Born OTD in 1956, English author Andrea Levy. She was born in London to Jamaican parents, and her work explores topics related to British Jamaicans and how they negotiate racial, cultural and national identities. “My son Thomas, who is publishing this book, tells me, it is customary at this place in a novel to give the reader a little taste of the story that is held within these pages. As your storyteller, I am to convey that this tale is set in Jamaica during the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom that followed. July is a slave girl who lives upon a sugar plantation named Amity and it is her life that is the subject of this tale.”

“She was there when the Baptist War raged in 1831, and she was present when slavery was declared no more. … More

Born OTD in 1902, American author who won the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature for his realistic & imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour & keen social perception, John Steinbeck. He has been called ‘a giant of American letters’, and many of his works are considered classics of Western literature. Most of Steinbeck’s work is set in central California, particularly in the Salinas Valley and the California Coast Ranges region. His works frequently explored the themes of fate and injustice, especially as applied to downtrodden or everyman protagonists.

‘Everything was dead, everything unreal; the dark mob was made up of stiff lay-figures’ One of America’s greatest writers explores … More

Born OTD in 1885, American novelist, short-story writer and playwright, Sinclair Lewis. His works are known for their critical views of American capitalism & materialism between the wars. He is also respected for his strong characterizations of modern working women. In, ‘It Can’t Happen Here’, a vain, outlandish, anti-immigrant, fearmongering demagogue runs for President of the United States – and wins. Sinclair Lewis’s chilling 1935 bestseller is the story of Buzz Windrip,…

..’Professional Common Man’, who promises poor, angry voters that he will make America proud and prosperous once more, but takes … More

Born OTD in 1812, writer and social critic, Charles Dickens. He created some of the world’s best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era. His works enjoyed unprecedented popularity during his lifetime, and by the 20th century, critics and scholars had recognised him as a literary genius.

Throughout his writing career Charles Dickens was a hugely prolific journalist. This volume of his later work is selected from … More

Born OTD in 1945, Irish novelist, short story writer, adapter of dramas and screenwriter, John Banville. When art historian Max Morden returns to the seaside village where he once spent a childhood holiday, he is both escaping from a recent loss and confronting a distant trauma. The Grace family had appeared that long-ago summer as if from another world. Mr and Mrs Grace, with their worldly ease and candour, were unlike any adults he had met before. But it was his contemporaries, the Grace twins Myles and Chloe, who most fascinated Max. He grew to know them intricately, even intimately, and what ensued would haunt him for the rest of his years and shape everything that was to follow.

‘A novel in which all of his remarkable gifts come together to produce a real work of art, disquieting, beautiful, … More

Born OTD in 1857 Polish-British writer, Joseph Conrad. Writing near the peak of the British Empire, Conrad drew, among other things, on his native Poland’s national experiences and on his own experiences in the French and British merchant navies, to create short stories and novels that reflect aspects of a European-dominated world—including imperialism and colonialism—and that profoundly explore the human psyche.

Set in the Congo during the period of rapid colonial expansion in the 19th century, the story deals with the … More

Born OTD in 1959, author, broadcaster and a professor of creative writing, Jeanette Winterson. ‘Written On The Body’ is the most beguilingly seductive novel to date from the author of The Passion and Sexing the Cherry. Winterson chronicles the consuming affair between the narrator, who is given neither name nor gender, and the beloved, a complex and confused married woman.

Written on the body is a secret code only visible in certain lights: the accumulation of a lifetime gather there. … More

Born OTD in 1920, Amercian author and screenwriter predominantly known for writing the iconic dystopian novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’, Ray Bradbury. “It’s the week before Hallowe’en, and Cooger and Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois. The siren song of the calliope entices all with promises of youth regained and dreams fulfilled . . . And as two boys trembling on the brink of manhood set out to explore the mysteries of the dark carnival’s smoke, mazes and mirrors, they will also discover the true price of innermost wishes . .”

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Born OTD in 1909, black American writer, Chester Himes. Himes wrote about African Americans in general, especially in two books that are concerned with labor relations and African-American workplace issues. ‘If He Hollers Let Him Go’ – which contains many autobiographical elements – is about a black shipyard worker in Los Angeles during World War II struggling against racism, as well as his own violent reactions to racism.

Robert Jones is a crew leader in a naval shipyard in Los Angeles in the 1940s. He should have a … More