Literary Birthday – 3 February – James Michener

James Michener was born 3 February 1907, and died 16 October 1997.

Top 10 Michener Quotes

  1. Being goal-oriented instead of self-oriented is crucial. I know so many people who want to be writers. But let me tell you, they really don’t want to be writers. They want to have been writers. They wish they had a book in print. They don’t want to go through the work of getting the damn book out. There is a huge difference.
  2. Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries.
  3. I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
  4. I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.
  5. The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labour and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.
  6. Writers turn dreams into print.
  7. I think the crucial thing in the writing career is to find what you want to do and how you fit in. What somebody else does is of no concern whatever except as an interesting variation.
  8. If your book doesn’t keep you up nights when you are writing it, it won’t keep anyone up nights reading it.
  9. The really great writers are people like Emily Brontë who sit in a room and write out of their limited experience and unlimited imagination.
  10. Public libraries have been a mainstay of my life. They represent an individual’s right to acquire knowledge; they are the sinews that bind civilized societies the world over. Without libraries, I would be a pauper, intellectually and spiritually.

James Michener was an American author who wrote more than 40 books, He mostly penned sweeping sagas, covering the lives of many generations, and incorporating historical facts and places into the stories. Michener was known for his meticulous research. His major books include Tales of the South Pacific (a Pulitzer Prize Winner), Hawaii, CentennialTexas, and Poland. His non-fiction works include his 1992 memoir, The World Is My Home.

Source for image: Wikipedia, University of Texas at Arlington News Service Photograph Collection, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 3rd February 2013