Literary Birthdays – Week of September 20 – 26

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September 20

Upton Sinclair Upton Sinclair (born September 20, 1876) – U.S. novelist – The Jungle (1906)

Read The Jungle online:

Excerpt from The Jungle:

It was October, and the holiday rush had begun. It was necessary for the packing machines to grind till late at night to provide food that would be eaten at Christmas breakfasts; and Marija and Elzbieta and Ona, as part of the machine, began working fifteen or sixteen hours a day. There was no choice about this–whatever work there was to be done they had to do, if they wished to keep their places; besides that, it added another pittance to their incomes. So they staggered on with the awful load. They would start work every morning at seven, and eat their dinners at noon, and then work until ten or eleven at night without another mouthful of food. Jurgis wanted to wait for them, to help them home at night, but they would not think of this; the fertilizer mill was not running overtime, and there was no place for him to wait save in a saloon. Each would stagger out into the darkness, and make her way to the corner, where they met; or if the others had already gone, would get into a car, and begin a painful struggle to keep awake. When they got home they were always too tired either to eat or to undress; they would crawl into bed with their shoes on, and lie like logs. If they should fail, they would certainly be lost; if they held out, they might have enough coal for the winter.

Charlie Kaufman (Charles Stewart Kaufman) (born September 20, 1958) – U.S. screenwriter – Being John Malkovich Charlie Kaufman

Visit a fan blog for Charlie Kaufman, where you can download
and read his screenplays:

Slappy-White Slappy White (Melvin White) (born September 20, 1921) – U.S. comedian –Elect Slappy White For Vice President

Read about Slappy White in this 1995 obituary:

September 21


Stephen King (born September 21, 1947) – U.S. novelist, short-story writer – The Shining (1977) stephen-king

Watch Stephen King talk about what beginning writers need to do:

Leonard Cohen (born September 21, 1934) – U.S. singer/songwriter, poet

Listen to Leonard Cohen perform In My Secret Life (music video):

H.G. Wells (born September 21, 1866) – U.K. novelist – The Time Machine

Édouard Glissant (born September 21, 1928) – French (Martinique) writer, poet, literary critic

September 22

György Faludy (born September 22, 1910) – Hungarian poet, memoirist – My Happy Days in Hell

Read about György Faludy in this
September 2006
Contemporary Nomad blog post:

First verse of Aurora Borealis

Between clouds I looked up at the sky and down on the ground:
snow clouds, snow cover, the same above as below.
The freeze was sitting everywhere, busy at work:
its huge green needle had the whole Bering Sea to sew.

Read the entire poem here (Rattle blog):

Manzoor Ahmad (born September 22, 1931) – Pakistani philosopher

Svilen Noev (born September 22, 1975) – Bulgarian singer, songwriter, Ostava rock group Svilen Noev - Ostava

Watch Ostava performing:

Lyrics to Mono
(machine translation from Bulgarian to English)

Почакай, ме малко / Wait, I was a little …
Живеем в МОНО свят / We live in a Mono world
Имам нужда от теб / I need you
Опитай, повярвай / Try; trust
Че ние можем да бъдем много ДОБРЕ / that we will be okay

Почакай, ме малко / Wait, I was a little …
/ Живеем в МОНО свят / We live in a Mono world
Имам нужда от теб / I need you
Опитай, повярвай / Try; trust
Че ние можем да бъдем много ДОБРЕ / that we will be okay

НОВИНИТЕ валят, губят моето време, искат нещо да знам / The news is rain; I’m losing time; I want to know something
Те показват света, но в този момент, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ, ТЕБ / They show the world, but at this moment, we need YOU, YOU!

Човекът пред мен играе МОНО спектакъл, НОВИНИТЕ болят / The guy before me gave a Mono performance, the news hurt
Сменям този канал, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ, ТЕБ / Change that channel. I need you; We need you, YOU!

Отново денят се завърта и чака, да се скрие от нас / Again the day turns, waiting, to hide  from us
Подари ми нощта, не искам МОНО спектакъл, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ, ТЕБ / Give me the night, I do not want a mono performance, I need you, you!

Почакай, ме малко / Wait, I was a little
Живеем в МОНО свят / We live in a Mono world
Имам нужда от теб / I need you
Опитай, повярвай / Try; trust
Че ние можем да бъдем много ДОБРЕ / that we will be okay
Почакай, почакай, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ / Wait, Wait — I need you
Опитай, ние можем да бъдем много ДОБРЕ / Try. We can be very well
Почакай, почакай, ИМАМ НУЖДА ОТ ТЕБ / Wait, Wait – I need you
Опитай, ще бъдем много ДОБРЕ / Try. We can be very well

September 23

DogDays book cover Ana Marie Cox (born September 23, 1972) – U.S. journalist, creator of Wonkette blog; novelist – Dog Days

Read Ana Marie Cox’s current blog here:

Read a New York Times book review of Dog Days:

Pauline Réage (Anne Desclos) (born September 23, 1907) – French novelist, literary critic – Histoire d’O 200px-Histoire_d_o

Ani DiFranco (born September 23, 1970) – U.S. singer/songwriter

Visit Ani DiFranco’s website:

September 24

NiaVardalos Nia Vardalos (born September 24, 1962) – U.S. screenwriter/actress – My Big Fat Greek Wedding


Watch Nia Vardalos talk about how to be a successful screenwriter:

“I have a voice in my head that tells me I’m a faker.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald (born September 24, 1896) – U.S. novelist, screenwriter – The Great Gatsby greatgatsby-2

September 25

William Faulkner (born September 25, 1897) – U.S. novelist – The Sound and the Fury

Excerpt from The Sound and the Fury:

“Whyn’t you get the doctor.” T.P. said.
“Doctor cant do no good.” Roskus said. “Not on this place.”
“What wrong with this place.” T.P. said.
“Taint no luck on this place.” Roskus said. “Turn that calf in if you done.”
Taint no luck on this place, Roskus said. The fire rose and fell behind him and Versh, sliding on his and Versh’s face. Dilsey finished putting me to bed. The bed smelled like T.P. I liked it.
“What you know about it.” Dilsey said. “What trance you been in.”
“Dont need no trance.” Roskus said. “Aint the sign of it laying right there on that bed. Aint the sign of it been here for folks to see fifteen years now.
“Spose it is.” Dilsey said. “It aint hurt none of you and yourn, is it. Versh working and Frony married off your hands and T.P. getting big enough to take your place when rheumatism finish getting you.”
“They been two, now.” Roskus said. “Going to be one more. I seen the sign, and you is too.”
“I heard a squinch owl that night.” T.P. said.
“Dan wouldn’t come and get his supper, neither. Wouldn’t come no closer than the barn. Begun howling right after dark. Versh heard him.”
“Going to be more than one more.” Dilsey said. “Show me the man what aint going to die, bless Jesus.”

Read The Sound and the Fury online:

Shel Silverstein (born September 25, 1930) – U.S. poet, songwriter, author of children’s books, humorist –

Listen to a reading of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Captain Hook”

Lu Xun (born September 25, 1881) Chinese short-story writer, poet – “A Madman’s Diary”

Read “A Madman’s Diary” here:

Listen to “The Flight to the Moon” and “A Madman’s Diary” here:

September 26

T.S. Eliot.jpg T.S. Eliot (born September 26, 1888) – U.S. poet, playwright, essayist

Zhang Tianyi (born September 26, 1906) – Chinese short story writer – “The Secret of the Magic Gourd”

Watch a clip from the Disney film The Secret of the Magic Gourd:

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