The Writer's Almanac

By Prairie Home Productions

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Category: Literature

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Subscribers: 273
Reviews: 1

Kathy 777
 Oct 26, 2020
Great way to end the day, thank you

Description

The Writer's Almanac is a daily podcast of poetry and historical interest pieces, usually of literary significance. Each day's offering is five minutes long and contains "on this day in history" information as well as an accessible poem.

Episode Date
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 3, 2021
300
"Much of our lives involves the word 'no….But art is the big yes. In art, you get a chance to make something where there was nothing." –Marvin Bell, poet, born 1937.
Aug 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 2, 2021
300
On this day in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, not on the fourth of July as is popularly believed.
Aug 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 1, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of Maria Mitchell, born in 1818. A devoted anti-slavery activist and suffragette, she became the first acknowledged female astronomer.
Aug 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 31, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of poet Kim Addonizio, born in 1954. We feature her poem “High Desert, New Mexico.”
Jul 31, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 30, 2021
300
Author of “Wuthering Heights,” Emily Brontë was born on this day, 1818
Jul 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 29, 2021
300
Poet Stanley Kunitz was born on this day in 1905 in in Worcester, Massachusetts. He was appointed the poet laureate of the United States when he was 95 years old.
Jul 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 28, 2021
300
"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." – Karl Popper, born 1902
Jul 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 27, 2021
300
"When I am dead, I hope it may be said: His sins were scarlet, but his books were read." –Hilaire Belloc, born 1870
Jul 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 26, 2021
300
"The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them: That's the essence of inhumanity." –George Bernard Shaw, born 1856
Jul 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 25, 2021
300
It was on this day in 1972 that Jean Heller of the Associated Press broke the news that the federal government had let hundreds of Black men in rural Alabama go untreated for syphilis for 40 years in the now infamous Tuskegee study.
Jul 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 24, 2021
300
Poet Robert Graves was born on this day in 1895. He is well known as well for his historical novels, but always preferred poetry.
Jul 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 23, 2021
300
“Each one of you can change the world, for you are made of star stuff, and you are connected to the universe.” – Vera Rubin, American Astronomer. Born 1928.
Jul 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 22, 2021
300
Author of “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” and “Jitterbug Perfume,” Tom Robbins celebrates his 89th birthday today.
Jul 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 21, 2021
300
"Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know” - Ernest Hemingway, born 1899.
Jul 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 20, 2021
300
The first Special Olympics were held in Chicago on this day in 1968. Organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and inspired by her love for her sister Rosemary, who was intellectually disabled.
Jul 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 19, 2021
300
On this date in 1799 French soldiers discovered the Rosetta Stone. Containing the same message in Ancient Greek, demotic, and hieroglyphics, it enabled deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Jul 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 18, 2021
300
Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to be given a “Perfect 10,” was born on this day in Romaina, 1976. She is the author of a memoir, “Letters to a Young Gymnast.”
Jul 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 17, 2021
300
Comedian and actress Phyllis Diller was born on this day in 1917. She donated her jokes to the Smithsonian, more than 50,000 of them.
Jul 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 16, 2021
300
This day in 1862, Ida B Wells was born into slavery in Mississippi. She became a journalist and activist supporting women’s sufferage and exposing the lynchings of African Americans.
Jul 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 15, 2021
300
The first U.S. citizen to become a saint, Frances Xavier Cabrini, was born on this day in 1850 in Italy. She and her fellow Sisters aided the Italian immigrants of New York City.
Jul 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 14, 2021
300
“Anyone who uses more than two chords is just showing off.” – Woody Guthrie. Guthrie, an American troubadour, was born this day 1912.
Jul 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 13, 2021
300
Today we remember the birth in 1793 of the English Poet John Clare. A success in his own time, success could not save him from a life of madness.
Jul 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 12, 2021
300
Henry David Thoreau was born on this day in 1817. His classic work “Walden” was written while living on property owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Jul 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 11, 2021
300
The author of “Stuart Little” and “Charlotte's Web”, E.B. White, was born on this day 1899. He was also a prolific essayist and contributor to the New Yorker magazine.
Jul 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 10, 2021
300
It’s the 90th birthday of Alice Munro, a Canadian short-story writer who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.
Jul 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 9, 2021
300
Neurologist and author Oliver Sacks was born on this day in 1933. He wrote about complicated medical mysteries of the brain to appeal beyond academia.
Jul 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 8, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of the columnist and best-selling novelist Anna Quindlen (1953), author of “How Reading Changed My Life” and “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”
Jul 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 7, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of American genetics pioneer Nettie Stevens (1861) who discovered that the combinations XX and XY in chromosomes determined the sex of an organism.
Jul 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 6, 2021
300
Louis Pasteur successfully tested his rabies vaccine on this day in 1885 on a nine-year-old boy named Joseph Meister who was bitten by a rabid dog.
Jul 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 5, 2021
300
“Listen carefully to first criticisms made of your work… then cultivate it. That’s the only part of your work that’s individual and worth keeping.” -- Jean Cocteau, born 1889.
Jul 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 4, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1804. Author of “The Scarlett Letter” one of the first mass-produced books in America.
Jul 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 3, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of Franz Kafka (1883), author of “The Metamorphosis” which reads “Calm —indeed the calmest— reflection might be better than the most confused decisions.”
Jul 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 2, 2021
300
It was on this day in 1937 that pilot Amelia Earhart was last heard from, somewhere over the Pacific. Her last transmission was,"We are running north and south."
Jul 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 1, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of the “father of gospel music,” Thomas A. Dorsey, born in Villa
Rica, Georgia, in 1899.
Jul 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 30, 2021
300
Nobel Prize winning poet Czeslaw Milosz was born on this day in Lithuania, 1911. He once said, “Language is the only homeland.”
Jun 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 29, 2021
300
Today in the year 1900 French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France (1900). A pilot turned writer of the children’s novella, “Le Petit Prince.”
Jun 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 28, 2021
300
In the early hours of this day in 1969 the Stonewall riots broke out in New York City, marking the beginning of the gay rights movement.
Jun 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 27, 2021
300
On this day in 1787 English historian Edward Gibbon completed the final volume of The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
Jun 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 26, 2021
300
It's the birthday of writer Pearl S. Buck (1892), Nobel Prize-winning author of “The Good Earth,” published 90 years ago.
Jun 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 25, 2021
300
Today would have been the 92nd birthday of Eric Carle, author of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and many other children’s books. He died May 23, 2021.
Jun 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 24, 2021
300
“I just went on writing it (English) because I always wanted to belong to this world of books."-- Anita Desai, novelist, born this day in 1937.
Jun 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 23, 2021
300
It's the birthday of the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova, 1889. Came to fame for the poems of her love affair, and later, after her son’s imprisonment, wrote a 10-poem cycle "Requiem."
Jun 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 22, 2021
300
Erich Maria Remarque , author of the anti-war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front “ was born this day in 1898.
Jun 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 21, 2021
300
“Money may not buy happiness, but I'd rather cry in a Jaguar than on a bus.” -- French novelist and playwright Françoise Sagan, born this day in 1958.
Jun 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 20, 2021
300
On this day in 1893, Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the hatchet murders of her father and stepmother at their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, about 50 miles south of Boston.
Jun 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 19, 2021
300
Today is Juneteenth, also known as "Freedom Day" or "Emancipation Day." It's a holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
Jun 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 18, 2021
300
On this day in 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte met his final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, in Belgium.
Jun 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 17, 2021
300
“99 percent of every beautiful thing you ever knew escaped and went back out into the world where you vaguely remembered it.”― Ron Padgett, born this day in 1942.
Jun 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 16, 2021
300
Today is "Bloomsday," the annual celebration of that 1904 day featured in James Joyce's novel Ulysses. Named after protagonist Leopold Bloom, the book follows him during an ordinary day in Dublin.
Jun 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 15, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of one of the masters of the Japanese form of poetry called haiku, Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa (1736).
Jun 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 14, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811), abolitionist author of “Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly.”
Jun 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 13, 2021
300
On this day in 1967 President Lyndon Johnson named the first African-American justice, Thurgood Marshall, to the Supreme Court.
Jun 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 12, 2021
300
"Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare." A quote by sociologist and writer Harriet Martineau, born this day in England, 1802.
