The author of To Kill a Mockingbird was born on this day in 1926. When her novel, a seminal work examining racism in the US, was denounced by one school board as “immoral,” she responded by saying, “what I’ve heard makes me wonder if any of its members can read.”
The beloved Scottish poet was born on this day in 1759. From Scotland to all parts of the world where you will find people with Scottish roots,”Burns Night” is not just a celebration of the man, but also of Scottish heritage.
“‘Burns Night‘, also termed a ‘Burns Supper,’is a celebration of the life and works of the poet Robert Burns; Scottish by birth and held in fond regard by Scots all over the world, his life and poetry speak to the struggles common to all people. It is an evening of food, drink, entertainment, and friendship. It is an event that transcends time, geographical borders, political, and religious beliefs to bring people together in celebration of the everyman.” (From burnsnight.net)
For more information on Robbie Burns and “Burns Night”:
South African author Alan Paton was born on this day in 1903. The author of Cry the Beloved Country used his novels as part of his lifelong fight against Apartheid in his homeland. He died in 1988, not able to live long enough to see the rise Nelson Mandela and the end of Apartheid just a few years later.
One of the most popular authors of the 20th Century, J.R.R. Tolkien was born to English parents in 1892 in Bloemfontein in the Orange Free State. The family moved back to Britain at age 3. He studied at Oxford and eventually taught there as well. He would go to author some of the English language’s most read books, including The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and The Silmarillion. For more on Tolkien, click here.
Considered one of the giants of science fiction, Isaac Asimov was born on this day in 1920. His work and the work of other great sci-fi writers, film makers and game developers is celebrated on this day, unofficially International Science Fiction Day. (If you get the chance, visit the Sci-Fi Museum in Seattle!) For more on the life of Isaac Asimov, click here.
William Shakespeare, arguably the greatest writer in the English language, was born on this day in 1564. Maybe. We are not sure. In fact, there is much we don’t know about Shakespeare. Some don’t think that he wrote the plays that are attributed to him, or that he even existed,. This might not even be a picture of him. Learn more about Shakespeare and the debate surrounding his identity. More importantly, take the opportunity to enjoy the plays, whether on film, television, or best of all, live!