About ten years ago, while pretending to get computerized, I started collecting literary birthdays and publication dates for my stepdaughter, who was teaching high school English at the time. Cutting and pasting, editing and adding dates and so on, were supposed to help me learn word processing. Obviously, that is still a work in progress. And so is the calendar, which I’ve kept nibbling at all this time, though I’m not entirely sure why — as an obsessive way to avoid real work, perhaps. Along the way, I’ve also incorporated birthdays and such for songwriters and scientists, and bits of poems, proverbs, song lyrics, and quotes in some way associated with a certain month or season, at least in my mind. Someday, I may learn to upload relevant portraits and illustrations. Someday, proper layout and formatting, with quotes and poems nicely indented, authors’ names highlighted, days of the month in a larger font, and other glitzy features may even happen. A fully searchable data base for all this stuff would be great too, but I’m not holding my breath. I’m having fun adding Youtube videos though, with some good ones here if the links keep working. In fairness to readers I should wait until this is more presentable before posting it, but realistically I may never live that long! Ready or not, here’s what I’ve got.
– LLF, 26 December, 2011
*** Literary Calendar ***
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November.
All the rest have thirty-one;
February has twenty-eight alone,
Except in leap year, that’s the time
When February’s days are twenty-nine.
– Traditional mnemonic
Notes, abbreviations –
There can be considerable confusion over birth dates. The records for some authors give only a baptismal date, which is sure to be at least a few days after their births. And countries adopted the Gregorian calendar at different times in their history. For example, Russia clung to the less accurate Julian calendar until the 1917 Revolution. Hence, some Russian dates for the same events can be 12 days apart. When I can tell, I give dates according to the updated or New Style calendar. Here and there I may also list the Old calendar date.
When given in detail, dates are written Continental style: day/month/year
BOL = Bollingen Prize — Yale University award for poetry
NBA = (USA) National Book Award
An optimist stays up until midnight to see the new year in.
A pessimist stays up to make sure the old year leaves.
– Anne Bradstreet English-born New England poet; first “American” poet published 1612-1672 [birth date uncertain]
– Kristijonas Donelaitis Lithuanian poet 1714-1780
– Phyllis Wheatley Senegal-born American slave, poet; first black “American” woman poet published 1753-1784 [birth date very uncertain]
– Maria Edgeworth England-born Irish novelist; lively tales of Irish life; Castle Rackrent (1800) 1767-1849
– London’s oldest still-running newspaper, The Times, publishes its first edition in 1788.
– Arthur Hugh Clough English poet; “The Bothie of Toberna-Vuolich” 1819-1861
– James G. [George] Frazer Scottish classicist, anthropologist; The Golden Bough, [full 12 volume set] (1911-1915) 1854-1941
– Mariano Azuela Mexican novelist 1873-1952
– E. M. [Edward Morgan] Forster English novelist; A Room with a View (1908), Howard’s End (1910), A Passage to India (1924) 1879-1970
– J. D. [Jerome David] Salinger New York City-born recluse, author; The Catcher in the Rye (1951) 1919-2010
– Sembene Ousmane Senegalese novelist, screenwriter; focused on post-colonial social issues 1923-2007
– Jean Ure British children’s writer 1943-
– Iconic country singer and songwriter Hank Williams Sr. dies in 1953.
– In a British obscenity trial, Penguin Books is acquitted for publishing D. H. Lawrence’s novel Lady Chatterley’s Lover in 1960.
– Philip [Morin] Freneau New York City-born poet, political gazette editor; first poet to use themes from American nature 1752-1832
– Robert [Gruntal] Nathan New York City-born poet, novelist; Portrait of Jennie (1940) 1894-1985
– John Hope Franklin Oklahoma-born historian, biographer, essayist; From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans (1947) 1915-2009
– Isaac Asimov Russia-born US scientist, science fiction writer; Foundation series, I Robot (1950), The Caves of Steel (1954) 1920-1992
– Jan Slepian (born Janice Berek) New York City-born young adult novelist 1921-
– Leonard Michaels New York City-born novelist, short story writer 1933-
– Roger [Dean] Miller Texas-born country singer, songwriter; “King of the Road” (1965) 1936-1992
– John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row is published in 1945.
– Leonard B. Scott Germany-born US novelist 1948-
– [Marcus Tullius] Cicero Roman statesman, essayist, poet 106 BCE-43 BCE [death by assassination]
– Douglas William Jerrold London-born author, playwright 1803-1857
– Herman Melville sails as a seaman on a whaler from New York, bound for the Pacific in 1841.
