The sunshine and promise the name California brings to mind has captivated people since the gold rush, prompting millions to abandon all and head West to make their fortune. California has not only given many their dreams, but has also sprung some of the world’s most talented writers from her soil. These 5 famous authors from California have left their mark on the world as only Californians can.
John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California on February 27, 1902. Spending his summers working on ranches nearby his rural town, Steinbeck witnessed some of the harsher aspects to the life of the migrate worker and the darker side of human nature. These early experiences would later influence his famous literary works such as Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and The Grapes of Wrath.
Bukowski was born in Andernach, Germany. When his father, Henry Bukowski, was unable to make a living in the aftermath of World War I, he moved his family to Baltimore, Maryland, eventually settling in South Central Los Angeles when Charles was 10 years old. Suffering harsh physical abuse from his father and ostracized by his peers for his thick German accent and a bad case of acne, Bukowski discovered alcohol as a teen and turned to writing for solace, publishing his first short story when he was 23.
Joan Didion was born in Sacramento, California. During her senior year at the University of California, Berkeley, Didion wrote a story on the San Francisco architect William Wilson for the “Prix de Paris” essay contest sponsored by Vogue. Didion won first place and was subsequently offered a position as a Research Assistant for the magazine. Didion stayed with Vogue for seven years, working her way up to the role of Associate Feature Editor. She published her first novel, Run, River, in 1963, adding screenplays, stage plays, personal essays, and four more novels to her body of work.
Though best known for his depictions of rural New England, poet Robert Frost actually began his life in San Francisco. He lived there until his father, journalist William Prescott Frost Jr., died of tuberculosis. Frost was eleven years old when he moved with his mother and sister Jeanie to Lawrence, Massachusetts to live with his grandparents. Though unknown for the first 40 years of his life, Robert Frost exploded on to the literary scene after World War II and has become one of the most widely known poets in the United States.
Like Robert Frost, Jack London was also born in San Francisco. His early childhood home burned down in the fires following the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906. London attended the University of California, Berkeley, but was forced to drop out due to financial reasons and never graduated. At the age of 21, London joined the Klondike Gold Rush, a decision that was detrimental to his health, but provided inspiration for his two most famous works, The Call of the Wild and White Fang.
Browse our online store for titles from these California authors or give us a call at (619) 226-2601 to see what we have on the shelves: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm. 1026 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, CA 92106.