41 Literary Names for Your Bookworm-to-Be
Lit-lovers, get excited. While a book-themed baby shower or prominent nursery book display are two fun ways to honor your love of this precious art form, what about paying homage to one of your favorite authors by giving your little boy or girl a literary baby name? Whether you’re into the classics or are more of a new-school book-lover, we’ve got inspiration from Aslan to Zora to help you pick a literary baby name for your bookworm-to-be.
Literary Baby Names for Boys
Aslan: An unusual boy's name of Persian origins translating to “lion” in Turkish, Aslan is a character in the beloved children’s book by C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Conrad: This smart German name for boys means “brave counsel,” which feels like a part of an epic story in itself. But the name also is a great choice for lit lovers as a nod to Joseph Conrad, who wrote several books including the classic Heart of Darkness.
Edgar: Calling all former goths! The writer and poet has had a profound impact on literature. If you, too, quoth “The Raven” (or any of Poe’s other memorable works), Edgar is a perfect pick. Plus, while Edgar feels distinguished… you can always go with “Eddie” while he grows into the name.
Finn: As in Huckleberry, a fun and recognizable literature name that sounds refined and simple, but offers up an adventurous feel thanks to the character in the famous book. Finn means “white” or “fair” from the Irish.
Gatsby: The beautiful and tragic story of Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald retains cultural relevance even almost 100 years after it was written. Gatsby is a famous book name that connotes hope and opulence for your little boy.
Harry: It might be one of the more recent additions to the literary scene, but the Harry Potter series by author J.K. Rowling has swept the world up in an alternate universe of magic and mystery. Harry also means “estate ruler,” which is a pretty commanding title.
Hawthorne: After the American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, this literary baby name is a dark and dramatic yet quite chic choice for a baby boy that offers up the cute nickname Hawk. The name also carries associations to the natural world not only because of that author’s writing themes but also its direct meaning: “lives where the hawthorn hedges grow.”
Hemingway: Ernest Hemingway is widely revered as one of the greatest writers of his time, whose work is still relevant today. It’s a lovely literary name for a little boy and, happily, creates endless opportunities for a cute book-themed nursery to pay homage to the writer’s works.
Holden: It was a banned book and yet has been required reading for generations of high schoolers; the protagonist in the twisty coming-of-age novel The Catcher in the Rye from 1951, written by J.D. Sallinger, creates an edgy opportunity for your baby boy’s naming influence. We also don’t hate Sallinger as a unique literary baby name to consider. Holden means “hollow valley.”
King: Okay, here’s a literary name that’s a bit off the beaten path (and by off the beaten path, we mean that narrow road that winds through a super spooky forest where a monster is lurking). Stephen King is one of the most prolific and influential contemporary American authors out there. And though the name “Stephen” is a fine tribute, “King” totally feels like leading man material.
Milo: Those who grew up with The Phantom Tollbooth will recognize this moniker! Milo is the star of this fantasy adventure. He starts his journey as a bored 10-year-old, but through his adventures, he begins to see the wonder of the everyday world around him.
Oliver: If you have yet to be charmed by Charles Dickens’ saga Oliver Twist released in two parts in the 1830’s, now’s a great time to brush up on your reading...and to consider this sweet iconic baby boy name meaning “olive tree” from the Latin.
Orlando: The book by this name was very progressive for its time; written by Virginia Woolf in 1928, it’s a gender-bending “biography” where history and satire collide. On its own, Orlando means “famous throughout the land” in Italian; and can be glamorously feminized by swapping that final o for an a, ie: Orlanda.
Oscar: After Wilde, the Irish poet and playwright who reached great notoriety and success toward the end of his life in the 1890’s. He was best known for his witty comedic plays like The Importance of Being Earnest, and Oscar thus carries a light and joyful feel. It is a name of English/Irish roots translating to “god spear” or “champion warrior.”
Truman: If you’re obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany’s, consider homage to its author Truman Capote, who created a powerful, nontraditionally feminist protagonist, a timely portrait of Manhattan, and an aching story all in one with his classic novella. Truman means “loyal one.”
Watson: The more palatable choice than the other protagonist if you’re after a nod to Sherlock Holmes; we love Watson for its literary charm and cuteness factor for Baby Boy.
William: There are so many wonderful Williams in literature, from Shakespeare to Faulkner. William means “resolute protection” from the German and is currently the fourth most popular name for boys in the US.
Literary Baby Names for Girls
Alice: Not only is she a spunky, curious little soul… but the protagonist in the famous book Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll gets extra little-girl cred thanks to the Disney remakes. Sweet little Alice is a precious vintage literary name choice, and it means “noble.”
Arwen: It’s a Lord of the Rings name and also a unique literary name that has both an old-school vibe and a hipster feel. Arwen is a Welch name meaning “noble maiden.”
