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Writers J

James Joyce

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James Joyce (1882-1941) – as well as speaking seventeen languages – was an Irish author, short story writer, and poet. He was a hugely salient writer in the 20th century, particularly as his style of writing was experimental and Modernist: he pioneered the stream of consciousness as a literary technique, for example. Joyce was also a drinking partner of Ernest Hemingway. Some of his well-known works include Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegans Wake. 

J. M. Barrie

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Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937) was a Scottish novelist and playwright. He was the creator of the timeless play and then novel, Peter Pan. Upon his death, J.M. Barrie gave his copyrights of Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital – a children's hospital in London. Some of his other notable works were The Little White Bird and The Admirable Crichton. 

Jane Austen

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Jane Austen (1775-1817) was an English novelist who wrote six completed novels: Sense and Sensibility; Pride and Prejudice; Mansfield Park; Emma; Northanger Abbey; and Persuasion. Austen’s final two novels were published posthumously. She wrote about ordinary middle-class people in everyday England and used a modern and realistic approach in her writing (as well as occasional comedy), making her work accessible and relatable for many readers.

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Jean Rhys


Jean Rhys (1890-1979), also known as Ella Gwendolen Rees Williams, was a West-Indian novelist, short story writer and essayist. Her most notable works were Good Morning, Midnight, Voyage in the Dark and Wide Sargasso Sea. As well as winning the 1967 WH Smith Literary Award with her novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, Rhys was awarded a CBE in 1978. 

John Betjeman

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The English poet, writer and broadcaster, Sir John Betjeman (1906-1984), was the UK’s Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death twelve years later. Some of his most notable works were Mount Zion, Collected Poems, High and Low, A Nip in the Air and Uncollected Poems. He also helped to save St. Pancras Station from demolition.

John Keats

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John Keats (1795-1821) was a Romantic English poet; although he only published fifty-four poems (dying prematurely at age 25), he is one of the most well-known poets in English Literature. As well as giving up his career in medicine to become a poet, Keats was not even appreciated in his own time. Fortunately, his popularity has grown significantly since his passing. Some of his notable poems were Ode to a Nightingale, To Autumn, Ode on a Grecian Urn and On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer.

John Polidori


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As well as a physician, John William Polidori (1795-1821) was an English author and poet. Some of his notable works were The Vampyre, Ernestus Berchtold; or, The Modern Oedipus and The Fall of the Angels: A Sacred Poem. His short story, The Vampyre, was the first published modern vampire story and he has seen by some as the creator of this offshoot of fantasy fiction. This book came about as a result of a contest between Polidori, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron and Percy Shelley held in The Villa Diodati in 1816. Another significant product of this contest was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Joseph Conrad

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Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) was a Modernist, Polish-British writer who wrote novels as well as short stories. Although it wasn’t his first language, Conrad was nonetheless an eminent English writer. Some of his important novels were Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent and the short story, Heart of Darkness. The latter was also the inspiration and the basis for Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 film, Apocalypse Now.

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