Posted on 04/11/2021 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of April 11, 2021.

Beverly Cleary (April 12, 1916): Cleary is among the most beloved children’s author of all-time, with her works — starring such characters as Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ralph S. Mouse, Otis Spofford, and Ellen Tebbits — racking up awards including the National Medal of Art and the John Newbery Medal. 

Samuel Beckett (April 13, 1906): Beckett, best known for his play Waiting for Godot, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 for “for his writing, which — in new forms for the novel and drama — in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation.”

Eudora Welty (April 13, 1909): Welty’s short stories and novels, including The Robber Bridegroom and the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Optimist’s Daughter, have immortalized small-town Mississippi life.

Seamus Heaney (April 13, 1939): Though he’s perhaps better known for his poetry, Heaney’s translation of Beowulf became an international bestseller; he also won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Henry James (April 15, 1843): James wrote for over five decades — producing twenty novels (Daisy Miller and The Portrait of A Lady), over a hundred tales, twelve plays, several volumes of travel and criticism, and a great deal of literary journalism — making him one of the most prolific and influential American writers.

Kingsley Amis (April 16, 1922): Amis achieved fame with his first novel, Lucky Jim, continued to produce popular books, and continues to live on, in a way, through his son, novelist Martin Amis.  

Isak Dinesen (April 17, 1885): Dinesen’s memoir Out of Africa, detailing her life as a plantation owner in Kenya, brought her the most lasting fame, though she also published several collections of narrative tales and a novel.

Thornton Wilder (April 17, 1897): Wilder is the only person to have won a Pulitzer Prize for both fiction (The Bridge of San Luis Rey) and drama (Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth); yet another play of his, The Matchmaker, served as the inspiration for the musical Hello, Dolly!.

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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