Amy and Dying Young - Writers and Poets

Amy Winehouse’s death fed the Romantic mythos of artists dying at a young age in a blaze of glory. Dying at 27, she was preceded by other members of the 27 club, including Kurt Cobain and, of course, the holy trinity of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Jim Morrison. Memorable actors have also died at a young age: Natalie Wood, Judy Garland, and James Dean. Poets: Sylvia Plath.

How do fiction writers fare? They seem to hang on for a while. Here is a list, their longevity expressed in Amy Winehouse lifetimes.

Author Died Poison Greatest Literary Achievement Winehouse Lifetimes
William Faulkner 1962 Alcohol Parodied in Barton Fink 2.4
Charles Bukowski 1994 Alcohol Created the character, Henry Chinaski, a fine role model for our youth 2.75
John Cheever 1982 Alcohol, Various Drugs Featured in an episode of Seinfeld 2.6
Jack Kerouac 1969 Alcohol Name that was pronounced just like it was spelled 1.75
Ernest Hemingway 1961 Alcohol Inspiring John McCain to run for president 2.3
Philip K Dick 1982 Amphetamines Overdosed on Vitamin C 2
Ambrose Bierce 1914 Alcohol Inexplicably disappeared in Mexico 2.666
William S Burroughs 1997 Heroin Owned a most unusual typewriter 3.1
Ayn Rand 1982 Speed/Dexedrine Founded new religion based on book fatter than Bible. 2.85