11998 Ian McEwan - awarded Booker Prize for his novel Amsterdam, published 1 Dec. He was also awarded a CBE in 2000.
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2Philip Larkin died 1985. His first book of poetry was published in 1945, but he came to prominence in 1955 with the publication of his second The Less Deceived. He was offered, but declined the position of Poet Laureate.
Read poems by Philip Larkin
3Joseph Conrad - born in Poland in 1857. He wrote 21 novels in his lifetime, including Heart of Darkness published in 1899 which was inspiration for Francis Ford Coppla's film Apocalypse Now.
Read Heart of Darkness
4Thomas Carlyle born 1795: He wrote The French Revolution: After the completed manuscript of the first volume was accidentally burned by the philosopher John Stuart Mill's maid, Carlyle wrote the second and third volumes before rewriting the first from scratch.
5Christina Rossetti, born 1830, in London, England. She wrote a variety of romantic, devotional, and children's poems and is best known for what became the popular Christmas Carol "In the Bleak Midwinter."
Read poems by Christina Rossetti
6Anthony Trollope died 1882. Whilst writing he worked for the postal service and invented the Royal Mail red pillar box in 1853.
Read Barchester Towers
7We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
8Louis De Bernieres born London 1954. He has written 6 novels and 3 short stories. Captain Corelli's Mandolin first pub 1993, later to be made into major motion picture in 2001. He later said he was disappointed with film.
Books by Louis De Berieres
9Joanna Trollope born 1943- great granddaughter of novelist Anthony Trollope. In 1996 she was awarded an OBE for her contribution to literature. Under the name of Caroline Harvey she writes romantic historical novels.
Books by Joanna Trollope
10The Nobel Prize in Literature was first awarded in 1901. Awarded to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction". The first winner was Sully Prudhomme.
11Russian writer, dissident, and Nobel laureate Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn was born 1918, in Kislovodsk, Russia. The Gulag Archipelago and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich are his two best-known works.
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12Joseph Heller died in 1999. Heller is remembered as a popular and respected writer whose first and best-known novel, Catch-22 (1961), is considered a classic of the post-World War II era.
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13Samuel Johnson, died 1784, in London. His best-known work was published in 1755 after nine years of work. Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language had a far-reaching impact on Modern English.
14We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
15We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
16We haven't found a good one yet - but if you know one please let us know and we will add it to the website.
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.
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19Emily Bronte died, 1848 after catching a chill at her brother's funeral. Her one novel, Wuthering Heights, was first published in 1847.
Listen to Wuthering Heights
20John Ernst Steinbeck died 1968. The American writer who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath and the novella Of Mice and Men. In 1962, Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Books by John Steinbeck
21F. Scott Fitzgerald died 1940. He is regarded as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. He is viewed as the spokesman for the Jazz Age (1919 - 29) and his most famous novel was The Great Gatsby.
Read The Great Gatsby
22Beatrix Potter died 1943. English author, illustrator, mycologist and conservationist best known for children's books featuring anthropomorphic characters such as in The Tale of Peter Rabbit or Tom Kitten and Benjamin Bunny.
Read the complete tales
231823, "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was first published in the Troy, New York, Sentinel newspaper and our vision of Father Christmas was changed forever. Better-known as "The Night Before Christmas"
241822: Matthew Arnold, born December 24, in Laleham on the Thames, England. He is probably best known for his 1867 poem "Dover Beach" which depicts a nightmarish world from which the old religious truths have receded.
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271831: 22-year-old Charles Darwin set sail from Plymouth, England aboard the HMS Beagle. The trip was supposed to last two years but stretched on to five. On the Origin of Species wasn't published until 1859.
Read more about Charles Darwin
281922: American comic book writer Stanley Martin Lieber (a.k.a. Stan Lee) was born in New York City. Famous for creating Spiderman, an awkward teenager named Peter Parker who develops superpowers after being bitten by a radioactive spider.
291989 Czech playwright Havel was elected president of Czechoslovakia, ending more than 40 years of Communist rule. He served until 1992, when he resigned in the face of political tensions that split Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia
30Rudyard Kipling born 1865. Credited with popularizing the short story genre in England but also for his widely read stories for children, which are collected in Just So Stories and the two Jungle Books published in 1894 and 1895.
Read The Jungle Books
31Parties all across the country in celebration of the coming new year will sing "Auld Lang Syne." The lyrics to the song were first written down by the Scottish poet Robert Burns. The Scottish title can be translated to mean "old long ago" or "time long past" or simply "the good old days."