With more babies born in September than any other month, parents-to-be across the UK are pondering the tricky question of what to call their new arrivals. And if you're looking for a name with a story behind it, where better to get inspiration than from your own literary heroes and heroines? Here are our top picks to get you started...


Inspired by: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Marjane is the teenaged subject of this stunning graphic novel about a girl growing up in an oppressive regime. It's a name of Persian origin and though it technically means 'coral', any reader of Persepolis will tell you it signifies strength, resilience and a very cheeky sense of humour. While Marjane's parents resist the regime at great personal risk, she forms unbreakable bonds with the women in her family as she learns about life after the Islamic Revolution. Refreshingly witty and utterly inspiring, a little Marji would be a brilliant addition to any family.


Inspired by: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The character of Charlie is partly inspired by Dahl’s own childhood dreams; in the book, young Charlie grows up in a poor but loving home and is the kindest kid in the neighbourhood. One day his dreams come true and he wins a ticket to tour Willy Wonka's secret chocolate factory. For the adventurous, there is plenty more name inspiration in this book, provided you don’t mind your child’s namesake being Augustus Gloop - the greedy boy who ends up stuck in a chocolate chute - or Violet Beauregarde - the vain and disobedient girl who eats a forbidden piece of blueberry gum and turns into a giant blueberry…

Josephine (Jo)

Inspired by: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

Jo March is one of the inimitable March sisters. Together, they live with their mother while their father is away fighting in the American Civil War. Without him the family struggles for money and the girls are forced to enter the world of work while also learning to run a household. Jo begins to write to earn money and is eventually published, much to her delight. But along the way, tragedy strikes and she, along with her sisters, must juggle money, the house and their relationships in a delicate balancing act - at which they turn out to excel. She's strong, smart and extremely determined; the perfect role model.


Inspired by: Atonement by Ian McEwan

Atonement might not seem like the obvious place to look for uplifting name ideas, considering the tragedies going on in the book and around the world at the time it is set. Cecilia, though, is the middle child caught up in a horrible misunderstanding which ultimately robs her of her childhood sweetheart. However miserable this sounds, Cecilia is characterised by her strength under pressure and her good grace when the world treats her badly. She goes on to devote herself to nursing wounded soldiers, and utimately to rebuild her life.


Inspired by: White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Most parents would rather name their child after someone special, gifted or inspirational than someone totally, utterly unexceptional. But Archie from White Teeth is one such soul. He is so ordinary that his first wife divorces him because he's so average and his second (half his age) deeply resents the boring life she has with him. But there's charm in Archie's normality. He keeps his head down, values what's important and is satisfied with what he already has. Archie is described as a steady, reliable guy, with modest aspirations - he also has a very special kind of unworldly innocence.


Inspired by: What Maisie Knew by Henry James

From the earliest age, little Maisie seems like the only adult in Henry James's tale of divorce and double-crossing. As her parents, step-parents and guardians set about hatching schemes and manipulating one other - and young Maisie herself - she is drawn into the inevitable slanging match. She eventually grows into a mature and moral young woman, no longer content to accept the projections of her unfit parents. Along with the author, she takes a stand against immorality, adultery and the romantic follies of the upper-classes, promoting stability, responsibility, and - above all - love.


Inspired by: Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Orlando is not a character to be easily summarised in a few sentences, but we're going to try anyway! Spanning four-hundred years, from the Elizabethan age to the twentieth century, Orlando's life advances by only a few decades. The smart young aristocrat who starts the book is a million miles from the woman who ends it. Aside from exploring gender, Orlando covers sexuality, romance, power, friendship, privilege and writing. Inspired by a mammoth and complex character who challenges tradition and is fiercely intelligent, this might just be the name for the bohemian tot - of any gender, of course...


Inspired by: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

It might seem a little risky to name a child after a character who struggled to fit in throughout his life. However, beneath the tumultuous marriages and religious ostracision is a man who taught himself the classics and languages as a poor infant, and who never gave up the hope that he might better himself and his background by going to university. In the face of adversity, he's a real grafter, and one who challenges the status quo with all his might.


Inspired by: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird is a modern classic telling the story of a small town where racism is rife, and gossip abundant. Such gossip leads to the wrongful conviction of a black man for a white man's crime. Scout's father is instrumental in fighting for the defence and she learns all too quickly that the morals her father teaches at home don't always match up to those at play in the real world. In the face of it all, she guards her moral integrity and grows into a mature young adult. Another great unisex name.


Inspired by: Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Oliver Twist is a lowly orphan boy left in the workhouse. He's sold to a local crook for labour and treated pretty badly, until one day he seizes his chance to escape. He falls in with a gang of street urchins, but his fortunes are reversed when a wealthy long-lost uncle comes to adopt him. Of course, leaving his past behind isn't quite so easy. But despite being torn in different directions, Oliver remains loyal and true in the face of everything thrown at him by the unscrupulous adults in his life - the epitome of virtue and strength.

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