Agatha Christie

Born: 15th September 1892
Died: 12th January 1976

Occupation: Author

Challenges overcome: Dyslexia

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Agatha Christie was born in 1890 in Torquay. She was a famous author and is most well known for her detective novels and short story collections but also wrote a few romance novels under the name Mary Westmacott. Most of her crime stories revolve around the characters of Hercule Poirot, Miss Jane Marple, and Tommy and Tuppence. Brought up in a large house and comfortable life, her surroundings became the backdrop to many of her later stories, of easy middle class lives that are shockingly disrupted by murder. Agatha Christie had minimal schooling and education with dancing, singing, and piano lessons and finishing schools, but taught herself from her father’s library reading 19th century novels. In 1914, she married a young officer from the Royal Flying Corps, Archibald Christie.

Her literary career was kicked off in 1920, when The Bodley Head press published her novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, in the USA. She was published in England in 1921, and by 1922 Agatha had completed another two novels and a set of Poirot stories. She then accompanied Archie on a 10 month overseas mission across the British Colonies to promote The Empire Exhibition on 1924, leaving behind her young daughter, Rosalind. Whilst in Cape Town, Agatha received the news of good reviews for her novel The Secret Adversary, as well as becoming the first British woman to surf standing up. Upon her return, Agatha switched publishers, and published her first story with Collins, ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’, in 1926. After parting with Archibald after he fell in love with another woman, Agatha mysteriously vanished. Leaving her house and her daughter with maids, Agatha left without telling anyone where she was going and a nationwide search ensued. She was found at the Harrogate Spa Hotel by staff who recognised her, even though she checked in under a false name. Agatha seemed to have suffered a bout of amnesia during this time, as she had no recollection of the event, who she was and failed to recognise Archie when he came to pick her up. Agatha officially divorced from Archibald in 1928.

Having always wanted to ride on the orient express, Agatha jumped at the chance when given the opportunity in 1928. After travelling to Baghdad, Agatha went onto an archaeological dig site at Ur, which is where she met Max Mollowan who later became her second husband. Having a relationship that lasted throughout travelling and their ability to ‘rough it’, Agatha and Max wed in 1930 in the Isle of Skye. Their married life consisted of a travelling and writing cycle, spending summers with Rosalind in their family home at Ashfield, Christmas at Agatha’s sisters in Abney Hall, digs during spring and autumn and the rest of their time spent at their home in Oxfordshire. Agatha got back into writing in 1930, where she introduced the world to Miss Marple, and managed to consistently produce writings for the next 20 years, having at least one novel a year published. The experience of the Middle East was not lost on Agatha as she often used them for inspiration in a number of her novels, as seen in Murder on the Orient Express.

Agatha Christie is the world’s best selling crime novelist, having sold over 2 billion novels, and is the world’s third highest ranking published author, behind the bible and Shakespeare. Christie’s novel “And Then There Were None” is her bestselling novel, with over 100 million copies sold, making it the world’s best selling mystery, and one of the world’s best selling books. In 1971, Agatha was made a Dame by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace.


Challenges Overcome

Agatha Christie is often speculated to have suffered from epilepsy, but professionals believe this to be an untrue assumption. However Agatha did suffer from dyslexia and struggled with spelling; “Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was…an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so”.

Disability Definitions


Dyslexia, also known as alexia or developmental reading disorder, is characterised by difficulties when learning to read and with differing language comprehension despite normal or above-average intelligence. This includes difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, language skills and verbal comprehension, or rapid naming of objects. Dyslexia only affects some skills and abilities and is not linked to a person’s general level of intelligence.





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Information sources:

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Agatha Christie. (2015, April 2). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:34, April 2, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Agatha_Christie&oldid=654620168

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