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J.K. Rowling reads to children at the 2010 White House Egg Roll. According to a new essay, her own experiences as a young student helped inform the Harry Potter character Dolores Umbridge. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Poet Carolyn Forche stands with her friend and mentor Galway Kinnell (right) during a trip to Japan to attend the Asian Writers Congress in 1983. Courtesy of Carolyn Forche hide caption

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Courtesy of Carolyn Forche

Roz Chast drew on memories of her parents — and actually drew them — for her Kirkus Prize-winning memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Bill Franzen hide caption

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Bill Franzen

A woman looks at an oil portrait of Toni Morrison at the National Portrait Gallery. A self-portrait of sorts, Morrison's life of fiction drawn in words will be permanently kept at Princeton. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

Elmore Leonard was famously picky with his words — but not with his papers. He left behind more than 150 boxes, or about 2,400 linear feet, of documents. Vince Bucci/Getty Images hide caption

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Vince Bucci/Getty Images

Patrick Modiano, who's typically known for being media-shy, steps into the spotlight for a press conference in Paris following his Nobel win on Thursday. Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images