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May 8 Writer Birthdays:

May 8 Writer Birthdays

* 1753 - Phyllis Wheatley, the first African-American woman to be published, she wrote poetry while a slave, with her owner's encouragement; George Washington was a fan of her work.
* 1858 - J. Meade Falkner, English novelist, poet, and arms manufacturer executive.
* 1915 - Milton Meltzer, American author & historian, known for children's nonfiction books.
* 1920 - Sloan Wilson, American magazine writer & author, best known for his classic novel, Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.
* 1922 - Mary Q. Steele, Newbery Honor-winning American author & naturalist.
* 1930 - Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet of the Beat Generation.
* 1937 - Thomas Pynchon, National Book Award-winning American author known for writing dense, complex novels, and for protecting his privacy.
* 1940 - Peter Benchley, American author, editor & screenwriter best known for his novel Jaws.
* 1943 - Pat Barker, English author of historical fiction.
* 1952 - Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize-winning & Oscar-nominated American playwright & screenwriter; her works often deal with Southern women.
* 1958 - Roddy Doyle, Irish novelist, playwright & screenwriter; most of his work is set in working-class Dublin.
* 1963 - Robin Jarvis, British author of YA and children's dark fantasy & supernatural thrillers.
* 1970 - Naomi Klein, Canadian activist & nonfiction author known for criticisms of corporate globalization.

Wheatley - Poems on Various SubjectsWilson - Man in the Gray Flannel SuitPynchon - Crying of Lot 49Benchley - JawsHenley - Miss Firecracker ContestDoyle - The CommitmentsJarvis - Whitby Child

I learn so many things while compiling these lists! I knew Phyllis Wheatley was an African-American poet, but I didn't know that her owners realized she had an aptitude for poetry, taught her to read and write, and encouraged her to create poems. I also had no idea that her work was popular in her own time, and that George Washington praised her poetry.