Today in Literary History – August 21, 1920 – Christopher Robin Milne is born (from Bookworm Norm August 2018)

Christopher Robin Milne was born on August 21, 1920. His father was A.A. Milne, the creator of the Winnie-the-Pooh books that were based on Christopher Robin and his teddy bear, “Winnie-the-Pooh.” The younger Milne resented his childhood being used by his father as literary inspiration. Some offspring may have taken it with good grace and …

Today in Literary History – August 18, 1958 -Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” is published (from Bookworm Norm 2018)

Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial masterpiece Lolita was first published in the United States on August 18, 1958. It had originally been published in Paris in 1955 by Olympia Press (which specialized in “erotica”) in two error-ridden volumes. It would not be be published in the UK until 1959. The novel’s plot, the infatuation and corruption of a prepubescent …

Today in Literary History – August 17, 1945 – George Orwell’s Animal Farm is published (from Bookworm Norm August, 2018)

Animal Farm, George Orwell’s satirical dystopian fable, was first published on August 17, 1945. He had begun the novel in 1943 after resigning from his position at the BBC to concentrate on writing. The story of Animal Farmis one of a revolution by the barnyard animals against Farmer Jones, his wife and his hired hands. The …

Today in Literary History – August 16, 1920 – Charles Bukowski is born (from Bookworm Norm August, 2018)

The American poet and novelist Charles Bukowski was born in Germany on August 16, 1920 as Heinrich Karl Bukowski. His father was a German-American who served as a sergeant in the American army during World War I and with the army of occupation in Germany after the war. After leaving the services he stayed on in …

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 …

Also Today in Literary History – May 31, 1699 – Samuel Pepys wrote the last entry of his famous Diary 350 years ago today

On May 31, 1669 Samuel Pepys made his last entry in the diary that he had kept since January 1, 1660. He wrote that he was concerned about damaging his eyesight by writing by candlelight. Pepys diary is one of the most fascinating and multi-faceted written undertakings, providing a portrait of its author and his …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Maya Angelou dies – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Maya Angelou, the American poet and memoirist, died on May 28, 2014 at the age of 86. Her first book — the first of seven volumes of autobiography — I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, was published in 1969 and told the story of her life up to the age of seventeen. It was an immediate …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” is published – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Bram Stoker’s Gothic horror novel Dracula was published in London on May 26, 1897. Stoker was the business manager for the Lyceum Theatre but he also wrote horror and supernatural books on the side. Dracula came out of Stoker’s long interest in Eastern European folktales. Stoker researched accounts of vampires and shapeshifters, mostly from Romanian folk beliefs, and …

Also On This Day in Literary History – Raymond Carver is born – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Raymond Carver, the masterful short story writer and poet, was born on May 25, 1938. Carver was born in Oregon and raised in the state of Washington. He married at the age of 19 (to his pregnant 16 year-old girlfriend) and moved to California. He attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop but left before graduating. He …

Also On This Day in Literary History – poet Alexander Pope is born – from Bookworm Norm 2018

Alexander Pope, the great satiric poet, was born on May 21, 1688. Pope suffered from many physical ailments including Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine. He was hunchbacked and stood at only four feet six inches. In addition he had severe respiratory difficulties and abdominal pains. Pope came from a Catholic family …

Also On This Day in Literary History -T.E. Lawrence dies after a motorcycle accident – From Bookworm Norm 2018

T. E. Lawrence, known to history as “Lawrence of Arabia” and the author of the classic Seven Pillars of Wisdom, died on May 19, 1935, at the age of forty-six. He had resigned from the RAF just a few months earlier and had moved permanently into his holiday cottage in Dorset. Lawrence was an avid motorcyclist and …

Also Today in Literary History – Emily Dickinson dies – from Bookworm Norm May 2018

Emily Dickinson, who is now considered one of the most important American poets, died on May 15, 1886, in almost complete obscurity. She was 55 years old and had spent most of her life living in her family mansion in Amherst, Massachusetts. Her neighbours considered her to be an eccentric recluse. In her later years …

Also On This Day in Literary History – May 12, 1812 – Edward Lear is born – From Bookworm Norm 2018

Edward Lear, the British poet and master of the limerick, was born on May 12, 1812. Lear began his career as an artist, specializing in natural history paintings. He made watercolour illustrations of birds for the British Museum and for private ornithologists and was compared favourably with John James Audubon. Later, he worked for the …

Also On This Day in Literary History – May 2, 1611 – The King James Bible is published – from Bookworm Norm 2018

The magisterial translation of the Bible that came to be known as The King James Version was first published on May 2, 1611. It is arguably the most important and influential book in the English language; its theological importance aside, it has given the English language countless phrases and allusions in its over 400 year …

Also on This Day in Literary History – From Bookworm Norm March 2018

MARCH 26, 2018 BY NORM SIGURDSON Today in Literary History – March 26, 1969 – John Kennedy Toole, author of “A Confederacy of Dunces” dies John Kennedy Toole, the author of the posthumously published novel A Confederacy of Dunces, took his own life on March 26, 1969, at the age of 31. He had laboured over his serio-comic novel …

Also on This Day in Literary History – March 18, 1893 – from Bookworm Norm March 2018

MARCH 18, 2018 BY NORM SIGURDSON Today in Literary History – March 18, 1893 – poet Wilfrid Owen is born The great World War I poet Wilfrid Owen was born on March 18, 1893 in Shropshire, England. Owen was 22 years old and teaching English and French at the Berlitz School in Bordeaux, France, when the First World …

Also Today in Literary History -March 4, 1932 – from Bookworm Norm 2018

MARCH 4, 2018 BY NORM SIGURDSON Today in Literary History – March 4, 1932 – Ryszard Kapuściński is born One of my favourite writers Ryszard Kapuściński was born on March 4, 1932 in what was then Pinsk, Poland but is now in Belarus. Kapuściński worked for the Polish Press Agency for many years under communist rule, reporting mostly …