Posted on 01/17/2021 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of January 17, 2021: 

Anton Chekhov (January 17, 1860): Chekhov’s legacy is due in large part to his plays, like Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard, but he’s also described as a master of the modern short story.

Robert Cormier (January 17, 1925): Cormier was an award-winning journalist before he turned to fiction; his The Chocolate War is among the first novels to look at the darker parts of adolescent life.

A. A. Milne (January 18, 1882): Wildly famous now for creating Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne also wrote a detective novel, The Red House Mystery, as well as plays for adults and children, including a stage adaptation of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809): Poe’s widespread fame comes from his spooky short stories (like “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”) and poems including “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee,” but he also wrote what’s considered the first modern detective story — “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921): Highsmith is most closely associated with The Talented Mr. Ripley and its sequels, though she wrote other hit novels that also became movies: Strangers on a Train and The Price of Salt (known as Carol since 1990).

Edwidge Danticat (January 19, 1969): Danticat’s most recent work, Everything Inside, currently up for an National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of her many awards to receive critical fame — others include Krik? Krak!, Brother, I'm Dying, and Breath, Eyes, Memory.

Francis Bacon (January 22, 1561): Bacon’s writings broke a long drought in English philosophy; influential works include The Advancement of Learning, Novum Organum (which presented a scientific method), and De Sapientia Veterum (The Wisdom of the Ancients).

Lord Byron (January 22, 1788): Byron first caught attention for a satirical poet response to criticism of his first work; poetry including Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Beppo, and Don Juan — in addition to his love affairs — cemented his fame.

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

Tagged As: History, Just for fun

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