The Writer's Almanac

By Prairie Home Productions

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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 - 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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
"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
300
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
300
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
301
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
301
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
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
300
It’s the birthday of architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), who designed buildings that complemented, or even seemed part of, nature.
Jun 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 7, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of novelist Louise Erdrich (1954), who said, “The point of books is to have way too many but to always feel you never have enough.”
Jun 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 6, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1933 that the first drive-in movie theater opened, in Camden, New Jersey, bringing a little fun to the tough daily life of the Depression era.
Jun 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 5, 2020
300
On this day in 1851, the first words of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe were published, spreading the abolitionist cause to a newly receptive public.
Jun 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 4, 2020
300
It’s the 80th anniversary of the end of the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk, during which civilians answered the call to rescue Allied troops from the French seaport.
Jun 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 3, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of historical romance writer Kathleen Woodiwiss (1939-2007), who wrote her first novel secretly on a typewriter that she’d gifted to her husband.
Jun 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 2, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1865 that the Civil War came to a formal end. The war took 620,000 American lives.
Jun 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962), who said, "I don't want to make money, I just want to be wonderful."
Jun 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 31, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of poet Walt Whitman (1819), who was once fired from a job at the Department of the Interior for being a "very bad man" and a "free lover."
May 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 30, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1431 that Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in Rouen, France at the age of 19. About 500 years later, she was canonized as a Catholic saint.
May 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 29, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1913 that the world premiere of Igor Stravinsky's “Le Sacre du printemps” caused a riot at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris.
May 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 28, 2020
300
“When you meet somebody who is more important to you than yourself, that has to be the most important thing in life, really.” –Maeve Binchy, born this day in 1940
May 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 27, 2020
300
On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened. The idea of the bridge was first broached in 1869 by a man who called himself the "Emperor of the United States."
May 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 26, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of photographer and author Dorothea Lange (1895), whose iconic work for the Farm Security Administration gave human faces to the Great Depression.
May 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 25, 2020
300
“We live in succession, in division, in parts, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole…” –Ralph Waldo Emerson, born this day in 1803
May 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 24, 2020
300
“Writing is about getting your work done and getting your work done every day.” –author Michael Chabon, born this day in 1963
May 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 23, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of “Goodnight Moon” author Margaret Wise Brown (1910). She was a prolific writer and sometimes kept six different publishers busy at once with her projects.
May 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 22, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Harvey Milk (1930), the first openly gay man elected to public office. Assassinated in San Francisco in 1978, he would have been 90 years old today.
May 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 21, 2020
300
On this day in 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross. After her experiences in the Civil War, she saw a need for a neutral organization to help soldiers.
May 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 20, 2020
300
On this day in 1946, English-born poet W.H. Auden became a U.S. citizen. He’d first moved there in 1939, and he lived for a time with artists such as Carson McCullers.
May 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 19, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the playwright Lorraine Hansberry (Chicago, 1930), who wrote the classic play “A Raisin in the Sun” when she was just 27 years old.
May 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 18, 2020
300
On this day in 1860––160 years ago––Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago.
May 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 17, 2020
300
On this day 16 years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
May 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 16, 2020
300
“My work is for people who want to imagine and claim wider horizons and carry on about them into the night” –poet Adrienne Rich, born this day in 1929
May 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 15, 2020
300
Emily Dickinson died in Amherst, Massachusetts, on this date in 1886 at the age of 56. The first volume of her poems was published 4 years later.
May 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 14, 2020
300
On this day in 1796, Dr. Edward Jenner inoculated a child with a smallpox vaccine, which was developed from cowpox. It was the first safe vaccine.
May 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 13, 2020
300
“You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory… for without victory, there is no survival.” – Winston Churchill to the House of Commons, May 13, 1940.
May 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 12, 2020
300
It’s the 200th birthday of Florence Nightingale, possibly the most famous nurse of all time and a tireless advocate for the rights and improved care of patients.
May 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 11, 2020
300
Today Glacier National Park celebrates its 110th birthday. When founded in 1910, there were at least 150 glaciers in that area of Montana. Today there are only 25.
May 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 10, 2020
301
Today is Mother's Day, and also the birthday of "Mother" Maybelle Carter (1909), who made her name in country music as part of The Carter Family.
May 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 9, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of poet Ellen Bryant Voigt (1943), who said, “Resist any temptation to use the poem to make its readers like you, or admire you, or forgive you."
May 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 8, 2020
300
Today is believed to be the birthday of former slave Phillis Wheatley (1753), who was the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry.
May 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, May 7, 2020
300
"Woman has the right to mount the scaffold; she must equally have the right to mount the rostrum." —Olympe de Gouges (born this day 1748), who died by the guillotine
May 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, May 6, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1994 that the Channel Tunnel (or the "Chunnel") opened, making it possible to travel from London to Paris in less than three hours.
May 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, May 5, 2020
300
Today is Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates the Mexican victory over the French in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.
May 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, May 4, 2020
300
“May the Fourth be with you!” Today is known as Star Wars Day, even though the anniversary of the first film’s release is actually May 25th.
May 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, May 3, 2020
300
"One must think like a hero to behave like a merely decent human being." –the late poet May Sarton, born this day in 1912
May 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, May 2, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Dr. Benjamin Spock (New Haven, 1903), who wrote the parenting bible for all the post-war moms and dads raising the baby boomer generation.
May 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, May 1, 2020
300
“I'm out of it, but not too far out. I figure somewhere between 12 to 18 inches.” –Louis Jenkins (1942-2019), from today’s featured poem
May 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 30, 2020
300
Charles Dickens' “A Tale of Two Cities” was first published in serial form on this date in 1859. The weekly journal it appeared in sold 125,000 copies.
Apr 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 29, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of William Randolph Hearst (1863), whose newspapers’ sensational reporting actually helped cause the Spanish-American War of 1898.
Apr 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 28, 2020
300
It's the birthday of poet Carolyn Forché (1950), whose first collection won the Yale Younger Poets Award and whose latest collection came out just last month.
Apr 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 27, 2020
300
It's the birthday of the author of the "Madeline" books, Ludwig Bemelmans, born in Austria in 1898.
Apr 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 26, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of novelist and screenwriter Anita Loos (1889), who wrote approximately 150 screenplays for silent films between 1913 and 1928.
Apr 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 25, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of 'First Lady of Song' Ella Fitzgerald (1917), who said, "The only thing better than singing is more singing."
Apr 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 24, 2020
300
The Library of Congress was established on this date in 1800. The library receives about 15,000 new items every workday, and its collection includes more than 24 million books.
Apr 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 23, 2020
300
Today we celebrate what we believe to be the birthday of William Shakespeare, and we feature one of the host’s favorite Shakespeare sonnets.