Jun 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 11, 2021
300
Ben Jonson, author, playwright, friend of William Shakespeare, was born on this day in London, probably in 1572.
Jun 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 10, 2021
300
Pulitzer Prize winning novelist Saul Bellow was born on this day in 1913. “Human beings can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
Jun 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 9, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of the man who wrote the songs "I Get a Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," and "Let's Do It, Let's Fall In Love": Cole Porter (1891).
Jun 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 8, 2021
300
It's the birthday of best-selling crime novelist Sara Paretsky (1947), who invented a smart, sexual, hard-boiled female detective, V.I. Warshawski, in her novel “Indemnity Only.”
Jun 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 7, 2021
300
“Writers don’t write from experience … If you wrote from experience, you’d get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy.” -- Nikki Giovanni (1943)
Jun 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 6, 2021
300
Poet Maxine Kumin was born this day in 1925. She said, "Until the Women's Movement, it was commonplace to be told by an editor that he'd like to publish more of my poems, but he'd already published one by a woman that month."
Jun 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 5, 2021
300
Harriet Beecher Stowe's “Uncle Tom's Cabin” began its serial run in abolitionist newspaper the National Era on this date in 1851.
Jun 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 4, 2021
300
The Nineteenth Amendment was originally drafted by Susan B. Anthony. On June 4, 1919 it passed the Senate, sending it to the states for ratification. Fifteen months later it was ratified, giving American women the right to vote.
Jun 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 3, 2021
300
"Poetry is not an expression of the party line. It's that time of night, lying in bed, thinking what you really think, making the private world public, that's what the poet does." -- Allen Ginsberg (1926)
Jun 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 2, 2021
300
Novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born on this day in 1840. A risky and bold writer, his works are said to have a “painterly” quality that lends them well to becoming films.
Jun 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 1, 2021
300
One hundred years ago today in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the thriving black neighborhood of Greenwood was destroyed, its population massacred by an angry white mob. No one was ever prosecuted.
Jun 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 31, 2021
300
This Memorial Day has us remember Walt Whitman on his birthday with a poem written for civil war soldiers and remembering Whitman’s service caring for them on the battlefield.
May 31, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 30, 2021
300
It was on this day in 1431 that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for heresy in Rouen, France. A pesant girl, who heard the voice of god, and rose to lead an army.
May 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 29, 2021
300
"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations." – John F. Kennedy, born on this day in 1917.
May 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 28, 2021
300
“Youth is given. One must put it away/like a doll in a closet,/take it out and play with it only/on holidays.” May Swenson, born this day in 1913.
May 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 27, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of Julia Ward Howe (1819). A writer, a suffragist, and an abolitionist. Best known for the lyrics to “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
May 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 26, 2021
300
Today marks 70 years since the birth of Sally Ride (1951-2012). The first American woman in space, who remembered space as “The most fun I will ever have in my life.”
May 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 25, 2021
300
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, born this day in 1903.
May 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 24, 2021
300
It’s the 80th birthday of Robert Zimmerman, better known as Bob Dylan. The Poet musician won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2016.
May 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 23, 2021
300
Today marks the birth of poet Jane Kenyon (1974). She said, “Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life.”
May 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 22, 2021
300
“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” premiered on this day in 1967. The creation of Fred Rogers, a minister and puppeteer, who spoke to children of peace, patience, and diversity.
May 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 21, 2021
300
One hundred forty years ago Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross after caring for the wounded in the U.S. Civil War and recognizing the need for aid was more than government could provide.
May 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 20, 2021
300
Honoré de Balzac was born this day in 1799. A prolific novelist and playwright, he is recognized as one of the fathers of literary realism.
May 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 19, 2021
300
Today would have been the 80th birthday of Nora Ephron, author of classic movies such as When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). She said, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
May 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 18, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of Tina Fey (1970) an actress and writer of humor for print, stage, and screen. She said in her book “Bossypants,” “Do your thing and don't care if they like it."
May 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 17, 2021
300
Author Gary Paulsen is celebrating his 82nd birthday today. Author of “Hatchet” and “Dogsong” and other books mostly about coming of age and the wilderness.
May 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 16, 2021
300
"Poetry is the liquid voice that can wear through stone." –Adrienne Rich, born May 16, 1929.
May 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 15, 2021
300
"The Dyings have been too deep for me, and before I could raise my heart from one, another has come." –Emily Dickinson, died May 15, 1886.
May 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 14, 2021
300
“It might be possible that the world itself is without meaning,” and “To love makes one solitary.” – quotes from “Mrs Dalloway” published May 14, 1925.
May 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 13, 2021
300
The first American colony, Jamestown, was founded on this day 1607 in the territory of the Powhatan Algonquian people.
May 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 12, 2021
300
“Writing, getting something down on the page, is a gratification that, like a child faced with a candy bar and an empty stomach, I have trouble postponing.” –Rosellen Brown, 1939
May 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 11, 2021
300
It was on this day in the year 868 A.D. that the Diamond Sutra was printed. It is the world's oldest book bearing a specific date of publication.
May 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 10, 2021
300
It's the birthday of Suzan-Lori Parks (1963), the first African-American playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama, for her play Topdog/Underdog in 2002.
May 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 9, 2021
300
It’s the 100th birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mona Van Duyn (1921). She said, "I believe that good poetry can be as ornate as a cathedral or as bare as a pottingshed, as long as it confronts the self with honesty and fullness.”
May 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 8, 2021
300
Poet and Zen practitioner Gary Snyder, was born in San Francisco on this day in 1930. His most recent book is one of essays, “The Practice of the Wild,” published in 2020.
May 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 7, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of Johannes Brahms (1833), Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1876), and Robert Browning (1812).
May 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 6, 2021
300
On this day in 1935 Franklin Roosevelt created the Works Progress Administration. The WPA employed 8.5 million out-of-work people on 1.4 million individual projects.
May 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 5, 2021
300
Nellie Bly was born May 5th, 1864. She reinvented investigative journalism with her exposé on life in a New York asylum, to which she got herself committed for ten days.
May 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 4, 2021
300
Horace Mann was born this day in 1796. An advocate of public education and an opponent of slavery, he said, “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
May 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 2, 2021
300
Almost 500 years later we’re still talking about her. On this day in 1536 Anne Boleyn was arrested and imprisoned for high treason, incest, and adultery.
May 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 1, 2021
300
The author of the novel “Catch-22” Joseph Heller was born in Brooklyn on this day in 1923.
May 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 30, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of writer Annie Dillard (1945). She read voraciously as a child and has said, “I opened books like jars.” Her latest is “The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New” (2016).
Apr 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 29, 2021
300
American soldiers liberated 30,000 prisoners from a concentration camp in Dachau, Germany on this date in 1945. It was the first concentration camp the Nazis established.
Apr 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 28, 2021
300
Today marks the birth of Harper Lee in 1926. Her book “To Kill a Mockingbird” won the Pulitzer Prize and introduces many young people to the harsh realities of racism in America.
Apr 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 27, 2021
300
Playwright August Wilson was born on this day in 1945. For decades he brought black voices to the stage, and this past year his play “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” was released as a film.
Apr 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 26, 2021
300
American performer Carol Burnett turns 88 today. Best known for her variety show “The Carol Burnett Show,” and to younger people as Ms. Hannigan from the musical “Annie.”
Apr 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 25, 2021
300
Poet Ted Kooser turns 82 today. On why he started writing poetry as a teenager he said, “I was desperately interested in being interesting.”
Apr 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 24, 2021
301
Author Anthony Trollope was born this day in London, 1815. On writing he said, “A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.”
Apr 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 23, 2021
300
William Shakespere is believed to have been born on this day in 1564. He gave us the phrases "dead as a doornail," "come what may," "heart's content,” and "wild goose chase."
Apr 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 22, 2021
300
“Writing is a kind of revenge against circumstance too: bad luck, loss, pain. If you make something out of it, then you’ve no longer been bested by these events.”-- Louise Glück (1943
Apr 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 21, 2021
300
Today is the 105th birthday of Charlotte Brontë, author of “Jane Eyre” and the last of the literary Brontë siblings to walk this earth.
