Posted on June 7, 2020 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of June 7, 2020.

Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917): Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for Annie Allen, making her the first African American poet to do so.

Sara Paretsky (June 8, 1947): Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski novels, which began in the 1980s and continue to today, share the credit (with author Sue Grafton) for breaking down the gender barrier in detective fiction.

Patricia Cornwell (June 9, 1956): Cornwell, who has sold over 100 million books (thanks in large part to her Kay Scarpetta series), paved the way for forensic thrillers with her first novel, Postmortem.

Saul Bellow (June 10, 1915): The Adventures of Augie March, for which Bellow won both acclaim and a National Book Award, introduced a new, loose and breezy writing style to American literature.

Maurice Sendak (June 10, 1928): In addition to writing his own books (most notably the Caldecott Medal-winning Where The Wild Things Are), Sendak illustrated over eighty children’s books by other authors.

William Styron (June 11, 1925): Styron’s bestsellers The Confessions of Nat Turner — which won a Pulitzer — and Sophie’s Choice both stirred up considerable controversy as well as sales.

Anne Frank (June 12, 1929): Frank rewrote her diaries into a running story, upon the appeal of the Dutch government, but she also wrote short stories and began a novel while hiding from the Nazis.

William Butler Yeats (June 13, 1865): Unlike any other poet in history, Yeats’s greatest contributions to the art — including “The Second Coming” — came after he turned fifty years old.

Dorothy L. Sayers (June 13, 1893): Sayers, author of the Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories, was among the first women to graduate from the University of Oxford.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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