This year we're honoring the classic literature of our favorite authors. What better way to do that than by celebrating each of their birthdays. Every month on the Prestwick House Blog, you'll find free literary resources—including crossword puzzles, posters, lesson plans, eBooks, How to Teach resource guides, and more—to commemorate the dates of birth for our famous authors. Share the never-to-be-forgotten works of iconic writers with your students and make use of these resources in your classroom this (and every) April.

Barbara Kingsolver

Born April 8, 1955

After she received her master's degree in ecology and evolutionary biology, Barbara Kingsolver began her career as a nonfiction writer, with jobs in both science writing and freelance journalism. Now, more than 30 years later, Kingsolver is living what she calls "a wholly unexpected life." As the highly acclaimed author of fourteen books—each of which has spent time on the New York Times' best seller list—Kingsolver has received countless honors for her work, including the National Humanities Medal, the United States' most prestigious award for service through the arts.

Jon Krakauer

Born April 12, 1954

Before the publication of his first novel in 1996, Jon Krakauer was a fisherman, a carpenter, a mountaineer, and a freelance journalist. His novel, Into Thin Air, was inspired by his experience on Mount Everest—a climb that four of the five teammates who had accompanied him up the mountain did not survive. Since that novel's publication, Krakauer has written a number of other narrative nonfiction works, all of which employ the same techniques as investigative journalism, but with significantly more detail. Krakauer's most famous work, Into the Wild, remained on the New York Times' best seller list for nearly two years. Several years later, Krakauer was honored with an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Thornton Wilder

Born April 17, 1897

American playwright and novelist Thornton Wilder, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, is the only author to have ever won Pulitzers for works in both fiction and drama. Wilder was a widely traveled, well-educated man, and a fluent speaker of four languages—English, German, French, and Spanish. Outside of his career as a writer, Wilder also worked as a teacher, a professor, and later, as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Airforce Intelligence during World War II. He won the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his literary work in 1963.


William Shakespeare

Born April 20, 1564

William Shakespeare is arguably the most famous British playwright and poet of all time. He began his career as an actor and was later promoted to managing partner of his acting company. By the time Shakespeare was in his early thirties, he had already published 15 plays. Several years later, his acting company opened their own theater, the Globe. Though very little is known about his personal life, people continue to study Shakespeare's legacy—37 plays and 154 sonnets—one that has remained unmatched, even long after his death. According to legend, Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday.

Charlotte Brontë

Born April 21, 1816

An English novelist and poet, Charlotte Brontë is considered one of the most famous women writers of the Victorian Era. As one of the three Brontë sisters—all published authors who originally penned their works under male pseudonyms—her most famous novel, Jane Eyre, is considered a classic that changed the dominance male writers had previously had. At the age of 39, only a year after she was married, Brontë died, possibly through complications of a difficult pregnancy.

Jeannette Walls

Born April 21, 1960

Jeannette Walls spent years working as a journalist in New York, but even as her work began to increase in popularity, she remained reluctant to detail the truth about her past. In her memoir The Glass Castle, Walls reveals the devastating realities of her childhood—mainly her parents' inability to provide a stable and secure home for her and her three siblings. Since its publication in 2005, The Glass Castle has sold 4.2 million copies, been translated into more than 30 languages, and remained on the New York Times best seller list for six years.

August Wilson

Born April 27, 1945

After the death of his father, twenty-year- old Frederick Kittel changed his name and struggled to build a career as a poet. Little did he know, his life as August Wilson would lead him to become the most widely renowned African American playwright of the twentieth century. His most famous play, Fences, for which Wilson won a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize, hit the Broadway stage in 1987. Wilson died of liver cancer in 2005. The screenplay for the 2016 film adaptation of Fences was written by Wilson before his death.

Harper Lee

Born April 28, 1926

In college, Harper Lee studied law, but, convinced that writing was her true calling, she dropped out of school before finishing her degree. Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was published in 1960, when Lee was 34 years old. It was later translated into 40 languages and sells nearly one million copies each year. In 2015—fifty-five years after the publication of her first novel—Lee published a sequel, Go Set a Watchman. The next year, she died at age 89.

John Boyne

Born April 30, 1971

John Boyne, an Irish novelist, is best known for his award-winning Holocaust novel, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Boyne admits that, even as a child, he wrote stories. "My life has always been filled with books," he said. "I never wanted to be anything but a writer." Now, at age 46, Boyne is the author of fifteen books—10 for adults, 5 for adolescents. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas has sold more than nine million copies and hit the big screen as a major motion picture in 2008.