What Should an Author Profile Look Like?

Washington Irving, 1783-1859

Washington Irving, 1809 by John Wesley Jarvis

One of the key features of Excellence in Literature is that we don’t assign anything that is just busywork. The Author Profile is designed to capture the essential points in an author’s life, with an emphasis on those that directly relate to his literary life.

The profile should not be more than two pages at most, and can be well done at a much shorter length. Here is a student-written sample:

Author Profile for English 3: Excellence in Literature’s American Literature

Name: Washington Irving (pseudonyms include Dietrich Knickerbocker, Jonathan Oldstyle, and Geoffrey Crayon

Birth Date: April 3, 1783

Death Date: November 28, 1859

Best-Known Works: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rip Van Winkle, The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, The Life of George Washington, Knickerbocker’s History of New York

Brief Biography: Washington Irving used his experiences living in both Europe and America to write humorous and meditative stories popular in both the new and old worlds. Irving’s life and work were influenced by the events of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and he was also profoundly influenced by other writers (both European and American) of his time. His favorite childhood stories involved voyages to far-off lands. The places of Irving’s life show up extensively in his writing. He wrote of England, America, and even lived in Tarrytown, New York, where he set The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.