Why Top Authors Killed Themselves?

I thought authors had a firm grip on life before now, you know? They recreate reality in such an excellent way, you’d think they authored life itself. Suicide is a social disease ravaging players in all spheres of life but to think authors are included? The statistics were far more shocking than I expected.

In the heat of my curiosity, I did a little research, and you wouldn’t believe it, I found even the most proficient authors commit suicide.

There are a couple of Top Authors Who Killed Themselves.

Picture of Top Authors who Killed Themselves

Sylvia Plath (1932-1963):  A poet and a mother of two. She lived a depressed life. Constantly in and out of the hospital and made several attempts at suicide.

She ended her life, by putting her head in the oven and gassing herself out at age 30. Her most popular work was titled ‘The Bell Jar’.


Picture of Top Authors who Killed Themselves


John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969) killed himself at the age of 31 after his book ‘Confederacy of Dunces’ was rejected by several publishers, using a garden hose to pump exhaust fumes into his car. His book won a prize that eventually popularized him in his death.

Other Top Authors who killed themselves:

Virginia Woolf (1882-1841), Anne Sexton (1928-1974), Hunter Thompson (1937-2005), Jack London (1876-1916), David Foster Wallace (1962-2008), Gérard de Nerval (1808-1855), Yukio Mishima (1925-1970), John Berryman (1914-1972), Walter Benjamin (1892-1840),

Cesare Pavese (1908-1950), Romain Gary (1914-1980), Jerzy Kosinski (1933-1991), Richard Brautigan (1935-1984), Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930), Karin Boye (1900-1941), Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927),  Ernest Hemmingway (1899-1961).

Why do Authors Kill Themselves?

Authors like every normal human being are faced with challenges from the upbeat of life, but for one or more reasons, these people couldn’t stand continuous existence in the light of what they faced, so they took their own lives. The challenges faced by some of the above-mentioned authors included;

  • Depression: Some were depressed from failures in their lives outside their writings. Some were heartbroken from rejection from their lovers, feelings of inadequacy from their writings, criminal records, and allegations that tore their lives apart. While others never see the brighter side of life, so they were terminally depressed.
  • Medical challenges: Some authors committed suicide, as they couldn’t stand the rigors of being invalid all the rest of their lives. Pushing through phases of illness and relapses of mental disorder for some, was too much to handle, thus making suicide a grand alternative.
  • Alcoholism: Some suffered heavy alcoholism, which in a sense blurred the relevance of their existence. It engendered depression in some and severe medical challenges in others.
  • Peace: Though an awkward reason to take one’s life, some of the authors took their own lives because they wanted peace. The rudiments and technicalities of existence, no longer made meaning to them, they sought an end to it all by taking their own lives.

Is Every Author Bound to Kill themselves?

Writing in itself is not the demon that encourages authors to kill themselves or better placed “commit suicide”, most times it is in dealing with the root cause of an author’s problems that the ingenuity of writing pops up.

Many authors have attested to the fact that words flowed freely from them when they had the biggest challenges and it was the easiest way to ease their tensions.

Other writers had relapsed into depression due to the multiplicity of emotions their writings created within them, while others were naturally creative when it came to writing, but the challenges life threw at then stifled their creativity.

In answering if authors are bound to kill themselves, it is factual to conclude that authors give in to suicide, not because they’re authors but because of the individual challenges they face.

Is Suicide and Fame Congenial for Authors?

Seeing a list of top authors who killed themselves would make you wonder if they wouldn’t have killed themselves if they weren’t famous. Sometimes writing could bring an author into the limelight, but they don’t seem to enjoy it for long as is the case with most authors on the list.

Fame often has nothing to do with an author’s personal life and inner struggle. It might become all the more frustrating when they realize their lives are far from what the world portrays them to be.

This awareness of shortcomings might encourage suicidal thoughts for a few, and for others makes it easier to cry out for help. Humans are quick to make decisions based on their emotions and as iterated earlier, personal struggles and depression rarely give thought to life achievement.

Once they feel they can’t carry on and are willing to call it quits, they do it without much thinking, it’s the case for most humans and clearly has nothing to do with authorship. There are authors who lived good lives and died happy, thriving on the fame writing brought them.

Why Will Anyone Kill Themselves?

It often said that “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”, at some point in some people’s lives, they feel they’re not made for tough situations, or life was too tough they couldn’t get going.

They decide to end the journey called ‘life’, mostly because they lost the will to live and life became meaningless due to the challenges they couldn’t handle. It’s important to open up when one finds themselves at this point.