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

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

Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821): Flaubert’s debut novel — Madame Bovary — is by far his most famous work, though he’s credited with leading the realist school of French literature.

Shirley Jackson (December 14, 1919): Jackson is best known for her short story “The Lottery,” which drew a record amount of mail for the New Yorker (where it appeared), and the novels The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

Betty Smith (December 15, 1896): In addition to writing the beloved and bestselling coming-of-age novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Smith was an acclaimed playwright, receiving the Rockefeller Fellowship and the Dramatists Guild Fellowship.

Edna O’Brien (December 15, 1930): O’Brien caught attention with her first novel, The Country Girls, which launched a trilogy as well as a career of fiction, short stories, plays, screenplays, and nonfiction.

Jane Austen (December 16, 1775): Austen’s six novels, including most famously Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, set a new tone for the genre by depicting ordinary people’s everyday lives.

Arthur C. Clarke (December 16, 1917): Clarke’s short story “The Sentinel” became first the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey and then a full-length book; he’s also known for the novel Childhood’s End and short stories “The Nine Billion Names of God” and “The Star.”

Philip K. Dick (December 16, 1928): Dick’s fame beyond sci-fi circles mostly came posthumously, though The Man in the High Castle (later a TV show) did receive a Hugo Award, and his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was adapted into the movie Blade Runner the same year he died.

Ford Madox Ford (December 17, 1873): In the years before and after writing his masterpiece, The Good Soldier, Ford also founded the English Review and edited the Transatlantic Review, both of which published many of the time’s most famous authors.

Erskine Caldwell (December 17, 1903): Caldwell’s literary fame rests on two novels that describe poverty and degeneracy in the South: Tobacco Road and God’s Little Acre.

Saki (December 18, 1870): Saki’s short stories “Tobermory,” “The Open Window,” “Sredni Vashtar,” “Laura,” and “The Schartz-Metterklume Method” are frequent entries in anthologies.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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