Today in Literary History – July 21, 1899 – Ernest Hemingway is born

Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel Prize-winning American writer was born in Oak Park, Illinois, an upscale suburb of Chicago, on July 21, 1899. Despite influencing a generation of writers with his spare, staccato literary style, Hemingway also reveled in his larger than life image as a boxer, big-game hunter, deep water fisherman, bullfighting aficionado, and womanizer. …

Today in Literary History – July 20, 1304 – the Italian poet Petrarch is born

The Italian poet Petrarch was born in the city of Arezzo in Tuscany on July 20, 1304. His father was a lawyer and civil servant and a member of the minor nobility who had been exiled there from Rome during the convoluted political struggles between backers of the Pope (Petrarch’s father's faction) and backers of …

Today in Literary History – July 18, 1933 – Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko is born in Siberia

Yevgeny Yevtushenko, the Russian poet who the New York Times said had “the charisma of an actor and the instincts of a politician” was born on July 18, 1933 in a small frigid town in Siberia called Zima, literally “winter" in Russian. Yevtushenko published his first book of poems at the age of 19 and …

Today in Literary History – July 16, 2003 – Canadian novelist Carol Shields dies

Carol Shields, the American born Canadian novelist, short story writer, and poet, died from breast cancer on July 16, 2003, at the age of 68. Shields’ ten novels were bestsellers in Canada, the United States, the U.K., and around the world in translation. Along with her five collections of short stories they won or were …

Today in Literary History – July 15, 1947 – short story writer (very short story writer ) Lydia Davis is born

Lydia Davis, the writer of brilliant and brittle short fiction, was born on July 15, 1947. Davis's stories are famously short (often only a paragraph or so), enigmatic, and usually fixated on mundane occurrences. She is credited as one of the inventors of "flash fiction." Despite their brevity her tales have the depth and characterisation …

Today in Literary History – July 13, 2014 – the Nobel Prize-winning South African novelist and activist Nadine Gordimer dies at the age of 90

Nadine Gordimer, the Nobel Prize-winning South African novelist, short story writer, and social activist, died in Johannesburg on July 13, 2014, at the age of 90. She was a wealthy white South African who spent most of her life fighting for racial justice in her homeland, not just in her fiction and essays through her …

Today in Literary History – July 12, 1817 – Henry David Thoreau is born

Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts on July 12, 1817. His idiosyncratic book Walden; or, Life in the Woods, published in 1854, describes the two years, two months, and two days that Thoreau spent living in a one room cabin on the edge of the town of Concord, on the banks of Walden …

Today in Literary History – July 11, 1899 – E.B. White, author of “Charlotte’s Web,” and the “White” of “Strunk and White,” is born.

The writer E.B. White was born in Mount Vernon, New York on July 11, 1899. He spent nearly 50 years writing essays, editorials, and short stories for the New Yorker magazine. In 1957 he revised a guide to clear writing that had been self-published in 1918 by his former professor at Cornell University, William Strunk, …

Today in Literary History – July 10, 1903 – “The Day of the Triffids” author John Wyndham is born

John Wyndham, one of the leading figures of British science fiction and the author of The Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, The Midwich Cuckoo, and other books, was born on July 10, 1903. He was given the name John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, and went by the name John Beynon Harris throughout his …

Today in Literary History – July 9, 1775 -Matthew Lewis, author of the Gothic horror thriller “The Monk,” is born

Matthew Gregory Lewis, author of the Gothic horror novel The Monk, was born in London on July 9, 1775. The Monk was a wildly successful and scandalous novel, full of all of the usual Gothic elements – a romantic Spanish location, a sexually transgressive plot set in a Catholic Abbey, demons, witchcraft, and lots of …

Today in Literary History -July 1, 1961 – controversial French novelist, Louis-Ferdinand Céline dies

Louis-Ferdinand Céline, the highly controversial French novelist and propagandist, died on July 1, 1961, at the age of 67. Céline's real name was Louis Ferdinand Auguste Destouches. His parents were middle class but had higher aspirations for their son. In his teens they sent him to live for a year in Germany and a year …

Today in Literary History – June 30, 1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind” is published

Margaret Mitchell's only novel, Gone With the Wind, was published on June 30, 1936. Despite its length (1037 pages) and it’s unusually high price of three dollars it was an instant bestseller. Mitchell, who was a features writer on the Atlanta Journal, spent ten years on the book, which is set in Georgia during and …

Today in Literary History – June 29, 1900 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of “The Little Prince”, is born

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the aviator and author of such beloved books as The Little Prince and Night Flight, was born on June 29, 1900. Saint-Exupéry was born into a noble French family (his father was a viscount) and was given the upbringing expected of a young aristocrat. However, he failed to pass the acceptance exams at the colleges he …

Today in Literary History -June 28, 1503 – Giovanni della Casa, author of a popular Renaissance guide to manners, is born in Florence

Giovanni della Casa, poet, archbishop, diplomat, and author of one of the most popular books of etiquette and Renaissance “courtesy," was born in Florence on June 28, 1503. In Italy della Casa is highly regarded for the satirical and somewhat bawdy poetry he composed in his early life, but he is most famous for his book …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Ian McEwan is born – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Ian McEwan, the great British short story writer and novelist, was born on June 21, 1948. He has had one of the longest and most varied careers of his generation of British writers which includes Salman Rushdie, Martin Amis and Julian Barnes. McEwan’s father was an Army major and McEwan grew up on various military …

Today in Literary History – June 21, 1935 – novelist Francoise Sagan is born

The French novelist Francoise Sagan was born on June 21, 1935, as Francoise Quoirez. Sagan became an international literary celebrity at the age of 19 with the publication of her first novel Bonjour Tristesse in 1954. Sagan said that she wrote the book just to see if she could, and completed it in a couple …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Emil Cioran dies – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Emil Cioran, the Romanian philosopher and author who lived most of his life in France died on June 20, 1995, at the age of eighty-four, from Alzheimer Disease. Cioran had been obsessed by the idea of suicide his whole life. Many of his brief aphoristic essays wove themselves around what Cioran considered a paradox, at …