Born OTD in 1943, writer & director of film & theatre, Mike Leigh. A keen observer of manners and mores, Mike Leigh has been hailed as a celebrator of “ordinary” people, yet it wasn’t until relatively recently that audiences have been able to appreciate the full body of his work. In discussing all his films from Bleak Moments & High Hopes through Naked, the Oscar-nominated Secrets and Lies & Topsy Turvy, to All or Nothing, Garry Watson considers this claim, examining the films’ influence & their effect.

At the same time, he takes on the very concepts of “the real” and “the ordinary” in regard to Leigh’s … 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 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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Happy Birthday to local Young Adult writer and screenwriter, Catherine Johnson. A forensic crime thriller set in Revolutionary Paris. Young surgeon Ezra McAdam must hasten to Paris to rescue his friend Loveday Finch and her charge Mahmoud, the Ottoman prince, who have been caught up in the Revolution. On the way, Ezra experiences the war first hand on the battlefields of Northern France, where his surgical skills are in high demand by the beleaguered French army. Meanwhile, in Paris, the guillotine is busy, and the medical world is finding the surfeit of bodies useful to its research into the seat of life.

Ezra is not persuaded by the controversial theories of his French colleagues, but his mind is on other matters. Finding … More

Born OTD in 1961, English music journalist, witer, radio and screen writer and critic, David Quantick. ‘All My Colors’ is a darkly comic novel about a man who remembers a book that may not exist, with dire consequences. A bizarre, mind-bending story at the intersection of Richard Bachman, Charlie Kaufman and Franz Kafka..

It is March 1979 in DeKalb Illinois. Todd Milstead is a wannabe writer, a serial adulterer, and a jerk, only … More

Born OTD in 1927, Columbian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter & journalist, Gabriel García Márquez. Since it was first published in May 1967, One Hundred Years of Solitude has been translated into 37 languages & has sold more than 30 million copies. The novel, considered García Márquez’s magnum opus, remains widely acclaimed & is recognized as one of the most significant works in the Spanish literary canon.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town … More