25 Memorable Literary Baby Names For Your Future Bookworm

If you love reading books, you might go for literary names for your baby.

From Shakespeare’s plays to modern books adapted for movies and TV, various remarkable characters can be a plethora of inspiration for parents-to-be.

Just take a look!


Literary Names for Girls

Aerin

From the fantasy book The Hero and the Crown (1984) by Robin Mckinley, Aerin is a princess who fought against the wizard Gonturan who threatened her people. She’s also the name of a woman from Dor-lómin in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (1954) trilogy.

In Celtic, Aerin translates to ‘Irish woman.’ You might like it as an alternative to the more popular Erin.

Your daughter would have something in common with American businesswoman and Estee Lauder’s granddaughter, Aerin Rebecca Lauder Zinterhofer.

Adelina

In the fantasy novel The Young Elites (2014) trilogy by Marie Lu, Adelina Amouteru is the female protagonist and Queen of the Sealands who can make and control illusions. She uses people’s fears and heightens them.

This name means ‘noble, honorable’ in German.

Astrid

Astrid Leong is one of the main characters in the modern book series Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan. She is a Singaporean socialite known as ‘The Goddess.’

We think it’s apt since this name is ‘divinely beautiful’ in Old Norse.

Ayla

In Jean Auel’s six-part historical fiction series Earth’s Children, Ayla is the intelligent Cro-Magnon woman, raised by Neanderthals, who figured out that pregnancy and birth wasn’t a matter of spirit, as believed by her clan.

While her clan insisted that pregnancy happens when a woman’s totem loses the spiritual battle, she considers it as combining the male and female essence.

In Turkish, this name means ‘halo, moonlight.’

Catriona

This name is also the title of the 1893 historical fiction novel by Robert Louis Stevenson. It’s the sequel to his critically acclaimed novel Kidnapped. Catriona Drummond becomes the love interest of the lead character David Balfour in his quest to seek justice for a wrongly accused man.

Catriona comes from the Greek word katharos, meaning ‘pure, innocent.’

Elaine

In Le Morte d’Arthur (1485) by Sir Thomas Malory, Elaine of Astolat is a lady who dies from heartbreak. Her love for Sir Lancelot was unrequited.

In Old Greek, this name means ‘bright one, shining one.’

Eloise

We’ve included this name for the adventurous six-year-old at the Plaza Hotel in Kay Thompson’s well-loved children’s book series Eloise (1955). This intelligent little lady lives with her nanny, her pet dog, Weenie, and her turtle, Skipperdee.

This came could be from the German elements heill, meaning ‘healthy, safe’ and witu, meaning ‘forest.’

Kamala

For a unique literary baby girl name, consider Kamala. In Marvel comic book series Ms. Marvel (2014) by G. Willow Wilson, Kamala Khan is the Pakistani-American teen who can shapeshift. She’s the first Muslim character to become the lead in a comic book.

This name originated in Sanskrit and means’ light red.’

Lyra

Lyra Belacqua, a.k.a Lyra Silvertongue is the heroine in the fantasy novel trilogy His Dark Materials (1995). She is a rowdy young girl who worked with angels to put an end to death.

This name comes from the musical instrument lyra or lyre, a stringed instrument used in ancient Greek. It’s also the name of a constellation representing the lyre of Orpheus, a remarkable musician, and poet in Greek religion.

Waverly

In the novel Joy Luck Club (1989) by Amy Tan, Waverly is the youngest child in the Jong family. As a young child, she excelled in chess but felt insecure as a grown-up about having a fiance of a different race.

Waverly translates to ‘quaking aspen tree’ in English.

Zooey

For a modern literary name that doubles as a fun nickname, pick Zooey. It’s the name of a character in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey (1961), Zoey Glass, who advises her older sister Franny about facing life with optimism and love.

This rarely used name is a variant of Zoe. In Old Greek, it means ‘life.’ Your little girl would have American actress Zooey Deschanel as a namesake.

Zuri

Ibi Zoboi’s novel Pride (2018) retells the beloved classic Pride and Prejudice with characters of color. In this modern tale, Zuri Benitez is a proud Haitian-Dominican teenager who lives in Brooklyn, who didn’t want her neighborhood to change. But, as Darius and his African-American family move into the picture, she began to expand her view of the world.

In Swahili, Zuri means ‘beautiful.’

Literary Names for Boys

Arven

In Brian Jacques’s Redwall (1986)Arven is the male squirrel who’s the leader of the Dibbuns, the animal inhabitants of Redwall Abbey.

This name has Old English origins and means’ friend of the people.’

Augustus

If you’re into modern romances, you might like naming your son after Augustus Waters, one of the main characters in The Fault in Our Stars (2012) by John Green. He’s the witty 17-year-old guy with bone cancer who falls in love with Hazel, who also has terminal cancer.

In Latin, Augustus means ‘dignified, holy.’

Duncan

For a name from Shakespearean classic, try Duncan. King Duncan is the generous and kind father to his two sons in Macbeth. Did you know that this character was based on a real Scottish king named Donnchad mac Crinain?

Duncan means ‘brown warrior; brown head’ in Celtic.

Gale

Gale Hawthorne is the skillful best friend of Katniss Everdeen, the narrator, and protagonist in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book series The Hunger Games (2008)

This name translates to ‘storm’ in English while it means ‘stranger’ in Irish Gaelic.

Grant

In the poignant novel A Lesson Before Dying (1993), Grant Higgins is a teacher who mentored a prisoner named Jefferson on death row. He taught him how to ‘become a man.’

In Old French, this name means ‘grand.’

Holden

As a literary icon of teenage angst and disillusionment, seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield in Catcher in the Rye (1951) remains unforgettable.

His popular name means ‘deep valley’ in Old English.

Ishmael

In Moby-Dick (1851) by Herman Melville, Ishmael is the narrator and sole survivor in Captain Ahab’s ship Pequod. The latter was on the hunt for Moby-Dick, a white whale who severed his leg on a prior voyage.

This name translates to ‘God will hear’ in Hebrew.

Landon

You might remember this name from Nicholas Sparks’ coming of age novel, A Walk to Remember (1999). In the story, his love for Jamie, a young lady battling leukemia, encourages him to become a better man.

In Old English, this name means ‘long hill, ridge.’

Max

In the children’s book Where the Wild Things Are (1963), Max is a young boy who, after wearing a wolf costume, imagines himself the king of hostile beasts called ‘Wild Things.’

This name translates to ‘the greatest’ in Latin.

Owen

From Welsh origins, meaning ‘lamb, youth,’ Owen is the name of the protagonist in John Irving’s A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989). This novel’s about best friends John Wheelwright and Owen Meany. The latter believes himself to be God’s Instrument on Earth.

This name comes from Old Celtic and means ‘born of Esos.’ Esos is a Celtic God of the Willow who was believed to be cruel and powerful.

Scout

In the modern American classic To Kill a Mockinbird (1960) by Harper Lee, Scout is an intelligent five-year-old girl who learns about racial prejudice at a young age.

This unisex name originated from English and means ’observer, explorer.’

A Story Behind A Name

Whether you admire these literary characters for their wit, strength, or abilities, we think these names make for interesting and meaningful stories about your baby’s name.