Famous Authors Who Died in October 2023: In the literary world, October 2023 has been marked by the loss of several luminaries who have left an indelible mark on the world of letters. From poets to screenwriters, novelists to historians, these authors have traversed a diverse range of genres, enriching our cultural tapestry with their unique voices and perspectives. Their works have not only entertained and educated us, but also challenged us to see the world in new and often profound ways. As we bid farewell to these iconic figures, we take a moment to reflect on their contributions to the literary landscape and the ways in which they have shaped our collective consciousness. Join us as we pay tribute to these famous authors and celebrate the enduring legacy of their words and stories.
Famous Authors Who Died in October 2023
Louise Elisabeth Glück, born on April 22, 1943, in New York City, passed away on October 13, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that spans several decades and encompasses a range of literary accolades. Her writing, characterized by an “unmistakable poetic voice,” earned her the prestigious 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature, along with numerous other awards such as the Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Bollingen Prize. Glück served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2003 to 2004, further solidifying her status as one of America’s literary giants.
Raised on Long Island, Glück battled anorexia nervosa in her high school years. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and Columbia University but didn’t complete a degree. In addition to her writing, she devoted her time to teaching poetry at several academic institutions, including Yale University and Stanford University, shaping the minds of the next generation of poets.
Glück’s poetry is known for its emotional depth and often draws from mythology and nature to explore personal experiences and the complexities of modern life. Her work frequently delves into themes of trauma, desire, and nature, with a candid portrayal of sadness and isolation. Her ability to intertwine her autobiographical experiences with classical myths has been a particular focus of literary scholars, highlighting her unique approach to storytelling. The world has lost a literary giant whose words and teachings will continue to resonate for generations to come.
Patrick, born January 19, 1935, in the Bronx, was a powerhouse in the literary and film world. His works, such as the crime novels “The Pope of Greenwich Village” and “Family Business”, not only achieved cult status but were also adapted into feature films that starred the likes of Eric Roberts, Mickey Rourke, Sean Connery, and Dustin Hoffman. These adaptations, directed by industry legends Stuart Rosenberg and Sidney Lumet respectively, brought Patrick’s narratives to life on the big screen. Furthermore, Patrick co-wrote the screenplay for “The Devil’s Own” and contributed early treatments for iconic films like “Beverly Hills Cop” and “The Godfather Part III”.
However, Patrick’s journey to literary acclaim was far from conventional. After dropping out of high school and a stint selling Bibles, Patrick returned to academia, earning a high school diploma and a mechanical engineering degree from New York University. It was in his mid-30s that Patrick left engineering to pursue his true passion – writing.
Tragically, Patrick’s life came to an end on October 6, 2023, at his Manhattan home due to complications from Lewy body dementia. His legacy, however, lives on through his novels “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1979), “Family Business” (1985), and “Smoke Screen” (1999), which continue to captivate readers and film enthusiasts alike.
Holden, born on May 22, 1947, was an esteemed English writer, broadcaster, and literary critic. With a knack for delving into the lives of some of history’s most fascinating figures, Holden wrote biographies of prominent personalities such as William Shakespeare, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Laurence Olivier, and members of the British royal family, including Charles, Prince of Wales. His contribution to the world of literature was not limited to biographies; Holden also translated operas and Ancient Greek poetry.
In addition to his literary endeavors, Holden had a passion for poker and penned several autobiographical books about the game. His profound impact on the poker community was acknowledged in 2009 when he was elected the first President of the International Federation of Poker (IFP). With his diverse range of works and significant contributions to both literature and the world of poker, Anthony Holden leaves behind a rich legacy that will continue to be celebrated and cherished.
Wenche Blomberg, a multifaceted Norwegian author, journalist, librarian, criminologist, and government scholar, passed away at the age of 80 on October 27, 2023, leaving behind a rich legacy of contributions to literature and academia. Born on June 23, 1943, in Tønsberg, Blomberg grew up in Tjøme, Vestfold. Her literary works include an array of children’s books such as “Appelsinenes land” (1980), which provides a glimpse into the lives of children in Palestine from 1947-1948, and “Jeg skal få en katt” (1983), along with educational books and songbooks that delve into the intricacies of the Middle East.
One of her significant contributions to criminology was “Galskapens hus. Internering og utskilling i Norge 1550—1850” (2002), a comprehensive exploration of the history of psychiatric institutions in Norway. Blomberg’s excellence was acknowledged through awards like the Kulturdepartementets bildebokpris in 1983, the NBU-prisen in 1992, and Norway’s research council’s interpretation prize in 2006.
As the leader of Bondeungdomslaget i Oslo from 2007 and a recipient of a state grant from 2008, Blomberg’s impact was felt far and wide, making her a celebrated figure in Norwegian literature and scholarship.
Peter Gustav Olausson (6 November 1971 – 26 October 2023) was a prominent Swedish author and webmaster renowned for his comprehensive collection and publication of factoids. His quest for debunking myths and misconceptions was not limited to the internet; it extended to various books, contributing significantly to contemporary literature. Olausson was born and raised on Tjörn, Sweden, where he pursued computational linguistics before becoming a webmaster.
Beginning in 2003, Olausson dedicated his career to unraveling the mysteries behind popular misconceptions and urban legends. His endeavors resulted in a series of published books, with the first released in 2008. The third book of the series even made its way to Norwegian readers, exemplifying the widespread appeal of his works.
Olausson’s impact extended beyond the realm of writing. In 2009, he co-hosted the radio series Mytjägarna, delving into popular myths and misconceptions. His commitment to factual integrity was evident through his active participation in the Swedish Skeptics Association, where he held various roles, including chairman from 2017 to 2018. This dedication to truth and fact culminated in him receiving the prestigious “Det gyllene förstoringsglaset” award in 2019, an acknowledgment of his significant contributions to the world of fact-checking and myth-busting.
