Jack Kerouac (born Jean-Louis Kérouac (though he called himself Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac); March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist and poet of French-Canadian descent. He is considered a literary iconoclast and, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, a pioneer of the Beat Generation. Kerouac is recognized for his method of spontaneous prose. Thematically, his work covers topics such as Catholic spirituality, jazz, promiscuity, Buddhism, drugs, poverty, and travel. He became an underground celebrity and, with other beats, a progenitor of the hippie movement, although he remained antagonistic toward some of its politically radical elements.
Lawrence George Durrell (27 February 1912 – 7 November 1990) was an expatriate British novelist, poet, dramatist, and travel writer. Born in India to British colonial parents, he was sent to England at the age of eleven for his education. He did not like formal education, but started writing poetry at age 15. His first book was published in 1935, when he was 23. In March 1935 he and his wife, and his mother and younger siblings, moved to the island of Corfu. Durrell spent many years afterward living around the world.
Matsuo Basho (1644 – 1694), born then Matsuo Chūemon Munefusa, was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was recognized for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, after centuries of commentary, he is recognized as the greatest master of haiku (then called hokku). He elevated haiku to the level of serious poetry in numerous anthologies and travel diaries. Basho traveled in order to seek deeper enlightenment through his oneness with nature.
Jim Tully (June 3, 1886 – June 22, 1947) was a vagabond, pugilist, and American writer and actor. He enjoyed critical and commercial success as a writer in the 1920s and 1930s. Together with Dashiell Hammett, Tully was one of the founders of the hard-boiled school of writing in the United States. Tully wrote about hoboes, petty criminals, dope addicts and other society misfits, based on the people he had met and the life he had lived during his own hobo days.
Leon Ray Livingston (1872 – 1944) was a famous hobo and author, travelling under the name “A-No.1” and often referred to as “The Rambler.” He perfected the hobo symbols system, which let other hobos know where there are generous people, free food, jobs, vicious dogs, and so forth. He was not a poor man; he simply preferred a life of travelling the country by train to sitting at home. In his memoir The Ways of the Hobo, Livingston admitted that he was uneducated, but began his self-education at the age of 35.
John Griffith “Jack” London (born John Griffith Chaney; January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916) was an American novelist, journalist, and social activist. A pioneer in the world of commercial magazine fiction, he was one of the first writers to become a worldwide celebrity and earn a large fortune from writing. He was also an innovator in the genre that would later become known as science fiction.
György Faludy (September 22, 1910, Budapest – September 1, 2006, Budapest) was a Hungarian-born poet, writer and translator. He was best known for Villon balladái (1937), his lyrical reinterpretations of the verse of 15th-century French balladeer François Villon, and for his autobiographical novel My Happy Days in Hell (1962), which detailed his imprisonment (1950 – 53) in a labour camp as a suspected American agent. He traveled extensively, served in the U.S. Army during World War II, and eventually settled in Toronto in 1967.
Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic whose work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism and outspoken support of democratic socialism.