Literary Birthdays – Week of June 7 – June 13

TWEET LitBirthdays

June 7

orhan_pamuk 2

Orhan Pamuk (born June 7, 1952) – Turkish novelist, 2006 Literature Nobel Prize winner – The Black Book

See Orhan Pamuk talk about himself, his writing, and Islam in this 2007 speech at the University of California (1 hour – Pamuk begins at 11 minutes 30 seconds)

June 8

Sara Paretsky

Sara Paretsky (born June 8, 1947) – U.S. novelist, detective fiction – Ghost Country (1998)

Read about the inspiration for V.I. Warshawski here

June 9

Cole Porter

Cole Porter (born June 9, 1891) – U.S. songwriter, composer of musicals – Kiss Me Kate

Jackie Mason (born June 9, 1936) – U.S. standup comedian

June 10

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow (born June 10, 1915) – Canadian novelist, short story writer, winner 1976 Literature Nobel Prize – Herzog

Terence Rattigan (born June 10, 1911) – U.K. playwright – The Winslow Boy

June 11

Yasunari Kawabata (born June 11, 1899) – Japanese novelist, 1968 Literature Nobel Prize winner – Snow Country (1956)

June 12

AnneFrank Anne Frank (born June 12, 1929) – German diarist – The Diary of Anne Frank

June 13


William Butler Yeats (born June 13, 1865) – Irish poet

Dorothy Sayers

Dorothy Leigh Sayers (born June 13, 1893) – British novelist
Read the Wikipedia article here and the Guardian’s ‘critical verdict’ of Sayers’ detective stories here.

Her first novel, Whose Body (1923), introduced the world to the aristocratic crime fighter Lord Peter Wimsey, who featured in 14 subsequent novels and short stories. Athletic, scholarly, stylish and sharp, Lord Peter developed over the course of the books into a fully rounded and psychologically complex character, utterly adored by his public. [from the Guardian Books section, June 11, 2008]

Dorothy Sayers is famous for her Lord Peter Wimsey detective series. But she was also a great translator, and her translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy is considered one of the best.

Excerpt from a book review of The Passionate Intellect: Dorothy L. Sayers’ Encounter with Dante by Barbara Reynolds:
Inspired by Charles Wil­liams’s The Figure of Beatrice (1943), Sayers read the Comme­dia for the first time in 1944 while huddling in an air-raid shelter outside London. She had come to the poem with what she later called “an un­prepared mind,” expecting a stiff, didactic drama. What she discovered instead was a commentary on human exist­ence as true in the 20th cen­tury as it had been to the 14th — and a corking good story to boot. Of that initial reading she later wrote, “Neither the world nor the theologians, nor even Charles Williams had told me the one great, obvi­ous, glaring fact about Dante Alighieri of Florence — that he was simply the most incom­parable story-teller who ever set pen to paper.”


Listen to a talk about Dorothy Sayers’ literary work as related to theology:

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