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Monday, 4 November 2019
Libraries

Did you know November is National Novel Writing Month? It started in 1999 with a non-profit organisation called NaNoWriMo, who set a challenge for people to write 50,000 words of a new novel during the thirty days of November. In celebration of this initiative, we have collated a list of novels that not only became literary classics, but were the authors' first published work. Here are nine novels that went from debut to classic. 

A Study in Scarlett by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 

Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson as we see them today on the big screen, began with a story about a battle-scared surgeon looking for a place to live and an eccentric genius with a spare room at 221B Baker Street. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle went onto to create many adventures for this famous crime solving duo, forging their relationship into an iconic one that dealt with mysterious hounds, pips and a scandal in Bohemia. 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling

On a delayed train travelling from Manchester to London's King Cross, an idea was born of a small, black-haired boy that wore glasses and had a scar on his head. In Edinburgh cafes, a name was given to this boy and his story began. Then finally, after 12 rejections, Harry Potter was introduced to the world and the rest, as they say, is history. 

Carrie by Stephen King 

Before there was a clown that lived in the gutter and a writer that lost his mind in the Overlook Hotel, there was Carrie. An introverted girl with powers of telekinesis who faced the horror of teenage life. Carrie was the fourth manuscript written by Stephen King but the first to be published, after his wife removed them from the garbage where he had thrown them away in frustration. 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly

At just 18, Mary Shelley wrote a story that not only questioned the limits of scientific curiosity and human creativity but also revolutionised the horror genre. In this gothic tale, readers viewed the human experience through the eyes of a monster which still to this day, remains one of the most famous works of fiction ever to be produced. 

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in America, a novel was published about a child's realisation of racism, prejudice and injustice in the American South. This Pulitzer winning novel form Harper Lee was the only novel she produced until Go Set a Watchman in 2015 which looks into the turbulent events beginning to shape the United States in the mid-1950s. 

Sense and sensibility by Jane Austen 

Between the ages of 21 and 23, Jane Austen began writing her first novel. Originally entitled 'Elinor and Marianne' and published under the pseudonym 'A Lady', Sense and Sensibility provided a glimpse into the manners and customs of a 1790s polite society. This was the beginning of an extraordinary talent, where would we be without Jane Austen and her tales of love? 

The Time Machine by H.G.Wells

H.G.Wells embedded his social and political views into his debut work, a novel considered one of the earliest works of science fiction and a progenitor of the time travel genre. As his ivory, crystal and brass contraption hurdles through time, Wells creates a devastating reality in the year 802,701 where the Eloi and Morlocks represent the eventual result of unchecked capitalism.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

In a time when women published their work under pseudonyms to conceal their female identity, a Currer Bell published the revolutionary work Jane Eyre. As we know today, this novel was written by Charlotte Bronte and is an extraordinary depiction of a woman's search for independence and equality. Charlotte, along with her sisters Emily and Anne, produced some of the most remarkable writing of the 19th century. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

If anything, this remarkably creative novel gave us one of the greatest pieces of advice; DON'T PANIC. Only in this unique debut novel would one man have his house demolished without notice, his friend announce he is an alien and see Earth demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, all in the space of one morning.