Apr 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 20, 2021
300
Today we feature the poem “I Can’t Stop Loving You John Keats” by Kim Addonizio, from her new collection “Now We’re Getting Somewhere.”
Apr 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 19, 2021
300
On this day in 1824, British poet Lord Byron died while fighting in the Greek War of Independence. A romantic poet, playboy, rogue, Byron’s spirit lives on in the poetic imagination.
Apr 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 18, 2021
300
It’s birthday of the man who inspired the word "beatnik," poet Bob Kaufman. A man who aspired to be forgotten and was frequently arrested for shouting his poetry in public.
Apr 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 17, 2021
300
According to legend, it was on this day in 1397 that Geoffrey Chaucer recited The Canterbury Tales to the court of Richard II.
Apr 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 16, 2021
300
Gertrude Chandler Warner, born this day in 1890, gave the world “The Boxcar Children,” a series that has continued to capture the imagination of children to this day
Apr 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 15, 2021
300
Today we feature a poem by Barbara Quick, “Conjuring Nana.” A vision of childhood, memories of family.
Apr 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 14, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of Anne Sullivan (1866), who was the governess to Hellen Keller, teaching her to communicate.
Apr 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 13, 2021
300
One hundred fifteen years ago today the author Samuel Becket was born. His play Waiting for Godot changed the theatrical landscape.
Apr 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 12, 2021
300
Today we remember Beverly Cleary on what would have been her 105th birthday. She died just 18 days ago. Her legacy, bringing children books about regular kids, just like them.
Apr 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 11, 2021
300
Marguerite de Navarre was born in 1492. A writer of verse, prayers, plays, and religious meditations, she promoted the reformation from a privileged place, as sister to King François I of France.
Apr 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 10, 2021
300
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic “The Great Gatsby” was published on this day in 1925. This year it entered the public domain, joining Fitzgeralds' works “This Side of Paradise” and “The Beautiful and the Damned”.
Apr 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 9, 2021
300
It’s the birthday of scientist Gregory Goodwin Pincus (1903). He co-invented the first oral contraceptive pill with Dr. Min-Chueh Chang, work supported by activist Margaret Sanger.
Apr 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 8, 2021
300
“I’m not a risk-taker in life, generally speaking, but as a writer I definitely choose the fast car, the impossible rock face, the free fall.”—Barbara Kingsolver, born this day in 1955.
Apr 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 7, 2021
301
Poet William Wordsworth was born on this day in England, 1770. We feature his poem “I Have Thoughts that Are Fed by the Sun” for his birthday.
Apr 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 6, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of musician Merle Haggard (1937) who gave the world 250 original songs, including “Mama Tried,” “Hungry Eyes,” and “Workin’ Man Blues.”
Apr 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 5, 2021
300
Dr. Hattie Alexander was born in Baltimore (1901). An American pediatrician and microbiologist who developed the vaccine, known as Hib, to prevent influenzal meningitis.
Apr 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 4, 2021
300
This Easter marks the birthday of two American icons: poet, writer, and activist Maya Angelou (1928), and blues musician and songwriter Muddy Waters (1915).
Apr 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 3, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of author and illustrator Sandra Keith Boynton, 1953. She began her career writing greeting cards, developing her humor and the cohort of animals that populate her dozens of childrens books.
Apr 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 2, 2021
300
Today is the birthday of Giacomo Casanova (1725). He wrote 12 volumes of autobiography, leaving posterity the best record we have of 18th-century society and its customs, and his own womanizing.
Apr 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 1, 2021
300
Anne McCaffrey was born on this day 1926. A pioneer for women in science fiction writing, she was the first female winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
Apr 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 31, 2021
300
Today marks the 85th birthday of Marge Piercy. Author, feminist, and social activist, her latest work is one of poetry, “On the Way Out, Turn Off the Light.”
Mar 31, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 30, 2021
300
A friend of students and writers, the common pencils with attached eraser was patented this day 1858 by Hymen Lipman. A single pencil can write around 45,000 words.
Mar 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 29, 2021
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It was on this day in 1944 that Anne Frank made the decision to rewrite her diary as an autobiography so that history might understand what the Jews of Europe had suffered.
Mar 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 28, 2021
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“The Devil Wears Prada” author Lauren Weisberger celebrates her 44th birthday today. Her a seventh novel, “Where The Grass Is Green And The Girls Are Pretty,” will be released in May.
Mar 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 27, 2021
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On this date in 1915, Mary Mallon, better known as "Typhoid Mary," was put into quarantine for the first time. A healthy carrier of the Salmonella typhi bacteria, her work as a cook caused multiple outbreaks and deaths.
Mar 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 26, 2021
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One hundred ten years ago today playwright and author Tennessee Williams was born, 1911. The conflict and pain of his life inspired his plays. He said, “If I got rid of my demons, I’d lose my angels.”
Mar 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 25, 2021
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Author Flannery O’Connor was born on this day in 1925. A woman of strong opinions, her writing was equally fierce and frequently examined questions of morality through morally flawed characters.
Mar 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 24, 2021
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Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti died just a little over one month ago. Today he would have been 102. A poem, he said, “should arise to ecstasy somewhere between speech and song.”
Mar 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 23, 2021
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Today in 1877 writer Josef Čapek was born. Josef invented the word “robot” for a play he wrote about mass-produced human substitutes who are employed as cheap labor.
Mar 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 22, 2021
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Billy Collins is 80 years old today! Friend and one-time host of The Writer’s Almanac, Billy has been producing The Poetry Broadcast videos on Facebook during the pandemic. He also released a new collection “Whale Day” in September 2020.
Mar 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 21, 2021
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Today is the birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach, born in Eisenach, Germany (1685). Known in his day not as a composer but as a skilled organist and repairer of organs.
Mar 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 20, 2021
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“It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor. Would you be mine? Could you be mine?” Written by Fred Rogers who was born this day in 1928.
Mar 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 19, 2021
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One hundred years ago today adventurer, translator, and writer Richard Francis Burton, was born. His accomplishments include translating both “The Arabian Nights” and “The Kama Sutra."
Mar 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 18, 2021
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“At the point where you get your writerly vocation you diminish your receptivity to experience. Being able to write becomes a kind of shield, a way of hiding, a way of too instantly transforming pain into honey.” John Updike (1932-2009)
Mar 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 17, 2021
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British fiction writer Dame Penelope Margaret Lively celebrates her 88th birthday today. Lively is the author of the children's book “The Ghost of Thomas Kempe”(1973) and the novel “Moon Tiger” (1987).
Mar 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 16, 2021
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“When I finish any project, it feels like a dream, and writing — whether it’s fiction or nonfiction — is very similar to dreaming.” --Alice Hoffman born on this day in 1952.
Mar 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 15, 2021
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Ben Okri; Poet, Novelist, Artist, winner of the 1991 Booker Prize for “The Famished Road” celebrates his 62nd birthday today. His latest book is a poetry collection, “A Fire in My Head: Poems for the Dawn.”
Mar 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 14, 2021
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It’s the birthday of the Sylvia Beach (1887). She owned the bookstore Shakespeare and Company which became “the unofficial living room” of the expatriate artists living in Paris.
Mar 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 13, 2021
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It was on this day in 1891 that Henrik Ibsen's play “Ghosts” opened on the London stage, a controversial play dealing with taboo subjects, which refuses the audience a happy ending.
Mar 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 12, 2021
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“I’m only a jolly storyteller and have nothing to do with politics or schemes and my only plan is the old Chinese way of the Tao: Avoid the authorities.”-- Jack Kerouac, born this day 1922
Mar 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 11, 2021
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Today is the birthday of author and illustrator Ezra Jack Keats (1916). Unlike most children’s authors at the time, he celebrated city life. His first book was “The Snowy Day” (1962).
Mar 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 10, 2021
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Today we remember Harriet Tubman on the day of her death in 1913. Born into slavery, her birth is unknown. After escaping to freedom in 1849 she returned to help others with the journey.
Mar 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 9, 2021
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"It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?" -- Vita Sackville-West, born on this day in 1892
Mar 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 8, 2021
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Today is the 90th birthday of American writer John McPhee. He says when asked how he’s so prolific, “You know, you put an ounce in a bucket each day, you get a quart."
