Literary Ink: Famous Authors and Their Tattoos

For some reason, writers and tattoos don’t necessarily spring to mind as a natural pairing — we tend to imagine authors decked out in sleeves of tweed and corduroy, not ink. But more and more authors are showing off their tattoos nowadays, and even some classic writers are a little more tatted up than you might think: George Orwell supposedly sported bright blue dots on his knuckles, and Dorothy Parker wore a star on her elbow. Since we’re always interested in finding out a little bit more about the internal lives of our favorite writers, we decided to explore a few of their tattoos, from the simple to the expansive, the cheeky to the deadly serious. Check out some awesome writer ink after the jump.

Kathy Acker’s awesome back tattoo, the most badass combination of birds and flowers and koi we’ve ever seen. “The tattoo is primal parent to the visual arts,” she wrote in Empire of the Senseless. “Beginning as abstract maps of spiritual vision, records of the ‘other’ world, tattoos were originally icons of power and mystery designating realms beyond normal land-dwellers’ experience… In decadent phases, the tattoo became associated with the criminal — literally the outlaw — and the power of the tattoo became intertwined with the power of those who chose to live beyond the norms of society.” Fun fact: Acker dedicated the novel to her tattoo artist.