Nicholas Monsarrat, in full Nicholas John Turney Monsarrat, (born March 22, 1910, Liverpool, Eng.—died Aug. 8, 1979, London), popular English novelist whose best-known work, The Cruel Sea, vividly captured life aboard a small ship in wartime.
Monsarrat took a bachelor’s degree in law at Trinity College, Cambridge, and then spent two years in a solicitor’s office. His first book, Think of Tomorrow, appeared in 1934, but he had not fully established his reputation when World War II broke out. From 1940 to 1946 he served with the Royal Navy, chiefly on the dangerous Atlantic convoy runs. He afterward put his experiences aboard ship to brilliant account, first in H.M. Corvette (1942) and then in The Cruel Sea (1951). The latter novel became a huge best-seller. His later work included The Story of Esther Costello (1953), The Tribe That Lost Its Head (1956), and Smith and Jones (1963), which was based on the 1951 Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean spy defection to the Soviet Union. Life is a Four-Letter Word (2nd ed., 1966, 1970; abridged as Breaking In, Breaking Out, 1971) is an autobiography to 1956. His last novel, The Master Mariner; Running Proud (1979), was the first book of a two-part novel to have covered the British Navy from 1588 to 1788.
MARCH LITERARY BIRTHDAYS(Complete list of March authors here.)
Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian playwright (20 March 1828 - 23 May 1906)
Ibsen, born in Skien, Norway, wrote his first plays in 1850: Catiline and The Burial Mound. From 1857 to 1864 he was artistic director of the new Norske Theatre, the Bergen Theatre, and the Christiania Theatre. He married Suzannah Thoresen in 1858 and they had one son. After 1864, Ibsen exiled himself from Norway, returning home intermittently, for 27 years, living in Rome, Munich, Dresden; these are the cities where he wrote most of his best-known works, among them Brand (1866), Peer Gynt (1867), Pillars of Society (1877), A Doll's House (1879), Ghosts (1881), An Enemy of the People (1882), The Wild Duck (1884), and Hedda Gabler (1890). Ibsen suffered a stroke in 1900 that put an end to his writing, and when he died in 1903 he was accorded a state funeral in Norway. His reported last words were "To the contrary."
Online texts of most of his works are available through Gutenberg in English, Finnish, and Esperanto. You can also read his works in the original Norwegian together with translations into various languages at Bibliotheca Polyglotta at the University of Oslo. The Ibsen Wikipedia article is detailed. The National Library of Norway has a section on Ibsen, with subsections on his life & works, productions, pictures, and institutions.
A[lfred] E[dward] Housman, English poet (26 March 1859 - 30 April 1936)
Housman was born in Worcestershire, England and worked in a patent office after failing final exams at college in 1881. He spent free time studying the classics and in 1892 became a professor of Latin. His first book of poems, A Shropshire Lad (1896) made him famous, but later books were not published for over 20 more years, including Last Poems (1922), More Poems (1936), and Collected Poems (1939). Housman's poetic influences were Shakespeare, Scottish ballads, and Heine. In addition to his poetry, Housman also published editions of Juvenal (1905), Lucan (1926), and Manilus (1903-31), which were widely respected. There is short bio of Housman and links to some poems through the Academy of American Poets Housman exhibit.
Housman's poems are available through the Univ. of Toronto, and the full e-text of A Shropshire Lad is also available online.
Robert P. Tristram Coffin, Maine poet and reporter (18 Mar 1892 - 1955)
Born in Brunswick, a 1915 graduate of Bowdoin, and later a professor there (1934-1955), essayist, poet, and novelist Coffin won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize in poetry for Strange Holiness. The Bowdoin Special Collections Library gives detailed information about the almost 50 linear feet of manuscripts, drafts, proofs, notes, personal records, lectures, plays, poems, books, recordings, and photographs that it holds.
Two biographical pages are found on the Bowdoin Special Collections page on Coffin and from the Milne Special Collections page on Coffin at the Univ. of New Hampshire.
