A Brief Survey of Unlikely Literary Friendships

It’s a well known fact that, like any contemporaries in a wide artistic field, authors like to hang out together. It makes sense — who else could a writer gripe to, swap critiques with, and steal ideas from? But sometimes we’re a little surprised as to the pairs that pop up in literary history — whether because of huge age differences, disparate personalities, or just issues of accessibility. Click through to see a few pairs of famous unlikely literary friendships that blossomed nonetheless, and if we’ve missed your favorite odd couple, let us know about it in the comments.

Mark Twain and Helen Keller

We would never have guessed that storied American humorist Mark Twain and deafblind author and activist Helen Keller — what with their 45-year age difference, among other things — were besties, but it seems they were. In an incredibly sweet and supportive letter Twain wrote to Keller in 1903, after reading her autobiography, he described their relationship as “an affectionate friendship which has subsisted between us for nine years without a break, and without a single act of violence that I can call to mind. I suppose there is nothing like it in heaven; and not likely to be, until we get there and show off. I often think of it with longing, and how they’ll say, “There they come—sit down in front!” I am practicing with a tin halo. You do the same.”