Readersforum's Blog

April 8, 2014

Five Great Literary Pranksters

Orson Welles and The War of The Worlds

Orson Welles and The War of The Worlds

” Poetry Association of America initiating controversial program Fly-Over Poetry Drones. Watch / listen for us over your house in April! “

—Joyce Carol Oates, via Twitter @JoyceCarolOates

While I suppose it’s possible the Poetry Association of America is, in fact, all set to deploy an army of rhyming and scheming drones with the purpose of, one can assume, culturing-up this country, it’s far more likely the infinitely talented Oates was engaging in the time-honored tradition of literary pranking. She was merely getting a head start on April Fool’s Day, or, to put it simply, she was trolling us.

It will probably come as no surprise that authors and trolling have been going hand in hand like high school sweethearts for some time now. I mean, it is basically a writer’s job to make up a bunch of lies and sell them truthfully enough that readers suspend their disbelief and go along for the ride, so why shouldn’t this facet of their job leak out into their personal lives here and there?

In honor of this troll-iest of troll-y days, let’s take a look at some of the greatest literary pranksters history has ever known. Bear in mind, though, I’m not talking about literary hoaxes in which the writers in question hoped no one would ever discover their deceit, but rather writers who were just having a bit of fun.

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