Mar 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 7, 2021
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“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep./But I have promises to keep,/And miles to go before I sleep,/And miles to go before I sleep.” By Robert Frost. Published on this day 1923.
Mar 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 6, 2021
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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” How do we love poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Born in Durham, England, 215 years ago today.
Mar 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 5, 2021
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"The law has nothing to do with justice, and injustice can't be left unchallenged. So I decided to be a writer” – Leslie Marmon Silko, born this day in 1948
Mar 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 4, 2021
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Today is the birthday of author Khaled Hosseini, born in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 1965. His breakout novel “The Kite Runner” sold over 1 million copies in 2 years.
Mar 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 3, 2021
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On this day in 1931 Francis Scott Key’s poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States.
Mar 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 2, 2021
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“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living; it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.” – Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904)
Mar 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 1, 2021
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On this date in 1872 Yellowstone became the first national park in the world. American author Wallace Stegner wrote: "National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic."
Mar 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 28, 2021
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On this date in 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson discovered the structure of DNA after stealing the work of biophysicist Rosalind Franklin who had X-ray photographed the DNA molecule.
Feb 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 27, 2021
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It's the birthday of the writer who said, "Truth disappears with the telling of it": Lawrence Durrell (1911). He is author of “The Alexandria Quartet” four books covering the same events from different points of view.
Feb 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 26, 2021
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The Grand Canyon was called by Teddy Roosevelt, “the one great sight which every American should see.” On this day in 1919 it was designated a National Park.
Feb 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 25, 2021
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Today is the birthday of Anthony Burgess (1917). A writer of a great many things, he once said: “To some of us, the wresting of beauty out of language is the only thing in the world that matters.”
Feb 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 24, 2021
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“One breath taken completely; one poem, fully written, fully read — in such a moment, anything can happen.” –Jane Hirshfield, born in New York City on this day, 1953.
Feb 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 23, 2021
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It was on this day in 1954 that the first inoculation of 137 children for polio began with the vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk. "Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors."
Feb 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 22, 2021
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Edna St. Vincent Millay was born this day in 1892. Her poem, “What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why” is featured in honor of her birthday.
Feb 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 21, 2021
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Today is the birthday of W.H. Auden (1907). “A poet is, before anything else, a person who is passionately in love with language.”
Feb 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 20, 2021
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It’s the birthday of Richard Matheson (1926), writer of science fiction, fantasy, and horror novels and television. His work influenced and inspired writers such as Anne Rice and Stephen King.
Feb 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 19, 2021
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“A poem is a window that hangs between two or more human beings who otherwise live in darkened rooms.” -- Stephen Dobyns, who celebrates his 80th birthday today.
Feb 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 18, 2021
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Today would have been the 90th birthday of Toni Morrison (1931), who published her first novel The Bluest Eye when she was 39 years old.
Feb 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 17, 2021
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“For a writer, the best way to speak is by writing. You will find everything I need to say in my works. Speech is carried off by the wind; the written word can never be obliterated.” –Mo Yan, born on this day in 1955.
Feb 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 16, 2021
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It’s the 281st birthday of printer Giambattista Bodoni, who designed over 300 typefaces. One of these, Bodoni, is found on most word processors today.
Feb 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 15, 2021
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Twenty years ago today a working draft of the human genome was published in the journal Nature. Two years later the Human Genome Project was completed and made available to the public.
Feb 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 14, 2021
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On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde’s play “The Importance of Being Earnest” opened in London, in which two women find themselves in love with a man named Earnest.
Feb 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 13, 2021
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American religious historian Elaine Pagels turns 78 today. Best known for her books about the Gnostic Gospels, 13 texts found in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, Egypt.
Feb 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 12, 2021
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"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free." --Abraham Lincoln, born this day 1809
Feb 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 11, 2021
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On this day in 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of enprisonment by the apartheid government of South Africa. Four years later he was elected president.
Feb 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 10, 2021
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175 years ago the Mormons headed west following Brigham Young to what would become their new home in what is now Salt Lake City.
Feb 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 9, 2021
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The author of “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker celebrates her 77th birthday on this day. She once wrote, "Writing saved me from the sin and inconvenience of violence."
Feb 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 8, 2021
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It’s the birthday of John Grisham (1955), who wrote his first best-seller, “The Firm,” using rules for suspense that he read about in a Writer’s Digest article.
Feb 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 7, 2021
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It’s the birthday of Sinclair Lewis (1885), whose novel “Main Street” satirizing people in the Midwest caused a sensation. It made him a millionaire in 1920.
Feb 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 6, 2021
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Today is the birthday of Mary Douglas Leakey (1913), who discovered fifteen new species of animal in her career as a paleoanthropologist.
Feb 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 5, 2021
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It’s the 85th anniversary of the opening of the last film to feature Charlie Chaplin’s character The Little Tramp, “Modern Times”(1963).
Feb 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 4, 2021
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This day marks the birth 100 years ago, and death 15 years ago, of Betty Friedan, women’s rights activist and author of “The Feminine Mystique.”
Feb 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 3, 2021
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This day marks the 200th birthday of the first woman to be granted a medical degree in the USA -- Elizabeth Blackwell, who crossed an ocean to become a doctor.
Feb 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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W.B. Yeats once said, “Never have I seen so much pretension with so little to show for it,” about a young Irish writer named James Joyce, born this day, 1882.
Feb 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 1, 2021
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Meg Cabot was born on this day in 1967. She is the author of a series of books about a teenager who discovers she is a princess, “The Princess Diaries.”
Feb 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 31, 2021
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Today is the birthday of Nobel Prize-winning Japanese author Kenzaburō Ōe, who has explored parental guilt and shame in several books influenced by his disabled son Hikari.
Jan 31, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 30, 2021
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On this day in1972, British army parachutists shot 27 unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland — an event known as "Bloody Sunday."
Jan 30, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 29, 2021
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Today features a poem that brings us together in our current pandemic to those enduring one in the past, “Quarantine, 1918” by Faith Shearin.
Jan 29, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 28, 2021
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“an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.” –Collette, born in France on this day (1873).
Jan 28, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 27, 2021
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150 years ago a man named Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was born, better known as Lewis Carroll (1756). He gave us “Alice in Wonderland” and “Jabberwocky.”
Jan 27, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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Today marks the birthday of Seán MacBride (1904) who was both a member of the IRA and the co-founder of Amnesty International, eventually winning a Nobel Peace Prize.
Jan 26, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 25, 2021
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It’s the birthday of the woman who sang “At Last,” “Tell Mama,” and “Something’s Got a Hold On Me.” Blues singer Etta James (1938).
Jan 25, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 24, 2021
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“Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn't any.” ― Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth – Born this day 1862
Jan 24, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 23, 2021
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It’s the birthday of biochemist and pharmacologist Gertrude B. Elion (1918), who developed drugs to treat leukemia, malaria, herpes, and AIDS.
Jan 23, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 22, 2021
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It’s the birthday of fiction writer Aryn Kyle (1978) who said “I try to remind myself that Emily Dickinson lived in an attic, which makes me feel well adjusted by comparison."
Jan 22, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 21, 2021
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“I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.” –Vita Sackville West in a letter written to her lover Virginia Wolf from a train in Italy on this day in 1926.
Jan 21, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 20, 2021
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Today is the birthday of Susan Vreeland (1946), whose novels merge her love of art and history with fiction.
Jan 20, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 19, 2021
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Today is the 100th birthday of Patricia Highsmith, who is best known for her trilogy about the charming psychopath, Tom Ripley, and is also the author of “Strangers on a Train”, and “The Price of Salt”.
Jan 19, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 18, 2021
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A.A. Milne was born this day in London, 1882. A successful playwright in his life, his invention of Winnie the Pooh overtook his legacy and that of his son Christopher Robin.
Jan 18, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 17, 2021
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“Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.” Michelle Obama, born this day 1964, from her memoir “Becoming.”
Jan 17, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 16, 2021
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“Camp asserts that good taste is not simply good taste; that there exists, indeed, a good taste of bad taste.” – Susan Sontag, born this day 1933
Jan 16, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 15, 2021
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It’s the 20 year anniversary of Wikipedia. A publically edited online encyclopedia that has articles on all kinds of things, including, “The Writer’s Almanac”.
