Posted on October 15, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of October 15, 2023. 

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. 

Nathanael West (October 17, 1903): West is known for his satirical novels such as The Day of the Locust, widely believed to be the best novel written about Hollywood.

Arthur Miller (October 17, 1915): Miller gained early fame for his award-winning plays Death of a Salesman and The Crucible; he also wrote novels, short stories, and an autobiography.

Terry McMillan (October 18, 1951): McMillan is best known for her third novel, Waiting to Exhale, which became a smash hit (and movie) and also earned her a hefty contract to write another bestseller, How Stella Got Her Groove Back.

John Le Carré (October 19, 1931): Le Carré’s nearly-sixty-year writing career has yielded a number of beloved novels, including The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and The Constant Gardener.

Philip Pullman (October 19, 1946): Pullman has received numerous awards for the His Dark Materials fantasy series and was named to The Times’s list of the fifty greatest British authors since 1945. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772): Famous for his poems "Kubla Khan” and “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria is also his era’s most significant work of general literary criticism.

Ursula K. Le Guin (October 21, 1929): Le Guin was a pioneer in sci-fi and fantasy, winning the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and World Fantasy awards multiple times; her best-known novels include the Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness.

Categories: Today in Books

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