Today is the 116th birthday of the prolific writer of historical novels, James Michener. Every once in a while, I wonder if anyone is reading a Michener novel. I mean, someone must, right? His books are of such sweeping epic length, I worry that there is no one left with that sort of attention span. They are important American literature for their impact on they reading habits of the every day citizen. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.
NAME: James Michener
BIRTH DATE: c. February 03, 1907
DEATH DATE: October 16, 1997
PLACE OF BIRTH: New York City, New York
PLACE OF DEATH: Austin, Texas
REMAINS: Buried, Austin Memorial Park, Austin, TX
ACADEMY OF ACHIEVEMENT (1971)
PULITZER PRIZE for Fiction 1948 for Tales of the South Pacific
PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM 10-Jan-1977
BEST KNOWN FOR: James Michener was an American novelist and story-story writer who penned Tales of the South Pacific, which one a Pulitzer Prize in 1947.
James Albert Michener was an American author of more than 40 titles, the majority of which were sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations in particular geographic locales and incorporating historical facts into the stories. Michener was known for the meticulous research behind his work.
Michener’s major books include Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas, and Poland. His nonfiction works include the 1968 Iberia about his travels in Spain and Portugal, his 1992 memoir The World Is My Home, and Sports in America. Return to Paradise combines fictional short stories with Michener’s factual descriptions of the Pacific areas where they take place.
Michener gave away a great deal of the money he earned. Over the years, Mari Yoriko Sabusawa Michener played a major role in directing donations by her husband, totaling more than $100 million. Among the beneficiaries were the University of Texas, the Iowa Writers Workshop and Swarthmore College (stated by a New York Times’ notice about her death).
In 1989, Michener donated the royalty earnings from the Canadian edition of his novel Journey, published in Canada by McClelland & Stewart, to create the Journey Prize, an annual Canadian literary prize worth $10,000 (Cdn) that is awarded for the year’s best short story published by an emerging Canadian writer.
Author of books:
Tales of the South Pacific (1947, novel)
The Fires of Spring (1949, memoir)
Hawaii (1959, novel)
The Source (1965, novel)
Iberia: Spanish Travels and Reflections (1968, travelogue)
The Drifters (1971, novel)
Centennial (1974, novel)
Chesapeake (1978, novel)
The Covenant (1980, novel)
Space (1982, novel)
Texas (1985, novel)
The World Is My Home (1992, memoir)
A Century of Sonnets (1997)
Michener and Steinbeck. The two names most associated with written art in America for the 40 or so years they were competing for the “Top Dog” position. Nobel Prizes, and accolades from every English speaking (and not English. speaking) corner of the globe for their insight and ability to weave a story that people wanted to read. The preeminent pair of authors that grace America.
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