1Milan Kundera born 1929, in Czechoslovakia but he has lived in exile in France since 1975. He is best known as the author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
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2Hans Christian Andersen born 1805. He one of the foremost writers of fairy tales in world literature. Known for such stories as The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.
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3Graham Greene died 1991. He converted to Catholicism in 1926 when he was 22 which had big impact on writing. Brighton Rock published in 1947, and The Quiet American in 1955.
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4Winston Smith, the protagonist in George Orwell's dystopian futuristic novel, 1984, began his secret diary. Published in 1949, the novel was set in the (then) future year of 1984.
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5In 1607 Shakespeare's play Hamlet was performed aboard the British Ship Dragon off the coast of Sierra Leone in Africa, the first foreign performance of a Shakespeare play.
Read plays by WIlliam Shakespeare
6Oscar Wilde was arrested in London 1895 on a morals charge. Wilde ill-advisedly sued for libel, and when the jury found in Marquis of Queensberry's behalf, Wilde was arrested and his audiences turned against him.
Read Oscar Wilde's major works
7While rowing on the Thames at Oxford 1862, Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) began to tell the three Liddell sisters the story that would become Alice in Wonderland.
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8Erik Axel Karlfeldt, a Swedish poet, died in 1931. His highly symbolist poetry won him the Nobel Prize in Literature which he refused in 1918. Unpeturbed, the Nobel committee awarded it to him posthumously in 1931.
Read poems by E A Karlfeldt
9We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
10Paul Theroux born 1941. The US travel writer and novelist. Best known for The Great Railway Bazaar (1975) and The Old Patagonian Express (1979).
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11We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
12Tom Clancy - born in Baltimore County, Maryland 1947. His 1st novel The Hunt for Red October was published in 1984 and he went on to dominate the action spy genre. In 1998 he tried to buy the Minnesota Vikings.
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13Seamus Heaney born 1935. The Irish poet and writer has won numerous awards including the coveted Nobel Prize for Literature which he received in 1995.
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14John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath was published in 1939. He wrote the novel in just five months. He warned his publisher that it wouldn't be very popular, but it became the best-selling book of the year.
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15Henry James born in New York in 1843. His novel Portrait of a Lady was published 29th Oct 1881, and Turn of the Screw on 13 Oct 1898.
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16Kingsley Amis born 1922. The English poet and novelist wrote more than twenty novels. According to his biographer, Zachary Leader, Amis was 'the finest British comic novelist of the second half of the twentieth century'
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17We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
18Danish writer Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke, who wrote under the pen name Isak Dinesen, was born in 1884. She and her husband moved to Kenya in 1914 and her experiences, became the came memoir "Out of Africa".
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19George Gordon Byron (aka Lord Byron) died 1824. The English poet who was a leading figure of Romantic period. His life featured aristocratic excesses, huge debts, numerous love affairs, and self-imposed exile.
Read Byron's major works
20Sebastian Faulks born 1953. He wanted to be a taxi driver until he first read George Orwell in 1968. Best-selling Birdsong published Sept 3 1993 and is based on experiences of his grandfather during WWI.
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21Charlotte Bronte born in Thornton, Yorkshire 1816, where she lived with her two sisters Emily and Anne at Haworth Parsonage
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22Henry Fielding born 1707. His seamless blending of drama, satire, romance, and epic into his works helped distinguish the novel as a new and unique genre. He is most famous for his novel Tom Jones
Read Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
23William Shakespeare died 1616 aged 52. His surviving works consist of 38 plays and 154 sonnets. Interestingly the stone slab covering his grave is inscribed with a curse against moving his bones.
Read about Shakespeare's Life
24Anthony Trollope born in 1815, died Dec 6 1882. Whilst writing he worked for the postal service and invented the Royal Mail red pillar box in 1853
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25Oxford 1856 mathematician and logician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson met the little girl, Alice Liddell, whom he would later, using the pen name Lewis Carroll, immortalize as the Alice of Alice in Wonderland.
Read Alice in Wonderland
26Although his birth date is unknown, Shakespeare was baptised 26 April 1564 in Stratford-Upon-Avon. His first plays, performed in London, took place in 1592 and Hamlet was first published in 1603.
Read plays by William Shakespeare
27Cecil Day-Lewis CBE was born in 1904. He was an Irish poet, as well as Poet Laureate for Britain between 1968 and 1972, and, under the pseudonym of Nicholas Blake, a mystery writer.
Find out more about Cecil Day-Lewis
28Terry Pratchett born in 1948. He began writing career at 13, and his first work was published when he was 15. Most famous for his Discworld series his books have sold over 50 million copies worldwide.
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29We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
30Not exactly literary but in 1789 George Washington took office as the first president of the United States and so shaped a country that produced so many brilliant authors.