Posted on October 10, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of October 10, 2021.

James Clavell (October 10, 1925): Clavell’s first novel, King Rat, was based on his experiences as a prisoner of the Japanese during World War II, and his later novel Shogun was a hit both on the page and the screen as one of the most popular miniseries ever made.

Harold Pinter (October 10, 1930): Pinter’s complex, challenging plays including The Homecoming, The Dumb Waiter, and The Birthday Party led him to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Elmore Leonard (October 11, 1925): Leonard began his career writing westerns, several of which inspired movies, but hit his popular and critical stride with crime novels like Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and several others that also hit the big screen.

Anatole France (October 12, 1924): France’s output crossed a variety of literary genres, from historical fiction to romance, comedy, short stories, and biographies; his most famous works include Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, At the Sign of the Reine Pédauque, and a biography of Joan of Arc.

Katherine Mansfield (October 14, 1888): Mansfield is considered a master of the short story, with her collection The Garden Party being the pinnacle of her production.

Virgil (October 15, 70 BCE): Virgil, author of the epic Aeneid, is considered the greatest Roman poet.

P.G. Wodehouse (October 15, 1881): Wodehouse wrote more than ninety books, many of them starring the butler Jeeves, but also wrote film scripts and collaborated on plays and musical comedies.

Italo Calvino (October 15, 1923): Calvino gained international fame for his fantastic tales The Nonexistent Knight & the Cloven Viscount and The Baron in the Trees.

Mario Puzo (October 15, 1920): Puzo’s breakthrough novel, The Godfather, is one of the most successful of all time, selling 21 million copies, becoming a hit movie (both in terms of reviews and box-office receipts), and inspiring two sequels.

Roxane Gay (October 15, 1974): Gay is a prominent social commentator in addition to being a writer who has seen three books (Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, and Hunger) earn bestseller status.

Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854): Wilde’s most important works — including the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and the play The Importance of Being Earnest — were all produced in the last decade of his life.

Eugene O’Neill (October 16, 1888): O’Neill received four Pulitzer Prizes in drama and is the third-most widely translated and produced dramatist; among his notable works are Long Day’s Journey into Night and The Iceman Cometh.

Gunter Grass (October 16, 1927): Grass is considered the literary spokesman for the generation of Germans who came of age during World War II; he received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1999 for such works as The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, and The Rat.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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