Posted on 07/26/2020 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of July 26, 2020.

George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856): Shaw refused to accept the Nobel Prize in literature that he received for his play Saint Joan; however, he had no such qualms about his Academy Award for the screenplay of his play Pygmalion (which, upon its next film adaptation, became My Fair Lady).

Beatrix Potter (July 28, 1866): The Tale of Peter Rabbit was originally written as a letter to a sick child, who loved it so much that Potter published it and launched a long, prolific career.

Booth Tarkington (July 29, 1869): Best known for The Magnificent Ambersons, which also became an Orson Welles movie, Tarkington appeared on annual bestseller lists nine times.

Emily Bronte (July 30, 1818): Bronte’s contemporaries panned Wuthering Heights, her only novel, but modern critics accept it as one of the greatest in the English language, as well as noting that her poetry was far superior to her sisters’. 

Primo Levi (July 31, 1919): Levi was among the first to write and publish a memoir about the Holocaust, with his If This Is a Man (later retitled Survival in Auschwitz: The Nazi Assault on Humanity).

J.K. Rowling (July 31, 1965): Rowling’s Harry Potter books have sold over 500 million copies and have been published in over eighty languages; she’s also reached bestseller status as crime writer Robert Galbraith.

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819): Moby Dick was neither a commercial nor critical success up on its early publication, and another well-known story of Melville’s — “Billy Budd” — wasn’t even published until 1924.

Birthdays sourced from Calendar of Literary Facts; biographical information sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica and author websites. Did we miss someone? Email and let us know!

Tagged As: History, Just for fun

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