Plenty of authors write from unusual places, but few can claim that they penned stories in a penitentiary. William Sydney Porter, better known by his pseudonym O. Henry, wrote many of his best known pieces from behind bars.
Upbringing and Young Adulthood
Born September 11, 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina, Porter spent much of his childhood reading. His tastes were voracious and indiscriminate, as is often the case with early readers; he devoured both dime novels and classics with equal enthusiasm. Two of his favorites were Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and Lace's translation of One Thousand and One Nights. Porter was tutored by his aunt throughout his youth, and after graduation he went to work at his uncle's drug store.