This week is all about the birthdays of great literary figures! Read more about literary history and the major literary figures who were born this week.

From Butler to Rosseau: Last Week in Literature.
Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash
From Butler to Rosseau: Last Week in Literature.
Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Last Week in Literature

June 22 – Octavia E. Butler’s Birthday

Octavia E. Butler brings in the first literary birthday of the week. Butler was born on June 22, 1947, in Pasadena, California. Butler was a science-fiction writer who created many novels, short stories, and essays during her lifetime.

The writer is praised for her vivid depiction of fictional words and characters, as well as her social commentary and used of racial and Afrofuturistic themes. Some of Butler’s most popular literary works include Bloodchild and Other Stories, Kindred, and Fledgling.

June 23 – Michael Shaara’s Birthday

Michael Shaara was born June 23, 1928, in Jersey City, New Jersey. Shaara wrote novels and short stories in genres such as historical fiction and science-fiction.

“Why do there have to be men like that, men who enjoy another man’s dying?”

Shaara’s literary prowess earned him the Pulitzer Price for Fiction in 1975 for his novel, The Killer Angels. Some of his well-known literary works include The Broken Place, Soldier Boy, and For Love of the Game.

June 24 – Ambrose Bierce’s Birthday

Ambrose Bierce was born June 24, 1842, in Meigs County, Ohio. Bierce was a writer, poet, and journalist of the 19th century. Bierce was a prolific writer who published hundreds of literary works such as short stories, poems, and collections.

“Accuse: To affirm another’s guilt or unworth; most commonly as a justification of ourselves for having wronged him.”

His works, especially his satirical book, The Devil’s Dictionary, are considered significantly influential. Some of his most popular works include An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge, A Horseman in the Sky, and The Real of the Unreal.

June 25 – George Orwell’s Birthday

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell is his penname) was born June 25, 1903, in Motihari, Bihar, British India. Orwell is one of the biggest literary names in 20th century literature, with works that are recognized and renowned world-wide.

Orwell wrote 9 literary works over his lifetime. Some of these well-known literary works include Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Homage to Catalonia.

June 26 – Laurie Lee’s Birthday

Laurence “Laurie” Lee was born on June 26, 1914, in Slad, England. Lee was an author and poet known for the biographical accounts of his childhood in a Cotswold village.

“For the first time I was learning how much easier it was to leave than to stay behind and love.”

Lee wrote over 20 works in his lifetime. These literary works also varied by plays, poems, and novels. Some of Lee’s literary works include Cider with Rosie, The Sun My Monument, and The First Born.

June 27 – Frank O’Hara’s Birthday

Frank O’Hara was born on June 27, 1926, in Baltimore, Maryland. O’Hara was a writer, poet and art critic. Best known for his poetry, O’Hara wrote literary works that influenced all aspects of popular culture.

“Now I am quietly waiting for the catastrophe of my personality to seem beautiful again, and interesting, and modern.”

O’Hara published 7 books during his lifetime, and many more were published after his death. Some of these literary works included Meditations in an Emergency, Lunch Poems, and A City Winter and Other Poems.

June 28 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Birthday

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was born June 28, 1712, in Geneva, Switzerland. Rousseau was a philosopher, writer and composer who greatly influenced the European Enlightenment movement.

Rosseau wrote a variety of literary work over his lifetime. These focused on the socio-political events surrounding 18th century Europe, though he also wrote on music. These literary works include On Education, Essay on the Origin of Languages, and Discourse on the Arts and Sciences.


Which day of Last Week in Literature did you find most interesting?