Month of Literary Days

May 27, 2017
  • Birthday of John Cheever (5/27/1912 - 6/18/1982)


    John Cheever, the "Chekhov of the suburbs," was an award-winning twentieth-century novelist and short story writer who based many of his stories in his native Massachusetts. "The Stories of John Cheever," released in 1978, became one of the most successful collections ever published and went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Along with short stories such as "The Swimmer," "The Five-Forty-Eight," and "The Country Husband," Cheever is remembered for his novels: "The Wapshot Chronicle," "The Wapshot Scandal," "Bullet Park," and "Falconer." His work is included in the Library of America.

May 29, 2017
  • Birthday of John F. Kennedy (5/29/1917 - 11/22/1963)


    John Fitzgerald Kennedy, native son of Massachusetts, was an iconic politician; he served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the Bay State before being elected President in 1960. During his congressional years, he wrote "Profiles in Courage," a compilation about U.S. Senators who risked their careers for their convictions. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957.

June 2, 2017
  • Birthday of Dorothy West (6/2/1907 - 8/16/1998)


    Born in Boston to a former slave, African American novelist and short story writer Dorothy West published her first story at the age of 14. Educated at Girls' Latin School in Boston, Boston University, and Columbia University School of Journalism, West spent her early adulthood in New York and is associated with the Harlem Renaissance. She returned to Massachusetts and lived on Martha's Vineyard for the rest of her life, writing for a local newspaper and penning her fiction, including "The Living is Easy," "The Wedding," and "The Richer, The Poorer: Stories, Sketches, and Reminiscences."

June 8, 2017
  • Birthday of Megan Marshall (6/8/1954)


    A native Californian, Megan Marshall came east to attend college and graduated from Harvard University. The recipient of several fellowships, she is currently the first Charles Wesley Emerson College Professor and teaches writing and archival research in the MFA program at Emerson. Focusing on American history and literature and women's history, her notable books include "The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism," for which she won several prizes, including the 2006 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction and "Margaret Fuller: A New American Life," the winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Biography in 2014 as well as the 2014 Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction.

June 9, 2017
  • Birthday of Gregory Maguire (6/9/1954)


    Award-winning Massachusetts author, professor, and literary critic Gregory Maguire writes novels and short stories for adults and children, most notably "Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West," "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," "After Alice," and "Egg and Spoon." The Broadway blockbuster musical "Wicked" is based on his first adult novel.

June 10, 2017
  • Birthday of Michael Wigglesworth (6/10/1631 - 6/10/1705)


    Michael Wigglesworth was born in England and emigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony at the age of seven. A Puritan preacher, doctor and poet, he spent most of his life in Massachusetts. His poem "The Day of Doom," published in 1662, was a bestseller in the early days of New England.

June 11, 2017
  • Birthday of Nathaniel Philbrick (6/11/1956)


    Author and historian Nathaniel Philbrick was born in Boston and has made his home on Nantucket for the past thirty years, writing and being active in the preservation of the island's maritime history. Amongst his books, "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and "Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community and War" won the 2007 Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction and was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

June 14, 2017
  • Birthday of John Bartlett (6/14/1820 - 12/3/1905)


    John Bartlett, writer, publisher and Harvard University bookstore owner, was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts and was a descendent of several Mayflower Pligrims. He is best remembered for "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," his collection of entries quoted from authors, William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more. It continues to be regularly revised and published, more than a century since its first publication.

June 15, 2017
  • Birthday of Marjorie Agosin (6/15/1955)


    Award-winning Chilean-born American writer Marjorie Agosin has published more than 80 works of fiction (adult and children), nonfiction, and poetry. She teaches Spanish language and Latin American literature at Wellesley College. An outspoken advocate for women's rights in Chile, she has been honored by the United Nations. Amongst her literary honors, she has received the Gabriela Mistral Medal of Honor (2002) from the Chilean government, and "I Lived on Butterfly Hill" was a 2015 Must Read book in the Young Adult division of the Massachusetts Book Awards.

June 17, 2017
  • Birthday of Aaron Lansky (6/17/1955)


    Massachusetts native and Jewish Studies historian Aaron Lansky founded the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts, leading the cause of salvaging the world's Yiddish language publications. This mission earned him a MacArthur Fellowship in 1989 and his autobiographical account of his efforts, "Outwitting History," was the recipient of the 2005 Massachusetts Book Award in Nonfiction.

June 22, 2017
  • Birthday of Margaret Sidney (Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop) (6/22/1844 - 8/2/1924)


    Writing under the pseudonym of Margaret Sidney, Harriett Mulford Stone Lothrop wrote more than thirty books, including the popular "Five Little Peppers" series. She also ran her husband's publishing company, Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, after his death. With a strong interest in historic properties, she and her husband purchased and lived in The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts, the house where both Louisa May Alcott and Nathaniel Hawthorne had once lived.

June 24, 2017
  • Birthday of Mindy Kaling (6/24/1979)


    Along with being a popular actress, screenwriter and television producer, Massachusetts native Mindy Kaling (born Vera Mindy Chokalingam) is a playwright ("Matt & Ben: A New Play") and has penned two memoirs ("Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" and "Why Not Me?") to great success.

June 25, 2017
  • Birthday of Eric Carle (6/25/1929)


    Eric Carle, best-selling illustrator and author of children's books, has illustrated more than 70 books (most of which he also wrote). His most popular book, "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," has sold more than 52 million copies in 62+ languages. Other favorites are "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" and "The Very Lonely Firefly." He founded The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, devoted to the art of children's books, in Amherst, Massachusetts.