Monday, April 13, 2015

April Literary Birthdays - Part 1

Celebrate your favourite author birthdays and explore their works!

Edmond Rostand (1 April 1868 – 2 December 1918) was a French dramatist and poet best known for Cyrano de Bergerac, “one of the last examples of the Romantic period. “The play was a success in France and beyond. Rostand wrote many other plays, and was one of the last great Romantic dramatists of the period. His other lasting work is “L'Aiglon”, which provided a triumphant role for actress Sarah Bernhardt.”

Anne Inez McCaffrey (1 April 1926 – 21 November 2011) was an American-born Irish writer, best known for the Dragonriders of Pern science fiction series. She became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for fiction and the first to win a Nebula Award. “Ms. McCaffrey, an avocational horse breeder, was often asked Why dragons? “You can get closer to a dragon than you can to a horse,” she said in an interview. “Horses are smart within their own boundaries, but dragons are very smart.”

Hans Christian Andersen (2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875) was a Danish author, a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems. “No collection of fairy tales would be complete without the works of Hans Christian Andersen. In fact, Andersen's life was like a fairy tale in many ways. Out of the poverty, hardship, and loneliness of his youth, he came to be one of the most honored men of his time. Many of the more than 160 fairy tales he wrote, including "The Ugly Duckling”, "The Princess and the Pea”, and "The Little Mermaid”, have become literary classics enjoyed by children and adults alike.” – Scholastic

Émile Zola (2 April 1840 – 29 September 1902) was the most prominent French novelist of the late 19th century. "He was noted for his theories of naturalism as expressed in Les Rougon-Macquart. Zola wrote numerous short stories and essays, four plays and three novels. Among his early books was Contes à Ninon. With the publication of his sordid autobiographical novel La Confession de Claude attracting police attention, Hachette fired him."

Washington Irving (April 3, 1783 – November 28, 1859) was an American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat of the early 19th century. "He was the first American to gain national acclaim as a professional writer. He wrote many short stories, including “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”. Although his reputation declined in the 20th century because of the sentimentality and excessive gentility of much of his work, he remains important as a pioneer in American humor and the development of the short story."

"With over 50 honorary doctorate degrees, Dr. Maya Angelou (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) became a celebrated poet, memoirist, educator, dramatist, producer, actress, historian, filmmaker, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, and several books of poetry, and she was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Dr. Angelou is best known for her series of autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, tells of her life up to the age of 17."

Anthony Horowitz (born 5 April 1955) is a British novelist and screenwriter specializing in mystery and suspense. His work for young adult readers includes The Diamond Brothers series, the Alex Rider series, and The Power of Five series. His work for adults includes the novel and play Mindgame, and two Sherlock Holmes novels The House of Silk and Moriarty. He is the most recent author chosen to write a James Bond novel by the Ian Fleming estate."

Barbara Kingsolver (born April 8, 1955) is an American novelist, essayist and poet. "Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments. Her widely known works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a non-fiction account of her family's attempts to eat locally.

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