We’re back with the next installment of our blog post series celebrating authors’ birthdays. The ten writers with birthdays in August that we’ve chosen to feature encompass both classic and modern times, as well as a variety of genres. Whether you’re looking for historical fiction, romance, sci-fi, or even horror, this list can lead you to your next favorite used or new book!
Born August 30, 1797
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was part of a large family of writers. Her mother was the educational and philosophical writer Mary Wollstonecraft, her father was the journalist William Godwin, and her husband was the British Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. The Shelleys enjoyed traveling with Percy’s friends, also famous writers. One evening in Switzerland, the group organized a horror fiction writing competition to pass the time. Mary Shelley won the contest, developed her story into a novel, and published Frankenstein two years later.
Frankenstein is now widely considered a classic and has been referenced frequently in popular culture, although the name “Frankenstein” is often misused to refer to the monster rather than the scientist who created him. The novel also launched Mary Shelley’s writing career; her later books include The Last Man and Falkner.
Born August 22, 1920
Ray Bradbury is considered one of the most influential voices in science fiction writing during the early twentieth century. His best-known works include the novel Fahrenheit 451 and the short story collection The Illustrated Man. Later in his career, Bradbury won the National Book Award for his coming-of-age novel Dandelion Wine. Bradbury also dabbled in screenwriting throughout his life and contributed to movie scripts such as It Came From Outer Space and Moby-Dick.
Born August 1, 1819
The previously mentioned work Moby-Dick (also called The Whale) is now considered a “Great American Novel.” However, its author Herman Melville didn’t gain much recognition for novel-writing during his lifetime. Moby-Dick initially sold few copies and received negative reviews, so Melville decided to publish poetry and short stories for the rest of his life (including the famous story “Bartleby, the Scrivener”). After his death, several publishers reprinted Moby-Dick and released Melville’s final work, Billy Bud, Sailor. This led to a new appreciation for Melville’s work around the world that continues today.
Sue Monk Kidd
Born August 12, 1948
Sue Monk Kidd is mainly known for her historical fiction novels, many of which reflect her exploration of religion and feminism throughout her life. Her most popular novel is The Secret Life of Bees, a coming-of-age story set during the Civil Rights Movement. This book was Kidd’s first New York Times Best Seller and was adapted into a critically acclaimed movie in 2008. Kidd later fictionalized the life of abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sarah Grimké in The Invention of Wings. Her most recent novel, The Book of Longings, focuses on a fictional first-century woman who marries Jesus Christ and has received praise from reviewers of various religious backgrounds.
Born August 5, 1960
Before becoming a full-time novelist, David Baldacci attended law school and was a practicing attorney for several years. Because of this educational background, Baldacci primarily writes legal thrillers and suspense novels. Some of his most popular include Absolute Power and the Camel Club series. However, he is also famous for his holiday romance novel The Christmas Train, which Hallmark adapted into a television movie. Baldacci’s other passion besides novel writing is charity work. He and his wife co-founded the Wish You Well Foundation, which works to lower the illiteracy rate in the United States.
Born August 17, 1947
Danielle Steel is the fourth best-selling fiction writer of all time (behind only William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, and Barbara Cartland) and has published more than 180 books since the 1970s. Steel has accomplished this feat by consistently juggling four or five writing projects at once and spending 20 hours at a time working on her vintage typewriter. Most of her books are family dramas or romance novels, including Safe Harbour, Echoes, and The Kiss. But Steel has also written children’s books (such as the picture book Pretty Minnie in Paris) and nonfiction works (such as the memoir His Bright Light).
Born August 4, 1969
Pauline Sara-Jo Moyes worked as a journalist for several British newspapers while writing her earliest books. She nearly gave up on being a novelist after publishers rejected her first three manuscripts. But Moyes persevered, publishing several unpopular romance novels before finally hitting the New York Times bestseller list with Me Before You. In addition to launching two sequels and a 2015 film adaptation, Me Before You increased sales for Moyes’s previous novels, including The Last Letter From Your Lover. Moyes later ventured into another genre, historical fiction, when she published The Giver of Stars. This novel ended up being her most successful to date–it was nominated for a British Book Award and became a Reese’s Book Club Pick.
Born August 10, 1962
Suzanne Collins began her career as a writer for children’s television shows, including the Nickelodeon animated series Oswald and Little Bear. After she shifted her career to focus on novel-writing, television remained a source of inspiration. One evening, Collins was flipping through TV channels when she came across a reality show with teenage contestants on one network and footage of the Iraq war on another. The two concepts combined in Collins’s mind, and the result was her young-adult science fiction trilogy The Hunger Games.
All three Hunger Games novels quickly became #1 New York Times Best Sellers, with the first book remaining on the NYT Best Seller list for more than 60 weeks in a row. Between 2012-2015, four film adaptations were released, grossing nearly $3 billion combined. Collins has also written a Hunger Games prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, and the middle-grade epic fantasy series The Underland Chronicles.
Born August 19, 1988
Veronica Roth wrote her first young-adult science fiction novel, Divergent, during winter break of her senior year at Northwestern University. By the following year, she had already sold both the publishing and film rights. Many fans of The Hunger Games gravitate toward the Divergent trilogy because the stories contain similar themes. But Divergent has its own solid fan base, mainly because many readers identify with one of the five “factions” based on personality traits that Roth invented to govern her fictional society. Roth’s other books include the novel Carve the Mark and several short story collections.
Born August 24, 1977
After he graduated from college, John Green took a job as a student chaplain at a children’s hospital in order to prepare for divinity school and a future as an Episcopal priest. However, learning the unique story of each child at the hospital inspired him to become an author instead. The main character in Green’s most famous novel, The Fault in Our Stars, is based on a teenage cancer patient that he interacted with frequently during his chaplaincy. Both The Fault in Our Stars and another of Green’s young-adult novels, Paper Towns, were adapted into successful films. A Hulu miniseries based on his first book, Looking for Alaska, was also released in 2020.
In addition, Green is known for his YouTube and podcast content. He co-created the Vlogbrothers channel, the Crash Course educational video series, and the Dear Hank and John podcast with his brother Hank Green. John Green also developed a successful solo podcast, The Anthropocene Reviewed, and published a companion essay collection of the same name in May 2021.
If you’d like to discover more books by authors with summer birthdays, check out our author birthday lists from June and July. Additional writings by all these authors are available on DiscoverBooks.com and our new app, which you can download on Google Play and the App Store. With free shipping on orders of $9 or more in the contiguous United States and low prices for all customers, Discover Books is the perfect place to find your next favorite author and let their stories live on.