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Five Authors who loved writing in sheds

Updated: Mar 20

A lot is being said about turning your backyard storage shed into a home office, or buying a shed with the intention of using it as one. Though this may seem like a trend of the 21st century (and certainly the growing popularity of it must be), people in past generations also used their backyard storage shed as something of a home office. And some of these people were quite famous!

Below is a list of five famous authors who loved setting pen to paper in their backyard storage shed turned to writer’s workshop.

George Bernard Shaw Well known for his plays, such as Pygmalion (also know as “My Fair Lady”), Bernard Shaw is one of the most frequently taught, Irish writers. But what people may be less familiar with him for is the fact that much of his writing actually took place in his shed! Believe it or not, this shed was built on a turntable, which allowed the legendary writer to readjust the position of his shed depending on where the sun was in the sky. He even kept a bed in his shed for when he wanted to rest, along with a phone in order to keep up with his calls.

Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf understood the distractions that occur when you work from home. As a way to get a private retreat from these worldly cares, she had her small garden shed reconstructed into the quintessential writing shed. Unfortunately, the small garden shed, now writing shed, proved to be not much quieter. She was constantly bothered by her husband, the sound of church bells, the nearby school yard and the like. Yet these distractions didn’t keep her from doing some great writing, penning sections from her many great novels and essays.

Dylan Thomas

Feeling like you need to get away from things? Then you can relate to poet Dylan Thomas. He worked in his little writing shed during the last four years of his life. The shed was green on the outside and painted white on the inside. He had shelves along the walls for his books and even had a little fireplace to keep things warm during the winter. “Do not go gentle into that good night” was written in this writer’s work shed.

Thoreau We mustn’t forget the quintessential shed writer, Thoreau, who spent two years living “in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond.” Similar to the other writers on this list, Thoreau had grown weary of worldly distractions. But unlike the others, who did their living in a house nearby and their writing in their shed, Thoreau went all out and actually lived in his. “Walden Pond” might just be one of the first accounts of a liveable shed in the popular psyche.

Mark Twain Famous writer, comedian, and adventurer, Mark Twain lived a grandiose life, spending more than he could afford, and eventually driving himself into poverty. But his own writing shack was anything but grandiose. He described his writing retreat home by saying in a letter: “It is the loveliest study you ever saw…octagonal with a peaked roof, each face filled with a spacious window…perched in complete isolation on the top of an elevation that commands leagues of valley and city and retreating ranges of distant blue hills.”

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