Have you ever wondered whether you share a birthday with a famous author? This list might satisfy your curiosity, or give you a flimsy excuse to buy a new book in celebration. It is not, by any means, an all-inclusive list of writers born in the month of October, just a few notable ones. If you know of any other famous writers born in this month, please feel free to share them in the comments.
October 3 James Herriot (1916)
The cast of All Creatures Great and Small, via Wikipedia, Fair use.
James Alfred "Alf" Wight, who wrote under the pen name James Herriot, wrote a series of memoirs about his life as a country vet (beginning with It Shouldn't Happen to A Vet), on which the TV series All Creatures Great and Small was based. The books are a delightful insight into life in pre and post-war rural Britain. They are wholesome fun and will appeal especially to animal lovers.
October 8 Frank Herbert (1920)
Frank Herbert was an American science fiction writer, book reviewer, lecturer and journalist. He is best known for the novel Dune, which is widely considered to be a classic of the genre. Dune is the first of five books in the Dune saga, and has been adapted into a film directed by David Lynch as well as two mini-series for the Sci-Fi Channel, Frank Herbert's Dune and Frank Herbert's Children of Dune.
October 11 Elmore Leonard (1925)
By Peabody Awards - Flickr: Peabodys_CM_0382, CC BY 2.0
Prolific American writer Elmore Leonard is the author of more than 40 novels. He started out writing Westerns, but later became known for writing crime novels, including Glitz, Freaky Deaky, Get Shorty and Rum Punch (the latter two were adapted into films directed by Quentin Tarantino) as well as many short stories and several screenplays. Influenced by Hemmingway, his books are full of snappy dialogue, gritty realism and often criminals making stupid mistakes with terrible consequences.
Publius Vergilius Maro, known as Virgil, was an Ancient Roman poet who is best known for having written the epic Aeneid. It tells the story of Aeneas, who fled from Troy to Italy where his descendants, Romulus and Remus, would found Rome. Virgil's work has been hugely influential in Western literature, and he appears as a character in Dante's Divine Comedy.
Virgil shares his birthday with American writer and commentator Roxane Gay, author of the collection of essays Bad Feminist, the short story anthology Difficult Women, and the memoir Hunger, as well as the novels, Ayiti and An Unnamed State. Her work covers topics such as feminism, body image and race. October 16 Oscar Wilde (1854)
Albumen silver print. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain.
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde, better known as Oscar Wilde, was famous for his plays, such as The Importance of Being Earnest, epigrams, and his novel The Picture of Dorian Grey. The latter created quite a scandal at the time of its publication due to its homoerotic themes. It has been since been adapted into numerous film versions.
October 21 Ursula K. Le Guin (1929)
Ursula Le Guin at a reading in Danville, California, 2008. From user Gorthian on the Wikipedia. CC BY-SA 3.0.
Science fiction and fantasy author, Ursula K. Le Guin. She is famous for the Earthsea fantasy series and the Hainish science fiction series. The fourth book of the Hainish series, The Left Hand of Darkness, which can be read as a stand-alone novel, won both the Hugo and Nebula award.
Carrie Fisher (1956)
Ursula Le Guin shares her birthday with Carrie Fisher, who while most famous for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, also wrote four semi-autobiographical novels and four memoirs.
Augusten Burroughs (1965)
Augusten Burroughs, Photo by David Shankbone. CC3.0
Born Christopher Richter Robison, Augusten Burroughs is best known for his New York Times best-selling memoir Running With Scissors, in which he wrote about his bizarre childhood and being adopted by his mother's psychiatrist at the age of twelve.
Zadie Smith is an English novelist and essayist. Her best selling debut novel, White Teeth was published when she was 25 years old. It won numerous awards, including the 2000 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction, the 2000 Whitbread Book Award in category best first novel, the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize, and the Betty Trask Award.
Dylan Thomas (1914)
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas at Gotham Book Shop, New York. Fair use.
Welsh poet Dylan Thomas is best known for his poems, such as Do not go gentle into that good night, and the radio play Under Milk Wood.
October 31 John Keats (1795)
John Keats life mask by Benjamin Robert Haydon (1816), National Portrait Gallery.
Born in London in 1795, John Keats was an English Romantic poet, famous for his poems such as Endymion, Bright Star and Lamia.