– James Bridie Scottish dramatist 1888-1951
– J. R. R. [John Ronald Reuel] Tolkien South African fantasy writer; Lord of the Rings 1892-1973
– Pierre Drieu La Rochelle French novelist, essayist 1893-1945
– Morten Nielsen Danish poet, World War II resistance fighter 1922-1944
– Stephen [Arthur] Stills Texas-born folk, rock guitarist, singer, songwriter; “Wooden Ships” 1945-
– Isaac Newton English physicist, mathematician; treatise on gravitation Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica (1687) 1643-1727 [new calender birth date]
– Jakob [Ludwig Carl] Grimm German librarian, philologist; with his brother Wilhelm, compiled Grimm’s fairy tales (1812-1815) 1785-1863
– Marsden Hartley Maine-born painter, writer 1877-1943
– A. E. [Alfred Edgar] Coppard English poet, short story writer 1878-1957
– French existentialist novelist Albert Camus dies in 1960.
– [John] Michael Stipe Georgia-born rock musician, songwriter, R.E.M. founding member 1960-
– Poet T. S. Eliot dies in London in 1965.
New Year’s Day–Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time.
– Mark Twain
– Miklos Zrinyi Hungarian soldier, poet 1620-1664
– Khristo Botev Bulgarian poet, revolutionary 1848-1876
– Friedrich Durrenmatt Swiss playwright, novelist 1921-1990
– W. D. [William De Witt] Snodgrass Pennsylvania-born poet, 1959 Pulitzer 1926-2009
– Umberto Eco Italian novelist, critic; The Name of the Rose (1980) 1932-2016
– Clifford Odets’ play Waiting for Lefty opens in New York in 1935.
– Ngugi wa Thiong’o (aka James T. Ngugi) Kenyan novelist, dramatist, critic 1938-
– Carl Sandburg Illinois-born poet, Lincoln biographer; Chicago Poems 1878-1967
– Khalil Gibran Lebanese mystic poet ; The Prophet 1883-1931
– Tomas Gudmundsson Icelandic poet 1901-1983
– Benedict Wallet Vilakazi South African Zulu poet, novelist, educator 1906-1947
– Wright [Marion] Morris Nebraska-born novelist, short story writer, photographer; Love Among Cannibals 1910-1998
– Alan Watts English writer, interpreter of Zen Buddhism 1915-1973
– E. L. [Edgar Lawrence] Doctorow Bronx-born novelist; Ragtime 1931-2015
– Sandy [Alexandra Elene Maclean] Denny English folk singer, songwriter, Fairport Convention member; “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” 1947-1978
– James Harrington English political theorist; The Commonwealth of Oceana 1611-1677
– Charles Péguy French Catholic socialist writer, poet; “Sinners and Saints” 1873-1914
– Zora Neale Hurston Florida-born anthropologist, novelist; Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) 1903-1960
– Gerald [Malcolm] Durrell British zoologist, writer; brother of novelist Lawrence Durrell 1925-1995
– William Peter Blatty New York City-born novelist; The Exorcist (1971) 1928-
– Dave [David Joseph] Cousins English folk-rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, Strawbs founding member 1945-
– Su Tung Po (aka Su Shi) Chinese poet ,essayist 1036-1101
– Alfred Russel Wallace Wales-born British naturalist, biologist, independently developed theory of evolution; The Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876) 1823-1913
– [William] Wilkie Collins English popular novelist, pioneer of modern detective novels; The Woman in White (1860), The Moonstone (1868) 1824-1889
– [Margaret] Storm Jameson English novelist, critic 1891-1986
– Stephen [William] Hawking English physicist, unlikely best-selling author; A Brief History of Time:… (1988) 1942-2018
– David Bowie (born David Robert Jones) English rock musician, singer, songwriter; “Space Oddity” 1947-
Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.
– Benjamin Franklin
– Thomas Warton English literary historian, critic, poet; first history of English poetry 1728-1790
– T. W. [Thomas William] Robertson Anglo-Irish comedic playwright 1829-1871
– Henry B. [Blake] Fuller Chicago-born Realistic novelist, short story writer 1857-1929
– Karel Capek Czech novelist, short-story writer, playwright, essayist; play R.U.R. 1890-1938
– Simone de Beauvoir French existentialist philosopher, writer 1908-1986
– Brian [Bernard Patrick] Friel Irish prolific playwright; Tony for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) 1929-2015
– Joan [Chandos] Baez Staten Island-born folk singer, songwriter, political activist; “Diamonds and Rust” 1941-
– Nic [Nicolas Paul] Jones English folk musician, singer, arranger 1947-
– Thomas Payne’s rousing political pamphlet “Common Sense”, supporting the American Revolution, is published in 1776.
