Posted on January 14, 2024 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of January 14, 2024.

John Dos Passos (January 14, 1896): The tumult — and economic disparities — of the early twentieth century inspired Dos Passos to write his U.S.A. trilogy, for which he is most famous.

Molière (January 15, 1622): Molière is considered by many to be the greatest French comedic playwright ever; his most famous works are Tartuffe and Le Misanthrope.

Ernest J. Gaines (January 15, 1933): Gaines was best known for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Gathering of Old Men, both of which were adapted into movies, and A Lesson Before Dying, which was a bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner.

Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933): Sontag wrote several novels and short stories, including Death Kit and the National Book Award-winning In America, in addition to her acclaimed essay collections, such as the career-launching Against Interpretation.

Anton Chekhov (January 17, 1860): Chekhov’s legacy is due in large part to his plays, like Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard, but he’s also described as a master of the modern short story.

Robert Cormier (January 17, 1925): Cormier was an award-winning journalist before he turned to fiction; his The Chocolate War is among the first novels to look at the darker parts of adolescent life.

A. A. Milne (January 18, 1882): Wildly famous now for creating Winnie-the-Pooh, Milne also wrote a detective novel, The Red House Mystery, as well as plays for adults and children, including a stage adaptation of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809): Poe’s widespread fame comes from his spooky short stories (like “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Pit and the Pendulum”) and poems including “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee,” but he also wrote what’s considered the first modern detective story — “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921): Highsmith is most closely associated with The Talented Mr. Ripley and its sequels, though she wrote other hit novels that also became movies: Strangers on a Train and The Price of Salt (known as Carol since 1990).

Edwidge Danticat (January 19, 1969): Danticat’s most recent work, Everything Inside, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, is one of her many awards to receive critical fame — others include Krik? Krak!, Brother, I'm Dying, and Breath, Eyes, Memory.

Categories: Today in Books

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