Literature without Shakespeare is like an aquarium without fishes. Though it would have all the adoration and kinds, a look at it would tell you that it is lifeless and dead. The world's greatest playwright and writer of English language, William Shakespeare has been conferred with the honour of being England's national poet and ˜Bard of Avon'. An author of 38 plays and 154 sonnets, his work was much more appreciated by the world after his lifetime. Plays written by Shakespeare have been translated into every major language of the world and have been performed extensively than those of any other playwright. Interestingly, such a power profile of a prolific writer went under the knife many a times after his death. Since there is no substantial information regarding the birth, life and death of Shakespeare, his education and his ˜supposed' literary connection, critics raised a controversy number of times as to whether or not he is the ˜real' author behind the works, most of them believing that the work was written by someone else. Across his career, this literary genius has touched various genres of playwriting including comedy, romance, tragedy and history. A respected poet and playwright, it was only in the 19th century that Shakespeare's reputation rose astronomically. While the Romantic considered him genius, the Victorians revered him. Even in the present 21st century, Shakespeare's works are being studied and performed in various cultures. Without a doubt, he is the most prodigious and cherished contributor to the world of literature!
Playwright and author who was named the UK Children’s Laureate from 2011 to 2013. She is well known for her rhyming stories for children, which include The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.
Tennessee Williams, one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century, was the man behind unforgettable characters like Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski. He gave the audience characters that they were going to remember for the rest of their life. His plays were a crystal clear vision of the life down South and the different forms and strata of the human society. He has been rightly called the Master playwright, the greatest Southern playwright in the history of American Drama. Just like his characters, he too was troubled and self-destructive. He was addicted to drugs and was a hardcore alcoholic. His plays are autobiographical in nature and we can see glimpses of his own life in his plays. He was a fan of the concept called ˜poetic realism'”when one watches the same thing over and over again, the act seems to take on a symbolic meaning after some time. His plays were filled with extremities which were justified because he believed they were a part of the human condition. What Williams wrote was very honest and came from a heart that had endured everything that he wrote about. His vulnerability was what that made his work so much more important. His genius lay in his heartfelt struggle to tell the world his innermost stories.
Australian actress and playwright who first rose to fame penning the play Bona Mors, which explores children dealing with death. She also stars in the Viki original series Dramaworld as Claire Duncan.
Arthur Asher Miller is one of the greatest American dramatists of the 20th century. His work was respected in the literary circuit, for its honesty and edginess. He was born and brought up in New York in a rich family with servants and chauffeurs but soon his father lost all his money to Wall Street Crash of 1929 and Miller had to struggle to support his family as well as his studies. He went to University of Michigan where he was awarded for his literary genius with the Avery Hopwood Award. His plays started getting produced from the 1940s until 2010. The most successful play of his life has been ˜The Death of a Salesman' which fetched him a Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He got married thrice and one of his marriages was with the Hollywood actress Marilyn Monroe. Their relationship was sensationalized throughout their marriage due to the troubled lifestyle of Monroe. After her death, a lot of his work was inspired by his experiences with Monroe like, ˜After The Fall'. Some of Miller's plays like, ˜The Death of a Salesman' and ˜The Crucibles' have been turned into motion picture. He died while he was in relationship with a woman half his age - Agnes Barley.
English playwright who wrote works like Educating Rita, Blood Brothers, and Our Day Out. He was the winner of multiple Laurence Olivier Awards.
Samuel Shepard Rogers III was an American playwright, actor, and filmmaker whose contribution to film, theatre, and literature spanned half a century. Hailing from a family of educators, Shepard developed an attraction towards the works of Samuel Beckett, jazz, and abstract expressionism during his college years. In 1962, while in New York City, he was introduced to the Off-Off-Broadway theatre scene. He finished his first play, ˜Cowboys' in 1964. While in the initial years of his career, he was exclusively occupied with stage works, in 1969, he co-wrote the script for the family-drama ˜Me and My Brother'. Shepard ventured into acting in 1970 and over the years, established himself as a prominent character actor, first in films and later on television, even earning an Oscar nod for his performance in ˜The Right Stuff'. His impressive body of work went through distinct transformation as he matured as an author and intellectual, from the absurdism of his early days to the realism of his later plays. Regarded as one of the most influential playwrights and screenwriters of the modern age, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1979 and ten Obie Awards for writing and directing, the most received by any writer or director.
Playwright and theater director who won a Tony award for his direction of the popular musical "Guys and Dolls." His play "You Can't Take It With You" and his book for the Gershwin musical "Of Thee I Sing" both earned him the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
American playwright who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for How I Learned to Drive, in 1998. She also wrote The Baltimore Waltz.