Apr 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 22, 2020
300
The first Earth Day was celebrated on this day 50 years ago, prompting the U.S. government to form the Environmental Protection Agency and pass major environmental acts.
Apr 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 21, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Charlotte Brontë (1816), who published “Jane Eyre” under the pseudonym Currer Bell. Likewise, her sister Emily published “Wuthering Heights” under the name Ellis Bell.
Apr 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 20, 2020
300
The painting rises from the brushstrokes as a poem rises from the words. The meaning comes later." –Joan Miró, born this day in 1893.
Apr 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 19, 2020
300
It's the birthday of poet Etheridge Knight (Mississippi, 1931), who published his first collection of poetry while serving a prison sentence.
Apr 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 18, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist Susan Faludi (1959), author of the seminal feminist text “Backlash” (1991).
Apr 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 17, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Nick Hornby (1957), author of “High Fidelity” (1995), which was adapted into a movie in 2000 and a Hulu TV series this past February.
Apr 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 16, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Kingsley Amis (London, 1922), author of “Lucky Jim” (1954), which is considered one of the funniest novels in British literature.
Apr 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 15, 2020
300
It's the birthday of ‘the Empress of the Blues’ Bessie Smith (1898), who recorded150 blues numbers about poverty, unrequited love, and cruelty.
Apr 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 14, 2020
301
It’s the birthday of American journalist Tina Rosenberg (1960), a proponent of “solutions journalism” that works to solve the world’s problems.
Apr 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 13, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Alfred M. Butts (1899), an architect who invented the game of Scrabble while out of work during the Depression.
Apr 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 12, 2020
300
On this day in 1633, Galileo Galilei was put on trial for believing the Earth revolves around the sun. The Catholic Church didn’t formally admit that he was correct until 1992.
Apr 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 11, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Dorothy Allison (1949), the novelist and memoirist who said, “The thing I’m telling you is true, but it did not always happen to me.”
Apr 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 10, 2020
300
It's the 90th birthday of labor leader Dolores Huerta (1930), who helped organize the Delano grape strike in 1965 and who originated the phrase, “sí, se puede.”
Apr 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 9, 2020
300
"The major trick to writing good historical fiction is not in compiling research or knowing the details, but in knowing which details to leave out." –Elizabeth Crook, born this day in 1959
Apr 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 8, 2020
300
On this day 200 years ago, one of the world's most celebrated pieces of art was discovered by a farmer on the Greek island of Melos: the marble statue Venus de Milo.
Apr 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, April 7, 2020
301
It's the birthday of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola (Detroit, 1939), who was heavily in debt when he was offered the job of directing what turned out to be “The Godfather” (1972).
Apr 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, April 6, 2020
300
It's the birthday of country songwriter and singer Merle Haggard (1937), who wrote more than 600 songs in his lifetime, including about forty #1 hits.
Apr 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, April 5, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Hattie Alexander (1901), who developed a treatment for the deadly childhood illness influenzal meningitis, also known as Hib.
Apr 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, April 4, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Maya Angelou (1928-2014), who is best known for her writing but who also was a dancer, singer, civil rights activist, and world traveler.
Apr 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, April 3, 2020
300
On this day in 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be.”
Apr 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, April 2, 2020
300
"My follies are the follies of youth. You will see that I laugh at them, and if you are kind you will laugh at them with me."
–Casanova, born this day in 1725
Apr 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, April 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Rachel Maddow (1973), who went to Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and became the first openly gay American news anchor.
Apr 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 31, 2020
300
It starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said No,
it starts when you say We…
–from today’s poem by Marge Piercy
Mar 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 30, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Anna Sewell (1820), who was dependent on horses for transportation due to an injury. She published her novel “Black Beauty” in 1877.
Mar 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 29, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Alexandra Fuller (1969), British-Zimbabwean author of “Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight” and several other memoirs.
Mar 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 28, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of novelist Lauren Weisberger (1977), who fictionalized her time working at Vogue magazine in the book, “The Devil Wears Prada.”
Mar 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 27, 2020
300
On this day in 1912, President Taft’s wife, Helen, and the wife of the ambassador from Japan planted the first of Washington, D.C.’s cherry trees.
Mar 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 26, 2020
300
Featuring a poem by Bill Holm (1943-2009) called “What Beethoven’s Music Will Do to You.”
Mar 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 25, 2020
301
“You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” –writer Flannery O’Connor, born this day in 1925
Mar 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 24, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1882, German doctor and early microbiologist Robert Koch announced that he had found the bacterium responsible for tuberculosis.
Mar 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 23, 2020
300
Ten years ago on this day, President Barack Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act, extending healthcare to almost 32 million Americans.
Mar 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 22, 2020
300
"I don't think people read poetry because they're interested in the poet. I think they're read poetry because they're interested in themselves." –Billy Collins, born this day in 1941
Mar 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 21, 2020
300
It’s the anniversary of the first day of the Alabama Freedom March in 1965. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act less than five months later.
Mar 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 20, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1852 that Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel “Uncle Tom's Cabin” was published, inspired by Stowe’s opposition to the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850.
Mar 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 19, 2020
301
Today is the birthday of comedian Jackie "Moms" Mabley (1894), who rose from difficult circumstances to become the first female headliner at The Apollo in 1939.
Mar 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 18, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Wilfred Owen (1893), one of the first poets to depict the horrifying realities of war as opposed to the patriotic aspects. He died in the Great War at age 25.
Mar 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 17, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Penelope Lively (1933), the only writer to win both the Carnegie Medal and the Booker Prize. Her memoir, “Life in the Garden,” was published in 2018.
Mar 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 16, 2020
300
Nathaniel Hawthorne's novel “The Scarlet Letter” was published on this day 170 years ago. The first edition sold out in 10 days, and it’s still standard reading in public schools.
Mar 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 15, 2020
300
On this day in 1965, LBJ gave his “We Shall Overcome” speech demanding legislation to guarantee equal voting rights for all Americans.
Mar 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 14, 2020
300
“The Grapes of Wrath” was published on this day in 1939. John Steinbeck told his agent, “This will not be a popular book,” but it was a best-seller.
Mar 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 13, 2020
300
On this date in 1781, English astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus, named after Ouranos, the Greek god of the sky.
Mar 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 12, 2020
300
On this day 11 years ago, Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 felony counts in the largest embezzlement and fraud case in Wall Street history.
Mar 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 11, 2020
300
On this day in 1918, the first cases of the influenza pandemic were reported in the U.S. when 107 soldiers got sick at Fort Riley, Kansas.
Mar 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 10, 2020
300
Harriet Tubman died on this day in 1913. Over 10 years and at least 13 trips, Harriet Tubman led some 300 souls out of slavery into freedom in Canada.
