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FriNov 1

National Author's Day – November 1, 2024

We all have that book — or two — that we can’t get enough of, and this holiday gives us the chance to appreciate the brilliant minds that created them. A book is similar to a drug; it can be an escape, albeit temporary, from the stresses of life. This November 1, celebrate National Author’s Day by curling up with your favorite book, a hot beverage, and spending time drifting into another world. In order to appreciate the writers who help inspire us, it’s important to get a sense of the time, blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting words on the page. Whether it’s fiction, fantasy, or biographies, books play a major role in our lives and we must celebrate their creators! Today, take a moment to appreciate the author(s) that spent countless hours writing your favorite books.

History of National Author's Day

The renowned French philosopher, Michel Foucault, once asked, “What is an author?” He argued that the idea of authorship — of accrediting the work to a single individual — has deep effects on its interpretation by the reader. Further, heady, philosophical arguments ensued but the bottom line remains — authors are creators, through and through.

They are, more or less, the ones who have written novels, poems, graphic novels, textbooks, and so much more. From William Shakespeare being the most famous of authors (and, debatably, a number of authors operating under one pen name), back in the 1500s, enthralling and satirizing royalty and common people in ways that still resonate today; all the way to J.K. Rowling and Stephen King, who can create both fantastical and horrifying worlds and landscapes that allow us to reflect and provide insight on our own more mundane realities.

Regardless of what time period or where they’re from, authors have always had the ability to teach, entertain, and move us – even back to old, blind Homer, telling his “Odyssey” without even writing it down.

That brings us back to Foucault’s question. Homer never actually wrote a word. He recited his poems aloud to whoever would listen and, as he gained followers, they committed his words to paper. Yet history has forgotten the writers and gifted us Homer as the author of the “Iliad” and the “Odyssey”.

So what is an author? Well, historically and permanently, it’s someone who uses their words to move their followers. Writers conduct in-depth research and, in many cases, spend years perfecting what we eventually read. That’s years of drafting, editing, revising, and rewriting these stories that captivate us. They deserve all the thanks we can offer.

In 1928, the president of the Illinois Women’s Club, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, came up with the idea to create a day that recognized American authors. She was an educator and quite an avid reader. The inspiration for the holiday came while she was in the hospital during the First World War. She had just read Irving Bacheller’s “Eben Holden’s Last Day A-Fishing” and sent a letter to him expressing her love for the book.

After receiving the letter, he responded by forwarding a signed copy of another one of his stories to her. McPherson, overwhelmed by his generosity, thought of a way to repay the gesture. She concluded that a National day for authors would do the trick and presented the idea to the Generation Federation of Women’s Clubs. The club approved, and in May 1929, issued an endorsement to celebrate American Authors on National Author’s Day.

The U.S. Department of Commerce acknowledged National Author’s Day in 1949. Although it took 20 years, McPherson’s vision finally became a reality and the holiday has been celebrated across the country every year since.

McPherson’s granddaughter, Sue Cole, took on the responsibility of promoting the holiday when her grandmother passed away in 1968. She urges people to send appreciation notes to their favorite authors to celebrate their contributions towards making life easier. The idea is to recognize all the people who have contributed to American literature.

National Author's Day timeline

8th Century B.C.
Homer Gets Put on Paper

"The Odyssey" is, most likely, published for the first time.

Pressure's On

The printing press is invented, forever changing the speed at which publishers can turn out manuscripts.

Shakespeare Writes HIs Sonnets

Scholars agree that by 1592 many of Shakespeare's plays were up on and on their feet. 

The Idea for Author’s Day is Born

Nellie Verne Burt McPherson gets the idea for National Author’s Day after she receives a signed book from Irving Bacheller.

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs Approves

The General Federation of Women’s Clubs approves the resolution for celebrating American authors on National Author’s Day.

The U.S. Department of Commerce Approves

The United States Department of Commerce acknowledges National Author’s Day.

July 5, 1994
For Better or Bezos

Amazon is created forever changing the way authors and consumers interact.

National Author's Day FAQs

When is National Author's Day?

National Author’s Day is on November 1, just in time for NaNoWriMo. 

Can I win National Author's Day?

Although it’s not an official contest, we believe that everyone who writes is a winner on National Author’s Day. 

When is National Novel Writing Month?

National Novel Writing Month is every November. 

Do all writers need agents?

No, they don’t. However, you might need a literary agent to get your book published under a traditional publishing house.

How does an author get published?

In traditional book publishing, the author signs a contract with a publisher who then prints, publishes, and sells the books through retailers and booksellers. The publisher purchases the rights for the book and pays the author royalties from the book sales.

Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

Congress commissioned the Declaration of Independence to explain the reason behind voting for independence. The committee in charge consisted of five people with Thomas Jefferson as the principal author. 

National Author's Day Activities

  1. Tweet at your favorite author today

    Thanks to social media, authors and readers can have much more interaction. Send your favorite author(s) a quick tweet letting them know they made a difference for you! Or share a list of your favorite books online. It can be to encourage an aspiring author or to spread the word about a particular book you love. (And don't forget to hashtag with #NationalAuthorsDay.)

  2. Buy a book for yourself or to give it to a friend

    Visit your local bookstore and buy a book! Support your favorite authors by buying some of their works. Share the gift of your favorite author with a friend. Make sure to leave a positive review on Amazon at the same time!

  3. Give some time to the author inside of you

    Why not take an hour to write a story, a recent experience, or a poem? Possibly the greatest respect you can show an author is letting them inspire you to write.

5 Facts About Writers That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Can you find Ernest?

    In Florida’s Key West, Sloppy Joe’s Bar hosts an Ernest Hemingway Look-Alike Contest each year, which lasts three days — the writer once lived there.

  2. Intense warm-up routines

    According to his daughter’s memoir, J.D. Salinger would often speak in tongues and drink his urine.

  3. Blurred lines

    Stephen King’s drug and alcohol intake was so intense during the 1980s that he has no memory of writing the book “Cujo”.

  4. A singing start

    Dan Brown tried his hand at music as a solo pop singer before launching his writing career.

  5. Quiet time

    Following tragic childhood events that culminated in her mother’s boyfriend’s death, Maya Angelou refused to speak for five years because she believed her words were to blame.

Why We Love National Author's Day

  1. Writing is an art

    A turn of phrase. An observation of everyday life and the human condition. Authors are able to entertain us, move us — and every now and then — change us. Books help to broaden our perspective. Knowledge gains aren’t all they provide; we also have the opportunity to view the world through someone else’s eyes.

  2. Writing can be difficult...and lonely

    Writing is nothing to be sniffed at. There may be a reason why many authors suffered from depression and alcoholism — it's lonely and often thankless work. From writer's block to editor rejections, the life of a writer is similar to a rollercoaster ride. Getting a little appreciation for the sacrifices that go into writing can probably go a long way. They deserve all the love they get on their special day.

  3. Don't we all want to write a book (one day)?

    We all most probably think there is a book inside us, somewhere. A memoir? A science-fiction world? A children's book? Becoming a writer can be scary. National Author’s Day can encourage aspiring writers to pick up the pen. Authors have actually taken the steps to write, publish and get their book into the world. That's got our respect!

National Author's Day dates

2024November 1Friday
2025November 1Saturday
2026November 1Sunday
2027November 1Monday
2028November 1Wednesday
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