Posted on February 7, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of February 7, 2021.

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.

Laura Ingalls Wilder (February 7, 1867): Wilder wrote her first novel, Little House in the Big Woods, at age sixty-five; the series it launched has sold over 60 million copies in more than 100 countries.

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.

Alice Walker (February 9, 1944): Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award for The Color Purple; other famous works of hers include the short-story collection You Can’t Keep A Good Woman Down and her recent poetry collection, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

Charles Lamb (February 10, 1775): Lamb is famous under his own name for Tales from Shakespeare, which were adaptations of the Bard’s work for children, done with his sister, while the essays he published under the pseudonym Elia gained acclaim by adult readers.

Boris Pasternak (February 10, 1890): Pasternak is best known for the novel Doctor Zhivago, which stirred so much furor in his native Russia (despite being a bestseller abroad) that he declined the Nobel Prize it helped earn him.

Judy Blume (February 12, 1938): Blume’s books for kids (such as the Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing series), teens (like Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Tiger Eyes; and Deenie), and adults (including Summer Sisters and In the Unlikely Event) have sold over 85 million copies in over thirty languages.

Georges Simenon (February 13, 1903): Simenon is among the most widely published authors of the twentieth century, releasing over eighty books starring Inspector Maigret and 130-plus other psychological novels. 

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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