In order of photos from top left:
Mark Twain taking his billiards game very, very seriously.
John Bryson’s 1959 pic of Ernest Hemingway high kicking a beer can.
Vladimir Nabokov hunting down butterflies in Ithaca, New York in 1958.
Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo writing in the bath.
Edward Gorey and his gigantic teddy bear.