Month of Literary Days

October 22, 2018
  • Birthday of Timothy Leary (10/22/1920 - 5/31/1996)


    Timothy Leary was born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts and went on to receive degrees in psychology. The controversial side of his work, including research on the use of psychedelic substances, the Concord Prison Experiment, and his own legal troubles, got the most attention; however, he was a widely published writer on various topics related to psychotherapy and the therapeutic use of LSD in psychiatry. He taught at Harvard from 1959 to 1963 and his 1957 book "The Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality" was named the most important book of the year about psychotherapy by the Annual Review of Psychology.

October 23, 2018
  • Birthday of Augusten Burroughs (10/23/1965)


    Raised in Massachusetts, Augusten Burroughs is a writer of novels, memoirs, essays and columns. He is best known for his memoir "Running with Scissors," which was adapted into a feature film and initiated a well-publicized legal battle with a family profiled in the book. Other works include "Magical Thinking" and "A Wolf at the Table."

October 24, 2018
  • Birthday of Sarah Josepha Hale (10/24/1788 - 4/30/1879)


    Sarah Josepha Hale's first book, published in 1827, "Northwood: Life North and South" ("A New England Tale" in London) made her one of the first novelists to write about slavery. She wrote novels, poems, and was an influential editor of her time. She wrote the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and was Editor at Godey's Lady's Book for 40 years, working from Boston. She is credited with Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday, and is also associated with several historic preservation projects and monuments, including the Bunker Hill Monument.

October 26, 2018
  • Birthday of Charles Sprague


    Born in Boston and descended from several of America's Founding Fathers, Charles Sprague was an award-winning early American poet. With a day job in Boston finance, he was referred to as the "Banker Poet of Boston." Many of his poems, published in a collection in 1841 as "The Writings of Charles Sprague," were written for public events.

October 27, 2018
  • Birthday of Sylvia Plath (10/27/1932 - 2/11/1963)


    Massachusetts native Sylvia Plath wrote award-winning poems, novels, short stories and children's books, many published after her early death from suicide. She is most widely-known for her semi-autobiographical novel "The Bell Jar" but a posthumously collection of her poetry, "Collected Poems," won the Pulitzer Prize.

  • Birthday of Steve Almond (10/27/1966)


    Steve Almond is an award-winning journalist, short-story writer, essayist and author of more than ten books. "Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America" was a New York Times bestseller, won the ALA Alex Award, and was named the Booksense Adult Nonfiction Book of the Year; other books include "Against Football: One Fan's Reluctant Manifesto" and "(Not That You Asked) Rants, Exploits and Obsessions." A Massachusetts resident, he teaches non-fiction at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

October 29, 2018
  • Birthday of Nancy Werlin (10/29/1961)


    Born and raised in Massachusetts, Nancy Werlin received a degree in English from Yale University and is a writer of young-adult literature. Her novels include "The Rules of Survival" (a National Book Award nominee), "The Killer's Cousin" (winner of the 1999 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel), and "Locked Inside."

October 31, 2018
  • Birthday of Robin Moore (10/31/1925 - 2/21/2008)


    Robert Lowell ("Robin") Moore, Jr. was born, raised and educated in Massachusetts, graduating from Harvard in 1949. A prolific writer, he gained notoriety for bestsellers "The Green Berets" and "The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy," both of which were adapted into feature films. Many of his books were written with special access to the U.S. Army Special Forces, which continued until his death when he was concentrating on writing about the War on Terror.

November 3, 2018
  • Birthday of William Cullen Bryant (11/3/1794 - 6/12/1878)


    William Cullen Bryant's early career was spent practicing law but he eventually gravitated to his first love of literature. A poet, journalist, and editor of the New York Evening Post, he was born in Cummington, Massachusetts. He was also active in progressive politics, and delivered a speech at Cooper Union introducing Abraham Lincoln that spurred Lincoln on to nomination and election.

November 8, 2018
  • Birthday of Caroline Knapp (11/8/1959 - 6/3/2002)


    American writer and columnist Caroline Knapp grew up in Cambridge. Her columns and books were honest and compelling memoirs of her personal struggles with addiction, anorexia and illness. "Drinking: A Love Story" was a best-selling account of her battle with alcoholism.

November 9, 2018
  • Birthday of Anne Sexton (11/9/1928 - 10/4/1974)


    Poet Anne Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts and spent most of her life in the Boston area. Her highly personal verse detailed her episodes of depression, mania and suicide attempts and garnered her high praise, recognition and a Pulitzer Prize. She committed suicide at the age of 45.

  • Birthday of Barbara O'Connor (11/8/1958)


    Born in South Carolina, Barbara O'Connor makes her home in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Her children's books have won numerous awards, including the Massachusetts Book Award for "Moonpie & Ivy" in 2002.

November 11, 2018
  • Birthday of Kurt Vonnegut (11/11/1922 - 4/11/2007)


    Best known for his best-selling novel "Slaughterhouse-Five" (published in 1969), Kurt Vonnegut wrote fourteen novels, three short story collections, five plays and five works of non-fiction over a 50+ year career. Born in Indiana, he studied anthropology and served in the Army during World War II. Working various jobs, it wasn't until he moved his family to Cape Cod and devoted his full-time attention to writing that his career took off. His works were nominated for numerous awards and several were adapted as films.

November 12, 2018
  • Birthday of Tracy Kidder (11/12/1945)


    Born in New York and educated in Massachusetts, Nonfiction writer John Tracy Kidder is a long-time resident of the Commonwealth. His award-winning works of "literary journalism" have recounted the inside stories of a high tech company, life for elderly residents of a nursing home, a struggling public school, and the work of a hard-charging physician delivering health care to the poorest parts of the world, to name a few. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his 1981 book "The Soul of a New Machine."

November 16, 2018
  • Birthday of Charles Eliot Norton (11/16/1827 - 10/21/1908)


    A professor of art history at Harvard, Charles Eliot Norton was also a prolific author, social critic and activist. A founding member of the Society of Arts and Crafts of Boston, the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures continue to this day at Harvard.

November 17, 2018
  • Birthday of Daniel Scott (11/17/1963)


    Born in Milton, Massachusetts, Daniel Scott's short story collections ("Some of Us Have to Get Up in the Morning" and "Pay this Amount") have won numerous awards.

November 18, 2018
  • Birthday of Qais Akbar Omar (November 18, 1982)


    An Afghan-American writer, Qais Akbar Omar has continued his education in the Boston area, publishing an autobiography during this time. "A Fort of Nine Towers" tells the story of his childhood in Afghanistan during the years of civil war and the Taliban; it has been published in more than twenty languages.

November 21, 2018
  • Birthday of Dan Fitzpatrick (11/21/1977)


    A native of Massachusetts, Dan Fitzpatrick is the author of the Vision trilogy, a popular fictional thriller series.