Playwright who has written for Marvel comics, Glee, Big Love, and Riverdale. He has over 150,000 followers on his writerras Instagram account.
Remembered for such satirical and humorous short stories as "The Interlopers," "The Schartz-Metterklume Method," and "Tobermory," he also co-wrote a play titled The Watched Pot. Born Hector Hugh Munro, he wrote under the pen name of Saki.
Best known for his Academy Award nominated screenplay for the film The Motorcycle Diaries. He also published a number of plays which include Marisol and Cloud Tectonics.
Neil Simon was an American playwright and screenwriter. He hasdwritten around thirty plays and same number of movie scripts that have been mainly adapted from his stage writing. He was the writer with most number of Academy Award and Tony Award nominations. Simon started out by writing for television and wrote for successful TV shows like, ˜The Phil Slivers Show' and ˜Your Shows of Shows' - his writing received acknowledgement through Emmy Awards. This initial success encouraged him to write his own creative piece and after working on it for three years, he came out with his successful Broadway ˜Come Blow your Horn' in the early 1960s. There was no looking back for him after it and he wrote more plays and screen scripts. His writing career was so booming that one season he had four successful plays showing on Broadway at the same time and he became the only living playwright who has a theatre named after him - Neil Simon Theatre in New York. Simon's work ranges from romantic comedy to farce to more serious dramatic comedy. He touched topics like marital conflict, infidelity, sibling rivalry, adolescence, fear of aging, etc. with his writing. Most of his inspiration comes from the source of his unhappy and tormenting childhood, where he faced poverty and volatile marriage of his parents. Writing for him was always a source of emotional stability, a technique he imbibed as a child when he used to take solace in the comedy movies of Charlie Chaplin.
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright and often referred to as the ˜Father of modern Swedish literature'. Though he is reputed for his plays outside Sweden, nationally he is equally recognised as a poet, painter, essayist and novelist. His contribution as a writer in a career span of around four decades include more than thirty works of friction, sixty plays, historical works, autobiographies, political writings and cultural analysis. He experimented and delved into vast spectrum of dramatic techniques including melodramatic, tragic, historical, surrealist and naturalistic styles. His real breakthrough in theatres came in 1881 with ˜Master Olof', his first prominent play that was premiered at the ˜New Theatre'. A new composite form of Expressionist drama evolved in European field of drama with his experimental fusion of Naturalism with psychology. For some time in the 1890s he stayed abroad and got hooked with occult science. After suffering from bouts of psychotic attacks leading to hospitalisation, he came back to Sweden. Later upon his recovery he was fascinated by the views of Emanuel Swedenborg and made up his mind to become "the Zola of the Occult". He got back to playwriting in 1898. Some of his noted plays like ˜The Father' (1887), ˜Miss Julie' (1888), ˜A Dream Play' (1902), and ˜The Ghost Sonata' (1907) are performed till date.
He wrote the hit pop songs Escape (The Piña Colada Song) and Him, and also wrote the Tony Award-winning musical Drood.
George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, literary critic and a fervent socialist who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925. Born into a lower-middle class family in Dublin to an alcoholic father, George Bernard Shaw had a an irregular education and started working at the age of 15. After serving as a junior clerk for a while, Shaw moved to London to live with his mother and began writing plays and novels.to pursue a career in literature. Later, he established himself as an art and theatre critic, and also became a prominent member of the Fabian Society, a highly dominant British socialist organization. Most of his early plays focused on existing social problems and were not well-received by the audience but from 1895 onwards, Shaw's work started gaining public recognition due to its comic relief. Some of his plays during this period such as ˜Caesar and Cleopatra', ˜Major Barbara', ˜The Doctor's Dilemma', ˜Saint Joan' and ˜Pygmalion' received much appreciation and proved to be some of his greatest successes on the stage. Being an outright socialist, Shaw openly expressed his disapproval regarding the First World War, facing criticism for his opinions but after the war, he returned as a dramatist and was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature for his outstanding contribution. He lived the rest of his life as an international celebrity, continually involved in dramatics until his death. Shaw still remains one of the most significant playwrights in the English language who helped shape the theatre of his time.
