Born OTD in 1903, English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic, George Orwell. “..What had happened was that the whole moneyed class, unwilling to face a change in their way of life, had shut their eyes to the nurture of Fascism and modern war. And false optimism was fed to the general public by the gutter press, which lives on its advertisements an is therefore interested in keeping trade conditons normal..”

George Orwell’s moving reflections on the English character and his passionate belief in the need for political change. The Lion … More

Born OTD in 1944, German essayist, writer & academic, W. G. Sebald. At first The Emigrants appears simply to document the lives of four Jewish emigres in the 20th century. But gradually, as Sebald’s precise, almost dreamlike prose begins to draw their stories, the four narrations merge into one overwhelming evocation of exile & loss. Written with a bone-dry sense of humour & a fascination with the oddness of existence The Emigrants is highly original in its heady mix of fact, memory, fiction & photographs.

A concomitant theme is the impact of World War II and the Holocaust on German nationals, particularly on those of … More

Born OTD in 1907, English author & playwright, Daphne du Maurier. Jaded by the numbing politeness of Restoration London, Lady Dona St. Columb revolts against high society. She rides into the countryside, guided only by her restlessness & her longing to escape. But when chance leads her to meet a French pirate, hidden within Cornwall’s shadowy forests, Dona discovers that her passions and thirst for adventure have never been more aroused. Together, they embark upon a quest rife with danger & glory, one which bestows upon Dona the ultimate choice: sacrifice her lover to certain death or risk her own life to save him.

Frenchman’s Creek is the breathtaking story of a woman searching for love and adventure who embraces the dangerous life of … More

Here Comes Everybody, subtitled ‘An Introduction to James Joyce for the Ordinary Reader’, was commissioned by Joyce’s own publishers, Faber and Faber, in 1963. Burgess’s original title was ‘James Joyce and the Common Man’, and he introduces the book with a provocative statement: ‘If ever there was a writer for the people, Joyce was that writer.’ Here Comes Everybody was Burgess’s third non-fiction book, following in the wake of English Literature: A Survey for Students (1958) and Language Made Plain (1964). Written between January and August 1964, Here Comes Everybody was published in 1965. The American edition, published by Norton in the same year, was retitled Re Joyce. The book was widely reviewed on publication, and it quickly established itself as a useful guide to Joyce’s work.

Burgess divides Here Comes Everybody into three sections. The discussion proceeds chronologically, taking in each of Joyce’s early published works … More

Born OTD in 1955, American novelist, essayist and poet, Barbara Kingslover. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the Congo in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her work often focuses on topics such as social justice, biodiversity and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments.

“2016 Vineland Meet Willa Knox, a woman who stands braced against an upended world that seems to hold no mercy … More

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 1926, Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, known affectionately as Gabo, Gabriel García Márquez. Equally tragic, joyful and comical, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s masterpiece of magical realism, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a seamless blend of fantasy and reality, translated from the Spanish by Gregory Rabassa in Penguin Modern Classics. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s great masterpiece is the story of seven generations of the Buendia family and of Macondo, the town they have built.

Though little more than a settlement surrounded by mountains, Macondo has its wars and disasters, even its wonders and miracles. … 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 1931, American novelist, essayist, book editor, and college professor, Toni Morrison. The majority of the narrative takes place in Harlem during the 1920s; however, as the pasts of the various characters are explored, the narrative extends back to the mid-19th-century American South. The novel deliberately mirrors the music of its title, with various characters “improvising” solo compositions that fit together to create a whole work. The tone of the novel also shifts with these compositions, from bluesy laments to up beat, sensual ragtime.

The novel also utilizes the call-and-response style of jazz music, allowing the characters to explore the same events from different … 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