Notable Literary Deaths in 2021

The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti (pictured above) is only one of many, many literary luminaries who died last year.

The names and photos (and, in some cases, obituaries) of the others are listed here (at Literary Hub), here (New York Times), here (Guardian), here (Goodreads), here (BookBaby), here (Writers Write), and here (


Notable Literary Deaths in 2020

I’m a bit tardy in posting this set of annual links to surveys of famous or important writers who died last year.

Popular novelists included John le Carre, Mary Higgins Clark, and Clive Cussler; important nonfiction writers included Barry Lopez, Jan Morris, and Gail Sheehy; notable scholars included George Steiner (pictured above).

The best lists to consult for these and additional names are:

Noted Author Deaths in 2012

The following noted writers died this past year:

Click on any of the names above that you’re unfamiliar with, if you’d like to read Wikipedia’s article on that person. And send us a comment if we’ve inadvertently excluded from this list your favorite novelist, poet, playwright, journalist, biographer, historian, scientist, philosopher, or scholar who died this past year.

The works of most of these authors are available at various Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and can be obtained through a search of the library system’s catalog. Books by authors that are not in AFPLS collections can be obtained via the free Interlibrary Loan service.

Writer Jacques Barzun Dies at 104

Barzun died last week. The New York Times obituary is here (Mr. Google can lead to to dozens of others); Wikipedia’s entry on the fascinating career of this French-born American writer/teacher/philosopher is here; and a collection of quotations from his works is available here.

You can borrow Barzun’s books from your local public library. (Note: there are over three dozen to choose from, some of them containing some of the most thoughtful well-written prose of the past century.)


Acclaimed Writer, Actor David Rackoff Dies at 47

Writer David Rakoff died last week after a long bout with cancer. He was 47 years old.

The Internet is plastered with universally affectionate obituaries and remembrances (such as those at The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and The Paris Review). Even before his death, people had access to videos of Rakoff’s off-beat readings, videos that now are being watched by many for the first time.

The Atlanta-Fulton Library owns a copy of Rakoff’s Half Empty, but he wrote two other collections of essays as well: Fraud and Don’t Get Too Comfortable. He also wrote screenplays, acted in many plays, and was well-known to listeners of public radio’s This American Life.

Beloved Author Ray Bradbury Dies at 91

Mr. Google or Mr. Bing will help you find the obituaries of Ray Bradbury that will be published in every major English-language newspaper tomorrow.

Even President Obama issued a comment on Bradbury’s death.

Readers who have somehow never managed to read any of Bradbury’s numerous books will find them in their local libraries.

Bradbury’s books have turned countless readers into avid science fiction fans, and Bradbury was a particularly vocal supporter of public libraries.

You can read a transcript of The Paris Review’s lengthy interview with Bradbury here.

You can watch an Atlantic Magazine video of a documentary about Bradbury here.