Philip Roth Goes to the Prom: Photos of Famous Authors as Teenagers

Even the greats of modern literature had awkward phases.
roth11 banner _edited-1.jpg

Over the weekend, Vol.1 Brooklyn published a delightful collection of never-before-seen photographs of Ernest Hemingway as a teenager, in all his handsomely smug glory.

Inspired, I dug up a handful of snapshots of other legendary authors in those awkward (or not so awkward, as the case may be) teenage years, before they penned the words that made them famous. They're below.

ernest.jpg

A 17-year-old Ernest Hemingway as a high school junior. [via Book Tryst]


gaiman.jpg

A teenage Neil Gaiman. [via The Village Voice]


oconnor.jpg

A 16-year-old Flannery O'Connor, profiled in her high school paper. [via Alfonso Martone]


roth11.jpg

Philip Roth at his senior prom at Weequahic High School, 1950. He's all the way in the back. [via New Jersey Jewish News]


morrison2.jpg

At left, an 18-year-old Toni Morrison (then Chloe Wofford) with a few of her Lorain High School classmates. [via Black River Historical Society]


twain.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain. [via the National Endowment for the Humanities]


karr.jpg

Mary Karr in her hometown, age 15. [via Larry John McNally]


ginzy3.jpg

A 16-year-old Allen Ginsberg having a swell time. [via The Allen Ginsberg Project]


amis1.jpg

A 15-year-old Martin Amis with his famous dad. [via The Sunday Times]


plath1.jpg

Fifteen-year-old Sylvia Plath. [via Twitter / @itssylviaplath]


93859385830.jpg

Seventeen-year-old J.D. Salinger's yearbook photo from Valley Forge Military Academy, 1936. [via Amazon]


woolf3.jpg

At the far right, a 14-year-old Virginia Stephen, soon to be Woolf. [via British Paintings]


nin.jpg

Anaïs Nin at 19. [via tribe]


sendak.jpg

A teenage Maurice Sendak. [viaWe Love You So]


woody2.jpg

Margaret Atwood's Leaside Highschool senior yearbook photo. [via Fuck Yeah Toronto]


beckett.jpg

Samuel Beckett as a very serious 14-year-old. [via Art Tattler]


This post also appears on Flavorpill, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

Emily Temple is an editor at Flavorpill.

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman

You don't have to tell her how big she is. You don't need to touch her belly.

Video

Maine's Underground Street Art

"Graffiti is the farthest thing from anarchy."

Video

The Joy of Running in a Beautiful Place

A love letter to California's Marin Headlands

Video

'I Didn't Even Know What I Was Going Through'

A 17-year-old describes his struggles with depression.

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

More in Entertainment

Just In