Tag: writers

5 Authors Who Were Also Murderers

Just because you wrote a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. In fact, just because you haven’t written a good book doesn’t mean you haven’t killed someone. Heck, you could not write a book, not intend to write a book, and still kill someone. But that’s not what this site is about. This site is about books, and occasionally the worlds of literature and murder overlap. Here are five authors who murdered someone.

 

5. William S. Burroughs

 

As the story goes, he didn’t mean to kill her, but he did. A key member of the Beat Generation, William S. Burroughs appears in Jack Kerouac’s breakout 1957 novel On The Road. Written on one long scroll of paper so he didn’t have to change pages on his typewriter, Jack Kerouac wrote this iconic piece of literature in three weeks in April of 1951, fueled by coffee. William S. Burroughs was the inspiration behind On The Road‘s character of Old Bull Lee.

William S Burroughs sitting at his type writer, hands folded in lap, looking at camera.

IMAGE VIA FAMOUS AUTHORS

William S. Burroughs had his own writing career long before On The Road was published. In fact, his first novel, Junkie, was released in 1953, a first-person narrative about a man struggling with heroin addiction. This novel was published initially under the pseudonym William Lee.

 

Book cover for William Burrough's 'Junkie'

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

But let’s go back to 1951. While in Mexico City, Burroughs and his second wife, Joan Vollmer, were drunk while she was undergoing withdrawal from a heavy amphetamine habit. Drunk and a little high, they decided to play William Tell.

 

For those who don’t know, William Tell is a game in which one player shoots an apple off the top of another person’s head, usually with a crossbow. However, in this instance, Joan placed a highball glass on top of her head and William S. Burroughs used a pistol to attempt to shoot it off. Unfortunately, he missed.

 

William S. Borrough's wife, Joan

IMAGE VIA OPEN CULTURE

While awaiting trial, Burroughs wrote the novel Queer about a young man looking for Yage, a hallucinogen, in South America. At the end of his trial, Burroughs was given a two-year suspended sentence and in 1959 his magnum opus, Naked Lunch, was published.

 

William S. Burroughs holding a shot gun in a garden, looking at camera.

IMAGE VIA THE TOOLBOX

William Seward Burroughs II, post-modernist author and primary figure of the Beat Generation, died on August 2nd, 1997 at the age of eighty-three.

 

4. Anne Perry

 

Anne Perry with arms folded looks at camera, lightly smiling

IMAGE VIA PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE SPEAKERS BUREAU

Author of the Thomas Pitt detective series and the William Monk detective series, Anne Perry is an English author whose life story was the basis for Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures. Released in 1994, the film follows the 1954 Parker-Hulme murder case about two teenage friends, Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, who eventually murdered Parker’s mother.

 

Parker was sixteen at the time, while Hulme was fifteen. According to The True Crime Library in Christchurch, New Zealand, the girls bludgeoned the woman to death with half a brick enclosed in an old stocking before running into town and claiming that Parker’s mother had fallen and hit her head.

 

Movie poster for Heavenly Creatures

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Their story fell apart upon closer inspection and the two were arrested. Too young for the death penalty, the girls each received five years in prison.

At the time of the film’s production and release, it was not known that upon her release from prison, Juliet Hulme had changed her name to Anne Perry.

After the film was released and Perry’s identity discovered, the New Zealand Herald claimed, “…Perry has told the London Times Saturday Magazine that although they were never lesbians the relationship was obsessive”.

On her website, Anne Perry writes, “I began the ‘Monk’ series in order to explore a different, darker character, and to raise questions about responsibility, particularly that of a person for acts he cannot remember. How much of a person’s identity is bound up in memory?”

 

3. Blake Leibel

Not everyone who authors graphic novels with shocking descriptions of murder is a murderer themselves, but this guy is.

Blake Leibel wearing glasses look at camera in black and white photograph

IMAGE VIA NATIONAL POST

In 2015 the graphic novel Syndrome was published, containing unsettling depictions of bloodletting and, straight from CBS Los Angeles, it transpires that Blake Leibel murdered his girlfriend and left her body “drained of all of her blood in a crime that a prosecutor said mirrored the script of a graphic novel he co-wrote.”

 

Blake Leibel and Iana Kasian

IMAGE VIA NATIONAL POST

The Los Angeles Times also notes that Leibel, “was expressionless. Dressed in a yellow jail shirt and blue scrubs, he uttered only one word, answering ‘yes’ when the judge asked if he would waive his appearance at an upcoming court hearing”.