Mar 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 9, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Vita Sackville-West (1892), who said, "It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by.”
Mar 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 8, 2020
300
It’s the 60th birthday of Jeffery Eugenides, author of “The Virgin Suicides” (1993) and “Middlesex” (2002), both of which employ unique grammatical points of view.
Mar 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, March 7, 2020
300
It's the anniversary of the first March from Selma to Montgomery (1965). Footage of policemen attacking these marchers helped shift public opinion on the civil rights movement.
Mar 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, March 6, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of writer Gabriel García Márquez (Aracataca, Colombia, 1927) and of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Durham, England, 1806).
Mar 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, March 5, 2020
300
It’s the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, during which colonists taunted and threw ice and oysters at British soldiers, who responded with muskets.
Mar 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, March 4, 2020
300
On this day in 1933, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was inaugurated. He brought with him Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first female cabinet member, who enacted important progressive policies.
Mar 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, March 3, 2020
300
It was on this day in 1931 that "The Star-Spangled Banner" became the official national anthem of the United States.
Mar 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, March 2, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of the children’s author who wrote, “A person's a person, no matter how small.” Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss (1904).
Mar 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, March 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Ralph Ellison (1914), who once typed the sentence, “I am an invisible man”—and then wrote a classic book about a character who might say that.
Mar 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 29, 2020
300
“I’ve never read a political poem that’s accomplished anything. Poetry makes things happen, but rarely what the poet wants.” -Howard Nemerov, born this day in 1920.
Feb 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 28, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Linus Pauling (1901), who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954 as well as the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962 for his opposition to WMDs.
Feb 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 27, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Kiowa novelist and poet N. Scott Momaday (Oklahoma, 1934), whose first novel “House Made of Dawn” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1969.
Feb 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 26, 2020
300
"To love another person is to see the face of God." –French novelist Victor Hugo, author of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” born this day in 1802
Feb 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 25, 2020
300
On this day in 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I of England for the persecution of Catholics.
Feb 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 24, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Judith Butler (1956), who argued that we “perform” our gender in her 1990 text “Gender Trouble,” now essential reading in gender studies classes.
Feb 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 23, 2020
300
The lines “This land is your land and this land is my land/From the California to the New York Island” were written on this day 80 years ago by Woody Guthrie.
Feb 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 22, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Edna St. Vincent Millay (1892), a Jazz Age icon who drew huge crowds of adoring fans to her poetry readings and who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.
Feb 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 21, 2020
300
It was 95 years ago today that the first issue of The New Yorker was published, an issue that the editors apologized for in the second issue.
Feb 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 20, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Kurt Cobain (1967), lead singer of the band Nirvana, as well as Robert Altman (1925), who directed films including “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Feb 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 19, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of novelist Carson McCullers (1917), who published “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” when she was just 23 years old.
Feb 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 18, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Sholem Aleichem (1895), known as the Mark Twain of Yiddish literature. He said, “No matter how bad things get, you got to go on living, even if it kills you.”
Feb 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 17, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of English crime novelist Ruth Rendell (1930-2015), who said, “The tragedy of growing old is not that one is old but that one is young.”
Feb 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 16, 2020
301
It's the birthday of the printer Giambattista Bodoni (Italy, 1740), namesake of the popular typeface Bodoni. He personally designed around 300 typefaces.
Feb 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 15, 2020
301
Today is the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony, a pioneer in the women’s suffrage movement. In 1920, 14 years after her death, the Nineteenth Amendment was ratified.
Feb 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 14, 2020
301
Today is Saint Valentine’s Day, named for a Roman priest who performed clandestine weddings in defiance of Emperor Claudius II’s law forbidding marriage.
Feb 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 13, 2020
301
To get you in the mood for Valentine’s Day, today we feature love stories from fiction and history, from John & Abigail Adams to Romeo & Juliet.
Feb 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 12, 2020
301
On this day in 1809, two of the world’s most famous men were born: Abraham Lincoln, in Hodgenville, Kentucky, and Charles Darwin in Shropshire, England.
Feb 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 11, 2020
301
It’s the birthday of Thomas Edison (Ohio, 1847), who amassed 1,093 patents for inventions including the phonograph, the light bulb, and the movie camera.
Feb 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 10, 2020
301
Today is the 50th birthday of Åsne Seierstad, the Norwegian journalist and author of “The Bookseller of Kabul.”
Feb 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 9, 2020
300
On this day in 1964, the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show for the first time, as studio audience members screamed and 73 million people watched from home.
Feb 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 8, 2020
300
It’s the 96th birthday of translator and poet Lisel Mueller (1924), who said, “There is a double satisfaction in being someone else and still being myself.”
Feb 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, February 7, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Laura Ingalls Wilder (1867), who was 65 years old when she published “Little House in the Big Woods.” It sold very well despite being published during the Depression.
Feb 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, February 6, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of the man who wrote, "Come live with me and be my love / And we will all the pleasures prove" —Christopher Marlowe (1564).
Feb 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, February 5, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of actor and writer Christopher Guest (1948), who has written mockumentaries including “This is Spinal Tap” (1984) and “A Mighty Wind” (2004).
Feb 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, February 4, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of feminist Betty Friedan (1921), who wrote in “The Feminine Mystique” about the cultural myth that women should find total fulfillment as wives and mothers.
Feb 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, February 3, 2020
300
On this day 150 years ago, the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified to give all male citizens the right to vote regardless of their race.
Feb 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, February 2, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of James Joyce (1882) and also the day his “Ulysses” was published in 1922. He said of writing, “In the particular is contained the universal.”
Feb 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, February 1, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Harlem Renaissance icon Langston Hughes (1902), a writer who had also worked as a Paris nightclub doorman, a seaman on ships, a waiter, and a truck farmer.
Feb 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 31, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Norman Mailer (1923), whose best-selling first novel “The Naked and the Dead” made him a celebrity at 25 years old.
Jan 31, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 30, 2020
300
Today is the anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the 1972 shooting of unarmed civil rights demonstrators in Derry, Northern Ireland by the British army.
Jan 30, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 29, 2020
300
On this day in 1996, Venice’s La Fenice, one of the most beautiful and important opera houses in the world, burned to the ground.
Jan 29, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 28, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of writer Colette (1873), who said, "What a wonderful life I've had! I only wish I'd realized it sooner."
Jan 28, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 27, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756), who in his brief 35 years of life made a cultural mark on the world that would last for centuries.
Jan 27, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 26, 2020
300
It's the birthday of songwriter Lucinda Williams (1953), whose advice to artists includes a warning against inscrutability: “Offer your art up to the whole world, not just an elite few."