One of Africa's greatest writers, Wole Soyinka is the first African to be awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. He is regarded as one of the finest poetical playwrights and has been imprisoned countless times for his outspoken views on the Nigerian government. He has been a controversial figure in Nigerian politics and has spent long periods of his life in exile. Soyinka has criticized several Nigerian military dictators, particularly late General Sanni Abacha, and has also condemned the tyrannical regime of Mugabe in Zimbabwe. His plays deal with a variety of themes, ranging from comedy to tragedy and from political satire to power struggles of the indigenous people. He played an active role in Nigeria's political history and its struggle with British colonization. He is also recognised as one of the masters of dramatics and theatre, who presented crucial political issues through this literary works. Some of his most influential works include, ˜A dance of the Forests', ˜AkÃ©: The Years of Childhood', ˜The Lion and the Jewel' and ˜The Interpreters'. His recent book, ˜Of Africa', is a path breaking revelation of Africa's history, culture and heritage.
Remembered for being the first African-American to write a Broadway play. A Raisin in the Sun debuted on Broadway in 1959.
A famous Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet, Henrik Ibsen is often considered as the father of modern theater and one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre. Ibsen is often ranked as one of the greatest playwrights in the European literature, also perhaps the greatest playwright since Shakespeare. He was born in Skien, a small port town in Norway, into one the most prominent families of the town. Initially, they were very rich; but when he was eight years old, his father's bankruptcy led them to sell their palatial home and become social outcast. He soon became reclusive and moody; doing not very well at school, happy to leave his hometown at the age of sixteen. After six years of working at a pharmacist's shop, he ultimately moved to Oslo, taking up writing as his career. Around the age of 36, he first tasted success and after receiving a traveling scholarship, he left his native land. Staying mostly in Italy and Germany, he wrote many master pieces like ˜Brand', ˜Peer Gynt', ˜An Enemy of the People', ˜Emperor and Galilean', ˜A Doll's House', ˜The Wild Duck' etc. After 27 years of self-imposed exile he returned to Norway at the age of 63, continuing to write until a stroke left him incapacitated at the age of 72.
Nobel Prize winning Irish avant-garde playwright, novelist and poet, Samuel Beckett is revered as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century. He is best remembered as the father of the Postmodernist movement, whose body of work influenced a wide range of subsequent writers and filmmakers. He was also a writer of the ˜Theatre of the Absurd', plays of absurdist fiction genre. His work has been embedded with elements of black comedy, gallows humour and offers a tragicomic outlook into human nature. His seminal work ˜Waiting for Godet' is a timeless classic that delved into the absurdity of human existence. Samuel Beckett became a part of the French Resistance movement during the World War II and fled to escape war. During the years of war, he devoted his time to writing some of his most acclaimed works. He came back to Paris after the Germans left and reached the zenith of his writing career. Some of his best known works include, ˜Malone Dies', ˜Molloy', ˜The Unnamable', ˜Watt' and the play, ˜Endgame'. His works have been translated into more than twenty languages.
Playwright and lyricist for such Disney films as Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin, usually with <a title='Alan Menken' href='/famous/alan-menken.htm'>Alan Menken</a>.
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer, novelist, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. Vidal was born in New York and brought up in California by his Broadway actress mother and army officer father. When he finished college, he went to join the army and became a warrant officer, until he fell ill because of arthritis. He started writing when he was only 21 and wrote many controversial, ahead of his time novels, essays, memoirs and film scripts. The most controversial work of his literary career was his second novel called ˜The City and the Pillar', which had an unflustered portrayal of homosexuality in it. It shocked the society at the time so much so that New York Times refused to review his books for the next 5 years, which compelled him to write under a pseudo-name for some years. His writings are considered to be sharp and witty. He was a broad-minded writer, who often wrote satirical statements on sex, gender, gays, etc. Vidal was a self proclaimed bisexual who remained in a long term relationship with his partner Howard Austin.
Anton Chekhov was one of the most illustrious and celebrated short-story writers in the history of literature. Trained as a physician, he pursued his career of a medical practitioner without giving up on his passion for writing which he discovered when he was young. Interestingly, writing happened incidentally to Chekhov who started off by writing humorous letters to his family in Moscow, while he was in Taganrog to uplift their morale as the family faced trying times. Following this, he started writing materials which soon were featured in newspaper periodicals and literary journals. Initially writing for monetary gains, his artistic ambitions later forced him to concentrate on quality work as he came up with the evolution of what is today known as modern short story. His most impressive works as a short story writer and playwright include, ˜The Cherry orchard', ˜The Seagull', ˜Uncle Vanya', ˜Three Sisters' and ˜Lady with the Dog'.
Playwright and poet whose most successful works for the stage include "The Great Divide" and "The Faith Healer."