Featured Author: Zora Neale Hurston


jan 7 1891


Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama, on January 7th, 1891. Hurston’s family moved to Eatonville, Florida when she was three. Eatonville was one of the first all-black towns incorporated in the United States, and Hurston occasionally claimed it as her birthplace.

As she grew up, Hurston worked as a maid before finishing high school as a nontraditional student. She then went on to Howard University, where she co-founded the university’s student newspaper and participated in the Zeta Phi Beta sorority, which was founded by and for black women. Eventually, a scholarship allowed Hurston to study at Barnard College of Columbia University, where she was the only black student on campus. She received her B.A. in Anthropology at the age of 37.

Graduate studies brought Hurston to live in Harlem in the 1920s, the peak of the Harlem Renaissance. She quickly became familiar with writers and poets such as Langston Hughes, and Hurston herself became one of the faces of Harlem’s literary movement.

Several of Hurston’s writings include:


Sadly, Hurston died in relative obscurity in the 1960s, but her work is now recognized as historically and aesthetically important today. You can check out many of her books right here at the library; just click here to see what’s available.

Featured Author: Jane Austen


Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775, in Steventon, Hampshire, England. Austen grew up close to her family. She attended a boarding school for a time until a bad bout of typhus and financial restraints sent her back home. As a teenager, Austen began writing stories in bound notebooks.

In her adulthood, Austen helped run the family home, attended cotillions, and continued writing. She published such famous novels as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility under the pseudonym “A Lady.” Today, however, the name “Jane Austen” is known and beloved worldwide.

Though Austen died in 1817, her books continue to delight readers of all ages. Listed below are just a few of her books that are available here at the library:






Featured Author: Octavia E. Butler

The path to success is to take massive, determined action. (2)


On June 22nd, 1947, Octavia E. Butler was born in Pasadena California. Butler grew from being a shy child who escaped in books to a successful science fiction writer. In fact, in 1995, she became the first science fiction author to win a MacArthur Fellowship.

Butler wrote about time travel, slavery, African culture, telepathy, dystopias, and much more. Her stories stood out in the white-dominated field of 1980s science fiction. Butler enjoyed the science fiction genre particularly because it allowed her the freedom to write about anything she could imagine.

You can check out Octavia E. Butler’s bestelling novel Kindred from the library- look for it in our literature section!





Featured Author: Maurice Sendak

The path to success is to take massive, determined action.-1


Maurice Sendak was born on June 10th, 1928 in New York City. Sendak excelled at art as a child; he would often draw illustrations while sick at home. When Sendak grew older, he began to illustrate children’s books. In 1956, the first book that was both illustrated and written by Sendak was published: Kenny’s Window. 1968 would see one of Sendak’s most popular and renowned books: Where The Wild Things Are (a Caldecott medal winner).

Some of Sendak’s other well-known books include:


Sendak has also lent his illustrations to many children’s books, including The Moon Jumpers and Brundibar.

In 2012, Sendak died at age 83. However, his books and illustrations for children will continue to delight kids for generations.

Click here to see which Sendak books the library has to offer.


Featured Author: Toni Morrison


Toni Morrison was born on February 18th, 1931. She grew up in Loraine, Ohio, and went on to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C. Morrison has been a professor, editor, and a writer. Her writing themes include profound thoughts on race, justice, family ties, infidelity, love, jealousy, and personal freedom.

Morrison has also won the distinguished awards of the Nobel Prize in Literature and the Pulitzer Prize for her intense novel, Beloved. Further, in 2012, President Barack Obama presented Morrison with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In fact, Morrison has won so many awards for her accomplishments that this blog post doesn’t quite do her justice- visit her Wikipedia page for a full list of the awards.


Some of Morrison’s most famous books include:

Each of these books are available in the library- you can learn more about them by clicking on the links above.




Featured Author: J.K. Rowling

Britain Scotland Celebrities

Joanne (Jo) Rowling was born on July 31st, 1965, in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. Growing up with a love of books and studying literature at Exeter University, Rowling wrote pages and pages of notes about her own book ideas. Yet the series of jobs she worked and having her first child took up much of her time, and Rowling did not immediately get published.

When she sent her first manuscript out, wariness followed. Rowling has no middle name, and her world-famous pen name “J.K. Rowling” was actually conceived at the request of publishers, who were unsure if young boys would read books written by a woman. Rowling chose the “K” for “Kathleen,” the name of her grandmother. Armed with a new moniker and seven years’ worth of developing the idea, Rowling debuted her first novel in 1997. That novel was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.






The rest is history.





Since then, the Harry Potter series has become an international success, both in books and film. Rowling herself has been featured in countless magazines and media, and the list of her awards is nearly too long to print:


PEN America Literary Service Award, 2016
Freedom of the City of London, 2012
Hans Christian Andersen Award, Denmark, 2010
Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur: France, 2009
Lifetime Achievement Award, British Book Awards, 2008
South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement, 2008
James Joyce Award, University College Dublin, 2008
The Edinburgh Award, 2008
Commencement Day Speaker, Harvard University, USA, 2008
Blue Peter Gold Badge, 2007
WH Smith Fiction Award, 2004
Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, Spain, 2003
Order of the British Empire (OBE), 2001
Children’s Book of the Year, British Book Awards, 1998 and 1999
Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1998 and 1999


Rowling has written other books as well, including crime novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith, and several books for adults such as The Casual Vacancy. The library has the entirety of the original Harry Potter books and films, plus the recently released movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. It’s easy to celebrate Rowling’s birthday today: just visit the Family Room, the Recreational Reading shelf, or the DVD collection. Her literary influence spreads across different media and cultures, and will continue to do so for, most likely, generations.



Featured Author: Ernest Hemingway

july 21 1899

On this day in 1899, author Ernest Hemingway was born. Hemingway grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and served in WWI as an ambulance driver for the Italian army. After working in journalism, Hemingway soon became known as a novelist and short story author.

A bullfighting aficionado, Hemingway wrote a nonfiction book called Death in the Afternoon detailing all he knew about the sport. He also traveled the world, drawing from his big game hunting experiences, cultural development, and personal relationships to enrich his writing.

Hemingway won the Pulitzer Prize for his famous novella The Old Man and the Sea in 1951. Then, in 1954, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In regards to writing advice, Hemingway stated in Death in the Afternoon:

If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.

Hemingway died in 1961, leaving behind a legacy of memorable and moving literature. The library has a Hemingway collection featuring most of his works, as well as several biographical books and professional criticism of his various books. Below are just a few of the titles you can find on our shelves related to Hemingway:


Featured Theologian: Francis Schaeffer


On this day in 1912, American theologian and philosopher Francis Schaeffer was born. Throughout his life, Schaeffer argued for the inerrancy of Scripture and lectured on truth, culture, and the modern world.


In 1955, Schaeffer founded the school and community L’Abri in Switzerland; in 1958, an English version of L’Abri was opened. The French term “L’Abri” means “shelter.” Schaeffer intended the schools to provide a safe place for seeking people to ask questions about God and the significance of human life.


The Ryan Center houses The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer: A Christian Worldview, and the library contains copies of Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, A Christian Manifesto, and several other books by Schaeffer.

Featured Authors: F. Scott Fitzgerald & William Faulkner


Prolific authors F. Scott Fitzgerald and William Faulkner are remembered on their birthdays this weekend.

Fitzgerald, born September 24, 1896, penned such famous works as The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, and This Side of Paradise.


Faulkner, born September 25, 1897, wrote Southern literature such as The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, and As I Lay Dying.


Be sure to check out these author collections and more at the library.