Posted on 06/20/2021 at 08:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of June 20, 2021. 

Lillian Hellman (June 20, 1906): Hellman, whose many acclaimed plays include The Little Foxes, Watch on the Rhine, and The Autumn Garden, was summoned before the House Un-American Activities Committee but refused to name any Communists.

Lilian Jackson Braun (June 20, 1913): Braun wrote over twenty novels in her beloved and bestselling Cat Who series, which starred an amateur detective and his clue-dropping Siamese cats. 

Jean-Paul Sartre (June 21, 1905): Sartre, known best for his works Being and Nothingness and The Age of Reason and his passion for the philosophical theory of existentialism, was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in Literature but declined it.

Françoise Sagan (June 21, 1935): Sagan’s first novel, Bonjour Tristesse, made her an internationally bestselling author when she was just nineteen years old.

Ian McEwan (June 21, 1948): McEwan is considered among the greatest living English writers, with such award-nominated and -winning novels as The Comfort of Strangers, Amsterdam, On Chesil Beach, and Atonement (also adapted into an acclaimed movie) earning him fame.

Erich Maria Remarque (June 22, 1898): Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front is both his best-known novel and the best-known novel about World War I, though he did write other books that were popular, including Arc de Triomphe.

Eugenia Price (June 22, 1916): Price’s historical Southern novels — including the St. Simons trilogy, the Georgia trilogy, and the Savannah quartet — have sold over 40 million copies.

Octavia E. Butler (June 22, 1947): Among Butler’s many honors include Hugo awards (Speech Sounds and Bloodchild), the Nebula Award (also for Bloodchild), a MacArthur Foundation fellowship (the first ever given to a science-fiction writer), and the PEN Award for lifetime achievement.

Richard Bach (June 23, 1936): Bach’s novel Jonathan Livingston Seagull dominated the New York Times bestseller list for months and became a modern spiritual classic.

Ambrose Bierce (June 24, 1842): Bierce’s posthumous fame is for his often-dark short stories, including “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” but in his lifetime, he was also celebrated as a journalist and editor, including a stint editing the Lantern for the exiled French empress Eugénie.

Rebecca Solnit (June 24, 1961): Solnit’s nonfiction — including Call Them By Their True Names, Men Explain Things to Me, and Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West — address such issues as feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, and social change.

George Orwell (June 25, 1903): Orwell struggled to find a publisher for Animal Farm, though it quickly became a critical and financial success, but his legacy lives on most noticeably in now-common phrases borrowed from 1984

Pearl S. Buck (June 26, 1892): Within just a few years of publishing her first novel, Buck had won the Pulitzer Prize (for The Good Earth, the first in an acclaimed series) and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Birthdays sourced from Calendar of Literary Facts; biographical information sourced from Encyclopedia Britannica, the British Council, author websites, and publisher websites. Did we miss someone? Email and let us know.

Tagged As: History, Just for fun

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