Believe it or not, August 13 has been a day that I have celebrated avidly for many years now. Growing up, I had a small group of friends who were totally into obscure holidays. I’m not sure how we discovered that August 13 was International Left-Hander’s Day, but it had us PUMPED, seeing as three out of the four of us are left-handed.
How does one celebrate Left-Hander’s Day? We used to do it at the beach with a candy-filled piñata that was marked down on clearance and by buying cute little souvenirs for each other at the same store while trying to keep our finds a secret until the gifting ceremony.
But today, I wanted to recognize some famous authors who you may or may not have known were left handed. Living in a world that was designed for right-handed people is hard, especially in the times as some of these authors.
Here are a few famous authors you may not have known were left-handed:
Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)
The 19th century was a notoriously bad time in history to be a leftie. Granted, society was slightly past the stage of believing that left-handed people were witches consorting with the devil. But only just. The author of the timeless classic, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, grew up in a time when left-handed children were suppressed and – often savagely – forced to conform to the expectation of using their right hand for everything. If you want to remember how far we’ve come as a society, look up some old 1800s classroom paintings showing a teacher brutally whipping a little boy for using his left hand. It will hurt you at a personal level.
While it’s all speculation, some believe that Carroll suffered from psychological trauma and a severe stutter as a result of being forced to “correct” his left-handedness. Whether they were products of years of suppression or just pure creative genius, the Wonderland books have inspired the whimsy in kids for generations, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
Does anyone else remember reading The Metamorphosis in high school English class and being thoroughly disturbed? Well, it turns out that Kafka was a southpaw. Maybe that explains some things, idk. You tell me. Fun fact: the original Latin word for “sinister” could be literally translated as “left.” While I wouldn’t call Kafka’s literary achievements “sinister,” some of them are unnerving and strange.
Speaking of high school (and sinister things), let’s talk about how oppressive those desks attached to the chairs are. I have never in my life seen one designed for left-handed people. Granted, I went to a public school best characterized by peeling paint and broken lockers. All I’m saying is I would have signed a petition to put two leftie desks in every classroom.
H.G Wells (1866-1946)
Who knew the man responsible for cultural sci-fi phenomenon like The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds was left-handed? He is referred to as a “futurist,” so maybe he was just looking forward to modern times, when left-handed people would be seen as equals. Regardless, Wells’s ideas were definitely ahead of their time. He essentially predicted the invention of the internet, so I’m convinced he had some prophetic superpowers (though he wasn’t a twin). He was even nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature FOUR TIMES. So close!
The Invisible Man was one of the first classic sci-fi books I got into, and it is still a favorite. Definitely a must-read for sci-fi and thriller lovers.
Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Okay, technically this one is a bit of a stretch. Despite being listed frequently as a left-handed author, documentary evidence indicates that Mark Twain was actually a righty. He evidently developed severe arthritis in his right hand during the last decade of his life. Therefore, he taught himself to write with his left hand so he could continue his craft. Regardless, he’s an honorary leftie in my book for having to adapt to the righty-dominated world late in life due to his disease. Plus, they unfortunately didn’t have Left-Hander’s Day at the time.
How are you celebrating International Left-Hander’s Day? Tell us your favorite left-handed authors or book characters in the comments!
HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. (HCCP) is owned by HarperCollins Publishing, the publisher of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. HCCP operates Page Chaser.