Jan 26, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 25, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Virginia Woolf (1882), who began writing professionally in her early 20s after a mental breakdown. Her novels include Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927).
Jan 25, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 24, 2020
300
“I have sometimes thought that a woman’s nature is like a great house full of rooms.” –Edith Wharton, born this day in 1862.
Jan 24, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 23, 2020
300
Thursday, January 23, 2020
Jan 23, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 22, 2020
300
It’s the 47th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling forbidding states from outlawing abortions in the first trimester.
Jan 22, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 21, 2020
300
It's the birthday of Eva Ibbotson (1925), who said, “My aim is to produce books that are light, humorous, even a little erudite but secure in their happy endings.”
Jan 21, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 20, 2020
300
It's MLK Day and the birthday of the musician known as Lead Belly (1889), whose hit songs include “The Midnight Special,” “Rock Island Line,” and “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?”
Jan 20, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 19, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Dolly Parton (1946), who started performing professionally when she was 10, and appeared at the Grand Ole Opry when she was 13.
Jan 19, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 18, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of the man who answered Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone call: Bell’s assistant Thomas Watson (1854).
Jan 18, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 17, 2020
300
The Eighteenth Amendment took effect on this day 100 years ago, making illegal the manufacture, sale, and transportation of liquor in the U.S.
Jan 17, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 16, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of poet and memoirist Mary Karr (1955), who said, "Memoir is not an act of history but an act of memory, which is innately corrupt."
Jan 16, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 15, 2020
300
“If we do not act, we shall surely be dragged down the long, dark, and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion…” –Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1929)
Jan 15, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 14, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Emily Hahn (1905), who wrote 54 books and more than 200 articles for “The New Yorker,” crossed Africa on foot, and kicked an opium habit through hypnosis.
Jan 14, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 13, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Michael Bond (1926), author of “Paddington Bear,” who wrote, “One of the nice things about writing for children is their total acceptance of the fantastic.”
Jan 13, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 12, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Walter Mosley (1952), author of the Easy Rawlins detective stories, the first of which is “Devil in a Blue Dress.”
Jan 12, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 11, 2020
300
Elizabeth I held England’s first recorded state lottery on this date in 1569 in order to raise funds for public projects including rebuilding some harbors.
Jan 11, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 10, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of the poet Dorianne Laux (1952), who wrote, “you shouldn't identify with your poems so closely that when they are cut, you're the one that bleeds.”
Jan 10, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 9, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of literary critic Michiko Kakutani (1955), who wrote her first book in 2018: “The Death of Truth: Notes on Falsehood in the Age of Trump.”
Jan 09, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 8, 2020
300
Today would have been the 85th birthday of Elvis Presley (b. 1935), whose musical career began when he recorded a song for his mother’s birthday.
Jan 08, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, January 7, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of Zora Neale Hurston (1891), best known for her novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God” (1937) and her posthumous bestseller “Baracoon” (2018).
Jan 07, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, January 6, 2020
300
On this day 1907, Maria Montessori opened her first school in Rome, Casa dei Bambini, or Children's House. There she developed her Montessori Method of education.
Jan 06, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, January 5, 2020
300
Featuring a poem by Louis Jenkins, who passed away at age 77 on December 21st. We loved featuring his wry words all these years on the Almanac. Rest in peace, Louis.
Jan 05, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, January 4, 2020
300
It’s the birthday of Pulitzer-Prize winning historian and biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin (1943), whose most recent book is "Leadership in Turbulent Times."
Jan 04, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, January 3, 2020
300
“In the degradation of women, the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source."
–Lucretia Coffin Mott, born this day in 1793
Jan 03, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, January 2, 2020
300
Today is the birthday of science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, born Petrovichi, Russia in 1920. He would be turning 100 today if he were still alive.
Jan 02, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, January 1, 2020
300
The first time that New Year's Day was celebrated on January 1st was in 45 B.C., when Caesar redid the Roman calendar (it later had to be corrected in the 1570s).
Jan 01, 2020
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 31, 2019
300
It's the birthday of activist and folk singer Odetta (1930), who inspired other folk singers such as Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan.
Dec 31, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 30, 2019
300
Astronomer Edwin Hubble announced the discovery of other galaxies on this date in 1924. At the time, people thought the Milky Way constituted the entire universe.
Dec 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 29, 2019
300
Today is the 60th birthday of Paula Poundstone, who said, "Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up 'cause they're looking for ideas."
Dec 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 28, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of humorist Sam Levenson (1911), who said, "Lead us not into temptation. Just tell us where it is; we'll find it."
Dec 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 27, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Louis Pasteur (1822) who discovered that most infectious diseases are caused by germs and that instituting sanitary conditions in hospitals could save many lives.
Dec 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 26, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of David Sedaris (1956), who said, “Write every day and read everything you can get your hands on. Write every day with a pen that’s shaped like a candy cane.”
Dec 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 25, 2019
300
On this day in 1956, Harper Lee’s friends gave her a large sum of money with the instruction to take a year off from working at an airline, and to start writing instead.
Dec 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 24, 2019
300
Today on Christmas Eve, we feature a story called "Dancing Dan's Christmas" by Damon Runyon and the poem “A Christmas Carol” by G.K. Chesterton.
Dec 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 23, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Norman Maclean (1902), a fisherman, firefighter, scholar, and teacher, and author of the novel A River Runs Through It.
Dec 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 22, 2019
301
It was on this day in 1946 that George Bernard Shaw wrote to the Reynolds News: “Christmas is for me simply a nuisance…of mendacity, gluttony, and drunkenness”
Dec 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 21, 2019
300
Today is the Winter Solstice. It is also the 140th anniversary of the world premiere of Henrik Ibsen's play “A Doll's House” at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Dec 21, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 20, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the author Elizabeth Benedict (1954). Her most recent book is “Me, My Hair and I: 27 Women Untangle an Obsession.”
Dec 20, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 19, 2019
300
On this day in 1843 "A Christmas Carol" was published by Charles Dickens, introducing the world to the characters of Scrooge and Tiny Tim.
Dec 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 18, 2019
300
Today is the birthday Charles Wesley (1708), cofounder of Methodism and writer of the Christmas hymn, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
Dec 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 17, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Penelope Fitzgerald (1916), who wrote, “I believe that people should write biographies only about people they love, or understand, or both”
Dec 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 16, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Jane Austen (1775), author of “Pride and Prejudice,” “Sense and Sensibility,” and “Emma.”
Dec 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 15, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Irish author Edna O'Brien (1930). Six of her novels were banned in Catholic Ireland for content about the sex lives and subjugation of women.
Dec 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 14, 2019
300
On this date in 1542, six-day-old Mary Stuart ascended the throne of Scotland. She spent her childhood in France and returned to rule Scotland when she was 18.
