Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, arguably one of the best writers of all time, lived a brief life and died without knowing his true fame. A member of the Lost Generation, a group of literary expats that included Ernest Hemingway and James Joyce, Fitzgerald lived in Paris after World War I and made a living writing short stories for magazines. He didn’t know his novel The Great Gatsby would become a timeless classic read around the world.

As a young man, Fitzgerald attended college but neglected his studies and was put on academic probation. After joining the army in 1917, he fell for the love of his life, Zelda Sayer, while assigned to a military camp in Alabama. Zelda was unwilling to marry due to Fitzgerald's meagre earnings from his work in the advertising business. Determined to win her, Fitzgerald quit his job, put aside his past rejection letters and re-wrote his debut novel, This Side of Paradise. It was published in 1920 and turned him into an overnight success. Zelda followed him up the aisle.

Though his first effort was a success, Fitzgerald was always a jobbing writer. His novels generally sold poorly and most of his literary output, and therefore income, was derived from over 150 short stories that he published in various newspapers and magazines. He earned good money from these short stories but was unable to manage his own finances and was often in debt. Fitzgerald died believing himself a failure and his place among the great writers was not secured until the late 1940s when The Great Gatsby experienced a revival and was widely classified as a remarkable piece of literature.

Explore our selection of beautiful Fitzgerald first editions, books about the legend, our favourite The Great Gatsby covers, and Penguin's special F. Scott Fitzgerald collection. Read our Q&A with Kirk Curnett of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Society, and if that's not enough, watch our video about The Great Gatsby and the $100,000 dust jacket.