Literary Hub

We Have Found the Most Cursed Days for Writers

Are you superstitious? Do you beware the Ides of March? Do you step over cracks on Fridays that happen to fall on the 13th of any given month? But especially October? Do you toast dead writers on their would-have-been birthdays? Well, me too. Which may be why I found myself wondering, one random and totally normal day, which days have killed the most writers.

Luckily for me, here at Literary Hub, we keep a running calendar of important lit-adjacent dates, including dates of author deaths, and using this document, I have compiled the following tally. Now, I make no claims that this is a complete accounting—in fact I am sure it is not, because who can account for every writer’s death?—but according to our calendar, the following are the deadliest dates for writers. Step carefully.

9 deaths

September 12

1660 – Jacob Cats
1907 – Ilia Chavchavadze
1919 – Leonid Andreyev
1929 – Rainis
1967 – Vladimir Bartol
1977 – Robert Lowell
1981 – Eugenio Montale
2008 – David Foster Wallace
2012 – Arkadii Dragomoshchenko

*

7 deaths

August 13

1749 – Johann Elias Schlegel
1934 – Mary Hunter Austin
1946 – H. G. Wells
1975 – Murilo Mendes
2012 – Helen Gurley Brown
2004 – Julia Child
1934 – Mary Hunter Austin

September 11

1958 – Robert W. Service
1964 – Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh
1978 – Georgi Markov
1985 – Eleanor Dark
1988 – Roger Hargreaves
1991 – Ernst Herbeck
1997 – Hannah Weiner

*

6 deaths

April 11

1970 – John O’Hara
1977 – Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’
1987 – Erskine Caldwell
1987 – Primo Levi
2007 – Kurt Vonnegut
1935 – Anna Katharine Green

April 25

1566 – Louise Labé
1800 – William Cowper
1878 – Anna Sewell
1988 – Valerie Solanas
2006 – Jane Jacobs
2014 – Stefanie Zweig

August 3

1805 – Christopher Anstey
1839 – Dorothea von Schlegel
1924 – Joseph Conrad
1949 – Ignotus
1949 – Colette
1964 – Flannery O’Connor

*

5 deaths

April 24

1731 – Daniel DeFoe
1852 – Vasily Zhukovsky
1891 – Rebecca Agatha Armour
1942 – L. M. Montgomery
1947 – Willa Cather

May 4

1895 – Lillian Spender
1897 – Isabella Banks
1900 – Hugo Badalic
1924 – E. Nesbit
1973 – Jane Bowles

May 28

1849 – Anne Brontë
1900 – Sir George Grove
1953 – Tatsuo Hori
2002 – Mildred Benson
2014 – Maya Angelou

June 5

708 – Jacob of Edessa
1894 – Edward Capern
1900 – Stephen Crane
1910 – O. Henry
2012 – Ray Bradbury

June 18

1902 – Samuel Butler
1936 – Maxim Gorky
1982 – John Cheever
1982 – Djuna Barnes
2010 – José Saramago

July 2

1961 – Ernest Hemingway
1977 – Vladimir Nabokov
1999 – Mario Puzo
2010 – Beryl Bainbridge
2016 – Elie Wiesel

July 31

1638 – Sibylla Schwarz
1944 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
2000 – William Keepers Maxwell Jr.
2012 – Gore Vidal
2013 – John Graves

August 12

1827 – William Blake
1891 – James Russell Lowell
1893 – Edward Bruce Hamley
1955 – Thomas Mann
1964 – Ian Fleming

August 25

1900 – Friedrich Nietzsche
1907 – Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
1976 – Eyvind Johnson
1984 – Truman Capote
2002 – Dorothy Hewett

August 27

1635 – Lope de Vega
1748 – James Thomson
1899 – Vendela Hebbe
1950 – Cesare Pavese
1971 – Bennett Cerf

September 7

1833 – Hannah More
1892 – John Greenleaf Whittier
1939 – Kyoka Izumi
1962 – Isak Dinesen
1962 – Eiji Yoshikawa

September 18

1890 – Dion Boucicault
1905 – George MacDonald
1951 – Gelett Burgess
1959 – Benjamin Péret
1980 – Katherine Anne Porter

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