Dec 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 13, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Tamora Pierce (1954), who writes young adult fantasies featuring strong female protagonists.
Dec 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 12, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of novelist Gustav Flaubert (1821), and physician and poet Erasmus Darwin (1731), grandfather of Charles Darwin.
Dec 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 11, 2019
300
Today is the shared birthday of two notable authors, and friends, Thomas McGuane (1939) and Jim Harrison (1937).
Dec 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 10, 2019
301
Emily Dickinson was born on this day in 1830. When a book of her poems was first published posthumously, it went through 11 editions in one year.
Dec 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 9, 2019
300
On this date in 1979, the smallpox virus was declared eradicated. It remains the only disease eliminated by science.
Dec 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 8, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the humorist and cartoonist James Thurber, who said, “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility.”
Dec 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, December 7, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of novelist Susan Minot (1956), who said, “Every family, like every person, is imperfect…The idea that there is a Family somewhere who functions is an odd concept.”
Dec 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, December 6, 2019
300
Today is the feast day of St. Nicholas. In many parts of the world, children put out their shoes last night to receive chocolates and gifts from St. Nick.
Dec 06, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, December 5, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of Rose Wilder Lane (1886), who was an established journalist and author before collaborating with her mother, Laura Ingalls Wilder, on the “Little House” books.
Dec 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, December 4, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of poet Rainer Maria Rilke (1875), whose mother dressed him in dresses, braided his hair, and generally treated him like a girl.
Dec 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, December 3, 2019
300
Neon lighting was first demonstrated by engineer and chemist Georges Claude in Paris on this day in 1910.
Dec 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, December 2, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Ann Patchett (1963), author of “Bel Canto” (2001), “Truth & Beauty” (2005), and most recently, “The Dutch House” (2019).
Dec 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, December 1, 2019
300
It was on this day in 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, that Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat in the front of a bus to a white passenger.
Dec 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 30, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the man who became Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens (1835). He once said, “Familiarity breeds contempt — and children."
Nov 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 29, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Louisa May Alcott (1832), author of “Little Women,” in which she wrote, “Be worthy, love, and love will come.”
Nov 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 28, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of William Blake (1757), who said, "The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself."
Nov 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 27, 2019
300
It's the birthday of Bill Nye the Science Guy, who created the beloved 1990s kids’ show and recently launched "Bill Nye Saves the World" on Netflix.
Nov 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 26, 2019
300
On this day in 1922 the tomb of Egypt's child pharaoh, Tutankhamun, was opened for the first time in 3000 years.
Nov 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 25, 2019
300
Featuring a poem by David Kirby, “You Found That Thing You Lost,” and the birthdays of Joe DiMaggio (1914) and P.D. Eastman (1909).
Nov 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 24, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy, who won the Booker Prize for her first novel, “The God Of Small Things.”
Nov 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 23, 2019
300
On this day 1924, that astronomer Edwin Hubble announced his discovery of the Andromeda Nebula, the first galaxy identified outside our own.
Nov 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 22, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the English Victorian author Mary Ann Evans (1819), better known by her pseudonym George Eliot.
Nov 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 21, 2019
301
Today is the birthday of Marilyn French (1929), who wrote fiction and non-fiction about radical feminism including the influential novel “The Women’s Room.”
Nov 21, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 20, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Nadine Gordimer (1923) who said, "Truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is."
Nov 20, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 19, 2019
300
It’s the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address, which reminded a nation engaged in civil war of its commitment to liberty, equality, and freedom.
Nov 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 18, 2019
300
Today is the 80th birthday of the author of Margaret Atwood, author of “The Handmaid's Tale,” in which she wrote: “Don't let the bastards grind you down.”
Nov 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 17, 2019
300
"The show doesn't go on because it's ready; it goes on because it's 11:30" –Lorne Michaels, born this day in 1944.
Nov 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 16, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Andrea Barrett (1954), a biologist by training whose fiction often features women in science.
Nov 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 15, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of Jessica Abel (1969), who said, "My own method of making comics is at least unteachable, if not just plain unadvisable."
Nov 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 14, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Astrid Lindgren (1907), who created the red-haired, pigtailed, nine-year-old character named Pippi Longstocking.
Nov 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac -Wednesday, November 13, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850), whose novel “Treasure Island” was based on a game he invented to entertain his stepson.
Nov 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, November 12, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815) an American suffragist and abolitionist. She published three volumes of “The History of Woman Suffrage.”
Nov 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 11, 2019
300
Today is Veterans Day, and it’s also the birthday of U.S. Army veteran and author Kurt Vonnegut (1922).
Nov 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 10, 2019
300
On this day in 1973, school officials in Drake, North Dakota burned copies of Kurt Vonnegut's novel “Slaughterhouse-Five.”
Nov 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 9, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Anne Sexton (1929), the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Live or Die” and “All My Pretty Ones.”
Nov 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 8, 2019
300
On this day in 1894, Robert Frost's first poem, "My Butterfly," was published, beginning his poetic career.
Nov 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, November 7, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of Marie Skłodowska Curie (1867) who is the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different scientific fields, Physics and Chemistry.
Nov 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, November 6, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of John Philip Sousa (1854), a composer and author who feared recorded music would stop the world from singing.
Nov 06, 2019
The Writers Almanac - Tuesday, November 5, 2019
300
Playwright Sam Shepard was born on this day in 1943. He said of creativity, “When you hit a wall, just kick it in.”
Nov 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, November 4, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of poet C. K. Williams (1936), and of Tamim Ansary, who wrote the memoir “West of Kabul, East of New York.”
Nov 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, November 3, 2019
300
On this day in 1793, Olympe de Gouges, author of “Declaration of the Rights of Woman and the Female Citizen,” was sent to the guillotine.
Nov 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, November 2, 2019
300
Today we feature a poem by Raphael Kosek, “The Way West,” and mark the birthday of Marie Antoinette (1755).
Nov 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, November 1, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of novelist Susanna Clarke (1959), author of “Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.”
Nov 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 31, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the poet who said, "A thing of beauty is a joy forever: its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness"––John Keats.
Oct 31, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 30, 2019
300
Today we feature a poem by Marjorie Saiser, “Word Gets Out About the Divorce,” and celebrate the birthday of President John Adams.
Oct 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 29, 2019
300
On this day in 1929, prices on the New York Stock Exchange collapsed. Later dubbed Black Tuesday, it began the Great Depression.
Oct 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 28, 2019
300
On this day in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was officially unveiled: a gift from France celebrating the two countries' shared love of freedom.
Oct 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 27, 2019
300
Today is the birthday Zadie Smith (1975), who says of her first book White Teeth that she wanted to write about a man who “lives a good life by accident.”