– Aubrey Thomas [Hunt] de Vere Irish poet, critic, essayist 1814-1902
– [John] Robinson Jeffers Pittsburgh-born poet, playwright 1887-1962
– Philip Levine Detroit-born poet 1928-
– Stephen E. [Edward] Ambrose Illinois-born historian; Eisenhower, Nixon biographies 1936-2002
– Jared Carter Indiana-born poet; After the Rain 1939-
– Joseph Kesselring’s dark comedy Arsenic and Old Lace opens in New York in 1941.
– Novelist Sinclair Lewis dies in Rome in 1951.
– Fine mystery writer Dashiell Hammett dies in 1961.
– William James New York City-born philosopher, pioneering psychologist, brother of novelist Henry James; The Principles of Psychology 1842-1890
– Alice [Caldwell] Hegan Rice Kentucky-born novelist; Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1901) 1870-1942
– Bernard [Augustine] De Voto Utah-born novelist, historian, critic; works on Mark Twain, US western history 1897-1955
– Alan [Stewart] Paton South African novelist, activist; Cry, the Beloved Country (1948) 1903-1988
– Helen Howe Boston born actress, novelist 1905-1975
– Manfred B. [Bennington] Lee Brooklyn-born mystery writer; with his cousin Frederic Dunnay, created Ellery Queen detective series 1905-1971
– English novelist Thomas Hardy dies in 1928.
– Charles Perrault French lawyer, pioneering fairy tale author; Mother Goose tales, “Puss in Boots,” “Little Red Riding Hood” 1628-1703
– Edmund Burke Irish statesman, political philosopher, pamphleteer, essayist 1729-1797
– Jack London (born John Griffith Chaney) San Francisco-born socialist, adventure writer; Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea-Wolf (1904) 1876-1916
– Margaret S. [Essie] Danner Kentucky-born poet; poems about Africa 1915-1984
– Haruki Murakami Kyoto-born Japanese novelist; Hear the Wind Sing, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle 1949-
– Walter Mosley Los Angeles-born mystery writer; Easy Rollins series; cameo role in movie Fahrenheit 911 1952-
– English mystery writer Agatha Christie dies in 1976.
Another fresh new year is here . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!
This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!
I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!
– William Arthur Ward
– Eduard von Bauernfeld Vienna-born comedic playwright 1802-1890
– Horatio Alger JrMassachusetts-born novelist; popular rags-to-riches stories 1834-1899
– Emil Zola’s “J’accuse” letter, protesting the treason trial of Alfred Dreyfus, is printed in 1898.
– [Thomas] Michael Bond British children’s writer; Paddington Bear stories 1926-
– Carolyn [Gold] Heilbrun (aka Amanda Cross) New Jersey-born feminist, nonfiction, mystery writer 1926-2003
– Flora Nwapa Nigerian novelist, short story writer; among first African women to publish in English 1931-1993
– Ron [Ronald Joseph] Goulart California-born mystery, science fiction writer 1933-
– Ulysses author Irish novelist James Joyce dies in 1941.
– Jay [John Barrett] McInerney Connecticut-born author; Bright Lights, Big City 1955-
– Greg Trooper New Jersey-born folk singer, songwriter; “Everywhere”, “21st Century Boy” 1956-2017
– Zacharias Topelius Finnish historical novelist 1818-1898
– Pierre Loti French writer 1850-1923
– Thornton Waldo Burgess Massachusetts-born conservationist, children’s writer 1874-1965
– Hugh [John] Lofting English novelist; Doctor Dolittle 1886-1947
– John Dos Passos Chicago-born novelist; U.S.A. trilogy (1930-1936) 1896-1970
– Emily Hahn St. Louis-born author, New Yorker essayist 1905-1997
– Tillie Olsen Nebraska-born novelist, non-fiction writer 1913-2007
– Dudley [Felker] Randall Washington DC-born publisher, editor, poet; founded Broadside Press, promoted unknown black writers 1914-2000
– John Oliver Killens Georgia-born novelist, essayist, playwright; co-founder of Harlem Writers Guild 1916-1987
– Yukio Mishima Japanese novelist 1925-1970 [death by suicide]
– Thomas Tryon Connecticut-born actor, science fiction, horror novelist; The Other (1971) 1926-1991
– Mary Robison Washington DC-born novelist, short story writer 1949-
– Moliere (born Jean Baptiste Poquelin) French satirical dramatist; The Misanthrope (1666) 1622-1673 [baptism date]
– Franz Grillparzer gloomy Austrian dramatist; perpetuated German classic, romantic traditions 1791-1872
– Victor Hugo’s novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame is finished in 1831.
