Posted on June 6, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of June 6, 2021.

Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875): Mann, best known for Death in Venice, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929 and is considered the best German novelist of the 20th century.

V.C. Andrews (June 6, 1924): Andrews has written over seventy novels — including, perhaps infamously, Flowers in the Attic — and her work has been translated into twenty-five foreign languages.

Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899): Among Bowen’s most acclaimed novels are The Death of the Heart, The House in Paris, and The Heat of the Day (which the Guardian chose as one of its top 100 novels written in English).

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.

Louise Erdrich (June 7, 1954): Many of Erdrich’s novels draw on her Native American heritage, including the National Book Award winning novel The Round House and the Nelson Algren Fiction Prize winning short story “The World’s Greatest Fisherman” (which in turn later became a series-launching novel, Love Medicine).

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.

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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