Oct 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 26, 2019
300
It was on this day in 1825 that the Erie Canal opened. The local laborers and Irish immigrants were paid 80 cents plus a ration of whiskey for 14-hour workdays.
Oct 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 25, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of novelist Anne Tyler (1941), who said, "I want to live other lives. I've never quite believed that one chance is all I get.”
Oct 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 24, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Denise Levertov (1923), who said, ”in certain ways writing is a form of prayer."
Oct 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 23, 2019
300
On this day in 1920, Sinclair Lewis's novel “Main Street," about a young city woman who moves to a small town, was published.
Oct 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 22, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Doris Lessing (1919-2013), who said, “A writer falls in love with an idea and gets carried away…It's one of the great pleasures in my life."
Oct 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 21, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018). Best known for her fantasy series Earthsea, she also wrote children’s books, poetry, essays, fiction, and non-fiction.
Oct 21, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 20, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of novelist Monica Ali (1967), political humorist Art Buchwald (1925), and composer Charles Ives (1874).
Oct 20, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 19, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Tracy Chevalier (1962) who advises “Don't write about yourself — you aren't as interesting as you think.”
Oct 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 18, 2019
300
Today we feature a poem called “Seasoned” by Tim Nolan and celebrate the birthday of journalist A.J. Liebling (1904).
Oct 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 17, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of playwright Arthur Miller (1915), who said, “The mission of the theater, after all, is to change, to raise the consciousness of people to their human possibilities.”
Oct 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 16, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Oscar Wilde (1854), who once said, “Art is useless because its aim is simply to create a mood.”
Oct 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 15, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of humorist P.G. Wodehouse (1881), who made his novels "like musical comedies without the music, ignoring real life completely."
Oct 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 14, 2019
300
On this day in 1926, A.A. Milne published a short story collection about his son’s stuffed bear called “Winnie-the-Pooh.”
Oct 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 13, 2019
300
One of the most beautiful love letters ever written, from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, was composed on this date in 1819.
Oct 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 12, 2019
300
It’s the anniversary of the first Octoberfest in 1810, which celebrated a royal wedding between Bavaria and Saxony.
Oct 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 11, 2019
300
Eleanor Roosevelt was born on this day in 1884. She said, "A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water."
Oct 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 10, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the playwright Harold Pinter (1930), who wrote his play “The Room” in just four days.
Oct 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 9, 2019
300
On this day in 1940, John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. He wrote the songs “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “All You Need is Love,” and “Imagine.”
Oct 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 8, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of R.L. Stein (1943), author of the horror series for children “Goosebumps” and the “Fear Street” series for young adults.
Oct 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, October 7, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Desmond Tutu (1931), who said, “Peace comes when you talk to the guy you most hate…that’s where the courage of a leader comes.”
Oct 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, October 6, 2019
300
On this day in 1847 “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë was published. Brontë's masterwork was originally published under the androgynous pseudonym Currer Bell.
Oct 06, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, October 5, 2019
300
Today in 1789 the Women's March on Versailles occurred. Thousands of women overtook the palace and captured the King in a turning point for the French Revolution.
Oct 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, October 4, 2019
300
Today in 1941 two prominent American writers were born: the gothic novelist Anne Rice, and the humorist Roy Blount Jr.
Oct 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, October 3, 2019
300
Today we feature the birthday of etiquette expert Emily Post (1873) and the poem “Rush Hour” by Anita Pulier.
Oct 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, October 2, 2019
300
Today we feature the poem “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” by Wallace Stevens, who was born on this day in Reading, Pennsylvania, 1879.
Oct 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, October 1, 2019
300
On this day in 1903 the first World Series of Baseball game was played by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Americans.
Oct 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 30, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of W.S. Merwin (1927-2019), who in the poem “Place,” wrote, “On the last day of the world / I would want to plant a tree.”
Sep 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 29, 2019
300
It is believed to be the birthday of Miguel de Cervantes (1547), who first envisioned his masterpiece “Don Quixote” while in a Spanish prison.
Sep 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 28, 2019
300
On this day in 1928, Alexander Fleming found that a blue-green mold was killing the staph bacteria he was attempting to grow. Thus was Penicillin discovered.
Sep 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 27, 2019
300
It’s the birthday E = mc², Albert Einstein’s equation revealing that matter and energy are fundamentally “different manifestations of the same thing.”
Sep 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 26, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of T.S. Eliot (1888), who in 1948 won the Nobel Prize in literature and admittance to the Order of the British Empire.
Sep 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 25, 2019
300
Today is the 38th anniversary of Sandra Day O'Connor being sworn in as a United States Supreme Court Justice, and the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights.
Sep 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 24, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of the creator of Kermit the Frog, Jim Henson (1936), who made the iconic amphibian from his mother’s green coat.
Sep 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 23, 2019
300
On this day in 1806, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned to St. Louis, MO from their expedition to the Pacific Ocean.
Sep 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 22, 2019
300
It was on this day in 1961 that Congress approved a bill to establish the Peace Corps, and President Kennedy signed it into law.
Sep 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 21, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Stephen King (1947). When asked why he writes, he said, "The answer to that is fairly simple — there was nothing else I was made to do."
Sep 21, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 20, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Stephen King (1947). When asked why he writes, he said, "The answer to that is fairly simple — there was nothing else I was made to do."
Sep 20, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 19, 2019
300
Today is the 99th birthday of "New Yorker" essayist and editor Roger Angell, who’s been with the publication for 75 years.
Sep 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 18, 2019
300
It was on this day in 1851, the first edition of "The New York Times" was published. The paper reached 10,000 in circulation within 10 days.
Sep 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 17, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of Ken Kesey (1935), author of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest,” a novel based on his experiences working in a veterans hospital.
Sep 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 16, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of H.A. Rey (1898) whose story “The Adventures of Fifi” became the beloved book “Curious George.”
Sep 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 15, 2019
300
On this day in 1890, an English child named Mary Clarissa Agatha Miller was born; she would become famed mystery writer Agatha Christie.
Sep 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 14, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov (1849), who taught the world about conditional reflexes.
Sep 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 13, 2019
300
It was on this day in 1814 that Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Sep 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 12, 2019
300
Today in 1846, poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning eloped. Elizabeth’s sonnet “How do I love thee, let me count the ways” is about their love.
Sep 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 11, 2019
300
Today we hear a poem from Joyce Sutphen about “Things You Didn’t Put on Your Résumé.”
Sep 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 10, 2019
300
Today is the birthday of Mary Oliver (1935-2019), who wrote, "When it's over, I want to say all my life / I was a bride married to amazement."
