Name at birth: William Cuthbert Falkner
William Faulkner wrote short stories, plays and novels beginning in the 1920s. He also wrote screenplays for Hollywood, including the 1944 adaptation of Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. His novels, many of which take place in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, give an almost mythological status to the culture of the southeastern United States. His most famous novels include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying and The Reivers. In 1950 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature (the co-recipient that year was Bertrand Russell).
Extra credit: During World War I, when Faulkner was trying to get into the Royal Air Force in Canada (he was too short for the Americans), he changed the spelling of his name so it would look more English. Faulkner did join the RAF, but never made it overseas.LANGSTON HUGHES
Hughes published more than three dozen books during his life, beginning with poetry and then expanding into novels, short stories, and plays.
He is closely associated with the Harlem Renaissance, the flowering of African-American literature and music in New York City following World War One. Hughes's work often spoke plainly about the lives of ordinary black people, which in later years earned him a reputation as one of the major black voices of the 1900s.
Benjamin Harrison was a Civil War general and a Republican senator from Indiana before defeating incumbent Grover Cleveland in the 1888 presidential election. His presidency was undistinguished, but his family tree was not: Harrison's great-grandfather was a signer of the Declaration of Independence; his grandfather was William Henry Harrison, ninth president of the United States; and his father was a congressman from Ohio. In a try for a second term, Harrison was...