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Friday, February 24, 2017

Tom Hanks and other Fiction-Writing Actors

A collection of short stories by Tom Hanks will be published October 24, 2017. 

“Titled Uncommon Type: Some Stories, the collection comprises 17 stories, each having something to do with a different typewriter.  (Hanks has an affinity for the machines, owning a collection of over one hundred vintage typewriters.)  But outside of that particular shared detail, the plots and characters vary wildly: There’s a man immigrating to New York City after fleeing a civil war in his country; a person who becomes an ESPN star after bowling a string of perfect games; a billionaire and his assistant on a ‘hunt for something larger’; and an actor enduring a life of press junkets” (

This is not Hanks’ first published work.  In October, 2014, a short story of his entitled “Alan Bean Plus Four” was published in The New Yorker:

Of course, Hanks is not the first actor to write a work of fiction.  In 2010, Steve Martin wrote An Object of Beauty which received good reviews.  And Hugh Laurie of House fame wrote a comic detective thriller titled The Gun Seller which was also positively received. 

There are of course the bombs.  An article in The Guardian recently claimed that “most books written by actors are dogmuck” and proceeded to pan fiction written by Pam Anderson, Sylvester Stallone, William Shatner, John Travolta, James Franco, Chuck Norris, and Macaulay Culkin: