Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Birthday Brilliance

While it’s true that great writers can be born on any day of the month or week, it does seem as though there are certain days where the muses have sprinkled extra magic. October 27th is one of those. Today is the birthday of at least three of the really greats: from both now and then.

Dylan Thomas was, says Writer’s Almanac, “the man who called himself ‘a freak user of words, not a poet’ but who was one of the most popular poets of his generation.” Thomas was born in Wales on this day in 1914. He died in New York while on a book tour in 1953.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Fulbright scholar and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sylvia Plath was born in Boston on this day in 1932, she committed suicide in 1963 and won the posthumously won the Pulitzer -- for her Collected Poems -- in 1981.

Zadie Smith, who was born in London on this day in 1975, created an exquisite sensation with her debut novel, White Teeth, published before she graduated from college. Writer’s Almanac says that, “while she was cramming for her final exams, she banged out 100 pages of a potential novel. Those hundred pages started a bidding war among London publishers, and Zadie Smith wound up with a six-figure book contract before she'd even graduated from college. That novel became White Teeth (2001), which was compared to the work of Charles Dickens, with a huge cast of characters -- Bengali Muslims, Jews, Jamaicans, Nazis, Jehovah’s Witnesses, animal rights activists, Islamic terrorists, and old English men. It sold more than a million copies.”


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