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

Even the greats of modern literature had awkward phases.
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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.

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


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A teenage Neil Gaiman. [via The Village Voice]


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


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


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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]


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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Anaïs Nin at 19. [via tribe]


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A teenage Maurice Sendak. [viaWe Love You So]


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


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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.

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