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8 Novelists Who Were Featured on International Banknotes

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While American currency features former U.S. Presidents, Founding Fathers, and iconic landmarks, many other countries put famous writers, poets, artists, and novelists on their banknotes.

1. Hans Christian Andersen // Denmark

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen is mostly known for his classic fairy tales like "Thumbelina," "The Little Mermaid," and "The Emperor's New Clothes," which were published in the late 1830s. The Danish government issued Andersen's likeness on the 10 Kroner note in 1952 until Danish Councillor of State Cathrine Sophie Kirchhoff replaced the writer on the banknote in 1975.

In 2005, Danmarks Nationalbank issued five special 10-Kroner coins, as part of a year-long "Andersen Year" to celebrate the bicentennial of the writer's birth [PDF].

2. Robert Louis Stevenson // Scotland

In 1994, the Royal Bank of Scotland issued special commemorative £1 banknotes featuring Robert Louis Stevenson—author of Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the novelist's death. The banknotes featured Stevenson's childhood home in Edinburgh and his final resting place on the Samoan Islands.

3. James Joyce // Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland issued £10 banknotes featuring Ulysses writer James Joyce in 1993. The back of the note features Joyce's signature and a line from his final novel, Finnegans Wake, which read, "Riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs."

The Central Bank of Ireland discontinued the banknote and replaced it with the Euro in 2002. However, a special commemorative €10 coin was minted to honor James Joyce in 2013. The coin featured his portrait and an excerpt from Ulysses: "Ineluctable modality of the visible: at least that if no more, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read..." 

4. Fatma Aliye Topuz // Turkey

In 2009, Turkey debuted a ₺50 (Turkish Lira) with Turkish novelist and women's rights activist Fatma Aliye Topuz on the reverse side (the country's first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, appears on the front of all Turkey's Lira). Born in 1862, she is one of the first female novelists from Turkey and has six novels to her name, including Useful Information, Dream And Truth, and Scenes from Life.

5. Henry Lawson // Australia

In 1966, Award-winning author Henry Lawson was showcased on the $10 Australian bill. Lawson's poems, short stories, and novels reflected the hardships and triumphs of the "underdog" class in Australia's outback without romanticizing them.

6. Sir Walter Scott // Scotland

Novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott is attributed with saving the Scottish banknote. In 1826, Parliament attempted to end production of all banknotes under £5. Using the pseudonym "Malachi Malagrowther" (one of the characters in his novel The Fortunes of Nigel), Scott wrote a series of letters to the Edinburgh Weekly Journal urging Parliament to give the right to continue to print money to the Bank of Scotland.

These letters elicited such a strong response from the population that Parliament issued the Bank Notes Act 1826, which allowed Scottish banks to print one pound banknotes. As a result, The Bank of Scotland printed every banknote with Scott's likeness on the obverse side to honor the writer.

7. Ichiyō Higuchi // Japan

In 2004, the Bank of Japan put novelist Ichiyō Higuchi on the ¥5,000 bill. She became the third woman to appear on Japanese yen, after Empress Consort Jingū (1881) and poet Murasaki Shikibu (2000) [PDF]. Higuchi gained popularity throughout Japan and its literary establishment for her stories about the plight of the women working in Tokyo's red-light district. In 1896, she died of tuberculosis; she was just 24.

8. Charles Dickens // United Kingdom

in 1992, the Bank of England issued £10 banknotes featuring celebrated writer Charles Dickens on the reverse side of the bill (Queen Elizabeth II was featured on the obverse side). In 2003, Charles Darwin replaced Dickens on the reverse side of the £10 note, and Jane Austen will replace Darwin on the banknote in 2017.

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11 Popular Quotes Commonly Misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald
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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a lot of famous lines, from musings on failure in Tender is the Night to “so we beat on, boats against the current” from The Great Gatsby. Yet even with a seemingly never-ending well of words and beautiful quotations, many popular idioms and phrases are wrongly attributed to the famous Jazz Age author. Here are 11 popular phrases that are often misattributed to Fitzgerald. (You may need to update your Pinterest boards.)

1. “WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER.”

This quote is often attributed to either Fitzgerald or his contemporary, Ernest Hemingway, who died in 1961. There is no evidence in the collected works of either writer to support that attribution; the idea was first associated with Fitzgerald in a 1996 Associated Press story, and later in Stephen Fry’s memoir More Fool Me. In actuality, humorist Peter De Vries coined an early version of the phrase in a 1964 novel titled Reuben, Reuben.

2. “FOR WHAT IT’S WORTH: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE OR, IN MY CASE, TOO EARLY TO BE WHOEVER YOU WANT TO BE.”

It’s easy to see where the mistake could be made regarding this quote: Fitzgerald wrote the short story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” in 1922 for Collier's Magazine, and it was adapted into a movie of the same name, directed by David Fincher and starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, in 2008. Eric Roth wrote the screenplay, in which that quotation appears.

3. “OUR LIVES ARE DEFINED BY OPPORTUNITIES, EVEN THE ONES WE MISS.”

This is a similar case to the previous quotation; this quote is attributed to Benjamin Button’s character in the film adaptation. It’s found in the script, but not in the original short story.

4. “YOU’LL UNDERSTAND WHY STORMS ARE NAMED AFTER PEOPLE.”