Coffin's works include:
Poetry: Christchurch (1924), Dew & Bronze (1927), Golden Falcon (1929), The Yoke of Thunder (1932), Ballads of Square-Toed Americans (1933), Strange Holiness (1935; won Pulitzer), Fifteen Girls on a Hobby Horse (1937; collection of short stories and poems), Saltwater Farm (1937), Maine Ballads (1938), There Will Be Bread and Love (1942), Primer for America (1943), Poem for a Son with Wings (1945), Apples By Ocean (1945/1950), People Behave Like Ballads (1946), Collected Poems (1948), One-Horse Farm: Down East Georgics (1949), The Third Hunger and the Poem Aloud (1949), Poems That Write the Poet (1953; poetic text of a lecture at Haverford College, given 1898), Hellas Revisted (1954), Selected Poems (1955).
Essays: Book of Crowns and Cottages (1925), An Attic Room (1929), New Poetry of New England: Frost & Robinson (1938; lectures), The Substance That Is Poetry (1942), Book of Uncles (1944), Maine Doings: Informal Essays (1950), On the Green Carpet (1951), Mainstays of Maine (1944/1978; cookery), Maine Cooking: Old-Time Secrets (1991?, essays on food; maybe a republication of Mainstays?).
Novels: Red Sky in the Morning (1935), John Dawn (1936), and Thomas, Thomas -- Ancil Thomas (1941).
Biographies and other Non-Fiction: A Book of Seventeenth-Century Prose (1929; co-edited), Laud: Storm Center of Stuart England (1930), The Dukes of Buckingham (1931), Lost Paradise: A Boyhood on a Maine Coast Farm (1934; based on recollections of childhood spent on Pond Island), Portrait of an American (1935; about his father), Kennebec: Cradle of Americans (1937/1965), Captain Abby and Captain John (1939; about The Pennells of Brunswick), Yankee Coast (1947), Christmas in Maine (1948), Do You Know Maine? (1948), Coast Calendar (1949), Life in America: New England (1951).
[Victoria Mary] Vita Sackville-West, British novelist and poet (9 March 1892 - 2 June 1962 )
Sackville-West was born in Kent, England, a place she always loved and returned to. She led an unusual life, married in 1913 to Harold Nicholson, a diplomat and politician. Their marriage was purportedly a happy one, although each was bisexual and had affairs outside the marriage, Vita's most notably with Violet Keppel Trefusis and Virginia Woolf. The couple had two sons, Benedict and Nigel; Nigel Nicholson wrote a book (Portrait of a Marriage, 1973) about his parent's unorthodox marriage.
Sackville-West was a prolific writer, beginning as a teenager and publishing her first book, Chatterton, a verse drama, when she was 17. She published about 50 books in all, including non-fiction, novels, and poetry. She won the Hawthornden Prize for her long poem "The Land" in 1927. Sackville-West also wrote a weekly gardening column for the Observer newspaper for years.
The Vita Sackville-West page at the University of Southern California-Fullerton Library offers a short background and a lengthy bibliography. More biography is available at Wikipedia. In 1913, the Nicholsons bought Sissinghurst Castle and with Vita as plantsman and Harold as designer, they created a garden that is still one of the most important and well-known in the world.
[Jean Louis] Jack Kerouac, American beat writer (12 March 1922 - 21 October 1969)
Born in Lowell, Mass. (other birthdates listed as 3/11 and 3/13), Kerouac published his first novel in 1950, titled The Town and the City. He was strongly influenced in his writing by the beat generation writers Burroughs and Ginsberg. His best-known work, On the Road (1957) was inspired by cross-country trips taken while under the influence of drugs/drink, as Kerouac was purported to be for most of his life. His novel The Dharma Bums (1958), which describes a mountain climbing trip he and poet Gary Snyder took in Yosemite, contributed to popularising Zen Buddhism as a philosophy for bohemian artists in the U.S. In all, Kerouac published over 20 books. He died of an abdominal hemorrhage while living in St. Petersburg, Fla. with his mother and his third wife, Stella Sampas.
