Friday, May 27, 2011

May Author Birthdays - The May 27th edition

What would you say if I told you mystery authors Dashiell Hammett and Tony Hillerman shared the same birthday? What about Pulitzer Prize winners John Cheever and Herman Wouk as well? Is there something in the way the stars align on the 27th of May each year? Look at this list of great authors who all share the same birthday!

John Barth (b. 1930): considered a major author of the postmodernist movement, and is in particular associated with the concept of metafiction. You may have seen his name on college reading lists, although he also has a cult following.

John Cheever (b. 1912 d. June 18, 1982): Cheever was a great of contemporary American fiction several decades ago. Known for his short stories as well as his novels, he was awarded both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1979 for his collection The Stories of John Cheever. The New Yorker recently included a reading of Cheever's story The Swimmer in its fiction podcast.

Harlan Ellison (b. 1934): If you look up "successful" in the dictionary it should probably show a picture of Ellison. Wikipedia notes that this prolific author is has published "over 1,000 short stories, novellas, screenplays, teleplays, essays, a wide range of criticism covering literature, film, television, and print media." Known in particular for his genre writing, Ellison has won multiple Hugo, Nebula and Bram Stoker Awards, as well as many other accolades.

Dashiell Hammett (b. 1894, d.1961): American author of the Maltese Falcon, and one of the most well known authors of hard-boiled detective fiction. Hammett is cited as an influence on other great mystery authors including Raymond Chandler, Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton and Walter Mosley.

Tony Hillerman (b. 1925, d. 2008): Another great American mystery author, although one with a very different style from Hamett. Hillerman was best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels: start with The Blessing Way.

Jamie Oliver (b. 1975): Do cookbooks count? Oliver is thought of more as a chef than an author, but he certainly has a number of books to his name.

Tom Piccirilli (b. 1965): An up-and-coming author, Piccirilli also focuses on genre pieces. His most recent is a noir piece about an author whose life has fallen to pieces. Every Shallow Cut was released in March.

Herman Wouk (b. 1915): Author of The Winds of War, War and Remembrance, The Caine Mutiny and more.

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