he almost certainly died of brain cancer. Nietzsche lived his remaining years in the care of his mother until her death in 1897, after which he fell under the care of his sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche until his death in 1900.

Here’s the shocking part:

As his caretaker, his sister assumed the roles of curator and editor of Nietzsche’s manuscripts. Förster-Nietzsche was married to a prominent German nationalist and antisemite, Bernhard Förster, and reworked Nietzsche’s unpublished writings to fit her own ideology, often in ways contrary to Nietzsche’s stated opinions, which were strongly and explicitly opposed to antisemitism and nationalism (see Nietzsche’s criticism of antisemitism and nationalism). Through Förster-Nietzsche’s editions, Nietzsche’s name became associated with German militarism and Nazism, although later twentieth-century scholars have counteracted this conception of his ideas.


Wikipedia says,

Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul (b. 17 August 1932), is a Trinidad-born Nobel Prize-winning British writer known for the comic early novels of Trinidad, the bleaker later novels of the wider world, and the chronicles of his life and travels.

Naipaul has published more than 30 books, both of fiction and nonfiction, over some 50 years.

Naipaul was married to Patricia Ann Hale from 1955 until her death in 1996. She served as first reader, editor, and critic of his writings. To her Naipaul dedicated his A House for Mr. Biswas.

The Link

As I mentioned, both authors were hard to live with. From the account, it sounds as if Naipaul is very lucky that his late wife, Pat, stayed with him and supported him.

Nietsche broke off relations with a lot of people during his short life. There may have been good reasons for this, but it seems that his strong views made him a difficult person.

AuthorsPair 1

Hilary Mantel

Wikipedia says,

Hilary Mary MantelCBE (née Thompson; born 6 July 1952) is an English writer whose work ranges in subject from personal memoir and short story to historical fiction and essay. She has twice been awarded the Booker Prize.

She won her first Booker Prize for the 2009 novel, Wolf Hall, a fictional account of Thomas Cromwell’s rise to power in the court of Henry VIII. She won her second Booker Prize for the 2012 novel, Bring Up the Bodies, the second instalment of the Thomas Cromwell trilogy. Mantel was the first woman to receive the award twice, following in the footsteps of J. M. Coetzee, Peter Carey and J. G. Farrell (who posthumously won the Lost Man Booker Prize).[4][5] The third installment to the Thomas Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, is set to be published in 2015.

Carol Maginn

Crooked Cat says,


Carol Maginn was born and has lived a lot of her life in the windy, Gothic city of Liverpool. She’s worked in education and law, and most recently she’s been a teacher of English as a Second Language in Rome.

Carol has previously published short stories and non-fiction pieces. She likes slightly burnt toast, and dislikes beetroot.

Carol’s first novel, Ruin – a tale of how a family’s fortune changes following a big lottery win – was released on 6th December 2013.

The Link

Both authors studied law.

Pair 2

Vonda McIntyre

Wikipedia says,

Vonda Neel McIntyre (born Louisville, Kentucky, on August 28, 1948) is a Pacific Northwest science fiction author.

Yvonne Marjot

Yvonne Marjot was born in Britain, grew up in New Zealand, and now lives on an island on the West Coast of Scotland. She earned an MSc in Botany from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and has a keen interest in the interface between the natural and human worlds. She has a day job (in the office of the local school), teenage sons and a weight problem, and would continue to write even if no-one read her work, because it’s often the only thing that keeps her sane. Her sense of humour is a source of consolation, and also a constant invitation to mischief.

She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write poems and make up stories, and once won a case of port in a poetry competition (NZ Listener, May 1996). She has also self-published four e-novels set in Scotland and New Zealand: The Calgary Chessman trilogy and a paranormal romance. In December 2012 she won the Adult Poetry prize at Britwriters 2012. Her poetry book The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet was published in April 2014. In March 2014 she signed a contract with Crooked Cat Publishers, Edinburgh, to publish The Calgary Chessman.

The Link

Yvonne says, “There’s a simple thing – we both have degrees in Biology. And there’s a more obscure thing – according to her wikipedia entry, Vonda McIntyre is involved in the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project, which is a world-wide phenomenon increasing awareness of the marine environment by crocheting corals and exhibiting them. I have a long-standing interest in craftwork with natural fibres, although my bent is knitting rather than crochet, so it’s a very tenuous link, which I only bring up because the Crochet Coral Reef is such a marvellous idea. I might add that Vonda McIntyre’s Science Fiction writing, particularly my favourite novels ‘Dreamsnake’ and Superluminal’ are both intriguing character studies and underpinned by good science manipulated to provide a good story – and that combination of scientific background and believable characters is something I strive to achieve in my own writing.”

