Posted on August 20, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of August 20, 2023.

H.P. Lovecraft (August 20, 1890): Lovecraft earned far more as a ghostwriter during his life, but since then, he has gained fame for his Cthulhu Mythos series, including, of course, “The Call of Cthulhu.”

Jacqueline Susann (August 20, 1918?): Susan’s second novel, Valley of the Dolls, was a massive hit and set her on the path to becoming the first author to have three consecutive number-one bestsellers (thanks to the follow-up novels The Love Machine and Once Is Not Enough). 

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893): Parker was a celebrated writer of many forms, from verse to book reviews to short stories, but she is most generally known for her quips, including one you may still hear today: “Men seldom make passes / At girls who wear glasses.”

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920): Bradbury’s honors include the National Book Foundation Medal, the National Medal of Arts, and a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his lifetime of work including Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and Dandelion Wine.

Annie Proulx (August 22, 1935): Proulx’s literary fame was cemented by her novel The Shipping News, which received both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, and her pop-culture fame came from the movie adaptation of her short story “Brokeback Mountain.”

Edgar Lee Masters (August 23, 1868): Masters’s poetry career peaked with Spoon River Anthology, though he also wrote other collections of verse, novels, and an autobiography.

Jean Rhys (August 24, 1890): Rhys’s most famous novel, Wide Sargasso Sea, which imagines the life of the mad wife from Jane Eyre, was written after a nearly three-decade sabbatical from publishing.

A.S. Byatt (August 24, 1936): Byatt received the Booker Prize for her novel Possession, which was also adapted into a movie; she’s also known for her short-story collections.

Paulo Coelho (August 24, 1947): Coelho, best known for The Alchemist, is considered Brazil’s most successful author, with more than 350 million book sales to his name in a number of countries and languages.

Orson Scott Card (August 24, 1951): Card is best known for his sci-fi novels like Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow, though he has also written biblical and fantasy novels, poetry, and (most recently) comics.

John Green (August 24, 1977): Green, a New York Times bestselling author, has seen his novels Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars adapted into hit movies as well. 

Bret Harte (August 25, 1836): Harte, known best for “The Luck of Roaring Camp,” “The Outcasts of Poker Flat,” and “The Heathen Chinee,” helped create the local-color school of American fiction.

Sherley Anne Williams (August 25, 1944): Williams excelled in multiple literary areas, winning acclaim and awards for her novels (Dessa Rose), poetry (The Peacock Poems), and children’s literature (Working Cotton).

Barbara Ehrenreich (August 26, 1941): Ehrenreich, a journalist and activist in addition to nonfiction writer, is best known for Nickel and Dimed.

Categories: Today in Books

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