Jan 15, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 14, 2021
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It’s the birthday of author Anchee Min (1957). Born in Maoist China, she has said “To be able to do art, it was a luxury to me.”
Jan 14, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 13, 2021
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Johnny Cash recorded his concert at Folsom Prison on this day in 1968, a concept originating from his now classic song, “Folsom Prison Blues”.
Jan 13, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 12, 2021
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It’s the birthday of James Winthrop (1588), who called the new world a “City on the Hill” but also emphasized that “the rich had a holy duty to look after the poor.”
Jan 12, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 11, 2021
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It’s the birthday of doctor and philosopher William James (1842), who coined the term “Pragmatism.”
Jan 11, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 10, 2021
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Today, for her birthday, we feature the poem “Against Endings” by Dorianne Laux. She advises, “Any good poem is asking you simply to slow down.”
Jan 10, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 9, 2021
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Today is the birthday of French novelist and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir (1908) who wrote “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.”
Jan 09, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 8, 2021
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It’s the birthday of physicist and author Stephen Hawking (1942) who beat the odds of life with ALS, surviving for 55 years and publishing more than 20 books.
Jan 08, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 7, 2021
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Author Zora Neale Hurston was born on this day in 1891. Author of "Their Eyes Were Watching God," and "Barracoon: The Story of the Last 'Black Cargo.'”
Jan 07, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 6, 2021
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“Everything is held together with stories. That is all that is holding us together, stories and compassion.” –Barry Lopez, (1945-2020)
Jan 06, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 5, 2021
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Today is the birthday of poet W.D. Snodgrass (1926). Inspired to write by the demise of his marriage, he helped invent the style of confessional poetry.
Jan 05, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 4, 2021
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Today is the birthday of presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (1943), who says of history, “Mostly it is for people who didn’t live through it.”
Jan 04, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 3, 2021
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It’s the birthday of the writer who created Frodo, Bilbo, Gandalf, and Gollum: J.R.R. Tolkien (Bloemfontein, South Africa, 1892).
Jan 03, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 2, 2021
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"Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised." – Antarctic explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard
Jan 02, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 1, 2021
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The hymn "Amazing Grace" was first presented at a prayer meeting in Olney, Buckinghamshire, England, on this date in 1773.
Jan 01, 2021
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 31, 2020
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Happy New Year's Eve! Today's episode consists of a poem by Hayden Saunier about a dog, a car, a truck, and a connection.
Dec 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 30, 2020
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Astronomer Edwin Hubble announced the discovery of other galaxies beyond the Milky Way on this date in 1924.
Dec 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 29, 2020
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Today is the anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee, in South Dakota, 1890. The medicine man Black Elk said, "A people's dream died there."
Dec 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 28, 2020
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It was on this day in 1895 that Auguste and Louis Lumière had the first commercial movie screening at the Grand Café in Paris. The film was 46 seconds long.
Dec 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 27, 2020
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On this day in 1978, the country of Spain became a democracy after 40 years of fascist dictatorship. Headlines that day read, “Good morning, democracy.”
Dec 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 26, 2020
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Tennessee Williams' "The Glass Menagerie" premiered at the Civic Theatre in Chicago on this date in 1944.
Dec 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 25, 2020
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It was Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" that revived Christmas after the Puritans had stamped out the old medieval Christmas in England.
Dec 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 24, 2020
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On Christmas Eve of 1940, Jean-Paul Sartre’s first play was performed, in a German POW camp where he himself was a prisoner.
Dec 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 23, 2020
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It’s the birthday of Robert Bly (Madison, MN, 1926), who for decades exchanged letters twice a week with his friend, fellow poet Donald Hall.
Dec 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 22, 2020
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It's the birthday of the poet and translator Kenneth Rexroth (1905-1982), who mentored the Beat poets but became disillusioned as they turned into “hipsters.”
Dec 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 21, 2020
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400 years ago today the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, not in Virginia as intended, but in the lands of the Wampanoag people.
Dec 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 20, 2020
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It’s the 66th birthday of Mexican-American writer Sandra Cisneros (Chicago, 1954), best known for "The House on Mango Street" (1984).
Dec 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 19, 2020
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It's the birthday of French singer Édith Piaf (1915-1963), who was raised by prostitutes in a brothel before becoming an international star.
Dec 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 18, 2020
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It's the birthday of Fletcher "Smack" Henderson (1897), a pianist who majored in chemistry and mathematics and became famous as a bandleader and arranger.
Dec 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 17, 2020
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On this day in 1790, workers who were doing some repairs unearthed the Aztec Sun Stone in Mexico City.
Dec 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 16, 2020
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It is traditionally believed that Ludwig van Beethoven was born on this date in 1770. He grew up in Bonn and then traveled to Vienna to learn from Mozart.
Dec 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 15, 2020
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"When anyone asks me about the Irish character, I say look at the trees. Maimed, stark and misshapen, but ferociously tenacious." –Edna O'Brien
Dec 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 14, 2020
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It's the birthday of Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), author of "The Haunting of Hill House" and the short story "The Lottery."
Dec 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 13, 2020
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It's the birthday of music critic Lester Bangs (1948-1982), who wrote, "The ultimate sin of any performer is contempt for the audience."
Dec 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 12, 2020
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It's the birthday of painter Edvard Munch, who said, "My fear of life is necessary to me, as is my illness. Without anxiety and illness, I am a ship without a rudder."
Dec 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 11, 2020
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It's the birthday of two writers who were lifelong friends: Jim Harrison (1937-2016) and Thomas McGuane (b. 1939).
Dec 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 10, 2020
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It's the birthday of English mathematician and inventor Ada Augusta Byron (AKA Ada Lovelace, born 1815), the first-ever computer programmer.
Dec 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 9, 2020
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It's the birthday of Grace Hopper (1906-1992), who helped invent the modern computer and who helped design and promote a new computer language called COBOL.
Dec 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 8, 2020
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It’s the birthday of English physician Doris Bell Collier (1897), who also wrote mystery novels, short stories, and radio plays under the pseudonym Josephine Bell.
Dec 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 7, 2020
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On this day 60 years ago, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was created, declaring over 8 million acres to be federally protected from things like oil drilling.
Dec 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 6, 2020
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The Washington Monument was finally completed on this date in 1884, thirty-six years after construction began.
Dec 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 5, 2020
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It’s the 86th birthday of essayist, novelist, and memoirist Joan Didion (b. 1934), who wrote, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live.”
Dec 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 4, 2020
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It’s the birthday of the poet Rainer Maria Rilke (Prague, 1875), a notorious seducer of rich noblewomen all over Europe.
Dec 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 3, 2020
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It was on this day in 1947 that "A Streetcar Named Desire" opened on Broadway. When the curtain went down, the audience applauded for 30 minutes.
Dec 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 2, 2020
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It’s the birthday of the artist Georges Seurat (Paris, 1859), whose technique of painting tiny dots of many colors became known as Pointillism.
Dec 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 1, 2020
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It’s the birthday of “Madame Tussaud,” who sculpted her first wax statue, of the poet Voltaire, in 1777.
Dec 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 30, 2020
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It's the birthday of Mark Twain (born Samuel Clemens), who said, "A successful book is not made of what is in it, but of what is left out of it."
Nov 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 29, 2020
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It's the birthday of Amos Bronson Alcott (father of Louisa May), who founded a commune called Fruitlands and became a vegan before the term even existed.
Nov 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 28, 2020
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The Grand Ole Opry, originally titled "WSM Barn Dance," began broadcasting from Nashville on this date 95 years ago.
Nov 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 27, 2020
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Penn Station opened on this date in 1910. The original building was pink granite, with stately columns and a skylit interior modeled after a Roman bath.
Nov 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 26, 2020
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Today is Thanksgiving, a day for being grateful and eating lots of food. With a poem by Jane Hirshfield about cooking.
Nov 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 25, 2020
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It's the birthday of physician and essayist Lewis Thomas (1913-1993), who said, "The great secret of doctors...is that most things get better by themselves."
Nov 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 24, 2020
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It’s the birthday of Arundhati Roy (1959), who wrote "The God of Small Things" (1997) all at once, no drafts, and it won the Man Booker Prize.
