Joseph Rudyard Kipling was born 150 years ago today in Bombay, India. He was educated in England, studied at the United Services College and began a career in journalism. Kipling later made the transition to writer and is best remembered for his mastery of short stories.
To celebrate his birthday, here are five interesting particulars about Rudyard Kipling’s life and works.
- Rudyard Kipling spent a blissful early childhood in Bombay, India with his parents and younger sister. At the age of 5 Kipling was fostered at a strict boarding house in Southsea to continue his education, where he was regularly beaten and bullied. During this traumatic experience in his formative years, Kipling retreated to the safety of books which had a lasting effect on Kipling and would later influence his writing.
- Kipling worked as a journalist for the Civil and Military Gazette and The Pioneer and later travelled as roving correspondent, opting for a career instead of university. It was through a journalism career that Kipling honed his writing skills and started crafting short stories for syndication in the newspapers he worked for.
- Inspired by his childhood in India and favourite magazine stories of his youth, Kipling started to write about Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves in 1892. These animal tales would later grow into the Jungle Books, first published in magazines the following year. Kipling’s father, artist John Lockwood Kipling, contributed some of the work’s illustrations.
- A prolific writer in both volume and variety, Kipling’s was not only a master of the short story including the Jungle Books, Just So Stories and Stalky & Co but also was highly acclaimed for his non-fiction, war journalism, travel writing (From Sea to Sea), poetry (Barrack-Room Ballads), essays and speeches.
- In 1907 Kipling was the first English writer to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature. In his lifetime, Kipling was also offered a knighthood and the Order of Merit but declined both honours.
Want to know more about Rudyard Kipling?
Oxford World Classics
The Jungle Books
Oxford World Classics
Just So Stories
Marketing and Product Specialist, Stephanie Swain, loves books, food, and books about food. She is slowly trying to make her way through reading the Oxford World’s Classics.