Posted on March 31, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of March 31, 2019.

  • Nikolai Gogol (March 31, 1809). Gogol is best known for his works The Government Inspector, Dead Souls, and “The Overcoat,” which served as the foundation for nineteenth-century Russian Literature.

  • John Fowles (March 31, 1926). Fowles is best known for The French Lieutenant’s Woman, but his first novel, The Collector, was an immediate success and adapted into a movie just two years after publication.

  • Anne McCaffrey (April 1, 1926). McCaffrey was the first woman to win the Hugo and Nebula Awards (for Weyr Search and Dragonrider, respectively) and the first science-fiction writer, period, to land on the New York Times best-seller list.

  • Milan Kundera (April 1, 1929). Czechoslovakian authorities had a long history of condemning or banning Kundera’s work, from a collection of love poems in the 1950s to The Unbearable Lightness of Being in 1984.

  • Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805). Andersen’s fairy tales are among the most frequently translated works of literature, although he also wrote plays, novels, poems, travel books, and several autobiographies.

  • Emile Zola (April 2, 1840). Zola’s novel La Débâcle, openly critical of the French army and government actions during the Franco-German War, was roundly criticized by both sides of the war.

  • Washington Irving (April 3, 1783). Irving published The Sketch Book — which includes "Rip Van Winkle” and ”The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” — almost concurrently in the United States and England, in an effort to prevent literary piracy in the days before international copyright law.

  • Marguerite Duras (April 4, 1914). Duras was an acclaimed screenwriter — both for adaptations of her own work and of others’ — as well as a celebrated novelist.

  • Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928). Angelou wrote and delivered a poem for US President Bill Clinton’s inauguration, elegized South African President Nelson Mandela by request of the US State Department, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

  • Algernon Charles Swinburne (April 5, 1837). Swinburne, in addition to being a celebrated poet, was a well-respected literary critic and a playwright.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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