There is no evidence that Fitzgerald penned this line in any of his known works. In this Pinterest pin, it is attributed to his novel The Beautiful and Damned. However, nothing like that appears in the book; additionally, according to the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Association, although there were a few storms named after saints, and an Australian meteorologist was giving storms names in the 19th century, the practice didn’t become widespread until after 1941. Fitzgerald died in 1940.

5. “A SENTIMENTAL PERSON THINKS THINGS WILL LAST. A ROMANTIC PERSON HAS A DESPERATE CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WON’T.”

This exact quote does not appear in Fitzgerald’s work—though a version of it does, in his 1920 novel This Side of Paradise:

“No, I’m romantic—a sentimental person thinks things will last—a romantic person hopes against hope that they won’t. Sentiment is emotional.” The incorrect version is widely circulated and requoted.

6. “IT’S A FUNNY THING ABOUT COMING HOME. NOTHING CHANGES. EVERYTHING LOOKS THE SAME, FEELS THE SAME, EVEN SMELLS THE SAME. YOU REALIZE WHAT’S CHANGED IS YOU.”

This quote also appears in the 2008 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button script, but not in the original short story.

7. “GREAT BOOKS WRITE THEMSELVES; ONLY BAD BOOKS HAVE TO BE WRITTEN.”

There is no evidence of this quote in any of Fitzgerald’s writings; it mostly seems to circulate on websites like qotd.org, quotefancy.com and azquotes.com with no clarification as to where it originated.

8. “SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, BUT NOT LIKE THOSE GIRLS IN THE MAGAZINES. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE WAY SHE THOUGHT. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR THE SPARKLE IN HER EYES WHEN SHE TALKED ABOUT SOMETHING SHE LOVED. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL FOR HER ABILITY TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE SMILE, EVEN IF SHE WAS SAD. NO, SHE WASN’T BEAUTIFUL FOR SOMETHING AS TEMPORARY AS HER LOOKS. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL, DEEP DOWN TO HER SOUL.”

This quote may have originated in a memoir/advice book published in 2011 by Natalie Newman titled Butterflies and Bullshit, where it appears in its entirety. It was attributed to Fitzgerald in a January 2015 Thought Catalog article, and was quoted as written by an unknown source in Hello, Beauty Full: Seeing Yourself as God Sees You by Elisa Morgan, published in September 2015. However, there’s no evidence that Fitzgerald said or wrote anything like it.

9. “AND IN THE END, WE WERE ALL JUST HUMANS, DRUNK ON THE IDEA THAT LOVE, ONLY LOVE, COULD HEAL OUR BROKENNESS.”

Christopher Poindexter, the successful Instagram poet, wrote this as part of a cycle of poems called “the blooming of madness” in 2013. After a Twitter account called @SirJayGatsby tweeted the phrase with no attribution, it went viral as being attributed to Fitzgerald. Poindexter has addressed its origin on several occasions.

10. “YOU NEED CHAOS IN YOUR SOUL TO GIVE BIRTH TO A DANCING STAR.”

This poetic phrase is actually derived from the work of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who died in 1900, just four years after Fitzgerald was born in 1896. In his book Thus Spake ZarathustraNietzsche wrote the phrase, “One must have chaos within to enable one to give birth to a dancing star.” Over time, it’s been truncated and modernized into the currently popular version, which was included in the 2009 book You Majored in What?: Designing Your Path from College to Career by Katharine Brooks.

11. “FOR THE GIRLS WITH MESSY HAIR AND THIRSTY HEARTS.”

This quote is the dedication in Jodi Lynn Anderson’s book Tiger Lily, a reimagining of the classic story of Peter Pan. While it is often attributed to Anderson, many Tumblr pages and online posts cite Fitzgerald as its author.

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New PEN Archive Offers 1500 Hours of Audio/Video of Your Favorite Authors Online
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PEN America has a new digital archive, and it will give you access to hundreds of hours of interviews, panels, and debates with your favorite authors. The literary and human rights organization just posted approximately 1500 hours of audio and video from events online.

The conferences, readings, and other events date back to 1966. Among the collection's highlights are Haruki Murakami’s first-ever public speaking event, audio from Pablo Neruda’s first visit to the U.S. in 1966 (as part of an event with the iconic, dome-obsessed architect Buckminster Fuller, among others), audio from a 1986 reading with Mario Vargas Llosa and Salman Rushdie, and video interviews with Toni Morrison.

For example, here’s a video from a 1982 event on banned books that featured Morrison, Grace Paley, John Irving, Gay Talese, and more.

It’s the first time PEN America has been able to make its entire audio and video archive available to the public. Digitizing the recordings will also help the organization preserve its history, since many of the analog recordings were in danger of deteriorating over time.

"With the release of the PEN America Digital Archive, these essential voices have been brought back to life, brimming with personality, passion, opinion, and sometimes bombast,” PEN America’s executive director, Suzanne Nossel, said in a press release. “Hearing directly from these greats will offer information and inspiration to writers, scholars, and free expression advocates for generations to come."

You can search the archive by keywords or author names, or check out the curated featured collections, which right now include programming with Toni Morrison from the past 30 years and multimedia from PEN’s 1986 annual congress, headed by Norman Mailer.

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