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Here are seven author birthdays for this week.
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In This Week’s Author Birthdays
Molière – January 15
On this day, January 15, in 1622, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière, was born in Paris, France. A playwright who was wildly popular with both the court and the people in his own time, he is considered one of the masters of Western comedy even today. His hilarious and satirical works – such as Tartuffe and The Misanthrope – remain staples of modern theater.
Also a well known actor who often appeared in his own plays, he suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis; legend has it that he died a few hours after suffering a coughing fit and hemorrhaging on stage in the last play he ever wrote, ironically titled, The Imaginary Invalid. He was 51.
Susan Sontag – January 16
On this day, January 16, in 1933, writer, professor, literary icon, and political activist Susan Sontag was born in New York City. She was active in writing, speaking about and actually traveling to areas of conflict, including Vietnam during the war and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about literature, photography and media, culture, AIDS and illness, war, human rights, and left-wing politics, ignoring the controversy surrounding her work.
In 1977 she won the National Book Critics Circle Award for On Photography, and was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1990; in 2000 she won the National Book Award for her novel In America. She died in 2004 at aged 71, from acute myelogenous leukemia.
Benjamin Franklin – January 17
On this day, January 17, in 1706, author, printer, publisher, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, diplomat and Founding Father of the United States, Benjamin Franklin was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with inventing the lightning rod, bifocals, the odometer and the glass harmonica, he was a lifelong Freemason.
He, never married but had a common-law wife and an illegitimate son, was ambassador to France and Sweden, the nation’s first postmaster, President of Pennsylvania…. and wrote and published the witty Poor Richard’s Almanac as well as other tracts and periodicals; his autobiography (published after his death) is still considered a classic. He died of pleurisy in Philadelphia in 1790 at age 84.
A. A. Milne – January 18
On this day, January 18, in 1882, Alan Alexander (“A. A.”) Milne was born in London, England. The creator of the beloved tales of Winnie-the-Pooh was actually frustrated with the success of the Pooh books, as they overshadowed his other works (over 50 novels, plays, poetry collections, and other pursuits).
Interestingly enough, he had his share of literary encounters: one of his teachers in public school was H. G. Wells, and as a young man he played for an amateur cricket team alongside J. M. Barrie (Peter Pan) and Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes). He died at age 74 after being invalided by a stroke and subsequent brain surgery.
Edgar Allan Poe – January 19
On this day, January 19, in 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Master of the macabre, champion of the short story, inventor of the detective fiction genre, cryptography enthusiast and patron of the emerging style known as science fiction, his masterpieces The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Murders in the Rue Morgue among others has cemented his place in literary history.
Orphaned at an early age (“Allen” is the name of the family that fostered him), he never graduated from college, married his 13-year-old cousin when he was in his mid-20s (she died 11 years later), and was the first major American author to support himself solely through his writing. He died of inconclusive (some say mysterious) causes at age 40.
R.A. Salvatore – January 20
On this day, January 20, in 1959, R.A. Salvatore was born in Leominster, Massachusetts. The incredibly prolific fantasy/science fiction writer has sold more than 15 million books in the USA alone. He is perhaps best known for his Forgotten Realms novels, based on the popular Dungeons & Dragons campaign which spawned the online role-playing game franchise of the same name (including Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights and the currently incredibly popular Baldur’s Gate).
His character of Drizzt Do’Urden has been established as the archetypal heroic dark elf, or drow; that character alone has made Salvatore a legend in gaming and fantasy lit circles. Today he turns 65.
Casey McQuiston – January 21
Born January 21, 1991, Casey McQuiston is an American author of romance novels in the new adult fiction genre, best known for their New York Times best-selling debut novel Red, White & Royal Blue, in which the son of America’s first female president falls in love with a prince of England.
McQuiston is queer, non-binary, and uses they/them pronouns. McQuiston has expressed that they write romantic comedies about queer people because they grew up attending a conservative evangelical Christian school, and they want to write books that would have made them feel less isolated as a queer teenager. Today McQuiston turns 33. Source: Wikipedia
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