The Literary Kicks site for Kerouac has a long and interesting biography, bibliographies, and a photo. There's a Wikipedia Kerouac page of course, and the official Kerouac website has biography, bibliography, quotes, and licensing information.
Other March Birthdays:
- Mar 1
- U.S. novelist, editor, and critic (born in Ohio) William Dean Howells (1837; d.1920), who served as editor of Atlantic Monthly from 1871-1881, and whose novels The Rise of Silas Lapham (1885), A Modern Instance (1882), and others are realistic portrayals of American manners
- British biographer, critic, and Bloomsbury Group member [Giles] Lytton Strachey (1880; d.1932)
- Japanese writer Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892; d.1927), the father of the Japanese short story
- Oklahoman native, African-American novelist, essayist, and short story writer Ralph [Waldo] Ellison (1914; d.1994; The Invisible Man)
- U.S. poet and pacifist Robert Lowell Jr. (1917; d.1977)
- 2nd U.S. poet laureate Richard Wilbur (1921; d.2017)
- Mar 2
- Mar 3
- Mar 4
- Mar 5
- New Hampshire writer Constance Fenimore Woolson (1840; d.1894)
- Chicago-born naturalist writer Frank Norris (1870; d.1902)
- Philadelphia native, African American playwright Charles H[enry] Fuller, Jr. (1939), who won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1982 for A Soldier's Play (made into a film, A Soldier's Story, in 1984)
- Mar 6
- Mar 7
- German lyric poet Ewald Christian von Kleist (1715; d.1759)
- Italian poet and novelist Alessandro Manzoni (1785; d.1873)
- Japanese playwright Abe Kobo (1924; d.1993)
- Jewish South African-born novelist and short-story writer Dan Jacobson (1929; d.2014; papers)
- French writer George Perec (1936; d.1982)
- Bret Easton Ellis, American (born California) satirical author, screenwriter, short story writer, wrote the novel American Psycho (1991).
- Mar 8
- Scottish essayist and children's story writer Kenneth Grahame (1859; d.1932), who wrote the children's classic The Wind in the Willows (1908)
- Colorado-born journalist, novelist, and biographer [Eu]Gene Fowler (1890; d.1960)
- Eric Linklater (1899; d.1974), Welsh-born Scottish novelist, poet and history writer
- New Jersey-born writer John McPhee (1931), winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize
- Richard Fariña (1937; d.1966), poet, novelist, songwriter, folk singer (with his wife, Mimi Baez Fariña )
- Jim Bouton (1939), American retired professional baseball player who wrote the memoir Ball Four (1970)
- Jeffrey Eugenides (1960), American novelist (born Detroit) and short story writer whose novel Middlesex won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
- Mar 9
- Mar 10
- German Romantic writer and critic [Karl Wilhelm] Friedrich von Schlegel (1772; d.1829)
- Joseph Karl Benedikt, Freiherr von Eichendorff(1788; d.1857), German poet, novella writer, and autobiographer, whose folksong-style poetic lyrics were set to music by Schumann, Brahms, and others
- Spanish writer Pedro Antonio de Alarcón (1833; d.1891)
- U.S. poet, librarian, and the first California poet laureate Ina Donna Coolbrith (1842; d.1928) born Josephine Donna Smith
- German novelist Jakob Wassermann (1873; d.1934)
- NYC columnist Paul Coates (1921; d.1968)
- Iowa-born playwright and novelist David Rabe (1940)
- Mar 11
- Mar 12 Besides Jack Kerouac (above),
- English biographer and antiquary John Aubrey (1626; d.1697), the first person to propose that Stonehenge was a temple built by the Druids
- Italian novelist and soldier Gabriele D'Annunzio (1863; d.1938)
