Literary Birthday - 9 January - Anne Rivers Siddons

Happy Birthday, Anne Rivers Siddons, born 9 January 1936

Five Quotes
  1. I think we all get too caught up in doing instead of just being sometimes.
  2. I think every creative impulse that a working writer, or artist of any sort has, comes out of that dark old country where dreams come from.
  3. I don't know if I would do sequels. I almost feel like when I'm done with them, they're going to have to find their own way.
  4. Perhaps the most important thing we can ever do in our lives is find a way to keep the wild-both the wild inside and the wild outside us-and tap into it.
  5. It's unimaginable to me that I wouldn't write, but it's very imaginable that I won't write for a little while.

Siddons is an American novelist who writes stories set in the southern United States. Two of her best known novels are Peachtree Road, and Heartbreak Hotel, which was made into a film titled Heart of Dixie.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 7 January - William Peter Blatty

Happy Birthday, William Peter Blatty, born 7 January 1928

7 Quotes
  1. I have never read horror, nor do I consider The Exorcist to be such, but rather as a suspenseful supernatural detective story, or paranormal police procedural. 
  2. Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all.
  3. I tried to make every bit of it as creepy as I could. And I had the same response you do. I feel the same way. The hospital scenes, that procedure was so real. 
  4. God never talks. But the devil keeps advertising.
  5. But a myth, to speak plainly, to me is like a menu in a fancy French restaurant: glamorous, complicated camouflage for a fact you wouldn't otherwise swallow, like maybe lima beans.
  6. Procrastination is what we often call resistance.
  7. We mourn the blossoms of May because they are to whither; but we know that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops---which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair.

Blatty is an American writer and filmmaker. The Exorcist is his most well-known novel. He also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation, for which he won an Academy Award.

Source for photograph

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Literary Birthday - 18 December - Steve Biko

Steve Biko was born 18 December 1946, and died 12 September 1977

10 Quotes
  1. A Black man should be more independent and depend on himself for his freedom and not to take it for granted that someone would lead him to it. The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.
  2. In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift—a more human face.
  3. The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion.
  4. We are going to change South Africa. What we've got to decide is the best way to do that. And as angry as we have the right to be, let us remember that we are in the struggle to kill the idea that one kind of man is superior to another kind of man. And killing that idea is not dependent on the White man. We must stop looking to him to give us something. We have to fill the Black community with our own pride. We have to teach our black children black history; tell them about our black heroes, our black culture, so they don't face the white man believing they are inferior. Then we'll stand up to him in anyway he chooses. Conflict, if he likes, but with an open hand, too, to say we can all build a South Africa worth living in - a South Africa for equals, Black or White, a South Africa as beautiful as this land is, as beautiful as we are.
  5. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. 
  6. Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security, and prestige, it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege. 
  7. So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior. 
  8. It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.
  9. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.
  10. I write what I like.

Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. He founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which empowered and mobilised the urban black population in the country. After being tortured and beaten by state security officers, he died of a massive brain haemorrhage on 12 September 1977. His words are collected in I Write What I Like: Selected Writings  and The Testimony Of Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa.

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Literary Birthday - 15 December - Chris d'Lacey

Happy Birthday, Chris d'Lacey, born 15 December 1954

10 Writing Tips (shortened)
  1. To be a writer, you have to write. Often. With genuine desire. From the heart. Write a little every day if you can. A little soon becomes a lot. Write what moves you, not what appears to be currently in fashion.
  2. Aim for a killer first line. Go for a sentence that gives the reader some idea of what the story is about. 
  3. Beware the ‘alarm clock’ opening. We don’t want to read about Fred waking up, switching off the alarm, yawning, scratching his bum, putting his slippers on, going to the bathroom, etc. Just GET HIM DOWNSTAIRS to find out what the heck is clawing at those windows…
  4. Don’t over-describe things. Part of the enjoyment of stories is building your own picture from the clues the author provides. One interesting bit of detail is worth far more than ten bland ones.
  5. The balance between dialogue and prose is a matter of personal style. If your stories are all dialogue, think about writing screenplays. Writing good dialogue is an art. Fictional dialogue is engineered to move a story along. Quick tips: Keep it crisp. Try not to repeat what the last person has said. Don’t use an assignation if it’s obvious who’s speaking. Any character who blusters, chirrups, exclaims or declares, etc. more than once on a page should be shown a red card.
  6. A few words about fantasy. Truth is, you can’t research a fantasy novel, because you’re basically describing an invented world. So be as adventurous as you like. The only advice I would give is to keep things in context. I like to write the kind of fantasy where extraordinary things happen to ordinary people (Michael Malone in The UNICORNE Files, for example). But if you’re going to step into another world entirely, then stay in that world and live by its rules.
  7. Stuck? Don’t burn, shred or feed your manuscript to the hamster. Take a break from the story and listen to your subconscious. Follow up any peculiar ideas it’s urging you to explore. If all else fails, try talking the story through with a friend. Even if your friend isn’t listening this STILL WORKS. All you really need is a wall to bounce your thoughts off. You’ll get going again.
  8. To make characters convincing, you have to get right inside their heads and experience the world as they do. You have to be them and use their SENSES accordingly, whether they are human, animal or alien. 
  9. We’re often told to “write what we know”. But don’t be afraid to write what you don’t know. Years ago, I collaborated on a YA novel with the author Linda Newbery. She wanted to write a story told entirely in email messages. The protagonists were two teens, a boy and a girl. Imagine my surprise when Linda asked me to write the girl’s messages, not the boy’s. If you’ve never written from the point of view of the opposite sex, I strongly suggest you try.
  10. Finally, always believe in yourself and don’t give up. If you genuinely think your story is good, there’s every chance someone else will too.

