Lately I’ve been wondering about writers who held demanding, full-time roles in other fields. I found a great list in the Huffington Post (excerpted below). But the only woman on the list was Virginia Woolf, who ran a small publishing business with her husband. The only woman on the list! Egad!
A few of the male names listed in the Huff Post article: (My favorite below has to be Wallace Stevens, who turned down a professorship at Harvard because it would have meant giving up his job in insurance. Love him.)
The author of the Pulitzer-winning memoir, “Angela’s Ashes,” taught in New York City high schools and colleges during his entire career.
Kafka lamented his demanding “Brotberuf” (day job, literally “bread job”) at an insurance company.
William Carlos Williams
The poet behind “Spring and All” and “Paterson” worked as a doctor in Rutherford, New Jersey during his entire writing career.
Jorge Luis Borges
The brilliant Argentinian writer behind “Ficciones” worked as an assistant in the Buenos Aires Municipal Library, and eventually because the director of the National Library. Libraries greatly influenced his labyrinthine work. At a late age, Borges lost his eyesight, and has been jokingly referred to as “the blind librarian.”
Acclaimed poet Wallace Stevens was offered a professorship at Harvard after receiving the Pulitzer Prize, but turned it down. The reason? He’d have to leave his job at Hartford Accident and Indemnity Company, where he worked for nearly 40 years.
Transtromer won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his poetry last year, so you’d think he spent most of his days writing and rewriting. On the contrary: he’s worked as a psychologist at correctional facilities, and now is employed by the Swedish government as an occupational psychologist.
The author behind “A Girl in Winter” and “The North Ship” created these works while employed as a librarian at Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull.
The mastermind behind “Dracula” kept his prestigious day job as the personal assistant of actor Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London for most of his life. However, he may not have had much of a choice – “Dracula” was an epistolary novel, after all.
The author of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and other “literary nonsense,” was also a mathematician, photographer and teacher.