- Rui Ribeiro Couto (1898; d.1963), Brazilian poet, novelist, and short story writer (link in Portuguese)
- Australian novelist, short story writer, literary critic Kylie Tennant (1912; d.1988)
- playwright Edward Albee (1928; d.2016)
- John Gross (1935; d.2011), English man of letters, author of books on other authors, literary collection editor
- prolific Ohio-raised African American children's author and novelist Virginia Hamilton (1934; d.2002), whose M.C. Higgins, the Great (1971) won the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award
- Mar 13
- Mar 14
- Mar 15
- Paul von Heyse (1830; d.1914), German writer and 1910 Nobelist
- Irish playwright, translator, and poet (and Yeats' patron) Lady Augusta Gregory (1852; d.1932), born Isabella Augusta Persse, co-founder and co-director of Dublin's Abbey Theatre
- English Roman Catholic poet and critic Lionel Pigot Johnson (1867; d.1902)
- American literary scholar of Irish literature, biographer, critic and writer Richard Ellman (1918; d.1987)
- Mar 16
- Dutch poet and playwright Gerbrand Adriaenszoon Bredero (1585; d.1618)
- French novelist Marie Madeleine Pioche de la Vergne, comtesse de La Fayette (baptised 1634; d.1693), whose masterpiece was the novel La Princesse de Cleves (1678) and whose salons were frequented by Moliere, Boileau, and other important literary figures of the time
- French poet and the first Literature Nobelist (in 1901) Sully Prudhomme (1839; d.1907) aka Rene Francois Armand Prudhomme
- NY poet and playwright Percy MacKaye (1875; d.1956), best known for his pageant The Canterbury Pilgrims (1903)
- Cesar Vallejo, Peruvian poet (1892; d.1938)
- NYC-born children's writer Sid Fleischman (1920; d.2010)
- Alice Hoffman (1952), American novelist (Practical Magic, 1995), young-adult and children's writer, whose books often involve magic realism
- Mar 17
- German novelist and dramatist Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow (1811; d.1878)
- English author and illustrator Kate Greenaway (1846; d.1901)
- North Carolina-raised novelist and playwright Paul Green (1894; d.1981)
- Siegfried Lenz (1926; d.2014), German novelist, dramatist, and writer of short stories and essays; winner of the Goethe Prize in 2000
- Mar 18 Besides Robert PT Coffin (above),
- French symbolist poet and Edgar Allen Poe translator Stephane Mallarme (1842; d.1898)
- English WW I poet Wilfred Owen (1893; d.1918)
- Richard Thomas Condon (1915; d.1996), satirical and thriller novelist best known for conspiratorial books focusing on greed and corruption (several made into films) such as The Manchurian Candidate
- American journalist, writer, literary editor, actor George Ames Plimpton (1927; d.2003), widely known for his sports writing, helped found The Paris Review
- Pennsylvania-born novelist and poet John Updike (1932; the 'Rabbit' series)
- Brooklyn native, African American poet and the first poet laureate of Rhode Island, Michael S. Harper (1938; d.2016)
- Mar 19
- Tobias Smollett (1721; date may be baptism date; d. 1771), Scottish poet and author best known for his picaresque novels
- Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821; d.1890), English explorer, translator, travel book writer, one of the first Englishmen to explore Arabia and reach Mecca
- William Allingham (1824; d.1889), Irish poet, diarist and editor.
- South African novelist and autobiographer Peter [Henry] Abrahams (1919; some sources say born March 3; d.2017), a key figure in South Africa's literary heritage
- New Jersey-born novelist Philip Roth (1933)
- Mar 20 Besides Ibsen (above),
- the Roman poet and writer Ovid (43 B.C.; d.17 A.D.)