Source for Tips and Image

d'Lacey is an English writer of children's fiction who is best known for writing The Last Dragon Chronicles. His other books include A Dark Inheritance.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday -11 December - Jim Harrison

Jim Harrison was born 11 December 1937 and died 26 March 2016

12 Quotes
  1. Poetry at its best is the language your soul would speak if you could teach your soul to speak.
  2. Some people hear their own inner voices with great clearness. And they live by what they hear. Such people become crazy... or they become legend.
  3. I can write anywhere.
  4. I wonder, when a writer's blocked and doesn't have any resources to pull himself out of it, why doesn't he jump in his car and drive around the U.S.A.? I went last winter for seven thousand miles and it was lovely. Inexpensive, too.
  5. The danger of civilisation, of course, is that you will piss away your life on nonsense.
  6. I have closely noted that people who watch a great deal of TV never again seem able to adjust to the actual pace of life. The speed of the passing images becomes the speed they aspire to and they seem to develop an impatience and boredom with anything else.
  7. Being a writer requires an intoxication with language.
  8. I like grit, I like love and death, I'm tired of irony. ... A lot of good fiction is sentimental. ... The novelist who refuses sentiment refuses the full spectrum of human behaviour, and then he just dries up. 
  9. The only advice I can give to aspiring writers is don't do it unless you're willing to give your whole life to it. 
  10. The wilderness does not make you forget your normal life so much as it removes the distractions for proper remembering.
  11. The answer is always in the entire story, not a piece of it.
  12. Writers can write outside their ethnicity or sex depending on how open and vulnerable they wish to be.

Harrison was an American author known for his poetry, fiction, reviews, essays about the outdoors, and writings about food. He is best known for his 1979 novella Legends of the Fall

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 30 November - L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery was born 30 November 1874, and died 24 April 1942

Nine Quotes 

  1. Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?
  2. I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them.
  3. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.
  4. If you can sit in silence with a person for half an hour and yet be entirely comfortable, you and that person can be friends. If you cannot, friends you'll never be and you need not waste time in trying.
  5. You must pay the penalty of growing-up, Paul. You must leave fairyland behind you.
  6. People laugh at me because I use big words. But if you have big ideas, you have to use big words to express them, haven't you?
  7. There are so many unpleasant things in the world already that there is no use in imagining any more.
  8. We are never half so interesting when we have learned that language is given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts.
  9. It's been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.

Montgomery was a Canadian author best known for a series of novels beginning in 1908 with Anne of Green Gables

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Literary Birthday - 6 November - Colson Whitehead

Happy Birthday, Colson Whitehead, born 6 November 1969 

Nine Quotes
  1. A society manufactures the heroes it requires.
  2. I think being a writer was a crappy job when you just had typewriters. It was crappy when we just had ink and paper. And it's sort of crappy now. It's always just you and the page. That doesn't change.
  3. We never see other people anyway, only the monsters we make of them.
  4. It is failure that guides evolution; perfection provides no incentive for improvement, and nothing is perfect.
  5. Fiction is payback for those who have wronged you.
  6. Don’t go searching for a subject, let your subject find you. You can’t rush inspiration. … Once your subject finds you, it’s like falling in love. It will be your constant companion. Shadowing you, peeping in your windows, calling you at all hours to leave messages like, Only you understand me.
  7. Racial prejudice rotted one's faculties.
  8. Memory is the most malicious cutter of all, preserving, recasting, panning in slow motion across the awful bits so that we retain every detail.
  9. A monster is a person who has stopped pretending.

Whitehead is an American novelist. He is the author of six novels, including The Underground Railroad and The Intuitionist, and two books of non-fiction. In 2002, he received a MacArthur Fellowship.

