Posted on January 26, 2020 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

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

Colette (January 28, 1873): Among Colette’s most famous works are Chéri and Gigi, the latter of which was adapted for the stage and the screen; her lifetime of work earned her spots — rare for a woman — in the Belgian Royal Academy, French Académie Goncourt, and the Legion of Honour.

Thomas Paine (January 29, 1737): Paine, considered one of the greatest political propagandists in history, wrote Common Sense (which influenced the American Revolution), The Rights of Man (a defense of the French Revolution), and The Age of Reason.

Barbara W. Tuchman (January 30, 1912): Tuchman was not only a popular historian, but also a critically acclaimed one: The Guns of August and Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911–45 both received the Pulitzer Prize.

Zane Grey (January 31, 1872): Grey essentially created the literary genre of western with his eighty-plus novels of the American frontier (including the bestseller Riders of the Purple Sage).

Norman Mailer (January 31, 1923): Mailer came to prominence with a novel (The Naked and the Dead) but found more consistent, long-lasting success with his literary-inspired nonfiction, such as the award-winning The Armies of the Night.

Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901): Hughes was a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance, writing poetry (“The Weary Blues,” “I, Too,” “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”), essays (“The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain”), and nonfiction, and became the first black American to support himself solely from writing and lecturing.

Muriel Spark (February 1, 1918): In addition to the well-known The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Spark was also acclaimed for The Comforters and Memento Mori (adapted for the stage and screen).

Reynolds Price (February 1, 1933): Price wrote novels, poems, plays, and Biblical essays throughout his life, much of it influenced by and set in the South; his first novel, A Long and Happy Life, won the William Faulkner Foundation Award, and a later novel, Kate Vaiden, received the National Books Critics Circle Award.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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