Nov 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 23, 2020
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"We see you, see ourselves and know / That we must take the utmost care / And kindness in all things." –Joy Harjo
Nov 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 22, 2020
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It's the birthday of novelist George Eliot (1819-1880), who said, "My only desire is to know the truth, my only fear to cling to error."
Nov 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 21, 2020
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The agreement known as the Dayton Accords was reached on this date 25 years ago to end the war and genocide in Bosnia.
Nov 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 20, 2020
300
On this day 200 years ago, a sperm whale attacked a whaling ship off the coast of South America. The story later inspired the book "Moby-Dick."
Nov 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 19, 2020
300
On this day in 1956, Ernest Hemingway recovered a trunk from the Hôtel Ritz Paris that contained the Paris-era journals that would become his memoir.
Nov 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 18, 2020
300
It's the birthday of American statistician George Gallup (1901-1984), whose name became synonymous with the opinion poll.
Nov 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 17, 2020
300
On this date 50 years ago, Douglas Engelbart received a patent for the first computer mouse. He never received any royalties.
Nov 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 16, 2020
301
It's the birthday of Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe (1930-2013), author of the worldwide hit "Things Fall Apart."
Nov 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 15, 2020
301
It was on this day 80 years ago that 75,000 men were called to Armed Forces duty under the first peacetime conscription in American history.
Nov 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 14, 2020
301
It's the birthday of the painter Claude Monet (1840-1926), whose color palette shifted into muddy reds and yellows as he gradually lost his vision.
Nov 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 13, 2020
300
It's the birthday of St. Augustine, born in Tagaste, Numidia (354), a part of North Africa that is now Algeria.
Nov 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 12, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Roland Barthes (1915-1980), who applied sophisticated literary theory to things like movies, stripteases, toys, and wrestling matches.
Nov 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 11, 2020
300
It's the birthday of stand-up comedian Jonathan Winters (1925-2013), who said, "I couldn't wait for success, so I went ahead without it."
Nov 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 10, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1855 that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published his poem "The Song of Hiawatha," which sold 30,000 copies in its first six months.
Nov 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 9, 2020
300
It's the anniversary of Kristallnacht (1938), which erupted after German Nazi Joseph Goebbels made a speech implicitly endorsing anti-Semitic violence.
Nov 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 8, 2020
301
It's the birthday of Kazuo Ishiguro (1954), whose novels include "An Artist of the Floating World" and "The Buried Giant."
Nov 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 7, 2020
301
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” –Marie Curie, born this day in Warsaw in 1867
Nov 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 6, 2020
301
In 1860 on this day, Abraham Lincoln was elected president with less than 40 percent of the popular ballot, and not one single vote from 10 of the Southern states.
Nov 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 5, 2020
301
It's the birthday of one of the original muckrakers, Ida Tarbell (1857-1944), whose investigatory reporting brought down Standard Oil.
Nov 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 4, 2020
301
The Erie Canal was completed on this date in 1825. It was an engineering marvel that was once called the Eighth Wonder of the World.
Nov 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 3, 2020
301
"Without general elections, without unrestrained freedom of the press and assembly...life dies out in every public institution." –Marxist activist Rosa Luxemburg
Nov 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 2, 2020
301
It's the birthday of the frontiersman Daniel Boone (1734-1820), who said, "I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks."
Nov 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 1, 2020
300
On this day in 1993, the European Union was formally established, with 28 countries choosing to join it and open their borders to trade and travel.
Nov 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 31, 2020
300
It's the baptism day of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), who only became well known outside of the Netherlands 200 years after his death.
Oct 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 30, 2020
300
It's the 85th birthday of biographer Robert Caro, who once said, “The power of the historian is the power of the truth, a very basic thing.”
Oct 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 29, 2020
300
It's Harriet Powers Day in Athens, Georgia, named after one of the finest Southern quiltmakers of the 19th century.
Oct 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 28, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Dr. Jonas Salk, born in New York City (1914), who developed a polio vaccine at the height of a polio epidemic in the mid-1950s.
Oct 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 27, 2020
300
It's the 45th birthday of novelist Zadie Smith, who once said, "Self-expression? Go and ring a bell in the yard if you want to express yourself."
Oct 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 26, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the early American self-help writer Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), who wrote, "Do not wait: the time will never be 'just right.'"
Oct 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 25, 2020
300
It's the 79th birthday of novelist Anne Tyler, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota (1941), who spent her childhood living on various communes.
Oct 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 24, 2020
300
On this date in 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act went into effect, establishing the 40-hour work week and a minimum wage of 25 cents per hour.
Oct 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 23, 2020
300
100 years ago today, Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" was published. It nearly won the Pulitzer prize, but the award went to Edith Wharton's "Age of Innocence."
Oct 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 22, 2020
300
On this day in 1962, President Kennedy announced that Cuba would be placed under a naval “quarantine” until the Soviets removed missiles from the island.
Oct 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 21, 2020
300
It's the birthday of science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018), who said, "if...lack of motivation is a constant problem, perhaps writing is not your forte."
Oct 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 20, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Jelly Roll Morton (1890-1941), considered the first true jazz composer because he was the first to write down his jazz tunes.
Oct 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 19, 2020
300
Today is the anniversary of the surrender that ended the American Revolutionary War, in Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781.
Oct 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 18, 2020
300
It's the birthday of bestselling author Terry McMillan (1951), whose novels include "Waiting to Exhale" (1992) and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (1996).
Oct 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 17, 2020
300
On this day in 1933, Albert Einstein officially moved to the United States to teach at Princeton University after renouncing his German citizenship.
Oct 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 16, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), a devoted aesthete and one of the most quotable authors in the English language.
Oct 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 15, 2020
300
It's the birthday of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844), who wrote that God was like a star whose light we can see, even though the star died long ago.
Oct 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 14, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of poet and playwright e e cummings (1894-1962), about whom a critic once asked, “What is wrong with a man who writes like this?”
Oct 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 13, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Harlem Renaissance writer Arnaud "Arna" Wendell Bontemps (1902-1973), who also preserved and anthologized African American literature.
Oct 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 12, 2020
300
On this day in 1823, Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh sold the first raincoat. They are still sometimes called "macs" in Great Britain.
Oct 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 11, 2020
300
"Saturday Night Live" premiered on this day in 1975, with George Carlin as host and Andy Kaufman and the Muppets as special guests.
Oct 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 10, 2020
300
It's the birthday of singer-songwriter John Prine (1946), who died of complications stemming from COVID-19 earlier this year.
Oct 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 9, 2020
300
It's the birthday of writer Belva Plain (1915-2010), whose first book, "Evergreen," stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for 61 weeks.
Oct 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 8, 2020
300
100 years ago today, the science fiction author Frank Herbert was born in Tacoma, Washington. He is best known for "Dune" (1965) and its sequels.
Oct 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 7, 2020
300
It's the birthday of poet and author Diane Ackerman (1948), who is known for her wide-ranging works that blend science and literary art.
Oct 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 6, 2020
300
200 years ago today, Jenny Lind was born in Stockholm, Sweden. She is considered to be one of the most gifted sopranos ever.
Oct 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 5, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Czech activist-turned-president Václav Havel (1936-2011), who said, "The solution to the situation does not lie in leaving it."
Oct 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 4, 2020
300
On this date in 1535, the first complete modern English translation of the Bible was compiled and printed by Myles Coverdale.
Oct 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 3, 2020
301
It's the birthday of Emily Post (1873), who said, "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners."
Oct 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 2, 2020
301
It’s the birthday of Nat Turner (Virginia, 1800), who led one of the most famous and effective slave revolts in the Americas in 1831.
Oct 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 1, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Jimmy Carter (1924), who said, “A strong nation, like a strong person, can afford to be gentle, firm, thoughtful, and restrained."
Oct 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 30, 2020
300
It's the birthday of W.S. Merwin (1927-2019), who asked that his Pulitzer Prize money be given to a painter who was blinded by police in a 1969 Berkeley protest.
Sep 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 29, 2020
300
It's the birthday of novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865), who said, "I do not see why the public have any more to do with me than buy or reject the ware I supply to them.”
Sep 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 28, 2020
300
On this date in 1918, a parade to sell war bonds resulted in an epidemic of the "Spanish flu" that caused mass death in Philadelphia.
