This collection of worksheets offers short reading passages about the lives and work of famous authors. This offers a great opportunity for students to study the work and lives of some generational authors. Students will learn about authors from many different periods of time and discover why their contributions to different genres are so important. Each short essay is accompanied by two answer sheets (multiple choice and short answer), as well as a one page "organizer," in which students can note brief facts about the author. Answer keys are provided for each sheet. Project idea: Have your students write a report on a book written by one of the authors presented in these worksheets.
When Shakespeare was alive, records were not kept the way they are today. Therefore, his biography has been pieced together by the few facts that exist, such as birth records, wills, and property purchases.
Some of Shakespeare’s most famous works include Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth and the famous 154 Sonnets.
Shakespeare’s career, based in London, is thought to have begun with acting - and then writing.
Shakespeare is buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. His gravestone declares a curse over anyone who dares to move his bones!
Her father was the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, and her family was quite distinguished.
She became active in the women's' suffrage movement, and was also a member of the Women’s Cooperative Movement.
She also wrote many non-fiction pieces, and was very respected in the literary world.
Her 1929 book A Room of One's Own is one of her most famous publications, and explores the history of feminism and the need for women to have economic independence.
George Orwell is the pen name for Eric Arthur Blair, a writer, essayist, novelist, political activist and literary critic who was born on June 25th, 1903.
Although he was extremely intelligent and did well in school, he was not able to go on to university because it was too expensive.
Orwell was devoted to politics and was particularly interested in issues such as class, social stratification, and power.
In 1940, George combined his political savvy with his gift of writing and went to work against World War II, fighting for freedom by writing propaganda for the BBC.
When the USA joined World War 1, Hemingway went to Italy to volunteer with an ambulance unit. Unfortunately, he was badly injured.
In the 1920s, Ernest was part of the expatriate community in Paris. An expatriate is someone who was expelled from a country and resides in another, although these days the term is used quite loosely to refer to someone who is living in a country other than their own, such as a British man living in Korea, for example.
In 1953, he received the Pulitzer Price for this book The Old Man and the Sea, which was a story about a seaman's battle with the sea – and himself.
He is famous for using a unique style of writing which included many puns, invented words, and allusions.
He used many parallels in his writing and drew from his knowledge of history, literature, and mythology to create his own sort of experimental language.
James was interested in writing from an early age, and his first essay was published in The Fortnightly Review in 1900.
James Joyce published many pieces, including a collection of poems called Chamber Music in 1907, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in 1916, and Dubliners in 1914.
An American writer who has long been applauded for his ability to sharply portray modern society.
Kurt was interested in writing from an early age, and in high school he wrote and was one of the editors of The Shortridge Daily Echo, which was the first high school newspaper in the country that was produced on a daily basis.
Although his family was fourth-generation German, growing up in America he had never been exposed to his German roots.
The seventies were a difficult period for Vonnegut, as he got divorced, went through a depression, and removed himself from the public eye, although he published three novels in the seventies, he avoided fame.
William Faulkner was considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.
Faulkner wanted to join the army, but because of his height (he was 5 feet, 6 inches), he was not allowed.
He also received two Pulitzer prizes, for A Fable in 1955 and The Reivers in 1962. He also wrote acclaimed novels The Sound of Fury and Absalom, Absolom!
He wrote six screenplays, including the screenplay for Ernest Hemmingway’s To Have and Have Not. This was the only time in history that two Nobel Prize winning authors were associated to one motion picture.
Ayn Rand was born in St Petersburg, Russia. At the young age of six, she taught herself to read and write.
When she graduated in 1924, the university was taken over my Communist thugs.
She moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as a screen writer. She sold her first screenplay to Universal Pictures in 1932.
Ayn published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. It was a fairly autobiographical book was based on her years of life living under Soviet tyranny.
He then dabbled in a variety of careers, none of which lasted long. He wanted to be a riverboat captain, but when the Civil War broke out, all traffic was halted on the Mississippi river.