Christiane Collange, born Christiane Servan-Schreiber on October 29, 1930, in France, was a prominent journalist and esteemed author who made significant contributions to French journalism and literature. Born into a diverse family with Jewish and Roman Catholic roots, Collange grew up surrounded by influential family members, including her father, Émile Servan-Schreiber, a Jewish journalist and author, and her brothers, Jean-Jacques and Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber, both of whom also had successful careers in journalism.
Her literary contributions included the groundbreaking book, “Madame et le management,” published in 1969, in which she championed the idea of women managing their households like a business, a progressive notion that challenged the traditional roles of women at the time. In addition to her professional achievements, Collange was an advocate for the right to die with dignity, serving on the honorary committee of the Association pour le droit de mourir dans la dignité, a pro-euthanasia organization.
Despite facing the challenges of three divorces, Collange’s personal life was enriched by her son, Vincent Ferniot, whom she shared with her ex-husband, journalist and author Jean Ferniot. On October 24, 2023, just days before her 93rd birthday, the world lost a brilliant mind and a strong advocate for women’s rights with the passing of Christiane Collange. Her legacy, however, will undoubtedly live on through her contributions to journalism and literature, as well as the significant impact she had on advocating for the right to die with dignity.
Tom O’Lincoln, born on August 27, 1947, was a renowned American Marxist historian and author who played a pivotal role in founding the International Socialist Tendency in Australia. His academic journey led him to UC Berkeley in 1966, where he joined the International Socialists, a group that had been active in the Free Speech Movement in the preceding years.
O’Lincoln’s experiences and insights were vast, encompassing first-hand accounts of significant historical events and movements such as the Carnation Revolution in Portugal, the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, the aftermath of Ferdinand Marcos’ downfall in the Philippines, the USSR under Mikhail Gorbachev, and the upheavals against Suharto in Indonesia.
In addition to his historical pursuits, O’Lincoln was a committed member of the Trotskyist organization, Socialist Alternative, and its electoral alliance party, the Victorian Socialists, although citations are needed to confirm these affiliations. He also contributed as an editor to the online journal Marxist Interventions.
Cynthia Hyla Whittaker (May 15, 1941 – October 11, 2023) was a renowned American academic and author who specialized in the history of Eastern Europe, with a focus on the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. Whittaker taught at Baruch College and served as Chair of the History Department. She was a Fulbright Scholar and received grants from the Harriman and Kennan Institutes, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
She also spent time as a visiting fellow at Hokkaido University in Japan. From October 2003 to May 2004, she co-curated an exhibit entitled “Russia Engages the World, 1453-1825” at the New York Public Library. Whittaker died in New York City on October 11, 2023, at the age of 82. Her contributions to the field of Eastern European history have greatly enriched our understanding of the region, and her legacy continues to inspire students and scholars alike.
Louise Meriwether, born on May 8, 1923, was an esteemed American novelist, essayist, journalist, and activist, notable for her contributions to children’s literature through biographies of historically important African Americans. She gained prominence with her first novel, “Daddy Was a Number Runner” (1970), which was a semi-autobiographical depiction of her childhood experiences in Harlem, New York City, during the Great Depression and post-Harlem Renaissance era.
Her career was marked by notable achievements, including working as a freelance reporter for the Los Angeles Sentinel, becoming the first black woman hired as a story editor in Hollywood, and contributing to the first issue of Essence magazine. Besides “Daddy Was a Number Runner”, she authored other novels like “Francie’s Harlem” (1988), “Fragments of the Ark” (1994), and “Shadow Dancing” (2000).
Meriwether also penned children’s biographies of prominent African American figures like Robert Smalls, Daniel Hale Williams, and Rosa Parks, emphasizing the importance of black history in education. Her literary works, teaching stints, and contributions to children’s literature have left an indelible mark on American literature and history.
Balaban was an American actress and author known for her book, “The Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly and Six Intimate Friends,” where she provided an intimate perspective on her friend, Grace Kelly. Balaban was one of Kelly’s bridesmaids during her wedding to Rainier III, Prince of Monaco in April 1956. Born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois, on October 13, 1932, Balaban was the sister of Leonard “Red” Balaban, a jazz musician, and Burt Balaban, a film producer.
She dated actor Montgomery Clift in the early 1950s, and was married thrice – first to Jay Kanter, Grace Kelly’s talent agent, then to actor Tony Franciosa, and finally to actor Don Quine. She was also featured in the Showtime documentary “Becoming Cary Grant.” Judith Rose Balaban died at the age of 91, on October 19, 2023, in a Los Angeles hospital, leaving behind a rich legacy in film and literature.
Needle, born James Albert Needle in 1943, was a prolific English author with a diverse portfolio encompassing over thirty novels, plays, books of criticism, cartoons, and television and radio serials. Raised in a family with strong naval and military connections in Portsmouth, Needle ventured into journalism before pursuing drama at Manchester University. His first novel, “Albeson and the Germans,” was published in 1977, marking the beginning of his prolific writing career.
Needle’s “The Bully” has been particularly impactful, translated into multiple languages and incorporated as a set text in South American schools. Another notable work is “Wild Wood,” a sequel to “The Wind in the Willows,” which offers a unique perspective on the story by focusing on the stoats and weasels. Needle’s collaboration with Peter Thomson on a study of playwright Bertolt Brecht further highlights his versatility as an author.
In his later years, Needle adapted classic novels such as “Dracula,” “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame,” and “Moby-Dick” to make them more accessible for children. Jan Needle left behind a rich literary legacy following his death on October 9, 2023, at the age of 80.