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Here are seven author birthdays for this week. Check out which authors are your favorites, and find out who shares your day.
In This Week’s Author Birthdays
David Rakoff – November 27
On this day, November 27, in 1964, David Rakoff was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. A contemporary writer who was also an actor, journalist, publicist, and a regular contributor to the radio program, This American Life, he once described himself as a “New York writer” (he moved there in 1982 and completely embraced the city) who also happens to be a Canadian writer, a Jewish writer, a gay writer and an “East Asian Studies Major Who Has Forgotten Most of His Japanese” writer.
Tragically, he died at age 47 in 2012 of Hodgkin’s lymphoma; his groundbreaking novel, Love, Dishonor, Marry, Die, Cherish, Perish, set entirely in verse, was published posthumously a year later.
William Blake – November 28
On this day, November 28, in 1757, William Blake was born in London, England. He was largely unknown in his lifetime but now is considered one of the most influential poets and painters of the Romantic era. He became a professional engraver at age 21, but returned to school to study painting seven years later. He married his wife Catherine at age 28; she was illiterate, but he taught her to read and write, and how to engrave, and she became an invaluable aid to him.
His first collection of poems was published in 1783; his epic poem, Milton, which he also famously illustrated, was written between 1804-1810. An extremely enigmatic and interesting man, he died in 1827, at age 69.
Madeleine L’Engle – November 29
On this day, November 29, in 1918, Madeleine L’Engle was born in New York City. A study in perseverance, she graduated cum laude from Smith College after being labeled “stupid” as a child, she almost gave up writing at age 40 following continual rejections, and her most famous novel, A Wrinkle in Time, was rejected more than thirty times before finally being published in 1962. The book went on to win a Newbery Award later that year.
Ms L’Engle continued to write both children and adults, and in 1997 was recognized for her Lifetime Achievement by the World Fantasy Awards, as well as receiving a National Humanities Medal in 2004. She died in 2007, of natural causes; she was 88.
Tayari Jones – November 30
On this day, November 30, in 1970, Tayari Jones was born in Atlanta, Georgia. Known for her novel An American Marriage, which was a 2018 Oprah’s Book Club Selection and won the 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. Jones is a graduate of Spelman College, the University of Iowa, and Arizona State University. She is currently a member of the English faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences at Emory University, and recently returned to her hometown of Atlanta after a decade in New York City.
Her novels, including Leaving Atlanta, The Untelling, and An American Marriage, portray the relationships, often fractured relationships, between parents and their children and married couples. Today Tayari turns 53.
Candace Bushnell – December 1
On this day, December 1, in 1958, Candace Bushnell was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut. In 1997, she parlayed a group of columns she had written for the New York Observer newspaper into an anthology based on the real life dating experiences of herself and her friends, who were in their early to mid 30s. Calling it Sex in the City, the buzz it received had it snapped up by HBO for a groundbreaking TV series of the same name, whose characters have themselves become pop culture icons.
Ms. Bushnell has written seven novels since then (including Lipstick Jungle and The Carrie Diaries). Today she turns 65.
Ann Patchett – December 2
On this day, December 2, in 1963, Ann Patchett was born in Los Angeles, California. A long-time resident of Nashville, Tennessee (she moved there with her mother when she was six), it was her fourth novel, 2001’s Bel Canto, that put her on the literary map by becoming a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist and winning the PEN/Faulkner Award.
Now author of ten novels (including this year’s Tom Lake) and five works of non-fiction, as well as editor of the 2006 volume of the anthology series The Best American Short Stories, she still lives in Nashville, where she also owns the Parnassus Books bookstore – and it’s traveling bookmobile! Today, she turns 60.
Joseph Conrad – December 3
On this day, December 3, in 1857, Joseph Conrad was born in Berdichev, Imperial Russia (modern Ukraine, then a part of Poland). While he settled in England and wrote in English, he always considered himself a Pole (amazingly, he did not even speak English fluently until he was in his 20s).
Heart of Darkness, one of the most famous of his 20 novels (which explores colonialism and the attitudes regarding what constitutes a barbarian versus civilized society) is considered one of the best English novels of the 20th century, as is his novel Lord Jim, which chronicles a crew’s abandonment of its disabled ship. Conrad died in England in 1924, probably from a heart attack, at age 66.
Other LitStack Resources
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