Sep 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 27, 2020
300
It's the 75th birthday of Kay Ryan (1945), who said, "Poems should leave you feeling freer and not more burdened."
Sep 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 26, 2020
300
It's the birthday of composer George Gershwin (1898-1937), whose piece “An American in Paris” featured accompaniment written for taxi horns.
Sep 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 25, 2020
300
On this day in 1981, Sandra Day O'Connor was sworn in as the first female Supreme Court justice, appointed by President Reagan.
Sep 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 24, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Irish poet Eavan Boland (1944-2020). She said, "Poetry is one of the most fugitive arts...therefore the most likely to survive colonization."
Sep 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 23, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Victoria Claflin Woodhull (1838-1927), who ran for president in 1872 on a platform including women’s suffrage and nationalization of railroads.
Sep 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 22, 2020
300
On this day in 1862, President Lincoln signed his preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, stating any slave in the Confederacy would be free January 1st.
Sep 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 21, 2020
300
It's the birthday of H.G. Wells (1866-1946), author of science fiction books such as "The Time Machine" and "The War of the Worlds."
Sep 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 20, 2020
300
It's the birthday of George R.R. Martin (1948), author of the series "A Song of Ice and Fire" which was turned into the HBO show "Game of Thrones."
Sep 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 19, 2020
301
On this date in 1940, Polish soldier Witold Pilecki allowed himself to be captured by the Nazis so he could find out what was happening at Auschwitz.
Sep 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 18, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Swedish-American actress Greta Garbo (1905-1990), who made 28 movies before retiring at the age of 35.
Sep 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 17, 2020
300
On this date in 1683, Dutch scientist Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote a letter to the Royal Society, sharing his discovery of "animalcules," or bacteria.
Sep 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 16, 2020
300
It’s the 70th birthday of Henry Louis Gates Jr. (1950), the scholar, literary critic, historian, and host of PBS's "Finding Your Roots."
Sep 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 15, 2020
301
On this date in 1963, a bomb killed four girls in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. The FBI suppressed evidence against the suspected bomber.
Sep 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 14, 2020
300
On this day 700 years ago, the author Dante died from malaria, just months after completing the third and final part of his "Divine Comedy."
Sep 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 13, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the pianist and composer Clara Schumann (1819-1896), who was much more popular than her husband Robert Schumann during their lifetime.
Sep 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 12, 2020
301
It's the birthday of H. L. Mencken (1880-1956), who once called Arkansas “an apex of moronia,” and the legislature there passed a motion to pray for his soul.
Sep 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 11, 2020
300
Featuring a poem by Jane Hirshfield called “Now A Darkness is Coming," from her newest poetry collection, "Ledger."
Sep 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 10, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the poet Mary Oliver (1935-2019), whose partner, Molly, used to impersonate her on the phone so that Mary wouldn't have to talk to strangers.
Sep 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 9, 2020
301
On this day 170 years ago, California became a U.S. state after being wrested from Mexico. It was the 31st state admitted to the Union, just before Minnesota.
Sep 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 8, 2020
300
It was on this day 100 years ago that the first transcontinental U.S. airmail service began, from New York to San Francisco.
Sep 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 7, 2020
300
On this day in 2008, the U.S. government took control of the two largest mortgage lenders in the country, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Sep 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 6, 2020
300
Using the Old Style calendar, it was on this day 400 years ago that the Mayflower sailed from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World.
Sep 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 5, 2020
300
The classic novel,"On The Road" was published on this day in 1957. Jack Kerouac based his novel on road trips with his friend Neal Cassady.
Sep 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 4, 2020
300
It's the birthday of novelist Richard Wright, author of "Native Son" (1940), who said, "All literature is protest. You can’t name a single novel that isn’t protest.”
Sep 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 3, 2020
300
It's the birthday of war correspondent Marguerite Higgins (1920-1966), who fought for her right to cover the Korean War and who died while covering Vietnam.
Sep 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 2, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Albert Goodwill Spalding (1850), a baseball player and a founder of the sporting goods company A.G. Spalding and Brothers.
Sep 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875), who wrote "Tarzan of the Apes" and who bought a section of Los Angeles that's now known as Tarzana.
Sep 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 31, 2020
300
It's the birthday of pioneering educator Maria Montessori (1870-1952), who emphasized independence, self-directed learning, and learning from peers.
Aug 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 30, 2020
300
It was on this day in 30 B.C. that Queen Cleopatra of Egypt killed herself with a snake rather than remain the prisoner of Octavian.
Aug 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 29, 2020
300
It was on this day 15 years ago that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast near New Orleans. More than 80% of the city was eventually flooded.
Aug 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 28, 2020
300
On this day in 1963, more than 200,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Aug 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 27, 2020
300
It's the birthday of philosopher Georg Hegel (1770), whose concept of dialectic posited that all human progress is driven by the conflict between opposites.
Aug 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 26, 2020
300
On this date in 1873, the St. Louis, Missouri, school board authorized the first public kindergarten in the United States, thanks to Susan Blow's activism.
Aug 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 25, 2020
300
"Without language there is no poetry, without poetry there’s just talk. Talk is cheap and proves nothing." –Charles Wright, former U.S. Poet Laureate
Aug 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 24, 2020
300
It was on this day in the year 410 that Rome was sacked by the Visigoths. It was the first time in 800 years that Rome was successfully invaded.
Aug 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 23, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1939 that the governments of Germany and the Soviet Union signed the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, shocking many American communists.
Aug 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 22, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the witty Dorothy Parker (1893), who was kicked out of various institutions for offending people, and who left her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Aug 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 21, 2020
300
It's the birthday of author Ellen Hinsey (1960), who said, "poetry is an independent ambassador for conscience: It answers to no one."
Aug 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 20, 2020
300
On this day 80 years ago, Winston Churchill said, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."
Aug 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 19, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991), who created the sci-fi franchise Star Trek, which was unique in that it imagined a generally peaceful future.
Aug 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 18, 2020
300
It's the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which stated that U.S. citizens' right to vote could not be "denied or abridged...on account of sex."
Aug 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 17, 2020
300
It's the birthday of American folk hero Davy Crockett (1786), who served in the Tennessee state legislature and died in the Battle of the Alamo.
Aug 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 16, 2020
300
It's the birthday of English philosopher and playwright Catharine Trotter Cockburn (1679), who taught herself to read and write when she was a child.
Aug 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 15, 2020
300
It's the birthday of essayist Thomas de Quincey (Manchester, England, 1785), who arguably invented the "drug memoir" genre.
Aug 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 14, 2020
300
It's the birthday of cartoonist Gary Larson (1950), who created the popular single-panel comic "The Far Side."
Aug 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 13, 2020
300
The Lebanese-born Dr. Michael Shadid established the first cooperatively owned and operated hospital in the United States on this date in 1931.
Aug 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 12, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote: "O beautiful for spacious skies, / For amber waves of grain, / For purple mountain majesties / Above the fruited plain!"
Aug 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 11, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Alex Haley (1921-1992), who wrote both "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" (1965) and "Roots" (1976).
Aug 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 10, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Joyce Sutphen, Poet Laureate of Minnesota, whose poem "Happiness" we are featuring today.
Aug 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 9, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of author P.L. Travers (1899-1996), who described her popular Mary Poppins series as “both a joy and a curse.”
Aug 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 8, 2020
300
The first refrigerator was patented in the United States on this date in 1899. The company Frigidaire was founded 19 years later.
Aug 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 7, 2020
300
Today’s episode features a poem by Galway Kinnell, called “Wait,” promising that “Personal events will become interesting again.”
Aug 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 6, 2020
300
75 years ago today, in 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing 80,000 people on impact.
Aug 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 5, 2020
300
The comic strip "Little Orphan Annie" on this day in 1924. Creator Harold Gray was staunchly anti-FDR, but the musical version intentionally subverted his politics.
Aug 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 4, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of pioneering jazz musician Louis Armstrong (1901-1971), who said, “Seems to me it ain’t the world that’s so bad but what we’re doing to it.”
Aug 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 3, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of British crime novelist P.D. James (1920-2014), who had a seat in the House of Lords and also worked as a local magistrate.
