30 Famous Authors On Fame


Spoiler alert: Fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. That's the overriding message from these 30 author quotes, but it's probably worth bearing in mind that many didn't find fame until long after they'd shuffled off this mortal coil. So, maybe, pinch of salt?


(Images: Rex)

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame

    Oscar Wilde

    "There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about."

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 1

    Neil Gaiman

    "Notoriety wasn't as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity." 

    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

    (Penned with Terry Pratchett)

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 2


    "Are you not ashamed of caring so much for the making of money and for fame and prestige, when you neither think nor care about wisdom and truth and the improvement of your soul?"

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 3

    Stephen King

    "Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well."

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 4

    Emily Dickinson

    "Fame is a fickle food upon a shifting plate."

    Fame is a fickle food

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 5

    James Patterson

    "We're famous" Iggy whispered so low that Fang could barely hear him.
    "So's Swine Flu" Fang whispered back."

    Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 6

    Madeline Miller

    "They never let you be famous and happy." 

    The Song of Achilles

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 7

    Charles Bukowski

    "When a writer is swayed with his fame and his fortune, you can float him down the river with the turds."

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 8


    "Anonymity in the world of men is better than fame in heaven."

    On the Road

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 9

    Erica Jong

    "Fame means millions of people have the wrong idea of who you are."

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 10

    J.D. Salinger

    "Just because I'm choosy about what I want - in this case, enlightenment, or peace, instead of money or prestige or fame or any of those things - doesn't mean I'm not as egotistical and self-seeking as everybody else."

    Franny and Zooey

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 11

    J.G. Ballard

    "A kind of banalisation of celebrity has occurred: we are now offered an instant, ready-to-mix fame as nutritious as packet soup."

    The Atrocity Exhibition

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 12

    Marcel Proust

    "For although we know that the years pass, that youth gives way to old age, that fortunes and thrones crumble (even the most solid among them) and that fame is transitory, the manner in which—by means of a sort of snapshot—we take cognisance of this moving universe whirled along by Time, has the contrary effect of immobilising it."

    Time Regained

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 13

    mark Twain

    "Fame is a vapour, popularity an accident; the only earthly certainty is oblivion."


  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 14

    J.K. Rowling

    "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that."

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 15

    Emily Brontë

    "Riches I hold in light esteem,
    And love I laugh to scorn,
    And lust of fame was but a dream
    That vanished with the morn."

    The Complete Poems

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 16

    Friedrich Nietzsche

    "Some men are born posthumously."

    The Anti-Christ

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 17

    Vladimir Nabokov

    "Lolita is famous, not I. I am an obscure, doubly obscure, novelist with an unpronounceable name."


  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 18

    Virginia Woolf

    "I will not be "famous," "great." I will go on adventuring, changing, opening my mind and my eyes, refusing to be stamped and stereotyped. The thing is to free one's self: to let it find its dimensions, not be impeded."

    A Writer's Diary

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 19

    Dr. Seuss

    "Fame you'll be famous, as famous as can be, with everyone watching you win on TV, Except when they don't because sometimes they won't."

    Oh, The Places You'll Go!

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 20


    "Ye have heard that fame in this country and fame on Earth are two quite different things."

    The Great Divorce

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 21

    Louisa May Alcott

    "Simple, genuine goodness is the best capital to found the business of this life upon. It lasts when fame and money fail, and is the only riches we can take out of this world with us."

    Little Men

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 22

    Milan Kundera

    "The boy who hankers after fame has no idea what fame is. The thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to us."

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 23

    Henry David Thoreau

    "Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth."


  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 24

    Orson Scott Card

    "That's what so many people didn't understand about life. The real world is the one within the walls of homes; the outside world, of careers and politics and money and fame, that was the fake world, where nothing lasted, and things were real only to the extent they harmed or helped people inside their homes."

    Hidden Empire

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 25

    Lionel Shriver

    "In a country that doesn't discriminate between fame and infamy, the latter presents itself as plainly more achievable."

    We Need to Talk About Kevin

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 26

    H.G. Wells

    "Things that would have made fame of a less clever man seemed tricks in his hands. It is a mistake to do things too easily."

    The Time Machine

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 27

    Rainer Maria Rilke

    "Fame is nothing. Openness, patience, receptivity, solitude is everything.” 

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 28

    W.E.B. Du Bois

    "The worker must work for the glory of his handiwork, not simply for pay; the thinker must think for truth, not for fame."

  • 30 Famous Authors On Fame 29

    Arthur C. Clarke

    "In my life I have found two things of priceless worth - learning and loving. Nothing else - not fame, not power, not achievement for its own sake - can possible have the same lasting value. For when your life is over, if you can say 'I have learned' and 'I have loved,' you will also be able to say 'I have been happy."

    Rama II