– Mihai Eminescu Romanian poet 1850-1889
– Osip Mandelstam Warsaw-born Russian poet; poem “Ill Day” 1891-1939
– Martin Luther King, Jr. Atlanta-born minister, civil rights activist; 1964 Peace Nobel, speech “I Have a Dream” (1963) 1929-1968 [death by assassination]
– Ernest J. [James] Gaines Louisiana-born novelist; The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1933-
– Frank Conroy New York City-born writer, Iowa Writers Workshop director; memoir Stop Time (1967) 1936-2005
– Robert W. [William] Service Canadian poet 1874-1958
– Anthony Ivan Hecht New York City-born poet 1923-2004
– William J. [Joseph] Kennedy Albany New York-born journalist, novelist; Pulitzer for Ironweed (1983) 1928-
– Norman B. Podhoretz Brooklyn-born conservative political writer, editor 1930-
– Susan Sontag New York City-born author, critic 1933-2004
– Craig [Allen] Johnson West Virginia-born mystery novelist; sheriff Walt Longmire series 1961-
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAeRIjSptwgIn winter we lead a more inward life. Our hearts are warm and cheery, like cottages under drifts, whose windows and doors are half concealed, but from whose chimneys the smoke cheerfully ascends.
– Henry David Thoreau
– Pedro Calderón de la Barca Spanish poet, dramatist; fantasy plays La Vida es sueño (Life is a dream), El Mágico prodigioso (The Wonderful Magician) 1600-1681
– Benjamin Franklin Boston-born statesman, philosopher, scientist, printer, writer; Autobiography (1767), embodies the American spirit of idealism, practicality and optimism 1706-1790
– Charles Brockden Brown Philadelphia-born novelist, editor; called Father of the American novel; Gothic Wieland: Or the Transformation (1798) 1771-1810
– Anne Bronte (aka Acton Bell) English novelist 1820-1849
– Anton Chekhov Russian playwright, short-story writer 1860-1904 [old calender birthdate]
– Ronald Firbank London-born novelist 1886-1926
– Nevil Shute [Norway] British-born Australian novelist; A Town Like Alice 1899-1960
– Anton Chekhov’s last play The Cherry Orchard premieres at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1904.
– William Stafford Kansas-born poet, conscientious objector 1914-1993
– Steve [Stephen Fain] Earle Virginia-born country/folk singer, songwriter, activist; “Jerusalem” 1955-
– Peter Mark Roget British physician, thesaurus pioneer 1779-1869
– [Henry] Austin Dobson English poet, essayist 1840-1921
– Rubén Dario (born Félix Rubén Garcia-Sarmiento,) Nicaraguan poet, short-story writer 1867-1916
– A. A. [Alan Alexander] Milne British mathematician, children’s author; Winnie-the-Pooh stories 1882-1956
– Jorge Guillén Spanish poet, critic 1893-1984
– William Sansom British fiction, travel writer 1912-1976
– Jungle Books author British writer Rudyard Kipling dies in 1936.
– Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre French naturalist, writer; Studies of Nature 1737-1814
– Edgar Allan Poe Boston-born critic, horror story writer, poet; “The Tell-tale Heart” (1843), “The Raven” (1844), “The Bells” 1809-1849
– Alexander Woolcott New Jersey-born short-story writer, critic; member of famed Algonquin Round Table 1887-1943
– Patricia Highsmith (born Mary Patricia Plangman( Texas-born mystery, thriller writer 1921-1995
– George Mann MacBeth Scotland-born British poet 1932-1992
– Phil [Phillip] Everly Chicago-born rockabilly guitarist, singer, songwriter, half the Evverly Brothers duo; “When Will I Be Loved?” 1939-2014
– Julian Barnes English writer 1946-
– Nathaniel P. Willis Maine-born writer, editor of American Monthly Magazine 1806-1867
– Richard Le Gallienne English writer 1866-1947
– Johannes V. Jensen Danish novelist, poet, essayist; 1944 Nobel 1873-1950
– Joy Adamson Austrian-born naturalist, friend of lions, writer; Born Free books 1910-1980
– Abram Hill Harlem-born playwright; On Striver’s Row 1910-1986
– Sawako Ariyoshi Japanese writer; The Doctor’s Wife 1931-1984
One kind word can warm three winter months.
