Posted on November 28, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of November 28, 2021.

John Bunyan (November 28, 1628): Bunyan’s most famous work, The Pilgrim’s Progress, was an instant hit and was found in nearly every home for centuries after it was published.

William Blake (November 28, 1757): Blake illustrated his poetry collections, including Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience; his most recognizable works today are “The Lamb,” “The Tyger,” and “London.” 

Rita Mae Brown (November 28, 1944): Though Brown is widely known for her Sneaky Pie Brown mystery series, she launched her career with a coming-of-age novel about lesbian love called Rubyfruit Jungle

Louisa May Alcott (November 29, 1832): Alcott’s fame in her lifetime was almost exclusively due to Little Women and its sequels, but in recent years, her fiction for adults — including A Modern Mephistopheles and Work: A Story of Experience — has gained attention as well.

Madeleine L’Engle (November 29, 1918): L’Engle wrote over sixty novels for adults and young readers alike, with her best-know being the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its follow-ups.

Philip Sidney (November 30, 1554): Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella is among the finest Elizabethan sonnet cycles; his The Defence of Poesie, the best work of Elizabethan literary criticism.

Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667): Swift remains among the leading English satirists for such works as the pamphlet “A Modest Proposal” and the novel Gulliver’s Travels.

Mark Twain (November 30, 1835): The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (which has never been out of print), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Innocents Abroad were all hits in Twain’s lifetime, while other works like A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and Other Sketches took longer to catch on.

L.M. Montgomery (November 30, 1874): Montgomery put aside the manuscript for Anne of Green Gables for a few years, after a series of rejections, but with the right publisher, it became an immediate bestseller and launched her career as a novelist.

Tayari Jones (November 30, 1970): Jones is the bestselling author of several novels, including the award-winning and celebrity-acclaimed An American Marriage

Rex Stout (December 1, 1886): Stout became and remains famous for his Nero Wolfe detective tales, for which he received the Mystery Writers of America's Grand Master Award; he also served as president of the Authors Guild for many years.

George Saunders (December 2, 1958): Saunders is most recently celebrated for the bestselling Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Booker Prize; he’s also known for his short fiction, such as pieces in The New Yorker and the short-story collection Tenth of December

Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857): Conrad is best known for Heart of Darkness, though his other acclaimed novels include Lord Jim, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, and Under Western Eyes.

Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875): Rilke is considered among the finest German poets, with Sonnets to Orpheus, Neue Gedichte (New Poems) and Duino Elegies bringing him lasting fame.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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