Posted on September 12, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of September 12, 2021. 

H.L. Mencken (September 12, 1880): Mencken was a highly influential critic and satirist early in his career, and though he lost prominence in those areas by the 1940s, at that point his The American Language had earned him the reputation of the leading authority on American English.

Sherwood Anderson (September 13, 1876): Anderson wrote novels as well as short stories, but he’s best known and celebrated for the latter, particularly Winesburg, Ohio, a collection of interrelated tales.

Roald Dahl (September 13, 1916): Dahl is beloved for his children’s books, including Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but his first bestseller was a dark short-story collection for adults, and he also wrote the script for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

William H. Armstrong (September 14, 1914): Armstrong taught for over fifty years while also writing children’s literature, most notably the Newbery Medal-winning Sounder.

Agatha Christie (September 15, 1890): More than 100 million copies of Christie’s works — seventy-five novels and over a dozen short-story collections — have been sold, making her the bestselling novelist of all time and most translated writer of all time; some of her most famous books include And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, and The ABC Murders.

Chimamanda Adichie (September 15, 1977): Adichie has received critical and popular acclaim for her fiction (such as Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah), her nonfiction (We Should All Be Feminists), and her public speaking (the TED talk “The Danger of A Single Story”).

Henry Louis Gates Jr. (September 16, 1950): Gates has written or co-written over twenty books, including the bestselling Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow, and was among the first class awarded genius grants from the MacArthur Foundation.

William Carlos Williams (September 17, 1883): Williams is remembered most for his poetry (“Lighthearted William,” “By the Road to the Contagious Hospital,” and “Red Wheelbarrow”), but he also produced several novels, short stories, a play, and an autobiography.

Ken Kesey (September 17, 1935): Kesey is famous both for his novel One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and for his starring role in his friend Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Samuel Johnson (September 18, 1709): Johnson too has cemented his fame both by writing (notably A Dictionary of the English Language and The Lives of the Poets) and by serving as subject of another author’s work (James Boswell’s Life of Johnson).

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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