At Discover Books, we love to recognize the wonderful writers whose books we sell, resell, and redistribute. So, we’ve compiled a list of ten authors with February birthdays to celebrate this month. Similar to our previous author birthday blog posts, we’re featuring famous writers across a variety of genres and periods. However, the literary works linked throughout this post are just a few of the used and new books you can find at Discover Books!
Born February 7, 1812
Charles Dickens is one of the best-known figures in British literature, having written 20 timeless novels. When he was 12, he had to leave school for three years to work in a factory while his father was in debtors’ prison. This period in Dickens’s life inspired the social activism that later characterized his writing and his life. Dickens originally published many of his works as serials, which allowed him to apply readers’ feedback on the first parts of his novels to unpublished sections. Some of his well-known books include Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, and A Tale of Two Cities. However, his novella A Christmas Carol is his most famous work, popularizing the phrase “Merry Christmas” and introducing iconic characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim. After his death, Dickens was honored with a burial place in the Poet’s Corner section of Westminster Abbey.
Born February 26, 1802
One of the most famous French authors in history, Victor Hugo wrote extensively in many genres during his lifetime. Like Dickens, Hugo advocated for social issues through his writing and was buried in a famous church (the French Panthèon). While Hugo’s native France mostly recognizes him as a poet and playwright, he is known internationally for two novels. Disney adapted The Hunchback of Notre Dame into an animated movie in 1996, and Les Misérables inspired the longest-running musical in the history of London’s West End as well as multiple films and television series.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Born February 7, 1867
Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in the Big Woods region of Wisconsin and spent much of her childhood homesteading in different parts of the Midwest with her family. While living in South Dakota, she worked as a teacher until she married Almanzo Wilder and began farming with him and their daughter Rose. These life experiences formed the basis of Wilder’s historical fiction series Little House on the Prairie. Although technically considered children’s books, the Little House series has become popular with audiences of all ages. The novels eventually inspired a long-running television series. Additionally, a literary award and multiple historical sites throughout the United States are now dedicated to Wilder’s legacy.
Born February 27, 1902
John Steinbeck’s writing has been praised as having a solid balance of realism and imagination, and he wrote 33 books during his lifetime. Most of his writing is set in Central California, where he was born and raised, and focuses on themes of injustice and fate. Steinbeck’s best-known works include Of Mice and Men, East of Eden, and The Grapes of Wrath. He won a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for the latter as well as a Nobel Prize in Literature later in his life.
Born February 18, 1931
Aside from winning numerous awards, Toni Morrison’s writing has been commended by many for the way in which it addresses the consequences of racism in the United States. Born and raised in Ohio, Morrison attended Howard University as an undergraduate and completed a master’s degree at Cornell University. She then moved to New York City and became Random House’s first Black female fiction editor. Once Morrison began focusing on her own writing, her early books The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon caught the literary world’s attention in a major way. These successes set her up to win a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for the novel Beloved and eventually a Nobel Prize in Literature. In 2012, seven years before her death, Morrison received a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her literary contributions.
Born February 9, 1944
Alice Walker became an avid reader and writer while recovering from a childhood accident which left her blind in one eye. She began her university studies at Spelman College in 1961, where she met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and became involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Walker later transferred to Sarah Lawrence College, where she continued as an activist and began her writing career. In 1982, she became the first Black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her best-known novel The Color Purple. Walker’s other books include Possessing the Secret of Joy and The Third Life of Grange Copeland.
Born February 19, 1952
Amy Tan was born in Oakland, California to Chinese immigrant parents. After finishing a bachelor’s and master’s degree in linguistics, she worked as a freelance business writer while writing her first book, The Joy Luck Club, on the side. The novel’s popularity grew quickly after the release of a feature film adaptation in 1989. Tan continued writing novels, memoirs, and children’s books following the success of The Joy Luck Club and often drew on her family’s culture and relationship dynamics as inspiration. Her other books include The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, and The Bonesetter’s Daughter.
Born February 12, 1938
Judy Blume loved reading and making up stories as a child, but she didn’t consider writing as a career at first. She instead studied education at New York University and then became a stay-at-home parent. However, when her children started preschool, Blume took up writing as a hobby and eventually began publishing novels for children, young adults, and adults. Her best-known books include Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing, Blubber, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Although some of Blume’s novels for young readers have been challenged due to their discussion of heavier topics like bullying, puberty, and death, she is still a very popular writer and has won more than 90 literary awards in her lifetime.
Born February 24, 1973
Nebraska native Rainbow Rowell worked as a columnist and advertising copywriter before becoming a writer of both adult and young adult novels. Eleanor & Park, a young adult romance novel, is probably her best-known work. Her young adult contemporary novel Fangirl introduces Simon Snow as the subject of the title character’s fan-fiction stories. Rowell later adapted the fan-fiction concept into the Simon Snow trilogy of fantasy novels. Although the made-up books and fan fiction featured in Fangirl are noticeably influenced by Harry Potter, the Simon Snow novels give their characters and magical world an individual identity. Rowell has also written several short stories and graphic novels, most notably the 2017 Marvel Comics reboot of Runaways.
Born February 20, 1991
Often called the “Salinger of the Snapchat generation,” Irish novelist Sally Rooney has become one of the foremost millennial authors. She wrote the first of her three novels to date, Conversations with Friends,while working on her master’s degree at Trinity College, Dublin. A TV miniseries adaptation of Conversations with Friends is scheduled for release on BBC Three and Hulu in 2022, with Rooney serving as an executive producer. This miniseries follows the one that Rooney wrote and executive produced based on her second novel, Normal People. Most recently, she published the novel Beautiful World, Where Are You, which won a 2021 Irish Book Award and Goodreads Choice Award.
If you’d like to discover more books by authors with birthdays in winter, check out our author birthday lists from December and January. Additional writings by all these authors are available on our website and app. With low prices for everyone and free shipping on orders of $9 or more in the contiguous United States, Discover Books is a great place to find your next favorite author and let their stories live on.