The writing profession is a creative one. Fame and high earnings come only with time. Hence, it should come as no surprise that some writers have grasped rather unusual professions. What did Agatha Christie, Marek Hlasko, or Olga Tokarczuk do for a living?
Boleslaw Prus – a man of many professions
Boleslaw Prus (1847-1912) only later became a wealthy man through his books and columns. Earlier he tried different jobs to support themselves. He was a tutor, tutor and cashier in the bank, which can be explained by his intellectualism. Lacking the means for his desired studies, he also worked as a photographer, locksmith, and even a street speaker
Haruki Murakami – ran a jazz club
Born in 1949. Haruki Murakami is undoubtedly the most popular Japanese author in Poland. Before he became famous with “The Twisted Bird Chronicle”, he was engaged in something quite unusual for a writer, because he and his wife ran a jazz club in Tokyo. Nor was this occupation consistent with Murakami’s education, who graduated in theater studies in Tokyo.
Olga Tokarczuk – psychotherapist in Walbrzych
Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk (born 1962) graduated in psychology from Warsaw University. Not surprisingly, before she became famous, she worked as a psychotherapist at the Mental Health Clinic in Walbrzych
Marek Hłasko – truck driver
Polish writer and film scriptwriter (1934-1969) was widely known for the fact that he often changed jobs and could not hold on to any of them for too long. He started out at the age of 16 as a truck driver in Bystrzyca Kłodzka. This occupation influenced the writing of his novel “Next to Paradise”, which was later filmed as the movie “Base of the Dead”
Agatha Christie – pharmacy technician
The British master of detective fiction (1890-1976) is the best-selling author of all time with two billion copies printed in more than forty languages. Who was she before her illustrious career flourished? Christie earned money as a pharmacy technician, among other things. In turn, the period of World War I passed her by working in a hospital.
James Joyce – cinematographer
James Joyce (1882 – 1942), is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. The author of ”Ulysses” performed many professions, unusual for a literary man. He was a pianist, singer and teacher of English in Italy and Croatia, among other things. An interesting, but short episode in his career was the opening of the first cinema in Dublin with his wife. Unfortunately, the institution ceased to exist after a year of operation
Jack London – illegal oyster catcher
Living between 1876 and 1916, Jack London, during his short and adventurous life, often pursued professions rarely chosen by men of letters. Some of them were even illegal, such as oyster fishing in San Francisco Bay. In addition, the author of “The White Fang” was a sailor, newspaperman, tramp, reporter and gold digger.
Vladimir Nabokov – curator of the butterfly collection at the museum
The author of the scandalous Lolita (1899-1977) lived in Paris after emigrating from Russia in 1920. By the time he moved to the United States, he was already a recognized writer. At Harvard, however, he could not afford to live off writing alone. So he became curator of the butterfly collection at the Museum of Zoology. These beautiful animals were Nabokov’s passion
Boleslaw Lesmian – notary
The life of Boleslaw Lesmian (1877-1937) showed that even in the seemingly respectable profession of a notary, one is not necessarily destined to achieve financial balance in life. Until the end of his days, he had to face financial troubles that arose because of abuses committed by his associate
Zbigniew Herbert – the louse feeder
The terrible times of World War II affected the activities of Zbigniew Herbert (1924 – 1998). The outstanding poet, essayist and playwright had to work as a feeder of healthy lice at an institute that produced vaccines against typhus. He also sold in a hardware store
Photo Karolina Grabowska/Pexels