Posted on June 2, 2024 at 8:00 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Here are the literary birthdays to celebrate over the week of June 2, 2024.

Thomas Hardy (June 2, 1840): Hardy is celebrated as a 19th-century writer, most notably for Tess of the d’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure, and a 20th-century poet.

Fredrik Backman (June 2, 1981): Backman, known for such novels as A Man Called Ove and Anxious People, is a New York Times bestseller whose books have been published in more than forty countries.

Franz Kafka (June 3, 1883): Kafka only allowed a few of his works, like “The Metamorphosis,” to be published during his lifetime, and told his executor to burn leftover manuscripts (an order he disobeyed).

Allen Ginsberg (June 3, 1926): Ginsberg’s epic poem “Howl” is considered one of the most important works from the Beat literary movement.

Larry McMurtry (June 3, 1936): Among McMurtry’s thirty-plus novels are Terms of Endearment (adapted into a movie) and the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove.

Federico García Lorca (June 5, 1898): Lorca, considered among the most important Spanish playwrights and poets of the twentieth century, is best known for his poetry collection Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads) and his play Blood Wedding.

Ken Follett (June 5, 1949): Follett’s breakthrough novel, Eye of the Needle, was made into a film, and five of his novels — The Key to Rebecca, Lie Down with Lions, On Wings of Eagles, The Third Twin, The Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End — also have a corresponding TV miniseries.

Rick Riordan (June 5, 1964): While popularly known for his Percy Jackson series (and other young adult novels), Riordan has also received the top three US awards for mysteries – the Edgar, the Anthony, and the Shamus — for his Tres Navarre series. 

Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875): Mann, best known for Death in Venice, won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929 and is considered the best German novelist of the 20th century.

V.C. Andrews (June 6, 1924): Andrews has written over seventy novels — including, perhaps infamously, Flowers in the Attic — and her work has been translated into twenty-five foreign languages.

Elizabeth Bowen (June 7, 1899): Among Bowen’s most acclaimed novels are The Death of the Heart, The House in Paris, and The Heat of the Day (which the Guardian chose as one of its top 100 novels written in English).

Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917): Brooks won the Pulitzer Prize in 1950 for Annie Allen, making her the first African American poet to do so.

Louise Erdrich (June 7, 1954): Many of Erdrich’s novels draw on her Native American heritage, including the National Book Award winning novel The Round House and the Nelson Algren Fiction Prize winning short story “The World’s Greatest Fisherman” (which in turn later became a series-launching novel, Love Medicine).

Sara Paretsky (June 8, 1947): Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski novels, which began in the 1980s and continue to today, share the credit (with author Sue Grafton) for breaking down the gender barrier in detective fiction. 

Categories: Today in Books

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