10 Famous Authors Who Dropped Out of School

This time of year, we often find ourselves thinking about the origins of some of our favorite writers — how they found themselves on the writing path, what they read, how they learned. And we’ve been surprised to realize how many successful and even legendary writers dropped out of school and ended up (at least for the most part) teaching themselves. Now, don’t get us wrong — kids, you should definitely stay in school — but it’s worth noting that many of those without a formal education, or without much of one, went on to achieve great success (read: Pulitzers/Nobels/The New York Times Best Seller list) with independent learning. Read about a few of our favorite literary dropouts after the jump.

Harper Lee

The Pulitzer-Prize winning author is a lesson in following your dreams if we’ve ever seen it. Lee had been interested in literature from high school, but in college, decided to pursue a career in law. Though her interest in writing only increased as she grew older, in her junior year at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, she was accepted into the school’s law program, set up so students could begin their law studies concurrently with undergraduate work. After only a semester, she dropped out, and moved to New York City to become a writer. And we all know how that story ended — not too shabbily.