Posted on December 29, 2019 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of December 29, 2019:

Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865): Kipling’s poetry and short stories, most notably The Jungle Book, brought him early acclaim — and England’s first Nobel Prize for Literature victory — but his reputation declined, even in his lifetime, because of his imperialistic attitudes.

J.D. Salinger (January 1, 1919): Salinger is known almost equally for The Catcher in the Rye, which has sold more than 65 million copies, and his reclusiveness; just two years after that classic novel came out, Salinger retreated to rural New Hampshire and didn’t publish anything new during his lifetime after 1965.

Isaac Asimov (January 2, 1920): Asimov wrote or edited about 500 works of fiction and nonfiction; the most famous include I, Robot, the Foundation series, The Gods Themselves (winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards), and the short story “Nightfall,” considered one of the greatest science-fiction short stories.

J.R.R. Tolkien (January 3, 1892): Tolkien is popularly known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy and its companion books, but some of his academic publications — including the lecture “Beowulf, the Monsters and the Critics” and essay “English and Welsh” — are considered equally influential.

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!

Categories: Today in Books

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