Beatrice: As a nod to the great Italian poet Dante from the 1300’s, this elegant baby girl name has literary roots and plenty of cute nickname choices including Bea and Trixie. Or you might choose Beatrix, after Potter, another literary name. Both versions mean “she who brings happiness” and “blessed.”
Celie: The great work The Color Purple by Alice Walker features an unexpected and transformative heroine by this name, which lends it the symbolism of both strength and grace under pressure. Celie is the French version of Cecilia.
Clarissa: The protagonist in Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway is a classic baby name from literature meaning “bright, clear.”
Cosette: From Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, it’s a gorgeous French name translating to “little thing.” Charmingly, this elegant literary girl name offers the nickname Coco, as in Chanel, which any fancy daughter will love growing into.
Dorothy: The hopeful, enduring story of Dorothy Gale from Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is such a pretty little girl baby name from the classic book. Plus, her adorable first Halloween costume is a given with this one. Bring on the blue gingham and red sparkly shoes! Dorothy means “gift of God.”
Emma: A Jane Austen heroine with great literary name potential: There’s romance, kindness, coming-of-age, and plenty of social intrigue in this fabulous read dating all the way back to 1815. Emma is currently the #2 name in the country and it translates to “universal.”
Evangeline: The epic Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem, Evangeline: a Tale of Acadie, spawned a heroic female baby name that’s equal parts powerful and beautiful. Despite the soft and poetic sound of this pretty name, the character is a proud and determined young woman on a mission driven by love. Evangeline means “bearer of good news.”
Harper: It’s gotten popular recently, but with good reason! This pretty girls’ name translating to “harp player” has the added literary connotation of being the first name of the author of the 1960 novel of huge cultural significance, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Harriet: Harriet the Spy has been a favorite read among curious kids for generations. Though the Louise Fitzhugh tome was originally published in the ‘60s, there’s something timeless about Harriet’s story. Much like the book, the name Harriet manages to feel both classic and edgy, too. It means “home ruler” in German.
Louisa: Beloved American novelist and short story writer Louisa May Alcott was a feminist trail-blazer. Among her most famous works was Little Women, which has been translated onto film several times and adored by young, aspirational girls for generations. Louisa means “renowned warrior.”
Lyra: The sharp, strong-willed, spirited protagonist Lyra is the beating heart of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. It’s the perfect name for your little firecracker-to-be! (It also has musical roots, tied to the harp-like lyre instrument.)
Matilda: Sweet Matilda from Roald Dahl’s so titled novel is a quirky, determined little girl who creates magic and whimsy in tough circumstances. We adore this book character baby name for a girl, and also its strong meaning: “battle-mighty.”
Scarlett: After O’Hara, the female protagonist in the classic Civil War novel Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. It’s such a strong Southern name for a daughter, and means “red.”
Viola: The cunning heroine of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was full of qualities you’ll love to see blossom in your little one. The name means purple and, of course, evokes the lovely violet.
Zora: Consider naming your baby girl after Zora Neale Hurston, the groundbreaking Black author and filmmaker who wrote the famed novel Their Eyes Were Watching God among other influential works. Zora is a name of Serbo-Croatian roots meaning “dawn.”
Gender-Neutral Literary Baby Names
Charlie: A beloved baby name that works for a boy or a girl. After the young protagonist in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another whimsical work by Roald Dahl, it’s a great choice as a gender-neutral name from the famous book. If you want to make it a “proper” name and use Charlie as a nickname, Charles or Charlotte work beautifully.
Darcy: Mr. Darcy out of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic Pride and Prejudice is a debonair and glamorous name choice; it also happens to be a gender-neutral literary baby name meaning “from the fortress.”
Drew: After Nancy, the protagonist in the 1930’s series of mysteries named for her. Drew means “strong” and works for a boy or a girl.
Ellison: Ralph Ellison was an American novelist and scholar best known for Invisible Man, his 1953 masterpiece. It’s a unique literary baby name pick for a little one of either gender, which will stand out against the Allisons and Emersons in the pack.
Sawyer: This popular literary baby name is experiencing a bit of a moment right now...for both boys and girls. We absolutely love it as a nod to Tom Sawyer, one of Mark Twain’s most famous characters. Sawyer means “woodcutter.”
Walker: It’s one of the more subtle associations on our list, but in homage to the living legend Alice Walker who wrote The Color Purple, this unisex baby name with an English word meaning is a solid choice.
Wilde: The poet Oscar Wilde touched the world with wit and humor, and left us with a legacy of inspirational quotations including, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” This isn’t the first time he’s made our list, but in addition to his first name for a boy, his last is a beautiful choice for either sex, with connotations of adventure and joy.
More Baby Name Inspiration:
Want to look off the page for your baby name inspiration? Check out some of our favorites below! And once you’ve closed the book on your baby’s name, it’s time to read up on the best baby bed. Learn more about SNOO Smart Sleeper!
- African Baby Names
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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider.