Posted on May 26, 2024 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of May 26, 2024.

Alexander Pushkin (May 26, 1799): Pushkin’s play Boris Godunov and novel Eugene Onegin are among the cornerstones of modern Russian literature.

Dashiell Hammett (May 27, 1894): Hammett is credited with launching the hard-boiled detective school of writing, with his third novel, The Maltese Falcon, introducing both Hammett and the character Sam Spade to the world.

Rachel Carson (May 27, 1907): Carson’s Silent Spring wasn’t even her first bestseller — that honor goes to 1951’s The Sea Around Us, which also won a National Book Award.

Maeve Binchy (May 28, 1940): Among the novels that gained Binchy fame for their depictions of relationships and small-town life were Firefly Summer, Circle of Friends, and Tara Road.

G. K. Chesterton (May 29, 1874): Chesterton worked his interest in social criticism into fiction, like the novel The Man Who Was Thursday and the short stories starring priest-sleuth Father Brown, but also wrote extensively about theology and literary criticism.

Countee Cullen (May 30, 1903): Cullen is considered one of the Harlem Renaissance’s finest poets; his most famous works include Copper Sun, The Ballad of the Brown Girl, and Color.

Colm Tóibín (May 30, 1955): Tóibín spent years as a journalist and travel writer before turning his focus to novels, including such acclaimed works as Brooklyn, The Master, and House of Names.

Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819): Whitman’s seminal collection Leaves of Grass didn’t meet with much US acclaim in his lifetime, though he’s now considered one of America’s most significant nineteenth-century poets.

Svetlana Alexievich (May 31, 1948): Alexievich, an investigative reporter, has used her work as the basis for five “documentary novels” about life during and after the Soviet Union; for this, she received the Nobel Prize. 

Colleen McCullough (June 1, 1938): McCullough is best known for The Thorn Birds, which earned her fame and a record advance of nearly $2 million, and her seven-book Masters of Rome series.

Categories: Today in Books

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