Posted on July 4, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of July 4, 2021.

Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804): Hawthorne’s emotions about his ancestor William Hathorne, a key player in the Salem witchcraft trials, can be clearly seen in the novels for which he earned the most acclaim, The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables (and in the fact that the author changed the spelling of his last name).

Hilary Mantel (July 6, 1952): Mantel has won the Man Booker Prize twice, for the first two books in her Thomas Cromwell trilogy: Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.

Anna Quindlen (July 7, 1953): In addition to her novels (including Black and Blue, Blessings, and Rise and Shine), Quindlen has won acclaim for her newspaper columns, which netted her a Pulitzer Prize, and her memoir, which reached the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

Dean Koontz (July 9, 1945): Fourteen of Koontz’s novels have hit number one on the New York Times hardcover bestseller list, and sixteen have done so for the paperback version; they include Intensity, Midnight, and The Bad Place.

Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871): Even nonreaders are aware of Proust’s legacy; his seven-volume work In Search of Lost Time — featuring the madeleine cookies now associated with him — set the tone for the 20th-century novel as an art form.

Mildred Benson, aka Carolyn Keene (July 10, 1905): Benson wrote twenty-three of the first thirty Nancy Drew books, a fact that remained secret until a court case involving the books’ publisher revealed the truth in 1980.

Alice Munro (July 10, 1931): Munro has won both the Man Booker International Prize and the Nobel Prize in Literature for a lifetime of excellence in short-story writing, such as The Love of a Good Woman, Runaway, and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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