Sep 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 9, 2019
300
It’s the birthday of Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828), whose famous tome “War and Peace” was originally titled “1805.”
Sep 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 8, 2019
330
It was on this day in 1920 that the first transcontinental U.S. airmail service began, from New York to San Francisco.
Sep 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, September 7, 2019
305
It’s the birthday of Edith Sitwell (1887), who once said, "I am not an eccentric. It's just that I am more alive than most people. I am an unpopular electric eel in a pool of catfish."
Sep 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, September 6, 2019
320
Today we feature the poem “While I Was Sleeping” by Olivia Stiffler and celebrate the birthday of Alice Sebold, author of "The Lovely Bones."
Sep 06, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, September 5, 2019
313
Today is the birthday of comedian and actor Bob Newhart who said, “Don't rush into adulthood; it isn't all that much fun."
Sep 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, September 4, 2019
328
It was on this day in 1886 that Geronimo, the last major Native American warrior, surrendered after 30 years of fighting in Arizona.
Sep 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, September 3, 2019
333
It's the birthday of the youngest woman ever to receive the Booker Prize: Kiran Desai, born in New Delhi, India (1971).
Sep 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, September 2, 2019
321
It was on this day in 1901 that Theodore Roosevelt uttered his famous words "Speak softly and carry a big stick."
Sep 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, September 1, 2019
312
San Francisco's first cable car, invented by Andrew Smith Hallidie, began regular service on this date in 1873.
Sep 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 31, 2019
341
The first radio news program was aired on Detroit’s 8MK on this date in 1920.
Aug 31, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 30, 2019
320
The author of the novel “Frankenstein,” Mary Wollstoncraft Shelley, was born on this day in 1797.
Aug 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 29, 2019
313
It’s the birthday of John Locke, who wrote, "Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours."
Aug 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 28, 2019
316
Today is the birthday of Rita Dove, who wrote, “I’m an African-American poet; I’m a woman poet; I’m an American poet. But I’m a poet first.”
Aug 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 27, 2019
313
Today’s featured poem is “A World of Want” by Tina Schuman from her book “Praising the Paradox.”
Aug 27, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Monday, August 26, 2019
325
It’s the birthday of Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa, born 1910.
Aug 26, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Sunday, August 25, 2019
331
On this day in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the act that established the National Park Service.
Aug 25, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Saturday, August 24, 2019
326
On this day almost 2000 years ago Mount Vesuvius erupted and buried the city of Pompeii, preserving a glimpse into the life of Roman civilization.
Aug 24, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Friday, August 23, 2019
330
Humorist Will Cuppy was born on this day in 1884. He lived in a tar paper shack for 8 years before publishing "How to be a Hermit" in 1929.
Aug 23, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Thursday, August 22, 2019
309
It’s the birthday of Annie Proulx who wrote, "If we write simply about what we know we never grow."
Aug 22, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Wednesday, August 21, 2019
319
Featuring the poetry of Joyce Sutphen and honoring the birthdays of Robert Stone and X.J. Kennedy.
Aug 21, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Tuesday, August 20, 2019
315
Today we feature the poem "The Story" by Fred Chappell and recognize the birthday of Jacqueline Susann, author of "Valley of the Dolls."
Aug 20, 2019
The Writer’s Almanac – Monday, August 19, 2019
278
Today is the birthday of the creator of Star Trek Gene Roddenberry, and of aircraft pioneer Orville Wright.
Aug 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 18, 2019
297
On this date in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified. However, many loopholes ensured that in effect, only white women got to exercise the right to vote.
Aug 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 17, 2019
290
It’s the birthday of actress and playwright Mae West (1893), who said, “Between two evils, I like to pick the one I haven't tried before” and, "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."
Aug 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 16, 2019
344
On this day in 1896, gold was discovered in the Yukon Territory. About a year later, a hundred thousand people trekked over to Canada in search of fortune.
Aug 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 15, 2019
330
It’s the birthday of Swedish journalist and novelist Stieg Larsson (1954), author of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” who became extremely famous only posthumously.
Aug 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 14, 2019
316
Today is the birthday of cartoonist Gary Larson (1950), creator of the beloved comic strip “The Far Side,” which ran from 1980 to 1995.
Aug 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 13, 2019
306
It’s the birthday of sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860), who could shoot the wick off a burning candle or the ashes off the tip of her husband’s cigarette.
Aug 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 12, 2019
324
It’s the birthday of Zerna Sharp (1889), who created the “Dick and Jane” book series used in classrooms until the late 1960s.
Aug 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 11, 2019
323
It’s the birthday of poet and "The New Yorker" poetry critic Louise Bogan (1897), who wrote in one review, “They will never surprise anyone again…They are half-dead already.”
Aug 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 10, 2019
340
It’s the birthday of Joyce Sutphen, who was appointed poet laureate of the State of Minnesota in 2011, and who grew up on a farm in St. Joseph.
Aug 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 9, 2019
329
Aug 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 8, 2019
332
On this date in 1929, the Graf Zeppelin airship took off from Lakehurst, New Jersey, on a round-the-world flight. Passengers included journalist Lady Grace Drummond-Hay.
Aug 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, August 7, 2019
328
On this date in 1947, Thor Heyerdahl's raft “Kon-Tiki” crashed into a reef in French Polynesia. He'd sailed from Peru to prove that early South Americans could have traveled across the Pacific.
Aug 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, August 6, 2019
321
It’s the birthday of Sir Alexander Fleming (1881), who accidentally discovered the antibacterial properties of penicillin in 1928.
Aug 06, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, August 5, 2019
357
On this day in 1957, a popular dance and music show called "American Bandstand," hosted by a young Dick Clark, went national and introduced rock and roll to millions of people.
Aug 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, August 4, 2019
326
The plans for the city of Chicago were laid out on this date in 1830, when only 100 people lived there. Just 20 years later, the first rail line was completed.
Aug 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, August 3, 2019
309
Today is the birthday of PD James (1920), who was 42 when she published her first crime novel and 59 years old when her big hit “Innocent Blood” came out.
Aug 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, August 2, 2019
304
It’s the birthday of James Baldwin (1924), who said, "I love America more than any other country in the world and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually."
Aug 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, August 1, 2019
314
It’s the birthday of Maria Mitchell (1818), who grew up assisting her father with astronomical observations and who became the first female astronomy professor in the US.
Aug 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 31, 2019
343
It’s the birthday of writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi (1919), who warned of those “ready to believe and act without asking questions.”
Jul 31, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 30, 2019
318
On this day 54 years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law, creating the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Jul 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 29, 2019
317
It’s the birthday of Stanley Kunitz (1905), who was appointed the tenth Poet Laureate of the United States when he was 95 years old.
