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Writer's Almanac

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The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, April 13, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, April 13, 2024

It’s the birthday of the man who said: “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” That’s Thomas Jefferson, born in Albemarle County, Virginia (1743). And he certainly lived by those words. He wrote the Declaration of Independence for the fledgling United States and then served as its minister of France, secretary of state, vice president, and president.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, April 12, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, April 12, 2024

It was on this day in 1633 that Galileo Galilei stood trial before the Roman Inquisition, to defend the publication of his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632). It is commonly thought that Galileo was called to defend his scientific beliefs before the Church, who insisted on their own version of the universe.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, April 11, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, April 11, 2024

It’s the birthday of Anne Lamott, born in San Francisco in 1954. Lamott was an alcoholic who went to rehab, became a Christian, started teaching writing, and published a journal of the first year of her son’s life, Operating Instructions (1993), to great acclaim.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Wednesday, April 10, 2024

It’s the birthday of Anne Lamott, born in San Francisco in 1954. Lamott was an alcoholic who went to rehab, became a Christian, started teaching writing, and published a journal of the first year of her son’s life, Operating Instructions (1993), to great acclaim.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, April 9, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Tuesday, April 9, 2024

On this day in 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia to the General of the United States Armies, Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the Civil War.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, April 8, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Monday, April 8, 2024

It’s the birthday of novelist Barbara Kingsolver, born in Annapolis, Maryland (1955). She grew up in a house in an alfalfa field in rural Kentucky, where her dad was the county doctor. When she was seven, her father moved the family to the Congo for a year so he could work as a medical missionary, and she started keeping a diary.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, April 7, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Sunday, April 7, 2024

Today is the birthday of William Wordsworth, born in Cockermouth, England (1770). For two hundred years tourists have gone to England’s Lake District to see Wordsworth’s daffodils and other places he wrote about in his poems.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, April 6, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Saturday, April 6, 2024

It’s the birthday of the Shoshone woman Sacajawea, born in Idaho sometime around 1789. She was kidnapped at age 10 by the Hidatsa tribe, sold into slavery, and bought by a French-Canadian trapper who made her one of his two wives.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, April 5, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Friday, April 5, 2024

Today is the birthday of the father of antiseptic medicine: Joseph Lister, born in Upton, England (1827). He was a surgeon at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where about half of all patients in surgery died later of what was called “ward fever.” The prevailing theory of infection was that it was caused by miasma, or bad air.

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The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, April 4, 2024

The Writer’s Almanac for Thursday, April 4, 2024

It’s the birthday of Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis in 1928, whose 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was a big best-seller. It begins: “When I was three and Bailey four, we had arrived in the musty little town, wearing tags on our wrists which instructed — “To Whom It May Concern” — that we were Marguerite and Bailey Johnson Jr., from Long Beach, California, en route to Stamps, Arkansas, c/o Mrs. Annie Henderson. Our parents had decided to put an end to their calamitous marriage, and Father shipped us home to his mother.”

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