Posted on 01/10/2021 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of January 10, 2021:

Alan Paton (January 11, 1903): Paton’s first novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, didn’t just bring him fame; it also called global attention to apartheid in South Africa.

Diana Gabaldon (January 11, 1952): Gabaldon’s Outlander series has become a smash hit TV series in addition to selling over 28 million copies worldwide. 

Jack London (January 12, 1876): London, best known for The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and “To Build a Fire,” was among the most extensively translated and best-paid authors of his time. 

Haruki Murakami (January 12, 1949): Murakami — whose works include Killing CommendatoreNorwegian Wood, and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle — has won a number of prizes worldwide, and his work has been translated into over fifty languages.

Walter Mosley (January 12, 1952): Mosley has written over sixty books — including Down the River and Unto the Sea and Devil in a Blue Dress — in a variety of genres and has been translated into twenty-five languages.

Horatio Alger Jr. (January 13, 1832): Alger’s hundred-plus books — formulaic, moralistic tales of how poor boys overcame obstacles by being good — sold over 20 million copies in spite of their artistic weaknesses.John Dos Passos (January 14, 1896): The tumult — and economic disparities — of the early twentieth century inspired Dos Passos to write his U.S.A. trilogy, for which he is most famous.

Molière (January 15, 1622): Molière is considered by many to be the greatest French comedic playwright ever; his most famous works are Tartuffe and Le Misanthrope.

Ernest J. Gaines (January 15, 1933): Gaines was best known for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Gathering of Old Men, both of which were adapted into movies, and A Lesson Before Dying, which was a bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.

Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933): Sontag wrote several novels and short stories, including Death Kit and the National Book Award-winning In America, in addition to her acclaimed essay collections, such as the career-launching Against Interpretation.

Birthdays sourced from Calendar of Literary Facts; biographical information sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica, the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Public Library, and author websites. Did we miss someone? Email and let us know!

Tagged As: History, Just for fun

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