105 Classic Literary Baby Names for Girls and Boys
What are the best literary names for your soon-to-be baby bookworm? Literary names for girls, literary names for boys, and gender-neutral names based on famous books, authors, and characters are smart, sweet, stylish selections that will set your kiddo apart and, hopefully, inspire a life-long love of the printed page!
From ancient texts to modern marvels you studied in English class, books entertain, educate, captivate, and more. Whether your fave read is a tried-and-true story of historical proportions or you’re partial to a pop culture character, you can pass down your bibliophile ways to the next generation with literary baby names. Begin with these creative options and check out our list of the top book-based selections.
Related: 15 Harry Potter Baby Names Only True Fans Will Understand
The Best Literary Names for Boys
You’re having a boy–and are 100 percent sure he needs a name straight out of your college lit days. But literary names for children are based on more than just book titles. Famous authors, creative characters, and scenic settings fill this list of page-turning picks that are perfect baby boy names.
- Atticus - From To Kill a Mockingbird.
- Austen - With a different spelling than usually–for Jane Austen.
- Bastian - Before The Neverending Story was a retro film fave it was a novel that featured this character.
- Bram - Dracula author Bram Stoker.
- Conan - The middle name of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
- Crockett - Author Crockett Johnson wrote the children’s classic Harold and the Purple Crayon.
- Dante - The Divine Comedy author Dante Alighieri.
- David - Copperfield from the Charles Dickens novel.
- Edward - Twilight fans (of the book series) will fall for this famous name.
- Ernest - The Sun Also Rises author, Hemingway.
- Finn - Inspired by the character Huckleberry Finn by beloved author Mark Twain.
- Gable - A setting from Anne of Green Gables.
- Gatsby - One of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous characters.
- Holden - From the classic Salinger novel The Catcher in the Rye.
- Homer - The author of the Greek epic The Iliad and The Odyssey.
- Hugo - The last name of Les Miserables and Hunchback of Notre Dame author Victor Hugo.
- Jack - For fans of the Beat Generation, this name works as an homage to On the Road author Jack Kerouac.
- Jacob - Another popular Twilight name pick.
- James - The title character from Roald Dahl’s children's book James and the Giant Peach.
- Jay - Gatsby’s first name in The Great Gatsby
- Langston - First name of 20th-century jazz poetry writer Langston Hughes.
- Leo - First name of War and Peace author Leo Tolstoy.
- Lewis - Inspired by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe author C.S. Lewis.
- Mark - As in the famed author Mark Twain.
- Maurice - The beloved Where the Wild Things Are author, Maurice Sendak.
- Morris - Shorten the last name of Toni Morrison to get this unique baby name.
- Orlando - The lead character from Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
- Oscar - Author Oscar Wilde.
- Othello - The name and the title of one of Shakespeare’s best-known works.
- Peeta - This Hunger Games name is a unique variation of Peter.
- Potter - Our favorite boy wizard’s last name in Harry Potter
- Roald - Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, and more.
- Robinson - As in Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.
- Romeo - Where art thou Romeo? From Shakespeare’s epic play.
- Sherlock - One of the best-known literary detective characters.
- Victor - French writer Hugo’s first name.
- Virgil - Known by Virgil, Publius Vergilius Marco was an ancient Roman poet.
- Walker - The Color Purple author’s last name.
- Watson - Elementary my dear Watson! From Sherlock Holmes many stories.
- Will - You can’t skip William Shakspeare on any lit list.
- Woolf - The last name of author Virginia.
The Best Girl Names from Literature
Give your daughter the gift of an inspirationally impressive literary name. Like boy names, these girls’ selections come from titles you’ve read in English classes, authors, characters, and more! Fans of famous Emilys (such as Bronte and Dickinson), Janes (Austen or the fictional Eyre), and more will have their choice of bold, bright, and downright awesome lit-based baby girl names.
- Anne - As in, Anne of Green Gables.
- Alice - Famed author Alice Walker wrote The Color Purple.
- Beatrice - From the YA series Divergent
- Beatrix - The Tale of Peter Rabbit’s author Beatrix Potter.
- Bella - A top pick for Twilight fans.
