This article is created in conjunction with Kids’ Lit Quiz™, a fun literary competition where children aged 10-13 years old answer questions on children’s books ranging from classics to comics.
Singapore will be participating in Kids’ Lit Quiz™ for the fifth time in 2018. If you think you’ve got what it takes, let your teachers know and register a team of 4 students from the same school! Registration opens in Feb 2018.
School is back and while some of us are dreading the soon-to-come piles of homework and incumbent assignments, one great thing about the end of holidays is reuniting with old friends and making new ones! What will you and your friends get up to this school year?
Some famous authors became pals after meeting in school, a Chinese restaurant, and even at the house next door. Let us find out who these writers are and the literary works that bloomed out of their friendships.
One of the most well-known literary groups are the Inklings, a group of students in Oxford University between the early 1930s and 1949. They met frequently to provide friendly critiques and bounce ideas off each other to improve their own writing, which were largely in the Fantasy genre. Two notable writers from the group are none other than J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis!
If you have read or watched the film adaptations of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, you would be familiar with Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, home to men, elves, dwarves, hobbits, and other curious peoples. The first drafts of the story actually passed through members of the Inklings during their Thursday meetups in Lewis’s Oxford college room.
Lewis also shared Tolkien’s love for mythology and legends – his Chronicles of Narnia books for children feature a multitude of mythical characters like the faun Mr Tumnus, tree-dwelling Dryads and water-dwelling Naiads, and even Father Christmas!
Fun fact: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis have initials in place of their first and middle names in their published work. Their initials stand for John Ronald Reuel and Clive Staples respectively.
Did You Know? Lewis Carroll (or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) and A.A. Milne also attended Oxford, but were not part of the Inklings. Their most well-known fantasy stories are Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Winnie-the-Pooh respectively.
Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett first met in a Chinese restaurant in February 1985. In the early years of their friendship, Pratchett had just embarked on his now immensely popular Discworld fantasy series, set in a flat world that lies on the backs of four elephants which stand on a giant turtle’s shell, while journalist Gaiman had yet to make his first break in the literary scene. They co-wrote Gaiman’s first published work, an adult fiction book titled Good Omens. Since then, Gaiman has published numerous successful children’s stories like The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, and Crazy Hair.
In 2007, Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and, after a long battle, passed away in 2015. Gaiman paid a heartwarming tribute to Pratchett during a memorial service in 2016, which you can watch below or read here.
Harper Lee and Truman Capote were next-door neighbours in Monroeville, Alabama, during the summers when Capote stayed with his aunts. Despite Lee’s introverted nature and Capote’s gregarious personality, the two became good friends. Both Lee and Capote grew up to become writers in their own right. In Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird, the character Dill Harris was based on her childhood friend, Capote.
Did You Know? To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most challenged books from the year it was published (1960) until today. The main reasons cited are the “offensive language” and the portrayal of “racism” in Southern USA in the 1930s. Despite that, the book is considered a modern classic and ironically appears on many Best Novels lists, such as those issued by Time Magazine and The Guardian.
Read up about your favourite authors and their real-life stories through our collection of biographies in NLB libraries. Here are a few suggestions to get you started!
|Title: Who is J.K. Rowling?
Authors: Pamela Pollack and Meg Belviso
Call No.: J 823 POL
All Rights Reserved, Grosset & Dunlap, 2012.
|Title: D is for Dahl: A Gloriumptious A-Z Guide to the World of Roald Dahl
Call No.: J 823 D
All Rights Reserved, Puffin, 2005.
|Title: J.R.R. Tolkien
Author: Alexandra Wallner
Call No.: J 823 POL
All Rights Reserved, Holiday House, 2011.
|Title: C.S. Lewis
Author: Megan Lappi
Call No.: J 823 LAP
All Rights Reserved, Weigl, 2006.
|Title: Charles Dickens: Scenes From an Extraordinary Life
Authors: Mick Manning & Brita Granström
Call No.: J 823 MAN
All Rights Reserved, Frances Lincoln Childrens Books, 2011.
- Wikipedia pages of all authors and their books mentioned above