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August Wilson was born Fredrick August Kittle on April 27, 1945. His parents were Frederick Kittel, a German immigrant, and Daisy Wilson, an African woman woman. The playwright never saw much of his father growing up. He was mostly raised by his mother, in an apartment with no hot water, at Pittsburgh's Hill District, a largely black neighborhood. When he was 20, August Kittle formally became August Wilson. He ditched his absent father's name altogether, aligning himself with his mother, her......Read More
Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, Massachusetts, on July 4, 1804. This birthdate and set tells us pretty much everything we need to know about Hawthorne: he is an American (born on the fourth of July!) And he's got roots in Salem (of witchcraft fame). Hawthorne became one of the earliest major writers in the United States, and he made his name at least in part by writing about the early colonial period in Massachusetts. This particular novel, The House of the Seven Gables, mixes a lot of......Read More
This book is such a literary rockstar that we are pretty sure you already know what it is about. The Short Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao made a huge splash when Riverhead books printed it in 2007. It won a bucketload of awards, including the John Sargent Senior First Novel Prize along with the Dayton Literary Peace Prize in Fiction. No, this book kept winning larger and more prestigious awards such as the National Book Critics Circle Award along with the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Considering......Read More
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