- Charlotte - One of two Bronte’s or from the book Charlotte’s Web.
- Celie - A powerful character from The Color Purple.
- Daisy - Daisy Buchanan from Fitzgerald's Great Gatsby.
- Dorothy - Author and poet Dorothy Parker.
- Eloise - The most famous little girl who lived in an American NYC hotel.
- Emily - Names for either Emily Bronte or Emily Dickinson.
- Emma - The main character and title of the Jane Austen novel.
- Hermione - A beloved Harry Potter favorite for fans.
- Jane - Jane Austen was no “plain Jane.” Or for Jane Eyre.
- Joyce - Turn the last name of author James Joyce into a baby girl’s name.
- Juliet - One half of Shakespeare’s star-crossed pair.
- Katniss - The Hunger Games heroine.
- Lilli - A shorter version of the book title Lilliput by Jonathan Swift.
- Livy - Not for Olivia–but instead for Titus Livius, the ancient Roman historian.
- Louisa - Little Women author Louisa May Alcott.
- Lucy - One of the royal siblings of Narnia from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Madeleine - The first name of A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L'engle
- Margaret - The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood.
- Matilda - From Dahl’s beloved book.
- May - Part of American writer Alcott’s famous name.
- Maya - The notable poet Maya Angelou.
- Octavia - For Kindred author Octavia Butler.
- Olivia - The beloved little pig character in Ian Falconer’s children’s books.
- Ophelia - Shakespeare’s notable female lead from Hamlet.
- Prim - Primrose or Prim for short is Katniss’ younger sister in The Hunger Games.
- Scarlett - A name inspired by both The Scarlet Letter and Scarlett O’ Hara from Gone with the Wind.
- Shelley - Last name of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley.
- Tempest - A notable Shakespeare selection.
- Virginia - First name of author Virginia Woolf.
- Willa - Author Willa Cather wrote My Antonia.
- Winnie - The tales of the famous bear from A.A. Milne.
- Zora - For author Zora Neale Hurston.
The Best Gender-Neutral Names from Books and the Literary World
Like tomboy Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, many of our favorite literary names are unisex and work equally well for boys and girls. These gender-neutral name options represent a diverse range of names that are all influenced by the greats of the past and the authors, characters, and books of the present. Maybe, someday you’ll find your kiddo’s name back on this list–as a writer in their own right!
- Aslan - The lion from Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Beckett - Samuel Beckett is well-known for writing the absurdist play Waiting for Godot.
- Chandler - For The Big Sleep author Raymond Chandler.
- Charlie - The title character of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Darcy - The male lead of romantic classic Pride and Prejudice
- E.B. - Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White.
- Eddy - Turn Edgar Allen Poe’s moniker into a shorter nickname.
- Ellison - Author Ralph Ellison wrote the Invisible Man.
- Ezra - The Snowy Day author, Ezra Jack Keats.
- Fran - Shorten the author Franz Kafka’s name to Fran.
- Frances - The well-loved Bread and Jam for Frances children’s pick.
- Gabriel - Love in the Time of Cholera author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
- Gale - The male character from The Hunger Games also works as a gender-neutral baby name.
- Georgie - A variation of George Orwell’s name.
- Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird author Harper Lee.
- Hunter - First name of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas author Hunter S. Thompson.
- J.D. - Two initials can say it all – for J.D. Salinger.
- Jo - One of the many Little Women names that work as a gender-neutral baby name.
- Laurie - From Little Women either the shortened version of Lawrence or Laurie/Lori.
- London - Last name of The Call of the Wild author–Jack London.
- Mo - Mo Willem is the author and illustrator behind beloved children’s books.
- Rye - This name comes from the title of The Catcher in the Rye.
- Rhys - Use the last name of Wide Sargasso Sea author Jean Rhys.
- Sawyer - As in Tom Sawyer.
- Shel - Children’s book author Shel Silverstein.
- Sam - For beloved sidekick Samwise in The Lord of the Rings books.
- Toni - Author of Beloved and other classics Toni Morrison.
Are you searching for other baby boy names or baby girl names? Check out our Baby Name Center.
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Erica is an experienced parenting and education writer, with an M.S. in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education.