7 Author Shoutouts – Authors We Recommend

by LitStack Editor

Here are seven author shoutouts for this week. Check out which authors are your favorites, and browse their books.

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day?

Pauline Kael

Author Shoutouts

Pauline Kael made a significant impact as an American film critic and author. Her tenure at The New Yorker magazine spanned from 1968 until 1991. Known for her witty and incisive film reviews, Kael’s conversational writing style brought film criticism to a broader audience. Her acclaimed book Deeper Into Movies, which delves into films from 1969 to 1972, earned her the prestigious National Book Award.

Kael was an advocate for the New Hollywood wave that emerged in the 1960s and 70s, celebrating films with more personal and auteur-driven narratives. Details about her personal life remain scarce, as very little information is available. She died at her Massachusetts residence, reportedly due to Parkinson’s disease.

Lillian Hellman

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day? Lillian Hellman

Playwright and screenwriter Lillian Hellman was a native of New Orleans, Louisiana. She was famous for not just her plays (such as Little Foxes, a semi-autobiographical play about the struggle for control of a family business), but also for being blacklisted by the House Committee on Un-American Activities by refusing to answer their questions regarding communist activity, effectively sacrificing her career. 

She also was romantically linked for over 30 years with the famous writer of hard-boiled detective novels Dashiell Hammett. She died of a heart attack in 1984 at her home in Martha’s Vineyard; she was 79.


Jean-Paul Sartre

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day? Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris, France. This champion of existentialism, which posits that beliefs come from not from merely thinking about life, but through feeling and acting upon it, was drafted into the French Army in 1939 and captured by the Germans a year later, spending 9 months as a POW. His 1943 treatise, Being and Nothingness, written to prove that free will exists, remains a monumental philosophical work. 

Politically active throughout his life, he refused  the Nobel Prize in 1964 because he felt a writer should not become “an institution.” Long time companion to feminist Simone de Beauvoir, he died of edema of the lung in 1980 at age 74.


Octavia Butler

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day? Octavia Butler

Octavia Butler was born in Pasadena, California. Her mother was a housekeeper and her father a shoeshine man, and she was brought up in a strict Baptist household. As a child, she was tall, awkward and struggled with dyslexia, which left her feeling “ugly and stupid”, but despite little family support and racial barriers, her science fiction and fantasy writings went on to win two Nebula and Hugo Awards, and a Locus Award, among others. 

In 1995 she was awarded with a McKnight “Genius Grant”, and in 2010 was posthumously inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. She died in 2006, from injuries she received after suffering a stroke outside her home; she was 58.


Kamala Markandaya

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day? Kamala Markandaya

Kamala Markanday was a significant Indian author who explored the clash between tradition and modernity, feminism, and social evolution in her novels. Her first book, Nectar in a Sieve (1954), became an instant hit and cemented her reputation as a prominent figure in Indian literature. Over her career, she wrote ten insightful novels addressing post-colonial India, feminism, and societal shifts. Some of her notable works include Some Inner Fury, A Silence of Desire, and Possession.

Following India’s independence, Kamala Markandaya left for Britain, where she met and married English journalist Bertrand Taylor. Opting for a private life, Markandaya seldom gave interviews. Despite making England her home, she retained her identity as an Indian expatriate, occasionally visiting India. However, information about her later years is scarce. She passed away in London in 2004 due to kidney failure.

Mary Wesley

Author Birthdays Who Shares Your Day? Mary Wesley

Mary Wesley was a successful English novelist whose life story was one of rebellion and eventual literary triumph. Her career in adult fiction began at the age of 71 with the publication of her first novel, Jumping the Queue. Her books, known for their witty and insightful portrayal of relationships, became bestsellers. She sold over three million copies in total. Despite a life filled with unconventional choices, she found her true calling as a writer later in life. Her novels, with themes of sex, love, and relationships in later years, resonated with readers and became bestsellers.

Her childhood was marked by a difficult relationship with her critical mother and a series of changing governesses. She married twice—first to gain independence from her family and second to support a writer facing tough times. Both marriages came with challenges. Despite these hurdles, or maybe because of them, Mary published ten novels in the last twenty years of her life, including well-loved titles like The Camomile Lawn and Harnessing Peacocks. She passed away peacefully at home from cancer at the age of 90.

Eric Carle

Author Shoutouts

Eric Carle was born in Syracuse, New York. Writer and illustrator of children’s books, he is known not only for such titles as The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but also for an artistic style that is both simple and colorful, delighting children and adults alike. When he was 6, his family moved back to Germany where they were caught up in the horrors of WWII: his father was a Soviet POW and returned in 1947 weighing 85 pounds; Eric himself was forced at age 15 to dig trenches on the Siegfried line. 

He managed to return to America in 1952 (but ironically was drafted into the army during the Korean War and was stationed in Germany). Sadly, we lost him weeks before he was to turn 92.


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