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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to you!

This week we see the birthdays of three famous authors: two of them on the same day! June 21st was the birthday of the outstanding Ian McEwan, followed by the 25th shared by Yann Martel & George Orwell.

Apart from being incredibly famous for their work, these authors share a peculiar characteristic. It is reflected in their work & speaks volumes about their audacious spirits.

Take McEvan’s “On Chesil Beach” or Yann Martel’s novel on the journey of a sexually transformed man, “Self”. Even George Orwell’s, "Nineteen Eighty Four" is known for its unconventional concept.

Read on as we delve a little deeper into the writing styles of the authors & spill a few facts about their lives:

Ian Russell McEwan:
Born: 21 June 1948, Aldershot.

  • In 2008, The Times named him among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
  • McEwan has been nominated for the Man Booker Prize six times to date, winning the Prize for "Amsterdam" in 1998
Famous Works:
1. Enduring Love
2. Atonement
3. Amsterdam

Fun Facts:
Writing Style:

Ian McEwan has a pretty unnerving style of writing. The topics he writes about, though not very decorative, are carefully selected. His attention to the minutest detail & meticulous portrayal of the story is what makes his work a “bold” read.

His books illustrate his open mindset and no-taboo thinking. ‘Enduring Love’ depicts erotic instances and considers religious passion as irrationality. His more recent “On Chesil Beach” focuses on the development of a couple’s love in the dawning of a sexual awakening in 1960's, Britain.

Yann Martel

“I write to understand issues that are important to me, to express my creative energies and to pass the time in a meaningful way.” –
Yann Martel

Born: June 25, 1963, SalamancaSpain

  • His novel, Life of Pi, won the Man Booker Prize in 2002
  • Winner of the 2001-2003 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
  • First Canadian to represent the Washington Arts Commission
  • His short story "The Facts behind the Helsinki Roccamatios" was the winner of the 1991 Journey Prize

Notable Works:
1. Life of Pi
2. Self
3. Beatrice and Virgil

Fun Facts:

  • Martel travels extensively. He spent 13 months in India visiting places of religious significance and spent two years reading religious texts and castaway stories.
  • He believes that Dante's Divine Comedy is the single most impressive book he has ever read.
  • The Booker Prize winning novel, Life of Pi, was rejected by at least five London publishing houses before being accepted by Knopf Canada.

Writing Style:
An internet site quotes, “Yann Martel reminds us of the power of the imagination and the need for storytelling. Wherever he goes, we can expect the unexpected.”

And true to the word, his celebrated works not only reflect a high degree of imagination but also hold a spiritual & unusual aspect simultaneously.

In Life of Pi, the protagonist explores issues of theology and practicality while surviving 227 days stranded in the Pacific Ocean with a tiger.
Self is the story of a boy who on his eighteenth birthday wakes up as a female. Martel described Self as the crucible of a thematic interest in religious faith. Since the author has travelled extensively, each of the places mentioned in his books have an authentic touch to them.

George Orwell:

"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. " George Orwell (1903-1950)

Born: 25 June 1903, British India

  • Received the Prometheus Award for his work, Nineteen Eighty-Four
  • ‘Animal Farm’ was chosen by the Time magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels (1923 to 2005). It also won a Retrospective Hugo Award in 1996.
Notable Works:
Fun Facts:
  • George Orwell was only his pen name – his birth name was Eric Arthur Blair
  • His books Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm have together sold more copies than any two books by any other twentieth-century author.
Writing style:
His work is marked by intellectual wit, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, & sharp linguistic precision.

His most famed Nineteen Eighty-Four, is about a collectivist society in the OceanianProvince where the government manipulates and controls humanity. 

Orwell's influence on contemporary culture continues decades after his death. Several of his neologisms (thoughtcrime, doublethink), along with the term "Orwellian"— any oppressive social phenomenon opposed to a free society—have entered the vernacular.

You know what would be a good way to celebrate their birthday? Pick up one of their books to read. How does that sound? Tell us which one you're planning to read and choose your favorites at

 - Librarywala

(Sources: Wikipedia, ContemporaryWriters)

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