Rudyard Kipling was born on this day

9780198723431Joseph 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.

  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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?

Oxf9780199536450ord World Classics
The Jungle Books

9780199538607Oxford 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.

Arthur Conan Doyle was born on this day

9780199672066Arthur Conan Doyle was born 156 years ago today in Edinburgh, Scotland. The third of ten children, Conan Doyle studied medicine at Edinburgh University and worked as a ship’s doctor before setting up his own practice in Southsea. He later gave up practicing medicine to pursue a literary career full-time and penned one of fiction’s most famous detectives, Sherlock Holmes.

To celebrate his birthday, here are five interesting particulars about Arthur Conan Doyle’s life and writings:

1. The inspiration for Sherlock Holmes came from Conan Doyle’s medical studies, where he was mentored by Dr Joseph Bell. Bell was known for his powers of deduction and superior observational skills and could diagnosis a patient, building detailed analysis of their lifestyle purely from his observations.

2. Conan Doyle wrote fifty-six short stories and four novels around the character of Sherlock Holmes between 1887 and 1927. Conan Doyle originally killed off the detective in ‘The Final Problem’, so he could pursue other literary efforts. After a public outcry from his readers, the writer eventually revived Holmes and penned The Hound of Baskervilles.

3. While he is most famously known for writing the Sherlock Holmes stories, Conan Doyle also authored a number of historical titles, fantasy novel The Lost World and a pamphlet entitled The War in South Africa: Its Cause and Conduct. For the latter work, Conan Doyle was knighted by King Edward VII.

4. Apart from his interests in medicine and literature, Conan Doyle also had political aspirations and was a crusader for justice. He stood for Parliament (but was unsuccessful both times) and investigated two closed cases, where his work helped to correct miscarriages of justice.

5. After watching Houdini’s act in 1920 at Portsmouth, the author and illusionist became friends. They would later become public foes, over their differing beliefs as Conan Doyle and his second wife, Jean, became heavily involved in spiritualism. Conan Doyle toured internationally to lecture on his beliefs, participated in séances and compiled a two volume work The History of Spiritualism.

Want to know more about Arthur Conan Doyle?

Crime Fiction: A Very Short Introduction9780199658787


9780199555482Oxford World’s Classics
The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


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.