Posted on October 29, 2023 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of October 29, 2023. 

James Boswell (October 29, 1740): Boswell gained fame during his lifetime for his biography of author Samuel Johnson and then again, many years after his death, when his own extensive, exquisitely written journals were uncovered and published.

Lee Child (October 29, 1954): Child launched the hugely successful Jack Reacher series of books after losing his job as a TV presentation director at age forty. 

Paul Valéry (October 30, 1871): Valéry became famous early in his career and quickly for his poetry, with “The Graveyard by the Sea” and “The Young Fate,” though he spent most of his career as an essayist, lecturer, and professor.

Robert Caro (October 30, 1935): Caro has won two Pulitzer Prizes, among many other awards, for his biographies The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York and Master of the Senate (a volume in his Years of Lyndon Johnson collection). 

John Keats (October 31, 1795): Keats’s greatest achievement as a poet are his odes, including “On Indolence,” “On a Grecian Urn,” “To Psyche,” and “To a Nightingale.”

Stephen Crane (November 1, 1871): Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage brought him wide praise, despite his lack of military service; he decided to work as a war correspondent to lend more authenticity to his writing, and a naval disaster he survived during that quest led him to write his greatest short story, “The Open Boat.”

William Cullen Bryant (November 3, 1794): Bryant’s poem “Thanatopsis” brought not just fame to its author, but also legitimacy to American poetry abroad.  

André Malraux (November 3, 1901): Malraux is best known internationally for La Condition Humaine (Man’s Fate) and was a significant literary influence on another famous French writer, Albert Camus.

Terrence McNally (November 3, 1939): The playwright — a four-time Tony Award winner, an Emmy winner, and recipient of the 2019 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre — was celebrated for his adaptations of E.L. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime and Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman.

Will Rogers (November 4, 1879): Rogers gained fame for his performances, but he also wrote a weekly column for the Saturday Evening Post and had two bestselling books: The Cowboy Philosopher on Prohibition and There’s Not a Bathing Suit in Russia.

Categories: Today in Books

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