- German schizophrenic lyric poet [Johann Christian] Friedrich Hölderlin (1770; d.1843)
- Nova Scotian novelist and essayist Hugh MacLennan (1907; d.1990)
- David Malouf (1934), Australian novelist, short story writer, non-fiction author, received the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature in 2016
- children's author Lois Lowry (1937)
- NYC-born author of books for children and young adults Ellen Conford (1942; d.2015)
- Mar 21
- Mar 22
- Mar 23
- French novelist, dramatist, and 1937 Nobelist Roger Martin du Guard (1881; d.1958)
- female Ghanaian dramatist and short story writer [Christina] Ama Ata Aidoo (1942)
- Winston Francis Groom, Jr. (1943), American (born in Washington DC, grew up in Alabama) novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a wildly popular film (1994)
- Mar 24
- English poet, artist, designer and true Renaissance man William Morris (1834; d.1896)
- English writer Malcolm Muggeridge (1903; d.1990)
- beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919), co-founded of City Lights Booksellers in San Francisco
- Italian playwright, actor, and director Dario Fo (1926; d. 2016), won the Nobel prize in literature in 1997
- Mar 25
- Transylvania-born (emigrated to U.S. at age 3) author of Broadway plays and musicals (including Kiss Me, Kate), novels, short stories, and articles Bella Cohen Spewack (1899; d.1990), whose writing partner was her husband Samuel (born Ukraine, Sept. 16, 1899)
- Georgian novelist [Mary] Flannery O'Connor (1925; d.1964)
- NYC-born African-American fiction writer, scriptwriter, and essayist Toni Cade Bambara, born Miltona Mirkin Cade (1959; d.1995)
- Mar 26 Besides Housman (above),
- Louise Otto (1819; d.1895; site in German, with poems and biography), aka Louise Otto-Peters, German author and feminist
- Massachusetts-born author Edward Bellamy (1850; d.1897)
- New England poet and school teacher (San Francisco-born) Robert [Lee] Frost (1874; d.1963), who variously wrote sonnets, lyrics, and philosophical poems, and who was much in demand as a speaker
- American writer on mythology and comparative religion Joseph Campbell (1906; d.1987)
- Mississippi-born playwright [Thomas Lanier] Tennessee Williams (1911; d.1983)
- British novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard (1923; d.2014)
- beat poet Gregory Corso (1930; d.2001)
- NYC novelist Erica Jong (1942), known for Fear of Flying (1973)
- Patrick Süskind (1949), German writer and screenwriter, known best for his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985)
- Mar 27
- Charles Mackay (1814; d.1889), Scottish poet, journalist, anthologist, novelist, songwriter, remembered for his book Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds
- German novelist and essayist Heinrich Mann (1871; d. 1950), brother of Thomas Mann
- NYC-born (raised Hollywood) novelist and screenwriter/scriptwriter Budd Schulberg (1914; d.2009), well-known for his screenplay for On the Waterfront (1954), which won eight Academy Awards
- American poet (born Jamaica) Louis Simpson (1923; d. 2012), who won the 1964 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
- Baltimore-born poet, playwright, and art critic Frank O'Hara (1926; d.1966)
- Mar 28
- William Byrd II (1674; d.1744), colonial Virginia writer
- Maxim Gorki (1868; born March 16 in old style calendar; d.1936) born Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, Russian dramatist and novelist, one of the first Russian writers to express the view of the worker
- Michigan-born novelist Nelson Algren [Abraham] (1909; d.1981)
- Czech writer Bohumil Hrabal (1924; d.1997)
- Frederick Earl "Fred" Exley (1929; d.1992), American writer best known for his fictional memoir A Fan's Notes
- Mario Vargas Llosa (1936), born Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, Peruvian novelist and politician
- Mar 29
- Mar 30
- English writer Anna Sewell (1820; d.1878), author of Black Beauty
- French lyric poet Paul Verlaine (1844; d.1896)
- Polish (Hungary-born) actress, novelist, and playwright of the Naturalist school, Gabriela Zapolska (1857; d.1921), born Maria Gabriela Korwin-Piotrowska
- Irish playwright Sean O'Casey (1880; d.1964)
- Milton James Rhode Acorn(1923; d.1986), writer, playwright, and Canada's national poet aka the People's Poet
- Thomas Ridley Sharpe (1928; d.2013), English satirical novelist
- Mar 31
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