He was convicted in June 2018.

 

Image Via Los Angeles Times

Before his graphic novel, he worked on 2008’s Spaceballs: The Animated Series, based on the 1987 film by Mel Brooks, as a creative consultant.

 

2. Liu Yongbiao

 

Liu Yongbiao standing next to statue with hand on his foot

IMAGE VIA FOR READING ADDICTS

Back in 2005, Chinese writer Liu Yongbiao broke onto the scene with his story collection, A Film, which won China’s highest provincial critical achievement: the Anhui Literature Prize. In 2010, his novel about a writer implicated in a wave of unsolved murders, The Guilty Secret, was published.

In 2013, he cemented his literary status when he was elected to the China Writers Association.

 

Image result for Liu Yongbiao crime author

Image Via All That’s Interesting

Backtrack to November 29th, 1995, when Liu and a friend, Wang Mouming, checked in a guesthouse. All That’s Interesting states that they had “the intention of robbing other guests” but “when the two were caught stealing by a guest, Wang and Liu are believed to have used clubs and hammers to kill the guest as well as the guesthouse’s two owners (an elderly couple) and their thirteen-year-old grandson in order to completely cover their tracks.”

Twenty-two years later, Shanghaiist reported that blood samples led investors to the fifty-three-year-old writer and the sixty-four-year-old legal consultant.

 

Liu Yongbiao in custody

IMAGE VIA SOCIAL NEWS DAILY

The NY Post states that Liu told the investigators who arrested him that, “I’ve been waiting for you all this time”.

 

1. Mark “Chopper” Read

Chopper with two guns crossed over his chest and two in his waistband

Image Via Pinterest

Have you read Mr. Read’s work? He wrote crime novels and several children’s books, one of which was called Hooky the Cripple: The Grim Tale of the Hunchback Who Triumphs, published in 2002 by Pluto Press and illustrated by Adam Cullen.

According to ABC News, Mark Read spent his early years robbing drug dealers before kidnapping and torturing members of the criminal underworld. Eventually, he was caught and charged with armed robbery, assault, and kidnapping. Perth Now reports that he spent only thirteen months outside of prison between the ages of thirty and thirty-eight. He also cut off his ears in prison.

Later in life, Mark Read found solace in writing.

 

Mark 'Chopper' Read with a cigar in his mouth and sunglasses on standing in front of a wall graffitied yellow and red

IMAGE VIA THE TELEGRAPH

In 1991 he wrote the story of his life Chopper, from the inside: The confessions of Mark Brandon Read and several other non-fiction books, but he has also dabbled in children’s literature.

 

Book cover for Hooky the Cripple featuring a hand holding a bloody knife

IMAGE VIA GOODREADS

There have been several attempts to ban Hooky the Cripple, but the movie based around his life, 2000’s Chopper starring Eric Bana, received critical praise upon its release.

Back in 2013, Read told the  New York Times, “Look, honestly, I haven’t killed that many people, probably about four or seven, depending on how you look at it.”

Featured Image Via kmuw.org

Enjoying Bookstr? Get more by joining our email list!

Bookstr is community supported. If you enjoy Bookstr’s articles, quizzes, graphics and videos, please join our Patreon to support our writers and creators or donate to our Paypal and help Bookstr to keep supporting the book loving community.
Become a Patron!

Seven Words Shakespeare Invented

Did you know Shakespeare invented more than 1700 words? Probably. Maybe. There’s a bunch of controversy. Still, he definitely invented some words we use every day. You can probably find the long list if you really want, but here are seven. You may sense a theme.

 

 

1. Countless

Image via Astronomy.com

 

This is a pretty pedestrian word. Obviously Shakespeare didn’t invent the idea of counting, but he did give us a useful way to talk about it. It’s definitely faster than saying ‘without measure’.

 

2. Gloomy

Image via Imagekind

 

What would we do without the word gloomy? No synonym comes close. Dark? Shadowy? Get out of here. In this, the gloomiest season, it’s only right we honor the word itself.

 

 

3. Critic

Image via The List

 

Where would we be without critics? How would we know what super hero movies are actually worth the trouble? In 2019, it’s hard, and I say that as a fan.

 

 

4. Bloody

Image via The Craftory

 

Another one that’s hella seasonably appropriate. Another one where there are no good synonyms, though I feel like if you want to convey it there are some fun gothic options.

