13 Famous Authors’ Mugshots

We tend to think of writers as shy, retiring types, who don’t get into any trouble and definitely don’t get arrested for disorderly conduct or treason. But of course, the literary world has had its fair share of wild and dangerous persons, some of whom are as notorious as criminals (whether rightly or falsely accused) as they are as writers. After the jump, check out 13 mugshots from famous authors’ adventures in police custody — not for use on the backs of book covers.


Ezra Pound

Pinched for: treason, 1945

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James Ellroy 

Pinched for: being drunk, disorderly, et al, 1971

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Isaac Babel

Pinched for: “active participation in an anti-Soviet Trotskyite organization” and “being a member of a terrorist conspiracy,” 1939

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Dalton Trumbo 

Pinched for: refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee, 1947

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Jean Genet

Pinched for: oh so many things.

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Nelson Algren 

Pinched for: possession of marijuana, 1967

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James Frey (with chicken pox!)

Pinched for: drunk driving and driving without a license, 1988

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1944 Police Mugshot Of Malcolm X

Malcolm X 

Pinched for: burglary, 1947

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Neal Cassady 

Pinched for: receipt of stolen property, 1944

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Jack Henry Abbott 

Pinched for: robbery, and then — post-bestselling novel, prison sentence, and Norman Mailer-induced fame — murder. This photo taken in 2000.

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Alexandr Solzhenitsyn 

Pinched for: “anti-Soviet propaganda” in a private letter to a friend. Photo taken upon his release from the Gulag, 1953

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Emile Zola 

Pinched for: criminal libel (re: the Dreyfus affair), 1898

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Jack Kerouac 

Pinched for: All right, so this is his Naval Reserve Enlistment mugshot. But still, 1943

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