#1. I am not just a world-famous author. I am also a serious lepidopterologist. That is, I study butterflies. I am someone who pays a lot of attention to the literary qualities of my novels. And that is why I wished to burn my last novel. Who am I?
Nabokov was a demanding writer who paid a lot of attention to the literary qualities of his novels, innovative word play, use of language. He wasn’t the man to settle for second best. Out of these beliefs, Nabokov’s last wish was that his last novel, The Original of Laura, would be burnt after his death, as it was not completed. His wife Vera did not fulfill his wishes and kept it, then asking their son to burn it after her death. Luckily for readers, their son did not obey his parents’ last wish and published the novel 32 years after Nabokov’s death.
#2. Though I never married, all my novels are centered around the idea of marriage. All my works were published anonymously because I belonged to a time when women were not allowed to write books. Just think of it, I was forced to dedicate one of my novels to someone I hated! Who am I?
The author of her first novel, Sense and Sensibility was simply “A Lady,” and her later works like Pride and Prejudice were credited to “the Author of Sense and Sensibility.” She wasn’t named as the author of her novels until after her death!
#3. I wrote my first short story at the age of 16. Though I am an Englishman, at 20 I realised that I wanted to live in India and be a writer. I settled down in Mussoorie. Almost all my novels and short stories are set in these hilly parts. I have won several awards for my writing. Who am I?
#4. I have worked as a fighter pilot and survived a plane crash. If that is not enough, I have worked as a spy, too. Who am I?
#5. People don't know that some of the popular phrases in English were invented by me. "Dead as a doornail", for instance. The characters I created are so popular that some of the heavenly bodies have been named after them. Although I chiefly wrote plays, I turned to writing poems when the plague caused all theatres to be shut down, just like the pandemic prevalent now (2021). Who am I?
The moons of Uranus were originally named in 1852 after magical spirits from English literature. The International Astronomy Union subsequently developed the convention to name all further moons of Uranus (of which there are 27) after characters in Shakespeare’s plays.
#6. I wrote my first story when I was 9 years old! My name is sometimes used as a curse word and it was invented by Shakespeare. Once when I was on my way to my publishers, carrying the final installment of a book I was writing, the train I was in derailed. Just look at my bravery! I saved a number of lives with my quick thinking. And I also risked my own to retrieve the manuscript that was left in the pocket of my coat. Who am I?
The phrase “What the Dickens!” was invented by William Shakespeare.
#7. I have used at least 2 pen names before settling for the one I am known for today. I adopted the present one after I was labelled as a rebel and about 500 copies of a controversial novel of mine were burnt. Though I am known as a Hindi author, I first started writing in Urdu. Who am I?
In 1909, his novel, “Soz-e-Watan” was noticed by the British Government officials, who banned it as a rebellious work. The British officials even ordered a raid on Premchand’s house, where around 500 copies of “Soz-e-Watan” were burnt. After this incident, he started writing under the pen name Premchand.
#8. Although my pen name suggests that I am a man, I am actually a woman. I was forced to write under this pen name because, during my time, women authors were not as highly regarded as men. Ironically, I also received a record payment for one of my novels. In fact, I was so popular as an author that, when Thomas Hardy’s "Far from the Madding Crowd" was published anonymously, people thought that it was my work! Who am I?
Mary Ann Evans wrote under the pen name George Eliot. She is the author of “Adam Bede” and “The Mill on the Floss”. For her novel “Romola” she received the then-record payment for a novel of £10,000.
#9. My publishers wished to hide my real identity from my readers, especially the young boys. The manuscript of my first book was rejected 12 times before it got published and became a huge hit, especially among young readers. At that time I was so poor that I had to work in a coffee shop and survive on government benefits. But now I am a billionaire, in fact the first female billionaire novelist! Who am I?
Her publisher suggested she not use her real name — Joanne Rowling — for her books, because they didn’t believe boys would want to read a fantasy book about a boy wizard that was written by a woman.
#10. I never thought I would become a writer. I worked as an investment banker in Hong Kong for almost 11 years. My first book, which was an instant hit, was actually rejected by 9 publishers. I have been fortunate enough to be included in Time magazine’s list of World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2010. Who am I?