AuthorsEdward Lear

Wikipedia says,

Edward Lear (12 or 13 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet, and is known now mostly for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose and especially his limericks, a form he popularised. His principal areas of work as an artist were threefold: as a draughtsman employed to illustrate birds and animals; making coloured drawings during his journeys, which he reworked later, sometimes as plates for his travel books; as a (minor) illustrator of Alfred Tennyson’s poems. As an author, he is known principally for his popular nonsense works, which use real and invented English words.

D. H. Lawrence

Wikipedia says,

David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation. In them, Lawrence confronts issues relating to emotional health and vitality, spontaneity and instinct.

Lawrence’s opinions earned him many enemies and he endured official persecution, censorship, and misrepresentation of his creative work throughout the second half of his life, much of which he spent in a voluntary exile which he called his “savage pilgrimage.” At the time of his death, his public reputation was that of a pornographer who had wasted his considerable talents. E. M. Forster, in an obituary notice, challenged this widely held view, describing him as, “The greatest imaginative novelist of our generation.” Later, the influential Cambridge critic F. R. Leavis championed both his artistic integrity and his moral seriousness, placing much of Lawrence’s fiction within the canonical “great tradition” of the English novel. Lawrence is now valued by many as a visionary thinker and significant representative of modernism in English literature.

The Link

Both authors, despite travelling widely, were plagued by illness. Lear suffered from epilepsy, bronchitis, asthma and, during later life, partial blindness and heart disease. Lawrence’s illnesses included pneumonia, severe influenza, malaria and tuberculosis.

AuthorsRudyard Kipling

Wikipedia says,

Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist. He is chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India and his tales for children. He was born in Bombay, in the Bombay Presidency of British India, and was taken by his family to England when he was five years old. Kipling is best known for his works of fiction, including The Jungle Book (a collection of stories which includes “Rikki-Tikki-Tavi”), Just So Stories (1902), Kim (1901) (a tale of adventure), many short stories, including “The Man Who Would Be King” (1888); and his poems, including “Mandalay” (1890), “Gunga Din” (1890), “The Gods of the Copybook Headings” (1919), “The White Man’s Burden” (1899), and “If—” (1910). He is regarded as a major “innovator in the art of the short story”; his children’s books are enduring classics of children’s literature; and his best works are said to exhibit “a versatile and luminous narrative gift”.

Kipling was one of the most popular writers in England, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.Henry James said: “Kipling strikes me personally as the most complete man of genius (as distinct from fine intelligence) that I have ever known.” In 1907, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, making him the first English-language writer to receive the prize, and to date he remains its youngest recipient. Among other honours, he was sounded out for the British Poet Laureateship and on several occasions for a knighthood, all of which he declined.

Kipling’s subsequent reputation has changed according to the political and social climate of the age and the resulting contrasting views about him continued for much of the 20th century.George Orwell called him a “prophet of British imperialism”. Literary critic Douglas Kerr wrote: “He [Kipling] is still an author who can inspire passionate disagreement and his place in literary and cultural history is far from settled. But as the age of the European empires recedes, he is recognised as an incomparable, if controversial, interpreter of how empire was experienced. That, and an increasing recognition of his extraordinary narrative gifts, make him a force to be reckoned with.”

A recent Guardian article tells the fate of Kipling’s son and mentions the poem Kipling wrote about him.

Vanessa Knipe

Crooked Cat says,

Born in Malaysia, moved to Australia, Vanessa first saw England at 3 years old. As a teen, Vanessa learned her love of 1901185_672584246114141_1979512056_ncanoeing in the alligator infested bayous of the Texas Gulf Coast. Now back in her favourite place in the world, Yorkshire, she watches the River Ouse rise every winter and wonders if she needs to revive an old skill: so far she and her son have been lucky. When not writing, she juggles fighting for a decent education for her autistic son with wrestling the Creatures of the Night, though that’s not a nice thing to call her cat.

Vanessa has concentrated on her writing since becoming widowed in 2001, as being a single mother of a disabled child made it impossible to work the required shifts in NHS Biochemistry laboratories. 2006 saw her beginning her writing career proper with the publication in the US of Witch-Finder, a collection of short paranormal adventures. Since then a further collection of paranormal short stories, Hard Lessons and a related novel, A Date with Darkness, have also come out.

The dystopian fantasy novel Pill Wars is an exciting new direction. It is due for release in summer 2014.

The Link

Both authors were born in a British Empire country – Kipling in India, Vanessa in Malaysia. They both came to England at an early age and also lived in America. Kipling’s poem Cold Iron is part of the inspiration for Vanessa’s short stories.


