Posted on August 1, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of August 1, 2021.

Herman Melville (August 1, 1819): Moby Dick was neither a commercial nor critical success up on its early publication, and another well-known story of Melville’s — “Billy Budd” — wasn’t even published until 1924.

James Baldwin (August 2, 1924): Baldwin’s early work, notably Go Tell It on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son, earned him the most fame, though the movie adaptation of his later novel If Beale Street Could Talk was a 2019 Oscar nominee.

Isabel Allende (August 2, 1942): Allende, a trailblazing female Latin-American author, has sold more than 74 million books, including The House of the Spirits and Daughter of Fortune; her awards include the PEN Center Lifetime Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters from the National Book Foundation.

P.D. James (August 3, 1920): James is known as the “Queen of Crime” for her fourteen Adam Dalgliesh novels, many of which were adapted for TV.

Leon Uris (August 3, 1924): Uris interviewed more than 1,500 people for his bestselling novel Exodus, about the founding of Israel.

Guy de Maupassant (August 5, 1850): De Maupassant, author of three hundred short stories (most famously “The Necklace”) and several novels, is considered the greatest French short-story writer of all time.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (August 6, 1809): Tennyson, whose many poems include “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “The Lady of Shalott,” and "The Lotos-Eaters," was considered to be among the three most famous people of his time. (The other two were Queen Victoria and William Gladstone.)

Piers Anthony (August 6, 1934): Anthony, author of the Xanth fantasy series among many other novels, has been a New York Times bestseller twenty-one times.

Garrison Keillor (August 7, 1942): In addition to his Lake Wobegon stories, Keillor has written poetry, a screenplay, and fiction for all ages.  

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

Categories: Today in Books

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