Posted on May 16, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of May 16, 2021.

Adrienne Rich (May 16, 1929): Rich, best known for her feminist and lesbian poetry, turned down the National Medal of the Arts in 1997 in opposition to the Clinton administration’s politics.

Gary Paulsen (May 17, 1939): Paulsen has written over a hundred books for adults and young readers, among them three Newberry Honor titles: Dogsong, Hatchet, and The Winter Room.

Ian Fleming (May 18, 1908): Fleming gained fame among adults for his James Bond novels (and the movies they inspired) but also among children for his book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (also adapted for the big screen).

Lorraine Hansberry (May 19, 1930): Hansberry’s canonical play A Raisin in the Sun received the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, while its film adaptation received a special award at the Cannes festival.

Nora Ephron (May 19, 1941): Ephron’s incredibly successful screenwriting career (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail) was bookended by periods of essay-writing, including the bestseller I Feel Bad About My Neck.

Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799): Balzac, most famous for La Comédie humaine (The Human Comedy), helped establish the traditional form of the novel and also is considered the creator of realism in the novel.

Alexander Pope (May 21, 1688): Pope is best known for his poems An Essay on Criticism, The Rape of the Lock, and An Essay on Man, and was the first English poet to enjoy contemporary fame across Europe.

Arthur Conan Doyle (May 22, 1859): Doyle’s best-known character — Sherlock Holmes — took inspiration from the observation skills of one of his professors in medical school.

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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