Literary Birthdays: January 4 – January 10

January 4

Gao Xingjian (b. 1940) – Chinese-French novelist – 2000 Nobel Prize in Literature – Soul Mountain


January 5

Umberto Eco (b. 1932) – Italian novelist, medievalist – The Name of the Rose


January 6

Carl Sandburg [b. 1878] – U.S. poet, novelist

Window (1916) from Chicago Poems
NIGHT from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light.


January 7

Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston (b. 1891) – U.S. ethnologist, folklorist, playwright, novelist – Their Eyes Were Watching God

Read about Hurston here:
http://zoranealehurston.com/about/index.html

Read about Hurston’s ethnographic account of 19th century slave trade in Barracoon, republished in 2018:

http://www.vulture.com/2018/04/zora-neale-hurston-barracoon-excerpt.html?utm_campaign=vulture&utm_source=tw&utm_medium=s1

 

Excerpt from Hurston’s play “Poker!” (1931)

NUNKIE
Soon as I play the deck I’m comin’ and take you alls money! Don’ rush
me.
Ace means the first time that I met you
Duece means there was nobody there but us two
Trey means the third party–Charlie was his name
Four spot means the fourth time you tried that same old game–
Five spot means five years you played me for a clown
Six spot means six feet of earth when the deal goes down
Now I’m holding the seven spot for each day of the week
Eight means eight hours that she Sheba-ed with your Sheik–
Nine spot means nine hours that I work hard every day–
Ten spot means tenth of every month I brought you home my pay–
The Jack is three-card Charlie who played me for a goat
The Queen, that’s my pretty Mama, also trying to cut my throat–
The King stands for Sweet Papa Nunkie and he’s goin’ to wear the crown,
So be careful you all ain’t broke when the deal goes down!


January 8

Terence Dean “Terry” Brooks (b. 1944) – U.S. fantasy fiction writer – Dark Wraith of Shannara (graphic novel)


January 9

Simone de Beauvoir [b. 1908] – French philosopher, essayist, novelist – The Ethics of Ambiguity (French title: Pour une morale de l’ambiguïté)


January 10

Peter Barnes (b. 1931) – British playwright, screenwriter – Red Noses (1985) (Olivier award winner)

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