– Japanese proverb
– The first ‘American’ novel is published in Boston, 1789 [its authorship is under question, but written by an American in any case].
– Davíð Stefansson Icelandic poet, novelist, playwright 1895-1965
– Richard P. Blackmur Massachusetts-born poet, critic 1904-1965
– Pye [Julian Frederick Gordon] Hastings Scotland-born rock guitarist, singer, songwriter, Caravan founding member 1947-
– Nineteen Eighty-four author George Orwell dies in 1950.
– Francis Bacon English essayist, philosopher, historian, statesman 1561-1626
– Gotthold Ephraim Lessing German critic, dramatist 1729-1781
– Rene Charles Guilbert de Pixerecourt French prolific dramatist 1773-1844
– Lord Byron (born George Gordon Noel, 6th Baron Byron of Rochdale) English Romantic poet; Don Juan, Child Herald 1788-1824
– August Strindberg Swedish dramatist, novelist 1849-1912
– Antonio Gramsci Sardinia-born Italian journalist, writer, Marxist theorist; Prison Notebooks 1891-1937
– Howard Moss New York City-born poet, playwright, New Yorker poetry editor; NBA for Selected Poems (1972), satirical Instant Lives (1974) 1922-1987
– Sam Cooke Mississippi-born gospel, R&B singer, songwriter; “You Send Me”, “A Change Is Gonna Come” 1931-1964
– Graham Kerr London-born chef, food writer; The Galloping Gourmet 1934-
– Joseph Wambaugh Pittsburgh-born crime writer 1937-
– Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible opens on Broadway in 1953.
– Superb fantasy and science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin dies in 2017.
– Stendhal (born Marie-Henri Beyle) French early Realistic novelist; The Red and the Black (1830) 1783-1842
– Louis Zukofsky New York City-born experimental poet 1904-1978
– Derek [Alton] Walcott St. Lucia-born West Indies poet, playwright; 1992 Nobel 1930-
– William Congreve British comedic playwright, poet of the Restoration Age; The Way of the World (1700) 1670-1729
– Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais French dramatist; The Marriage of Figaro, The Barber of Seville 1732-1799
– Edith Wharton New York City-born novelist; Pulitzer for The Age of Innocence (1920) 1862-1937
– Desmond [John] Morris British zoologist, prolific author, artist; The Naked Ape (1967), The Human Zoo (1969), 1928-
– Warren Zevon Chicago-born rock singer, songwriter; “Werewolves of London” 1947-2003
– British statesman and author Winston Churchill dies in 1965.
– Scientology founder and science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard dies in 1986 [perhaps not soon enough]
It is deep January. The sky is hard.
The stalks are firmly rooted in ice.
– Wallace Stevens
– Robert Burns Scottish national poet; “Auld Lang Zyne” 1759-1796
– W. [William] Somerset Maugham English novelist, poet; Of Human Bondage (1915) 1874-1965
– [Adeline] Virginia Woolf English modernist novelist, Bloomsbury member 1882-1941 [death by suicide]
– Ewan MacColl English folk singer, songwriter, activist; “Shoals of Herring”, “Sweet Thames Flow Softly”, “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (1957) 1915-1989
– Gloria Naylor New York City-born novelist; The Women of Brewster Place (1982) 1950-
– Marie Joseph Sue (aka Eugène Sue), French novelist 1804-1857
– Mary Mapes Dodge New York City-born children’s writer, editor; Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates 1831-1905
– In 1907, J. M. Synge’s satirical The Playboy of the Western World premieres at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre, provoking Irish nationalist protest riots.
– Jules [Ralph] Feiffer New York City-born cartoonist, author 1929-
– Angela [Yvonne] Davis Alabama-born political activist, essayist, autobiographer 1944-
– Christopher [James] Hampton Azores-born British playwright; Oscar for adaptation of French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1988) 1946-
– Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov-Shchedrin Russian novelist, satirist 1826-1889
– Lewis Carroll (born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) English mathematician, poet, children’s author; Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865) 1832-1898
– Jerome Kern New York City-born Broadway lyricist, composer; “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, “Ol’ Man River” 1885-1945
– Ilya Ehrenburg Ukranian writer 1891-1967
– Mordecai Richler Montreal-born novelist, journalist, scriptwriter 1931-2001
– d. M. [Donald Michael] Thomas English novelist; The White Hotel (1981) 1935-
– Julius [Bernard] Lester Missouri-born musician, political activist, folklorist, educator, novelist, children’s author 1939-
– Quintessential American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger dies in 2014.
