The first month of the year,
A perfect time to start all over again,
Changing energies and deserting old moods,
New beginnings, new attitudes”
― Charmaine J Forde
January is the first month of the Julian and Gregorian calendar years. Named after Janus, the Roman God of beginnings and transitions, January is the month when we start life anew. It is the month of hope and resolutions. It is the time when we promise to do better.
Surprisingly, January is the birth month of a great number of authors. If you were born in January, you may very well share your birthday with one of the stalwarts of the literary world.
Here is a list of some of my favorite authors who graced this world in January:-
Fav Pick: The Lord of the Rings
Born in Bloemfontein on January 3 1892, John Ronald Reuel Tolkein, the English author, academic, poet, and philologist, is rightfully hailed as the Father of Modern fantasy. His Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings have reached iconic status. They have made a special place in readers’ hearts and attained unprecedented popularity. Tolkein’s spectacular writing style and vivid world-building are unmatchable. Even years after their publication, they have maintained their appeal among readers. Just recently, a web series based on The Lord of the Rings was released on Amazon Prime.
Fav Pick: Franny and Zooey
Jerome David Salinger was born on January 1 1919 in Manhattan, New York. He is considered to be one of the greatest American authors that emerged after the Second World War. Salinger’s stories struck a chord with young adult readers. The feelings of being misunderstood and unfulfilled in youth are beautifully captured by him in his books. His The Catcher in the Rye follows Holden Caulfield, a rebel with a cause. The book became an instant bestseller upon its release. Even today, the book is analyzed in detail in schools and universities. Franny and Zooey, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction, and Nine Stories are some of his remarkable works. Salinger shunned fame in the latter half of his life. He died a recluse at his home in 2010.
Fav Pick: A Room of One’s Own
Virginia Wolf was an author par excellence. Born in South Kensington, London on January 25 1882, she was the one who championed the narrative device of stream of consciousness. Her writings hit the heart and make you think. Undeniably, she is one of the most influential modernist authors of the 20th century. Some of her notable works are A Room of One’s Own, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Orlando.
Fav Pick: Alice in Wonderland
Who has not heard of Alice? The tale of Alice and her shenanigans in wonderland has shaped our childhoods. Lewis Carroll is the creator of Alice. Born in England on January 27 1832 as Charles Lutwidge Dogson, Carroll was a polymath. In addition to being an author, he was a photographer, inventor, mathematician, and an Anglican deacon. His cult children’s story, Alice in Wonderland, continues to rule the hearts of children and adults alike years after its publication. You will be surprised to know the number of times it was adapted on screen and stage.
Fav: Winnie the Pooh
Alan Alexander Milne was an English poet, writer, playwright, and journalist. Born on January 18 1882 in London, Milne was highly educated. H.G. Wells was one of his tutors. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh has gone on to be a buddy for many a child. The Disney rendition of the bear made him all the more popular. Milne’s humorous wordplays echo our emotional reality. This makes his writing both relatable and enjoyable. When We Were Very Young, Now We Are Six, Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, His Toad of Toad Hall, Behind the Lines, The Norman Church, Peace with Honour, War with Honour, and War Aims Unlimited are some of his exemplary works.
Edgar Allan Poe
Fav Pick: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Edgar Allan Poe was an author with a rare talent. While his vivid and macabre imagination made him noteworthy in the world of gothic literature, his sharp intellect led him to be a pioneer of the modern detective story. Born on January 19 1809, Boston-born Poe overcame a number of trials and tribulations to be the great author that he became. His stories, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Fall of the House of Usher, and The Murders in the Rue Morgue among others are testaments to his immense talent.
Fav Pick: Agnes Grey
Anne Bronte is the youngest of the infallible Bronte sisters. Often known as the forgotten Bronte sister, Anne was born on January 17 1820. Anne was a realist. In contrast to the romantic writing style of her older sisters, Charlotte and Emily, Anne adopted a realist approach. Though her novels, Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall are sorely underrated, they are classics in their own right. Anne fearlessly sheds light on the fallacies of the upper class through her writings. She heavily relies on her own real-life experiences. This undoubtedly makes her work realistic.
Fav Pick: Norwegian Wood
Award-winning author Haruki Murakami was born on January 29 1949 in Fushimi-Ku, Japan. Murakami’s simple yet intense exploration into the psyche of modern man makes him the go-to author for multitudes. The way he talks about isolation in a crowd is praise-worthy. Murakami’s works have been translated into over fifty languages, such is his popularity. Norwegian Wood, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Killing Commendatore are some of his notable works.
Authors have the rare talent of transporting you to an alternate realm with just a few enthralling words. January has seen the birth of many talented wordsmiths. This humble list consists of only a few of my favorites.
Do comment and let me know about your favorite January-born author.
One thought on “Great Authors Born in January”
I’ll have to go with Murakami, though Poe is a close second. I guess I like dark stories.