Literary Birthday – 7 February – Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis was born 7 February 1885, and died 10 January 1951.


  1. If you want to be a writer, learn to type.
  2. The author says one character’s definition of a classic is any book he’d heard of before he was thirty.
  3. Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.
  4. If that woman is on the side of the angels, then I have no choice; I must be on the side of the devil.
  5. It is impossible to discourage the real writers – they don’t give a damn what you say, they’re going to write.
  6. When audiences come to see us authors lecture, it is largely in the hope that we’ll be funnier to look at than to read.
  7. There are dozens of young poets and fictioneers most of them a little insane in the tradition of James Joyce, who, however insane they may be, have refused to be genteel and traditional and dull.
  8. Every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient, and sterile. In protest, I declined election to the National Institute of Arts and Letters some years ago, and now I must decline the Pulitzer Prize.
  9. We have the power to bore people long after we are dead.
  10. A country that tolerates evil means- evil manners, standards of ethics-for a generation, will be so poisoned that it never will have any good end.

Sinclair Lewis was the first American author to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He wrote novels about average Americans doing non-average things. He is best known for Main StreetArrowsmith, and Elmer Gantry.

Source for Image: Arnold Genthe, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 7th February 2014