– Henry Morton Stanley (born John Rowlands) Wales-born British journalist, African explorer 1841-1904
– José Martí Cuban revolutionary, political writer, poet 1853-1895
– Ozaki Koyo Japanese novelist, essayist, haiku poet 1869-1903
– [Sidonie-Gabrielle Claudine] Colette French novelist; Gigi 1873-1954
– Valentin Katayev Ukranian novelist, playwright 1897-1986 [new calender birth date]
– David [John] Lodge English satiric novelist 1935-
– Irish poet and playwright William Butler Yeats dies in 1939.
– Writer Zora Neal Hurston dies in 1960.
There’s too much month left at the end of the money!
– John Barrymore
– Thomas Paine English-born journalist, political essayist 1737-1809 [old calender birth date]
– Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Raven” is published in 1845.
– Anton [Pavlovich] Chekhov Russian playwright, short story writer; The Seagull (1895), Uncle Vanya (1896), Three Sisters (1898), The Cherry Orchard (1899) 1860-1904 [new calender birthdate]
– Romain Rolland French writer; 1915 Nobel 1866-1945
– Vicente Blasco Ibáñez Spanish (Valencian) novelist 1867-1928
– “Leadbelly” (born Huddie William Ledbetter) Louisiana-born blues/folk guitarist, singer, songwriter; “The Midnight Special”, “Bourgeois Blues” 1888-1949 [birth also listed as 23/01/1888]
– Paddy [Sidney Aaron] Chayefsky New York City-born playwright, screenwriter; Marty (1953) 1923-1981
– Edward [Paul] Abbey Pennsylvania-born environmentalist, writer; The Monkey-wrench Gang 1927-1989
– Influential editor and critic H. L. Mencken dies in Baltimore in 1956.
– Poet Robert Frost dies in 1963.
– George Villiers [2nd Duke of Buckingham] English courtier, dramatist 1628-1687
– Walter S. [Savage] Landor English critic, writer; known for his hot temper and his reverence for classical writers 1775-1864
– [Frank] Gelett Burgess Boston-born artist, nonsense poet 1866-1951
– Saul David Alinsky Chicago-born writer, community organizer; Reveille for Radicals 1909-1972
– Barbara W. [Wertheim] Tuchman New York City-born historian, writer; 2 Pulitzers 1912-1989
– Allan W. [Wesley] EckertBuffalo-born historian, historical novelist, nature writer; Wilderness Empire: A Narrative (1968) 1931-2011
– Shirley Hazzard Australian novelist, short story writer 1931-
– Richard Brautigan Washington-born Beat poet, novelist; Trout Fishing in America (1967) 1935-1984
– Michael Dorris Kentucky-born poet, novelist; A Yellow Raft in Blue Water (1987) 1945-1997 [death by suicide]
– Father of India’s independence movement Mahatma Gandhi dies, assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in 1948.
– Great R-&-B singer Sam Cooke records his powerful song “A Change Is Gonna Come” in Los Angeles on this day in 1964.
– J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur (born Michel Guillaume Jean de Crevecoeur) French author; Letters from an American Farmer (1782), using his experience as a New York farmer 1735-1813
– Zane Grey Ohio-born Western writer; Riders of the Purple Sage 1872-1939
– John [Henry] O’Hara Pennsylvania-born novelist, short-story writer; Butterfield 8 (1935) 1905-1970
– Alan Lomax Texas-born folklorist, song collector extraordinaire, musicologist; [with John A. Lomax] American Ballads and Folk Songs (1934), Folk Songs of North America (1960), The Land Where the Blues Began (1993) 1915-2002
– Thomas Merton France-born US Trappist monk, essayist, poet; memoir The Seven Storey Mountain (1948) 1915-1968
– Norman [Kingsley] Mailer New Jersey-born novelist; The Naked and the Dead 1923-2007
– Oe Kenzaburo Japanese novelist; 1994 Nobel 1935-
– Winnie the Poo author A. A. Milne dies in 1956.
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
– Percy Bysshe Shelley