If, as a kid, you were anything like us, chances are good that you wrote at least one effusive fan letter, a heartfelt missive brimming with admiration for your favorite actor, pop star, baseball player, or Mouseketeer. Now that we’re all grown up, we’re certainly not immune to the occasional celebrity crush. But here at Bas Bleu, writers are the superstars who make us go weak at the knees.

Case in point: several years ago, one of our reviewers was so awed by an encounter with award-winning novelist Tim O’Brien that she ran and hid. Embarrassing? Yes. But if you’ve ever fallen under the spell of a writer’s work, you’ll recognize the symptoms of a literary crush: waking bleary-eyed after reading late into the night; grappling with the uncontrollable urge to recommend the book to everyone you know (plus a few strangers); waiting anxiously for the author’s newest title to arrive; and maybe, just maybe, writing an honest-to-goodness fan letter.

If so, you’re not alone. Writers are readers too, and often their fellow wordsmiths’ most passionate admirers. Just check out these nine fan letters (and one withering “anti-fan” letter) to and from some of literature’s greatest minds, including Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, and Charles Dickens.

Our favorite? Carson McCullers’s giddy response to Henry Miller’s request for copies of her novels: “The wine down here has a flavor of dead cockroaches and God knows how they make it. But I wanted something, for your letter excited me.”

From one literary fan to another, we say “cheers!”


And for those who have yet to cast your votes for the Bas Bleu Tournament of Classics Elite Eight, you have until midnight (EST) tonight to log your picks in this blog’s comments section or on our Facebook page. We’ll announce the next round of the tournament on Thursday!