You can find the books relating to our author picks at our bookshop, on our list of Sharon’s Birthday Picks.
Here are seven author birthdays for this week. Check out which authors are your favorites, and find out who shares your day. Be sure and buy a birthday author book.
In This Week’s Author Birthdays:
Colson Whitehead – November 6
On this day, November 6, in 1969, Colson Whitehead was born in New York City. He is the author of nine novels, including The Underground Railroad, for which he won the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction; and The Nickel Boys, for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction again in 2020 (in 2022, it was announced that Whitehead will executive produce the upcoming film adaptation of the same name – filming has been completed, so look for it on screens soon).
He has also published two books of nonfiction. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship. Currently residing in Manhattan with his wife and two children, today he turns 54.
Helen Garner – November 7
On this day, November 7, in 1942, Helen Garner was born in Geelong, Australia. Garner is a novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Garner has published many works of fiction including Monkey Grip, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Spare Room, and The Children’s Bach. She has won numerous awards, including the Melbourne Prize for Literature. She has also received a Walkley Award for journalism in 1993.
Throughout her career, Garner has written both fiction and non-fiction. She has also written for film and theater, and has consistently won awards for her work, including the Walkley Award for a 1993 Time magazine report. Today, she turns 81.
Kazuo Ishiguro – November 8
On this day, November 8, in 1954, Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan (moving to the UK when he was five). Author of (so far) eight novels, his third novel, Remains of the Day, received the 1989 Nobel and Booker prizes, and was made into a feature film that was nominated for eight Oscars. His sixth novel, Never Let Me Go (which many consider his finest work) was nominated for the Booker as well as many other awards, and was also adapted into a major motion picture. He has been honored by the British, French and Japanese governments, and in 2018 he was appointed Knight Bachelor for his services to literature.
Also an author of five screenplays, he recently adapted the screenplay of Bill Nighy’s movie Living. Currently living in London, today he turns 69.
Anne Sexton – November 9
On this day, November 9, in 1928, Anne Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts. Anne Sexton was an American poet, known for her highly personal, confessional verse. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Live or Die in 1967. Themes in her poetry included her suicidal tendencies, her depression, and intimate details of her private life. She also wrote four children’s books with Maxine Kumin. Sexton began working as a model, and then worked as a teacher, a lecturer of writing, eventually becoming a professor of creative writing.
On October 4, 1974, on returning home she put on her mother’s old fur coat, removed all her rings, poured herself a glass of vodka, locked herself in her garage, and started the engine of her car, ending her life by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Neil Gaiman – November 10
On this day, November 10, in 1960, Neil Gaiman was born in Portchester, Hampshire, England. Son of a grocery store owner and a pharmacist, he was raised as a Jewish Scientologist (although he no longer adheres to either). Reading by the age of four, he quickly became enamored of fantasy (Tolkien being an early influence) and then science fiction. Now a writer of acclaimed works such as The Sandman graphic novels, and books Neverwhere, American Gods, Coraline, and Good Omens (co-written with Terry Pratchett) – all of which have been turned into movies or streaming series.
He is known for his deadpan wit, his melodious reading voice and his humanitarian efforts. His literary awards are too numerous to list, but it is his accessibility to his fans that has made him one of the best-known writers of our time. Today he turns 63.
Kurt Vonnegut – November 11
On this day, November 11, in 1922, Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis, Indiana. Known as much for his acidic wit and deadpan humor as for his iconic novels such as Cat’s Cradle, Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse-Five, his life itself was full of pathos. On Mother’s Day in 1944, when he was on leave from the Army, he found out that his own mother had committed suicide. He was a German POW in WWII – one of the few who survived the bombing of Dresden.
He adopted his sister’s four children when she died of cancer two days after her husband was killed in a commuter train wreck. Yet he remained a staunch humanist his entire life. He died of head trauma following a fall at his home in New York at age 82.
Janette Turner Hospital – November 12
On this day, November 12, in 1942, Janette Turner Hospital was born in Melbourne, Australia. Janette Turner Hospital is an award-winning Australian author. Her books include Oyster, The Last Magician, and Orpheus Lost. She is a novelist and short story writer who has lived most of her adult life in Canada or the United States, principally Boston (Massachusetts), Kingston (Ontario) and Columbia (South Carolina).
She studied at the University of Queensland and Kelvin Grove Teachers College, gaining a BA in 1965. She holds an MA from Queen’s University, Canada, 1973. Today she turns 81.
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