 

 

5. Pious

Image via Flickr

 

This one’s got ‘devout’ but pious does have a different vibe, maybe more smugness? Whatever it is, you can never have too many synonyms. Words, words, words.

 

 

6. Lonely

Image via Cru

 

Whatever would we do without lonely? Loneliness, lonesome, just a lot of feeling in a small space. Shakespeare knew what was up, though it doesn’t seem like HE was ever alone.

 

 

7. Majestic

Image via Reddit

 

Majestic is a great word, for both serious and ironic usage (a lot of the images I found were derpy lions and unlikely centaurs). It conveys something ‘great’ just doesn’t.

 

 

 

Featured image via ThoughtCo

Our Favorite Tolkien & Lewis Apocrypha

Tolkien and Lewis were both in residence at Oxford for many years, studying and teaching both. They were also close friends, even though they disagreed on almost everything. Sure, they had a shared interest in language, and in what we now call fantasy, but they disagreed on religion, and on the tones of their books. There are also a lot of stories about their friendship, few confirmed, but all amazing. Here are our favorites!

 

1. The Lamppost

 

Image via Dissolve

 

There’s a story that says Lewis specifically put the lamppost in Narnia because Tolkien said a good fantasy story would never have one. The sheer pettiness. What an icon. No fantasy story would have a lamppost? Well this one does! Please, TELL Lewis what his story can have. There’s no slowing him down. A lesson in spite we should really all take to heart.

 

 

2. Religion

 

Image via IOL

 

Tolkien was, as well as being a linguist and historian, quite Catholic, and Lewis found his philosophical suggestions appealing, becoming religious himself. Tolkien didn’t get what he wanted, though, because though Lewis became more religious, he was Protestant, and Tolkien didn’t at all appreciate how much religion was in Lewis’ books. Kinda played himself.

 

3. The Draft

 

Image via The Creative Penn

 

Apparently when Lewis first read his draft of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to Tolkien and a croup of friends, Tolkien hated it. He thought it was terrible and combined too many mythologies. He wanted more consistent world building, and I don’t have a good source for this, but I’ve heard he even told Lewis to stop writing.

 

 

 

Featured image via J A Carlisle 

Literary Canon Update

Have you ever been given a reading list that’s written, translated, and selected exclusively by and for men? Odds are you’ve rarely seen any that aren’t. If you want to appreciate the cannon while also living in a world where women exist, this is the list for you. These books and translations are some of the best and most lauded of all time, and yes, they’re by women.

It was, I must confess, a little hard to compile. The Odyssey was first translated by a woman only in 2017! But don’t despair. It’s all here for the taking.

 

The Iliad and the Odyssey

 

Homer’s epics have been translated MANY times, but these, by Caroline Alexander and Emily Wilson, respectively, set an incredible standard.

 

The Iliad

 

 

Close as can be to the ancient Greek, this translations has garnered heaping praise. “[T]he guard has changed, and a new gold standard has appeared”, said New Criterion at the volume’s publication. This edition even manages to retain the original line numbers from the Greek.

 

The Odyssey

 

 

This work, too, matches the original Greek as closely as possible. “A staggeringly superior translation―true, poetic, lively and readable, and always closely engaged with the original Greek”, said Harvard classics professor Richard F. Thomas. Iambic pentameter imitates the lyricism of the original Greek, and the volume also includes translation guides and maps.

 

 

Antigonik and An Oresteia

 

 

For both of these it is possible to turn to Anne Carson, a Canadian translator and classics professor. Carson’s translations are modern, elegant, and never condescending. In stead of translated, the works seem brought into the light, with all their strangeness and fierceness intact.

 

 

Jane Austen

 

How is it that Jane Austen, often the only woman on a reading list, is still under hyped? I had a guy in a bar tell me once that if people like Austen it’s because they haven’t read a lot of books. He really said that. Family conflict, human stories, and scathing humor makes Austen worth reading, with characters you really will love, and hate.

 

Pride & Prejudice

 

It’s a staple for a reason, and if you’re not sure you’ll relate to these people’s problems, you’re wrong. Fuckboys, impending poverty, poor decisions, and character growth you can get behind. Plus, it may be a period piece, but people still love their sisters. You’ll relate.

 

 

Jane Eyre

 

 

Another classic people want to avoid, but it has everything: deaths, fire, lies, weddings, blindness. I wouldn’t exactly call Jane a relateable character, but she’s understandable, I think, when you see everything she’s been through. And she’s incredibly decisive.

 

 

 

Images via Amazon