Here’s another blogger taking part in the A-Z Challenge, apart from those I listed here.

Carrie-Anne Brownian of Welcome to My Magick Theatre is posting about less-well-known places in the world and including interesting information and beautiful pictures.

AuthorsJames Joyce

Wikipedia says,

James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (2 February 1882 – 13 January 1941) was an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysses (1922), a landmark work in which the episodes of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in an array of contrasting literary styles, perhaps most prominent among these the stream of consciousness technique he perfected. Other major works are the short-story collection Dubliners (1914), and the novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939). His complete oeuvre also includes three books of poetry, a play, occasional journalism, and his published letters.

Joyce was born into a middle class family in Dublin, where he excelled as a student at the Jesuit schools Clongowes and Belvedere, then at University College Dublin. In his early twenties he emigrated permanently to continental Europe, living in Trieste, Paris and Zurich. Though most of his adult life was spent abroad, Joyce’s fictional universe does not extend far beyond Dublin, and is populated largely by characters who closely resemble family members, enemies and friends from his time there; Ulysses in particular is set with precision in the streets and alleyways of the city. Shortly after the publication of Ulysses he elucidated this preoccupation somewhat, saying, “For myself, I always write about Dublin, because if I can get to the heart of Dublin I can get to the heart of all the cities of the world. In the particular is contained the universal.”

Nancy Jardine

Crooked Cat says,

Having taught primary kids for many years, Nancy Jardine wound down her career from late 2008, finally giving up the chalk in 2011. Writing non-fiction works for school purposes made her itch to enter the world of fiction writing.

Teaching historical periods was a joy, and it heavily influenced the writing of The Beltane Choice. Two contemporary romances are now published–one of those a history/mystery. She enjoyed creating her first history-mystery so much another, Topaz Eyes, will be published in December 2012.

Novels for children still have their place in her life. A time-travel adventure for children, 9-12yrs, is completed, but not yet published. A family saga is a work in progress, along with sequels to The Beltane Choice, and the time-travel adventure for children.

Nancy lives in the picturesque castle country of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with her husband who feeds her well – and that’s just perfect or they’d both starve. Time permitting she loves to read, and do ancestry research. Working in her large garden, she now grows spectacular weeds which she’s becoming very fond of! She loves participating in activity weekends with her extended family, since they give her great fodder for new writing.

The Link

Well, nothing really amazing. Nancy had an Irish grandfather and has been to Dublin. Both authors have B.A. degrees and worked for a time as teachers. And Nancy read Joyce’s work at college.

AuthorsChristopher Isherwood

Wikipedia says,

Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood (26 August 1904 – 4 January 1986) was an English novelist.

The article goes on to describe his education in England, the places he lived in, including Berlin, Copenhagen and Hollywood, and the people he met and their influence on his novels.

Kazuo Ishiguro

Wikipedia says,

Kazuo IshiguroOBE, FRSA, FRSL (Japanese: カズオ・イシグロ or 石黒一雄; born 8 November 1954) is a Japanese-born British novelist. He was born in Nagasaki and his family moved to England in 1960 when he was five. Ishiguro obtained his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Kent in 1978 and his Master’s from the University of East Anglia’s creative-writing course in 1980.

Ishiguro is one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction authors in the English-speaking world, having received four Man Booker Prize nominations, and winning the 1989 award for his novel The Remains of the Day. In 2008, The Times ranked Ishiguro 32nd on their list of “The 50 greatest British writers since 1945″.

The Link

Both authors became naturalised citizens during their lives. For Ishiguro, it was a natural step to become a citizen of the country where he grew up and would continue to live. For Isherwood, the decision was harder. He struggled with the requirement of swearing that he would defend the country (USA), but nevertheless went ahead.


I decided to explore two authors who each wrote a novel I fell in love with.

Mark Haddon

(Author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.)

Wikipedia says,

Mark Haddon (born 26 September 1962) is an English novelist, best known for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2003). He won the Whitbread Award, Guardian Prize, and a Commonwealth Writers Prize for that work.

Rachel Hore

(Author of A Gathering Storm.)

Rachel says,

An early childhood photograph shows me puzzling away at a Ladybird learn-to-read book. I was an early starter on the reading front but didn’t become a writer until I was a mum with three growing children. Indeed, if anyone had told the very young me that one day I’d be a published author I’d never have believed them.

There is more on her site.

The Link

Like many authors, it seems, they both studied at Oxford. Rachel Hore chose to study History, while Mark Haddon studied English.


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