Writing isn’t typically considered a very macho occupation – you don’t get ripped abs sitting behind a desk. But some of history’s most famous authors have also moonlighted as seriously scary people.

In this feature, we’ll spotlight ten pencil-pushers who could throw down if need be.

Shel Silverstein

The  man responsible for children’s classics like 'The Giving Tree' was actually a notorious bad ass. Uncle Shelby was a beefy bald bearded dude who served honorably in the Korean War. Silverstein split his time between writing books and putting songs together for a wide variety of musicians, including Johnny Cash. Although he was mostly a peaceable man, you know that Shel could take you out if he needed to.

Lord Byron

One of the first modern celebrities, Lord Byron was a dude who certainly lived life to its fullest. While a student at Trinity College, Byron kept a bear in his dormitory as a pet because the school didn’t allow dogs. Even though he had a club foot, Byron was an accomplished boxer who faced many men in battle. Oh, and he also got more tail than you’ll ever get in your entire life.

William T. Vollmann

Author William Vollmann could kick your butt simply because the man knows absolutely no fear. To compose his massive tomes, Vollmann travels to some of the most God-forsaken places on Earth, including Somalia and Iraq. Take a look at photos of his face. Notice that he has no eyebrows? That’s because he burned them off when his stove exploded… in Antarctica. His book 'Rising Up And Rising Down' is all about violence and it’s 3,300 pages long.

Arthur Cravan

Swiss-born Arthur Cravan took his homeland’s reputation for neutrality and peed right in its face. The editor and publisher of 'Maintenant!', a magazine of arts criticism, Cravan tore stuff up everywhere he went. One of his most notorious spectacles was stepping into the ring with Jack Johnson, at the time the heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Cravan was the kind of crazy who wasn’t afraid to die, and those guys are always dangerous.

Hunter S. Thompson

The 'King of Gonzo journalism' was a writer you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of. Hunter S. Thompson was notorious for his drug-fueled missives in the pages of Rolling Stone, as well as his penchant for firearms. One of the most notable fights of Thompson’s career was one he lost, when he got the turds whipped out of him by a gang of Hell’s Angels over a book he was writing. The fact that he even survived makes him more bad ass than you.

Yukio Mishima

One of Japan’s most famous novelists, Yukio Mishima was a man of many facets: literary genius, closeted homosexual and brutal fascist. Mishima practiced rigorous bodybuilding for most of his life, and in 1968 he formed his own private army to “protect the Emperor.” A few years later, he actually attempted a coup d’etat in Japan and committed ritual suicide after it was unsuccessful.

Roald Dahl

The British author of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' brought an acerbic edge to his writing that came from his bad ass life. During World War II, Dahl was a fighter pilot for the British army, flying obsolete biplanes in combat against the Germans. He survived a hideous crash in Libya that wrecked his plane, fractured his skull and briefly blinded him. The notoriously curmudgeonly author could have taken you down easily.

Thomas Malory

Best known as the author of 'Le Morte d’Arthur', the classic work of English fantasy that so many bad movies have been based on, Thomas Malory was a total d-bag who feared no man. Some of his crimes included bushwhacking a the Duke of Buckingham, robbing houses and beating the tar out of whoever crossed his path. He was eventually tossed in Newgate Prison, where he wrote his famous book.

Norman Mailer

One of the most pugnacious writers of the 20th century, the dwarfish Norman Mailer had a fascination with violence. He was a huge boxing fan, but he also loved to take things into his own hands. During the filming of the 1970 movie 'Maidstone', Mailer got into an absolute slobberknocker with actor Rip Torn that only ended when Torn cracked him upside the dome with a hammer.

Ernest Hemingway

Probably the most bad ass literary figure in history, Papa Hemingway inserted himself into action all over the world. Whether it was serving in both World Wars, hunting big game in Africa, or escaping a plane crash by head-butting the door open, the author of 'The Old Man And The Sea' was bad ass to the core. The only person who could kill Hemingway was Hemingway, and he did himself in with a shotgun blast to the face.