Many people wonder whether a college education is necessary to succeed as a professional. This question doesn’t have a definite answer, as it all differs from person to person. Behind every success, there is a completely different story.
Some might say that literary education is essential to a great author, yet there are many cases of successful writers without degrees. Some of them haven’t even finished high-school. Still, they managed to find their way around the literary career. It is quite inspiring to look at their path and see that motivation and dedication can lead almost anywhere.
Here is a list of great writers who didn’t go to college or haven’t graduated. Maybe it will give someone a boost of inspiration to chase a dream, whether it is to become an editor, fictional writer or an author at a backstory writing service.
Edgar Allan Poe
Photo by Mel Poole
This list of great writers without degrees couldn’t be full without famous Edgar Allan Poe. Not only is he known for his innovative and prominent poetry and prose, but he was also a literal critic and editor. He is one of the key figures in American Romanticism and it is hard to overestimate his influence on the literature of the world. He was one of the first to concentrate on short custom stories. He is also praised to be a father of detective and science fiction genres.
He has also contributed greatly to the genre of horror with his stunning prose. Yet, all of this was achieved without a degree. He entered the University of Virginia in 1826 but lasted there only for a year. It was his first year living alone, far from his foster family, so he engaged in gambling and drinking. At the end of the year, his gambling debt was very high and his foster father decided not to pay for his education any longer. Although Edgar had good grades, due to a gambling problem he had to drop out of university. Yet, it didn’t stop him from becoming a world-known writer.
Ray Bradbury is widely known and loved all over the world. He has written over 800 literary works, including novels, poems, and screenplays. The essential parts of his legacy are his science fiction and fantasy fiction novels, such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine. Many of his works become a basis for film and television show adaptations.
Ray Bradbury is one of the famous writers that didn’t go to college. The main reason was that his family didn’t have the money, as it was the end of the Great Depression. He decided to achieve self-education. He went to the library three times a week and read books. Ray Bradbury used to say that he graduated from the library at 27.
Photo by Danica Tanjutco
Writing backstory of Harper Lee is incredibly interesting. Her novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has brought her fame and a place in the literary canon and the list of famous writers without degrees. Although she has shown interest in literature from school years, she entered the University of Alabama to study law. Before that, she attended the all-female Huntingdon College for a year. She studied for some time but was never interested in law as her father wanted her to.
Harper Lee dropped out and moved to New York to proceed with her career in writing. Her work brought her Pulitzer Prize as well as fame and respect.
William Falkner is among other prominent writers without degrees, as he never graduated from university. Nevertheless, he has become one of the most known and praised American authors. He even won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949 for his stunning work.
His unique style of writing has contributed to modern literature and inspired a lot of other authors. He hasn’t finished high school and devoted his time to self-education and reading books. Because his father was a business manager at the University of Mississippi, Faulkner has enrolled in several courses. But after some time, he left to fight in WWI. After his return, he gave college another shot, but dropped out after a short period.
Despite not having a degree, he was a master with words. Faulkner could excel anything, like writing a backstory, a novel, a screenplay, a poem, a short story or an essay.
Photo by Patrick Fore
Doris Lessing is another Nobel Prize laureate in the list of writers that didn’t go to college. Even more, she didn’t even enter high school; she left all kinds of formal education at the age of 14. The reason was that she didn’t like it, or, rather hated it. She attended Roman Catholic school and a bit a boarding school but was never actually happy there.
She considered the educational system an indoctrination. She believed that school is aimed to teach prejudice and particular choices of one culture and those are very temporary.
One doesn’t need to search or buy backstory online to see, that it all turned out excellent for Lessing. She has become a world know author, feminist and literary influence.
This list of famous authors without degrees is not here to point out that a college degree is useless. Many praised writers have graduated too. Education is a personal choice and can be quite helpful in professional success. Yet, it is not necessary in any case, as every person’s story is unique. These successful authors only illustrate that with passion and persistence one can achieve great results even without a degree. So whether you are dreaming of getting a Ph.D. in Literature or think about how to become a graphic designer without a degree, it is completely up to you.