Jul 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 28, 2019
312
“I experience poems with pleasure: whether I understand them or not I'm not quite sure.” –poet John Ashbery, born this day in 1927
Jul 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 27, 2019
330
230 years ago on this day, the Department of Foreign Affairs––later renamed the State Department––was created. Thomas Jefferson served as the first secretary of state.
Jul 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 26, 2019
310
It’s the birthday of movie director Stanley Kubrick (1928). His best-known films include "2001: A Space Odyssey"; "A Clockwork Orange"; and "The Shining."
Jul 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 25, 2019
303
On this day in 1952, the archipelago of Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.
Jul 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 24, 2019
311
It's the birthday of Amelia Earhart (1897). She had been studying medicine when she went to her first air show in California, and it was then that she decided to become a pilot.
Jul 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 23, 2019
309
It was on this day in 1903 that the Ford Motor Company sold its first car. The Model A was painted red, fit two people, had no roof, and reached 28 mph at top speed.
Jul 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 22, 2019
292
It’s the birthday of Johann Gregor Mendel (1822), whose experiments on pea plants helped him develop his theory of inheritance, including the notion of recombination of genes.
Jul 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 21, 2019
327
The first U.S. train robbery west of the Mississippi took place in Adair, Iowa, on this day in 1873, when the James Gang held up the Rock Island Express.
Jul 21, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 20, 2019
312
It’s the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing. Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin left a plaque on the moon that ended with, “We came in peace for all mankind.”
Jul 20, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 19, 2019
344
On this day 65 years ago, the first volume of J. R. R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” was published. The three complete volumes were more than 500,000 words long.
Jul 19, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 18, 2019
331
It’s the birthday of journalist Hunter S. Thompson (1937). After he died, per his request, his ashes were shot from a cannon.
Jul 18, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 17, 2019
305
On this date in 1867, the Harvard Dental School was founded. Prior to the 19th century, people generally went to barbers or blacksmiths to get teeth pulled.
Jul 17, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 16, 2019
319
In 1945 on this day, the first atomic bomb exploded 120 miles south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Officials told citizens that an ammunitions dump had blown up.
Jul 16, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 15, 2019
311
It’s the birthday of the philosopher who said “There is nothing outside the text” — Jacques Derrida, born in El Biar, Algeria, 1930.
Jul 15, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 14, 2019
324
On this day in 1789, an angry mob stormed the Bastille prison in Paris and liberated the seven prisoners within: four forgers, two “lunatics,” and an aristocrat accused of incest.
Jul 14, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 13, 2019
312
There was a blackout in New York City on this date in 1977. Over 25 hours, more than 1,600 stores were looted, more than a thousand fires were set, and nearly 3,800 looters were arrested.
Jul 13, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 12, 2019
325
Today is the birthday of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904), who wrote under a pseudonym to avoid his father's judgment, and always in green ink, because he believed it was the color of hope.
Jul 12, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 11, 2019
335
"To Kill a Mockingbird" was published on this date in 1960. Harper Lee wasn’t sure how it would be received. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1961 and has sold more than 40 million copies.
Jul 11, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 10, 2019
337
It’s the birthday of short story writer Alice Munro (1931), who won a Nobel Prize in 2013 as well as the 2009 Man Booker International Prize recognizing her lifetime body of work.
Jul 10, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 9, 2019
310
The Declaration of Independence was read to Washington’s troops on this day in 1776. Celebrators smashed a statue of King George III, which was later melted down and turned into bullets.
Jul 09, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 8, 2019
331
It’s the birthday of psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (Switzerland, 1926), who outlined the five stages of grief in her book “On Death and Dying” (1969).
Jul 08, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, July 7, 2019
342
On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time after scores of bakers had warned inventor Otto Frederick Rohwedder that the idea would never catch on.
Jul 07, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, July 6, 2019
288
Today is the birthday of the 14th Dalai Lama (1935), born Lhamo Thondup, who was discovered as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama when he was 2 years old.
Jul 06, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, July 5, 2019
330
It’s the birthday of Polish-French musician Wanda Landowska (1879), known as the “rediscoverer of the harpsichord” for reviving interest in the instrument.
Jul 05, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, July 4, 2019
339
On this day in 1776, the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, though the document was approved and signed two days earlier.
Jul 04, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, July 3, 2019
315
It’s the birthday of Franz Kafka (1883), described by a lover as being “always cheerful. He liked to play; he was a born playmate, always ready for some fun."
Jul 03, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, July 2, 2019
325
It’s the birthday of civil rights activist, lawyer, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (1908), known especially for his ruling in Brown vs. Board of Education.
Jul 02, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, July 1, 2019
311
On this day in 1979, Sony introduced the Walkman portable cassette player. It weighed 14 ounces and had two headphone jacks so you could listen with a friend.
Jul 01, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 30, 2019
305
On this day 83 years ago, Margaret Mitchell's novel “Gone With the Wind” was published. Three years later, it was made into a movie that became the highest-grossing film of all time.
Jun 30, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 29, 2019
329
It was on this day in 1956 that President Eisenhower signed the Federal Highway Act, which established the Interstate Highway System. It cost more than $100 billion, about three times the initial budget.
Jun 29, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 28, 2019
331
It was on this date in 1928 that a 26-year-old Louis Armstrong and his band, the Hot Five, recorded "West End Blues." One night, an audience was so enraptured by the song that they carried Armstrong off the stage.
Jun 28, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Thursday, June 27, 2019
309
It’s the birthday of Helen Keller (1880), an activist who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union. She was also a socialist who supported Communist Russia, which prompted the FBI to open a file on her.
Jun 27, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Wednesday, June 26, 2019
310
On this day in 1974, the first Universal Product Code was scanned at a supermarket cash register. The first scan was made at a Marsh’s Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, which had agreed to serve as a test facility for the new technology.
Jun 26, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Tuesday, June 25, 2019
310
It’s the birthday of Eric Carle (1929), author and illustrator of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” which has sold almost 50 million copies and which is purchased somewhere in the world every 30 seconds.
Jun 25, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Monday, June 24, 2019
324
It's the anniversary of the first exhibition of Picasso's work in Paris (1901). Picasso, then 19, had already produced hundreds of paintings, but he was unknown outside of Barcelona. Reviews were few but favorable.
Jun 24, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Sunday, June 23, 2019
317
On this day in 1868, the first typewriter was patented by Christopher Latham Sholes. It only had capital letters and it took up as much room as a large table.
Jun 23, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Saturday, June 22, 2019
379
On this day in 1944, the Servicemen's Readjustment Act, or the GI Bill, became law. It provided education, unemployment pay, and low-interest loans to returning veterans.
Jun 22, 2019
The Writer's Almanac - Friday, June 21, 2019
299