We’re back with another installment of our blog series that celebrates authors’ birthdays. This month, we’ve once again chosen to feature authors with October birthdays from both classic and contemporary times, as well as a variety of genres. Whether you’re looking for fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry, or children’s/young adult literature, we hope this list will lead you to your next favorite read!
Born October 17, 1915
Arthur Miller is one of the most recognized playwrights in American literary history. After the commercial success of his first Broadway play, All My Sons, he wrote his most famous work, Death of a Salesman, in only six weeks. Death of a Salesman was the first play in history to win the Tony Award for Best Author, the New York Drama Circle Critics’ Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Miller later became the subject of an investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee when he admitted that his play The Crucible–set during the Salem Witch Trials of the late 17th century–was a direct response to the Committee’s work in tracking down communist sympathizers. However, his conviction was eventually overturned, and The Crucible remains his most performed work around the world.
Born October 27, 1932
As a poet, Sylvia Plath was part of a movement known as confessional poetry, which focuses on intense individual experiences, including themes of personal trauma and mental health struggles. (Other poets in this movement include Robert Lowell and Allen Ginsberg.) Plath’s poetry collections include The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel. In 1982, she became the fourth person to be posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. In addition to poetry, Plath wrote several memoirs and the well-known novel The Bell Jar.
Born October 14, 1894
Edward Estlin Cummings wrote nearly 2,900 poems during his lifetime. In his writing, he covered a variety of emotional subjects, often following no pattern for rhymes and writing in all lowercase. Cummings received many awards for his work, including special recognition from the National Book Award Committee and a fellowship from the American Academy of Poets. Additionally, he wrote several works of fiction, such as the novel The Enormous Room and the short story collection Fairy Tales.
Born October 8, 1920
Frank Herbert’s Dune series is one of the most famous in science fiction. In fact, the first book in the series is the best-selling sci-fi novel of all time. Set in the distant future, Dune speculates about humans’ long-term survival through technological development. The novel was adapted for film in 1984 and for television in 2000. In addition, a new Dune movie is scheduled for release in late October 2021. Herbert also wrote short fiction and worked as a journalist during his long writing career.
Born October 23, 1942
Michael Crichton’s interest in the science fiction and techno-thriller genres may have come from his educational background. He graduated from Harvard Medical School, but he didn’t practice medicine after receiving his degree. Instead, he wrote 26 novels, his best-known being Jurassic Park due to the blockbuster film series it spawned. His other books include The Andromeda Strain and The Great Train Robbery. Crichton also wrote and directed several movies and TV shows, including Westworld and ER.
Born October 25, 1975
Zadie Smith originally considered a career in dance or musical theatre, and she comes from a performing-arts family: her brothers are the English rappers/actors Doc Brown and Luc Skyz. However, Smith chose to study literature at Cambridge instead. She is now a tenured professor in New York University’s Creative Writing Program as well as a novelist. Her debut book, White Teeth, won multiple awards and was included on the BBC’s list of the 100 Most Influential Novels as well as in PBS’s The Great American Read series. Smith has also written short stories, nonfiction works, and four other acclaimed novels, including On Beauty and Swing Time.
Born October 27, 1973
Anthony Doerr is best known for his historical fiction novel All the Light We Cannot See, which won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Set during World War II, the story follows a young German scientist and a blind French girl who form an unlikely friendship. Doerr’s other works include the short story collections The Shell Collector and Memory Wall, as well as the memoir Four Seasons in Rome.
Born October 8, 1943
Robert Lawrence Stine is best known for writing children’s horror fiction, but he started his career as a comedy writer under the pen name Jovial Bob Stine. Scholastic published his teen humor magazine Bananas between 1975–1984; Stine wrote many novels in this time frame as well. However, by the 1990s, he had fully transitioned to horror writing, first publishing the Fear Street series and following with the Goosebumps books. In addition to writing hundreds of novels and short stories, Stine has made cameo appearances in several Goosebumps movie adaptations as well as a popular episode of the children’s television show Arthur.
Laurie Halse Anderson
Born October 23, 1961
After spending a year of high school as an exchange student living on a pig farm in Denmark, Laurie Halse Anderson studied linguistics at Georgetown University and tried out a few different genres of writing before settling on young adult novel-writing as a career. Her debut contemporary novel, Speak, became a National Book Award finalist and inspired a movie adaptation which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Anderson has also found success in writing historical fiction, including the Seeds of America trilogy and the standalone novel Fever 1793.
Born October 1, 1972
Although her undergraduate studies at Cornell University focused on electrical engineering, Nicola Yoon developed an interest in creative writing through an elective class and became a young adult romance novelist instead. As an advocate in her career field, Yoon has worked with several nonprofits to advocate for increased diversity in children’s and young adult literature. To this end, she frequently incorporates aspects of her Jamaican culture and her husband’s Korean heritage into her writing. Two of her novels, Everything, Everything, and The Sun Is Also a Star, have been adapted into successful movies. In the past year, Yoon collaborated with five other Black young adult authors to write Blackout in addition to publishing another solo novel, Instructions for Dancing.
If you’d like to discover more books by authors with fall birthdays, check out our author birthday list from September. You can find writings by all the authors listed here on DiscoverBooks.com and our shopping app, which is available on Google Play and the App Store. With low prices for all customers and free shipping on orders of $9 or more in the contiguous United States, Discover Books is the perfect place to find your next favorite author and let their stories live on.