Many successful authors find that fans have a perception of them based on their work. However, just as a book cannot be judged by its cover, readers cannot judge an author on their preferred genre or style of writing. Thankfully, plenty of biographies have given readers a more personal glimpse of the brilliant minds behind their favorite stories. For example, Mad Girl’s Love Song by Andrew Wilson reveals more about Sylvia Plath’s early life and how it shaped her to become one of the most popular poets of the twentieth century. For more autobiographies about famous authors, check out the following books like Mad Girl’s Love Song.
by Andrew Birkin
J M Barrie and the Lost Boys is a biography of the Peter Pan author written by the English screenwriter and director Andrew Birkin. After working on an adaptation of Peter Pan for NBC, Birkin also wrote a mini-series about J.M. Barrie before writing this biography. The focus of the biography is Barrie and, in particular, his relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family, who served as inspiration for his Peter Pan stories. Birkin used notebooks, memoirs, and recorded interviews with the family and their circle when putting together this account of Barrie’s life.
by Mark Dawidziak
Edgar Allan Poe was one of the very first Americans to make a living purely from his writing, and his legacy continues in the gothic horror stories that he has written. His place in literary history was further cemented by the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death at the early age of 40. While there have been previous biographies about Edgar Allan Poe, many of them are filled with inaccuracies or even outright falsehoods. Most notable is the one published by his literary rival Rufus Wilmot Griswold who even included forged letters in his book. A Mystery of Mysteries by Mark Dawidziak features a less biased look at the life and death of Poe thanks to extensive research as well as interviews.
by Jann Wenner & Corey Seymour
Hunter S. Thompson was a pioneer in journalism for his “Gonzo” style of writing. He is best known for his book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, based on his real-life exploits. Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson features a closer look at the strange, action-packed life lived by the author. Wenner is the founder, owner, and editor of Rolling Stone magazine, which employed Thompson. At the same time, Seymour is a writer and editor who assisted Thompson while working at the magazine in the early nineties. Through interviews with friends, family, acquaintances, and colleagues, they have written a biography that proves Thompson was even more tormented, talented, and complicated than the over-the-top public persona he cultivated.
by Lucy Worsley
Agatha Christie was known for her detective novels starring Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, but unlike her characters, the author presented herself as a “retiring Edwardian lady of leisure.” However, in this biography by Lucy Worsley, who is herself a celebrated literary and cultural historian, she proves that there was much more to Christie than that. The biography looks beyond the successful writer Christie was to reveal the gender and class obstacles she overcame in her life. Worsley also had access to personal letters and papers that have rarely been seen when writing this biography, making it both authoritative and entertaining.
by Rob Wilkins
Terry Pratchett: A Life With Footnotes is the official biography of the celebrated English author. Pratchett was best known for his beloved Discworld series of novels, which mixed humor with fantasy. Unfortunately, Pratchett passed away before he could finish writing his memoir, which prompted his former assistant, friend, and now head of the Pratchett literary estate, Rob Wilkins, to write the book. Wilkins drew on his own memories of Pratchett as well as those of Pratchett’s friends, family, and colleagues for this biography. It covers everything from Pratchett’s childhood, his writing career, and his struggles with Alzheimer’s disease, which ultimately claimed his life.
by Bev Vincent
Few horror authors have been as prolific as Stephen King, and over the course of his career, his name has become synonymous with the genre. This biography by Bev Vincent provides fans of King with an overview of his life and work. It also reveals some of the events that provided King with inspiration for some of his most famous stories. In addition to reviewing King’s complete body of work, the book also features a wealth of rare memorabilia from King’s collection. Among these are personal and professional correspondences, along with handwritten manuscript pages and even an unpublished short story.
by Emanuel Carrère
Philip K. Dick wrote 44 novels and more than 100 short stories during his career as a science fiction writer. Many of these were turned into films such as Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, A Scanner Darkly, and more. This biography by Emanuel Carrère, based on interviews and unpublished sources, reveals that the author had a troubled life, which included five marriages and a history of substance abuse. The biography itself reads like a novelization of Dick’s life and will give fans of the author a new appreciation for what he accomplished.