5 famous writers you probably didn′t know had unrelated jobs for years | High Five | DW | 14.10.2016
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

High Five

5 famous writers you probably didn't know had unrelated jobs for years

Many people think writing is a ticket to poverty. So did these five famous authors. They held "serious" jobs for years before starting their literary career. There's still hope for every aspiring author.

He is one of the most internationally recognized French authors: Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. His works were sold by the millions. His best-known book ,"The Little Prince," was translated in over 180 languages.

Yet his true passion wasn't even writing, but flying. That passion never left him throughout his life. In the end, it killed him.  

The passion of flying 

Already at the age of 12, the young Antoine was sitting in a plane during his summer vacations. He faked papers declaring his mother's permission, and coaxed the pilot of a nearby airport into taking him along on his plane. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was totally fascinated. 

His school grades were however too bad too allow him to become a pilot. Instead, he had to content himself with being trained as an airplane mechanic, while enviously watching others fly. But Antoine didn't give up so easily. He saved as much as he could from his modest earnings, took private flight lessons and finally managed to become a professional pilot. He ended up taking paying tourists on a 15-minute roundtrip above Paris, or in freight planes through Africa. 

Inspiration: crash landing

Waiting for the next flight was an integral part of his job. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry made use of this spare time by writing novels - usually about flying.

"The Little Prince" was inspired by the pilot's crash landing in the Egyptian desert in 1935. He had to walk through the desert for five days before being rescued by a caravan. 

Flying also cost him his life. In 1944, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, during a military reconnaissance flight, crashed near Marseille into the Mediterranean after the plane had been hit by a German fighter pilot.

On the 100th anniversary of the French writer, the airport of Lyon was renamed after him.


DW recommends