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 4 November - M.T. Anderson

Happy Birthday, M. T. Anderson, born 4 November 1968

12 Quotes
  1. I love writing for younger readers. I love their passion. I love their commitment to stories. I love the way their heads are exploding with all the things they want to say and do. Thanks for reading the things I've written.
  2. I do not know what I regret. I sit with my pen, and cannot find an end to that sentence.
  3. I eat broccoli. I think about the plot. I pace in circles for hours, counter-clockwise, listening to music. I try to think of one detail in the scene I'm about to write that I'm really excited about writing. Until I can come up with that one detail, I pace.
  4. I can't tell you how irritating it is to be an atheist in a haunted house.
  5. As writers for young people, we have the immense privilege of ensuring that the young of our race and our adaptive and piebald language thrive together. Ours is, for that reason, a serious and joyful business.
  6. And I realise that the decision to be human is not one single instant, but is a thousand choices made very day. It is choices we make every second and requires constant vigilance. We have to fight to remain human.
  7. We love fantasy novels in which the characters think that they're peasants but turn out to be princes and kings.
  8. Sometimes reading other writers helps. You learn some little technique that turns out to be useful, or simply are re-inspired by the amazing things others do.
  9. I write for teens partially to work out whatever it was that I needed to from my own teenage years.
  10. We Americans are interested only in the consumption of our products. We have no interest in how they are produced, or what happens to them once we discard them, once we throw them away.
  11. Whispering makes a narrow place narrower.
  12. There's an ancient saying in Japan, that life is like walking from one side of infinite darkness to another, on a bridge of dreams. They say that we're all crossing the bridge of dreams together. That there's nothing more than that. Just us, on the bridge of dreams.

Matthew Tobin Anderson is an American writer of children's books that range from picture books to young-adult novels.His novels include Thirsty, Burger Wuss, Feed, and The Game of Sunken Places. He won the National Book Award for The Pox Party.

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 2 November - David Whyte

Happy Birthday, David Whyte, born 2 November 1955

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.
More Quotations
  1. The poet lives and writes at the frontier between deep internal experience and the revelations of the outer world. There is no going back once this frontier has been reached; a new territory is visible and what has been said cannot be unsaid.
  2. Read and admire, but then go back to first principles and ask the question yourself, in your own way. Dare to disagree.
  3. Ambition left to itself, like a Rupert Murdoch, always becomes tedious, its only object the creation of larger and larger empires of control; but a true vocation calls us out beyond ourselves; breaks our heart in the process and then humbles, simplifies and enlightens us about the hidden, core nature of the work that enticed us in the first place. We find that all along, we had what we needed from the beginning and that in the end we have returned to its essence, an essence we could not understand until we had undertaken the journey.
  4. P O E T R Y:  Language against which we have no defences.
  5. The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears.
  6. It is always hard to believe that the courageous step is so close to us, that it is closer than we ever could imagine, that in fact, we already know what it is, and that the step is simpler, more radical than we had thought: which is why we so often prefer the story to be more elaborate, our identities clouded by fear, the horizon safely in the distance, the essay longer than it needs to be and the answer safely in the realm of impossibility.
  7. Art is the act of triggering deep memories of what it means to be fully human.
  8. The ability to speak the truth is as much the ability to describe what it is like to stand in trepidation at this door, as it is to actually go through it and become that beautifully honest spiritual warrior, equal to all circumstances, we would like to become. 
  9. At any time of life, follow your own questions; don’t mistake other people’s questions for your own.
  10. Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without. Vulnerability is not a choice. Vulnerability is the underlying, ever-present, and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature. 
Sometimes everything
has to be
inscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.

Whyte is an English poet of Irish extraction. His books include Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity, House Of BelongingThe Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship, Everything Is Waiting for You, Pilgrim, and The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America, which topped the best-seller charts in the United States. Visit DavidWhyte.com

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Literary Birthday - 26 October - Siphiwo Mahala

Happy Birthday, Siphiwo Mahala, born 26 October


Seven Quotes
  1. Writing, to me, is an offshoot of my passion for reading, a habit that I developed from an early age. I grew up as an introverted child and as the only boy in the family. Books became my closest companion. 
  2. Contrary to popular perception, writing short requires a lot of discipline as there is no luxury of time and space. One has to develop a story using very few characters, and every word used must be accounted for in order to develop a concrete and aesthetically powerful story.
  3. [My ideal readers are] imaginative individuals who allow words to invade their minds, penetrate their heart and soul, and take them to the highest peaks of ecstasy.
  4. I write at any given moment. Inspiration to write comes at the strangest of times and in very awkward places. I once wrote a story on the programme while attending a funeral. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed by voices in my head I sneak out of the bedroom and sit in my study without my wife noticing.
  5. I always begin with handwritten sketches before using the computer. Much as computers are a more advanced medium, I find them quite obstructive when writing a new story.
  6. Books are resilient, enduring and will remain an essential part of our civilisation. They possess a certain aura of intimacy that cannot be obtained in iPods, kindles, computers and all such devices. They are reliable companions that keep you company when you go to bed, to the beach, in a taxi or even in a remote desert. Books are sources of entertainment as much as they are fountains of knowledge and wisdom.
  7. I always try to write work that resonates with the broader society and that would exhort people to take action. 
Mahala is a South African writer. He is the author of the short story collection, African Delights, and he received the 2006 Ernst van Heerden Creative Writing Award for When a Man Cries. He is the Head of Books and Publishing at the National Department of Arts and Culture.

Source for image 

Source for quotes: Mail&Guardian and Sunday Independent

 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Pinterest,  Google+,  LinkedIn,  and on Twitter:  @amandaonwriting

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.