He found a niche in travel writing after completing a well-received piece about Hawaii - which was then known as "the Sandwich Islands."
Sam had already enjoyed some success as a writer, and his first book was published in 1869, called The Innocents Abroad, which was inspired by his travel letters.
In 1873, he and his publisher co-wrote a book about the perils of society’s obsession with gaining wealth, called The Gilded Age.
He wrote primarily for The New Yorker which is a very famous and well-respected publication. He published thirty five stories and essays!
Salinger is most famous for his well-read book, The Catcher in the Rye which was published in 1951.
His main character, Holden Caulfield, is a teenage boy who runs away from the real world because he finds it "phony." The book is still studied in many class rooms today and is considered a "coming of age" story.
J.D. Salinger has lived in New Hampshire since 1953, where he lives a very private life.
Why is it Important to Study the Work of Other Authors?
You might wonder, why should you read the work of another author as a writer yourself? Well, the answer to that question is simple. Reading and writing are linked; think of them as two branches of the same tree. You cannot separate reading from writing, as writers create content for readers.
It's common knowledge that readers become better writers. The reason is that the more books you read, the more knowledge you consume and the more you learn from other authors. Remember, knowledge is the key to success.
Many authors use a particular technique to improve their writing, 'reading to write,' which helps them become better writers. There are several reasons why you should read the work of other authors; let's take a look at them.
Serving Critical Thinking by Reading
Pick up a book, and give it a read. As you turn the pages, question yourself, is the author a good writer? The only way to tell whether an author is a good writer is by analyzing their writing. If you like a particular book, figure out why. Is the theme of the book? The character development? Or the language used? If you can successfully understand what qualifies as good writing by analyzing another author's work, it'll become less challenging to incorporate these improvements into your work.
A Buffet of Writing Styles
Reading the work of other authors exposes you to various writing styles. When you review the writing style and understand the techniques used by authors in different genres, it will become far easier for you to find your writing style and the genre you prefer to write.
A Bite of Grammatical Excellence
Nobody likes going through textbooks to find the answers to grammatical questions that haunt you when you write. Reading the work of other celebrated authors allows you to find the answers to your questions in a less boring manner. Whilst you read, pay extra attention to the grammar used and try to retain the techniques you observe in the work of other authors, such as punctuation.
An Endless Supply of Vocabulary
When you read the work of various authors, you learn new words and phrases that you like and can easily use in your work. You can benefit from the work other authors put into their pieces by reading books carefully and noting any interesting, unique words or phrases you encounter.
The Delicious Scent of Inspiration
If you begin reading regularly, you will provide yourself with a daily dose of creative inspiration. When you read excellently written pieces of literature, you will find yourself feeling far more motivated to produce better content. Moreover, by reading extensively, you will expose yourself to new ideas and techniques that you can utilize to expand your ideas and write excellently.
A Few Tips for Beneficial Reading
1. Read with a purpose: Once you start reading, you may find that you actually enjoy it. However, it's vital to remember that you're reading to write, which will help you retain ideas, techniques, and vocabulary.
2. Read Books by Recognized Authors: If you're reading to write, it's essential to read only the best work produced by famous writers. Excellent writing will help you improve your own craft. Don't waste time reading work that doesn't help you improve your writing or provide you with something new to learn.
3. Read Regularly: Start with a few pages a week, but try your best to incorporate reading as a daily habit. You need to explore books by several different authors to gain more knowledge, learn new ideas and improve your writing.
What Are Considered the Best Books of All Time?
Reading is an integral part of our lives. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, reading is one of those activities that benefit us, no matter what. It increases our knowledge; builds are concepts, helps us develop concepts, improve our vocabulary, and expands the horizons of our thinking capabilities.
It is due to this reason; books are considered as a man's best friend. If you are thinking of making reading your habit, here are the books that are regarded as the best ones of all times;
1. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
4. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
5. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
6. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
7. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
8. Beloved by Toni Morrison
9. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
10. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
11. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
12. The Color Purple by Alice Walker