Posted on February 2, 2020 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of February 2, 2020.

James Joyce (February 2, 1882): While Joyce is famous for his novels Ulysses and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he is also considered to have written one of the greatest short stories — “The Dead” from Dubliners.

Ayn Rand (February 2, 1905): Rand’s bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are credited with influencing political schools of thought, such as libertarianism and the Tea Party movement.

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874): While Stein was also a writer, she’s perhaps better known for hosting literary salons for the authors she dubbed “The Lost Generation”; her most celebrated work was The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas and the oft-quoted line “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

James A. Michener (February 3, 1907): Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific won a Pulitzer Prize and also inspired the musical South Pacific, which too went on to win a Pulitzer.

William S. Burroughs (February 5, 1914): Burroughs, a member of the Beat Generation, is best known for Junkie: Confessions of an Unredeemed Drug Addict and Naked Lunch.

Christopher Marlowe (February 6, 1564): Marlowe is considered the most important predecessor to William Shakespeare, with his famous plays including Tamburlaine the Great and The Tragicall History of Dr. Faustus.

Sir Thomas More (February 7, 1478): More is most famous for his Utopia, though his History of King Richard III, which influenced William Shakespeare, is the first masterpiece of English historiography.

Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812): Dickens was widely celebrated in his time and remains so to this day for such works as A Christmas Carol, David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.

Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885): Lewis, author of Babbitt and Main Street, was the first American to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Kate Chopin (February 8, 1851): Chopin is best known for her novella The Awakening, though praise for it only came long after her death; her short stories, including “Désirée’s Baby” and “Madame Celestin’s Divorce,” are also highly regarded.

Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911): Bishop won a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry collection North & South: A Cold Spring.

John Grisham (February 8, 1955): Grisham has sold over 300 million books in forty different languages; some of his most famous novels — also made into movies — include The Firm, The Pelican Brief, A Time to Kill, and The Rainmaker.

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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