Famous Kansans » Arts » Literature
- Born: February 28, 1926
- Died: June 25, 2009
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Iola
Don Coldsmith was an author of western fiction who wrote more than 40 books and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles. He was known for his Spanish Bit Saga, a series of novels that helped re-define the western novel by adopting the point of view of the Native Americans.
Bill Martin, Jr.
- Born: March 20, 1916
- Died: August 11, 2004
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Hiawatha
Bill Martin, Jr. was an author of more than 300 children's books including bestsellers Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? In 1996, the state of Kansas established the Bill Martin, Jr. Award and is the award for the best children's picture book.
- Born: October 5, 1949
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Holton
Bill James is a baseball writer, historian and statistician who has written more than 25 books devoted to baseball history and statistics that have become widely influential. His approach, termed sabremetrics, scientifically analyzes and studies baseball, often through statistical data, in an attempt to determine why teams win and lose. Many baseball organizations utilize his approach in evaluating players. He is currently a senior advisor on baseball operations for the Boston Red Sox and was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2006.
- Born: February 26, 1857
- Died: February 24, 1946
- Connection to Kansas: Lived in Topeka
Charles Sheldon was the preacher of the Central Congregational Church in Topeka who, in a series of sermons, posed the question "What Would Jesus Do?" when facing moral decisions. These sermons were the inspiration for his book In His Steps which became one of the best selling books of all time selling more than 30 million copies.
- Born: May 3, 1913
- Died: June 10, 1973
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Independence
William Inge was a playwright and novelist who won a Pulitzer Prize for the Broadway production of Picnic. He won an Academy Award for writing the screenplay of the movie Spendor in the Grass (1961) and was known as the "Playwright of the Midwest."
- Born: June 7, 1917
- Died: December 3, 2003
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Topeka
Gwendolyn Brooks became the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 1950. She was named Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consulate in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.
- Born: February 1, 1902
- Died: May 22, 1967
- Connection to Kansas: Raised in Lawrence
Langston Hughes was a poet, social activist, novelist, playwright and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the literary art form jazz poetry and is best know for his works during the Harlem Renaissance.
Edgar Lee Masters
- Born: August 23, 1868
- Died: March 5, 1950
- Connection to Kansas: Born in Garnett
Edgar Lee Mastes was a poet, biographer and dramatist who published 12 plays, 21 books of poetry, six novels and six biographies. He is most noted for writing Spoon River Anthology, a colletion of poems describing life in a small town.