Aug 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 2, 2020
300
It's the 78th birthday of Isabel Allende (1942), who once got fired for translating romance novels too liberally, adding depth and independence to the women characters.
Aug 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of the astronomer Maria Mitchell (1818), who made the first American comet sighting and who was the first female faculty member of Vassar College.
Aug 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 31, 2020
300
It's the birthday of poet and novelist Kim Addonizio (1954), who said, "Poetry is not a means to an end, but a continuing engagement with being alive."
Jul 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 30, 2020
300
On this day 55 years ago, Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965, creating Medicare and Medicaid.
Jul 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 29, 2020
300
The painter Vincent van Gogh died on this date 130 years ago. World-famous now, he was virtually unknown at the time of his death.
Jul 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 28, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Earl Tupper (1907), who worked with plastics at the DuPont Chemical Company and then invented Tupperware.
Jul 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 27, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of novelist Bharati Mukherjee (1940-1917), who wrote “The Tiger's Daughter” (1971), “Jasmine” (1989), and “Miss New India” (2011).
Jul 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 26, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875), who believed that archetypes from cultural stories come from a collective unconscious that all humans share.
Jul 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 25, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Louise Brown, the first baby conceived via in vitro insemination and born in Oldham, Great Britain, in 1978.
Jul 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 24, 2020
300
It’s the birthday hymn writer John Newton (1725), a trader of African slaves who later became a vocal abolitionist. He wrote the song “Amazing Grace.”
Jul 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 23, 2020
300
On this night in 1967, an uprising began in Detroit after an all-white squadron of police officers decided to raid a bar in a black neighborhood.
Jul 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 22, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of poet Emma Lazarus (New York, 1849), who wrote the inscription on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor.”
Jul 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 21, 2020
300
“The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for and I hate very much to leave it.” –Ernest Hemingway, born this day in 1899
Jul 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 20, 2020
301
On this day in 1875, that the largest recorded swarm of locusts in American history descended upon the Great Plains.
Jul 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 19, 2020
300
On this date in 1848, the first Convention for Women's Rights opened in Seneca Falls, New York. Speakers included Lucretia Mott and Frederick Douglass.
Jul 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 18, 2020
300
On this day in 1877, inventor Thomas Edison recorded the human voice for the first time at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
Jul 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 17, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1936 that the Spanish Civil War began with an attempted coup by right-wing forces (Nationalists) against the government (Republicans).
Jul 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 16, 2020
300
J.D. Salinger's “The Catcher in the Rye” was published on this date in 1951. It was turned down by publisher Harcourt, Brace and landed at Little, Brown instead.
Jul 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 15, 2020
300
It's the birthday of novelist and philosopher Iris Murdoch (1919-1999), who won the Booker Prize in 1978 for “The Sea, the Sea.”
Jul 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 14, 2020
300
On this date in 1881, Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in New Mexico Territory. He was 22 years old.
Jul 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 13, 2020
300
"The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.” –Nigerian playwright Wole Soynika, born this day in 1934
Jul 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 12, 2020
300
“All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are." –poet & diplomat Pablo Neruda, born this day in 1904
Jul 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 11, 2020
301
“To Kill a Mockingbird” was published on this date 60 years ago. Harper Lee said, “I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers.”
Jul 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 10, 2020
301
It's the birthday of inventor Nikola Tesla (Austria-Hungary, 1856), who sailed to America with four cents, plans for a flying machine, and a few of his poems.
Jul 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 9, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Oliver Sacks (1933-2015), who explored phenomena of the brain in books like “Musicophilia” and “Seeing Voices.”
Jul 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 8, 2020
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It’s the birthday of psychiatrist and writer Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (Switzerland, 1926-2004), who famously outlined the five stages of grief.
Jul 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 7, 2020
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It’s the birthday of American biologist Nettie Stevens (1861-1912), who made the pioneering discovery of sex chromosomes.
Jul 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 6, 2020
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It’s the birthday of painter Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), who said, “I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality.”
Jul 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 5, 2020
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The Battle of Osan took place on this date 70 years ago. It was the first face-off of American and North Korean troops in the Korean War.
Jul 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 4, 2020
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On this day in 1855, Walt Whitman published the first edition of “Leaves of Grass.” It was met with glowing reviews, many penned by Whitman himself.
Jul 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 3, 2020
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It’s the birthday of writer Franz Kafka (1883-1924), who said, “a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us."
Jul 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 2, 2020
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It’s the birthday of civil rights activist, lawyer, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908), who sat on the Supreme Court from 1967 to 1991.
Jul 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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It's the birthday of French novelist George Sand, born Lucile Aurore Dupin (1804), who originally wanted to be a nun, but her grandmother wouldn’t let her.
Jul 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 30, 2020
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On this day in 1860, a heated debate on the merits of the theory of evolution took place at Oxford University. “The Origin of Species” had been published 7 months earlier.
Jun 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 29, 2020
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"All grown-ups were once children — although few of them remember it.” –the children’s author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, born this day in 1900
Jun 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 28, 2020
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In the early hours of this day in 1969, the Stonewall uprising broke out in New York City, marking the beginning of the LGBTQ rights movement.
Jun 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 27, 2020
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It's the birthday of poet Lucille Clifton (1936-2010), whose career choice was inspired by the fact that her father so disapproved of her mother writing poetry.
Jun 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 26, 2020
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On this day 20 years ago, scientific teams completed the first rough map of the human genome. One finding: the human species goes back 7,000 generations.
Jun 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 25, 2020
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70 years ago today, North Korea invaded South Korea. The Korean War became the first war that the United States concluded without success.
Jun 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 24, 2020
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It was on this day in 1374 in Aachen, Germany that an outbreak of dancing plague or dancing mania, also known as St. Vitus’ Dance, first began.
Jun 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 23, 2020
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It’s the birthday of Soviet poet Anna Akhmatova (1889), who spent 30 years writing her poem “Requiem” in pieces so that Stalin’s regime would not discover it.
Jun 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 22, 2020
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It's the birthday of Erich Maria Remarque (Germany, 1898), who is best known for his anti-war novel “All Quiet on the Western Front.”
Jun 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 21, 2020
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It’s the birthday of French existentialist and writer Jean-Paul Sartre (1905), who said, “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution.”
Jun 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 20, 2020
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It’s the birthday of writer and activist Charles Waddell Chesnutt (1858), the first black fiction writer to have his work published in The Atlantic magazine.
Jun 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 19, 2020
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Today is Juneteenth, which celebrates the end of slavery in the United States. It’s also the anniversary of the passing of the Civil Rights Act (1964).
Jun 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 18, 2020
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On this day in 1983, Dr. Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She said, “I’m sure it was the most fun I’ll ever have in my life.”
Jun 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 17, 2020
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Today is the birthday of poet, essayist, and translator Ron Padgett (1942), whose poetry has been featured many times on the Almanac.
Jun 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 16, 2020
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It’s the birthday of the Apache leader Geronimo (1829), who died in 1909 as a prisoner of war in a military hospital in Oklahoma City.
Jun 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 15, 2020
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100 years ago today, three young black men were lynched in Duluth, Minnesota after being wrongfully accused of raping a white woman.
Jun 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 14, 2020
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It’s the birthday of photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White (1904), who broke gender barriers and who was nicknamed “Maggie the Indestructible” at Life magazine.
Jun 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 13, 2020
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On this day in 1966, the historic Miranda v. Arizona case was decided, giving rise to the requirement for police to read suspects their “Miranda rights” when arresting them.
Jun 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 12, 2020
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On this day in 1963, civil rights leader and World War Two veteran Medgar Evers was murdered by a Ku Klux Klan member. The KKK member was found guilty 31 years later.
Jun 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 11, 2020
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It’s the birthday of playwright Ben Jonson (1572), a contemporary of Shakespeare whose mischievous writings and behaviors nearly got him executed multiple times.
Jun 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 10, 2020
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It’s the birthday of Saul Bellow (1915), who grew up in Chicago as an undocumented immigrant and who said, "in expressing love we belong among the undeveloped countries."
Jun 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 9, 2020
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It’s the birthday of Cole Porter (1891), who wrote hundreds of songs for movies, television, and Broadway shows including the song "Let's Do It, Let's Fall in Love.”
Jun 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 8, 2020
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