Help your students start to develop a love of literature with these pages about famous authors.

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.

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Printable Author Study Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and answer key.

Shakespeare Reading Worksheet

William Shakespeare

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.

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Shakespeare Graphic Organizer

Graphic Organizer

Some of Shakespeare’s most famous works include Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Macbeth and the famous 154 Sonnets.

Shakespeare Multiple Choice Worksheet

Multiple Choice Questions

Shakespeare’s career, based in London, is thought to have begun with acting - and then writing.

Shakespeare Short Answer Worksheet

Shakespeare Short Answer

Shakespeare is buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon. His gravestone declares a curse over anyone who dares to move his bones!

Virginia Woolf Reading Worksheet

Virginia Woolf - Reading Passage

Her father was the first editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, and her family was quite distinguished.

Virginia Woolf Graphic Organizer

Graphic Organizer

She became active in the women's' suffrage movement, and was also a member of the Women’s Cooperative Movement.

Virginia Woolf Multiple Choice Worksheet

Multiple Choice Questions

She also wrote many non-fiction pieces, and was very respected in the literary world.

Virginia Woolf Short Answer Worksheet

Virginia Woolf Short Answers

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 Reading Worksheet

George Orwell - Reading Passage

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.

Orwell Graphic Organizer

Orwell Graphic Organizer

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 Multiple Choice Worksheet

Multiple Choice Questions

Orwell was devoted to politics and was particularly interested in issues such as class, social stratification, and power.

Orwell Short Answer Worksheet

Orwell Short Answers

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.

Ernest Hemingway Reading Worksheet

Ernest Hemingway- Reading Passage

When the USA joined World War 1, Hemingway went to Italy to volunteer with an ambulance unit. Unfortunately, he was badly injured.

Hemingway Graphic Organizer

Hemingway Graphic Organizer

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.

Hemingway Multiple Choice Worksheet

Multiple Choice Questions

The best part of this one is finding the area where you need new letters.

Hemingway Short Answer Worksheet

Hemingway Short Answers

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.

James Joyce Reading Worksheet

James Joyce- Reading Passage

He is famous for using a unique style of writing which included many puns, invented words, and allusions.

Joyce Graphic Organizer

Joyce Graphic Organizer

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.

Joyce Multiple Choice Worksheet

Joyce Multiple Choice Questions

James was interested in writing from an early age, and his first essay was published in The Fortnightly Review in 1900.

Joyce Short Answer Worksheet

Joyce Short Answers

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.

Vonnegut Reading Worksheet

Kurt Vonnegut - Reading Passage

An American writer who has long been applauded for his ability to sharply portray modern society.

Vonnegut Graphic Organizer

Vonnegut Graphic Organizer

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.

Vonnegut Questions Worksheet

Vonnegut Multiple Choice Questions

Although his family was fourth-generation German, growing up in America he had never been exposed to his German roots.

Vonnegut Answers to Worksheets

Vonnegut Short Answers

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.

Faulkner Reading Worksheet

William Faulkner - Reading Passage

William Faulkner was considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

Faulkner Graphic Organizer

Faulkner Graphic Organizer

Faulkner wanted to join the army, but because of his height (he was 5 feet, 6 inches), he was not allowed.

Faulkner Multiple Choice Worksheet

Faulkner Multiple Choice Questions

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!

Faulkner Short Questions Worksheet

Faulkner Short Answers

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 Reading Worksheet

Ayn Rand - Reading Passage

Ayn Rand was born in St Petersburg, Russia. At the young age of six, she taught herself to read and write.

Rand Graphic Organizer

Rand Graphic Organizer

When she graduated in 1924, the university was taken over my Communist thugs.

Rand Questions Worksheet

Rand Multiple Choice Questions

She moved to Hollywood to pursue a career as a screen writer. She sold her first screenplay to Universal Pictures in 1932.

Rand Short Answer Worksheet

Rand Short Answers

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.

Mark Twain Reading Worksheet

Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) - Reading Passage

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.

Clemens Graphic Organizer

Clemens Graphic Organizer

He found a niche in travel writing after completing a well-received piece about Hawaii - which was then known as "the Sandwich Islands."

Clemens Questions

Clemens Multiple Choice Questions

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.

Clemens Short Answer Worksheet

Clemens Short Answers

In 1873, he and his publisher co-wrote a book about the perils of society’s obsession with gaining wealth, called The Gilded Age.

Salinger Reading Worksheet

J.D. Salinger - Reading Passage

He wrote primarily for The New Yorker which is a very famous and well-respected publication. He published thirty five stories and essays!

Salinger Graphic Organizer

Salinger Graphic Organizer

Salinger is most famous for his well-read book, The Catcher in the Rye which was published in 1951.

Salinger Worksheet

Salinger Multiple Choice Questions

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.

Salinger Short Answer Worksheet

Salinger Short Answers

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