Posted on December 19, 2021 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of December 19, 2021: 

Kate Atkinson (December 20, 1951): Atkinson’s Life After Life was nominated for and won several awards; she is also the author of the bestselling Jackson Brodie novels.

Sandra Cisneros (December 20, 1954): Cisneros received a National Medal of the Arts for her lifetime of work, including poetry, short stories, and a novel; she is most famous for her bestseller The House on Mango Street, which has been translated into over twenty languages.

Rebecca West (December 21, 1892): West reported on the Nürnberg trials of Nazi war criminals, which became A Train of Powder, and wrote about the Balkans in Black Lamb and Grey Falcon; she also wrote several novels, including The Return of the Soldier and The Fountain Overflows.

Jean Racine (December 22, 1639): Best known for his plays like Phèdre, Racine is considered the first modern poet and also the first French author to live off his writing.

Norman Maclean (December 23, 1902): Maclean’s A River Runs Through It and Other Stories was the only of his work to be published during his lifetime, but the posthumously published Young Men and Fire became a bestseller and won the National Book Critics Circle Award. 

Donna Tartt (December 23, 1963): Tartt won the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch and is also well-known for her novels The Secret History and The Little Friend

Matthew Arnold (December 24, 1822): Arnold gained prominence in his lifetime for his literary criticism; his poetry, which preceded his critical work, has earned him posthumous honor for such works as “Dover Beach.”

Mary Higgins Clark (December 24, 1929): Clark’s first suspense novel, Where Are The Children?, set her on the path to becoming the Queen of Suspense — she now has nearly forty bestsellers under her belt and a mystery award named after her.

Stephenie Meyer (December 24, 1973): Meyer, whose Twilight series has sold over 100 million copies globally, became the first author to sweep the first four slots on USA TODAY’s bestseller list.

Isaac Newton (December 25, 1642): Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, often referred to as simply the Principia (from its Latin title), revealed his laws of motion and is one of the most important modern scientific works.

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

Categories: Today in Books

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