Happy Birthday Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)
Born this day in 1885, she is best known for Out of Africa (1937), her memoir of living on a coffee plantation in British East Africa (now Kenya). After her divorce from her husband, Baron Bror von Blixen-Finecke, in 1925, she managed the farm on her own until forced to sell it six years later. She returned to Denmark and began writing. Her first book, Nine Tales (now published as Seven Gothic Tales) was published in 1934. Following WWII, her literary star skyrocketed, particularly in America, where she toured in 1959 being received on her visit by the likes of e.e. cummings, Pearl Buck, Gloria Vanderbilt, Truman Capote, Arthur Miller and Marilyn Monroe. Recently released ballots from the Swedish Academy show that she was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in both 1961 and 1962, the year of her death. She remains one of Denmark’s great literary lions, and her portrait has been featured on the front of the Danish 50-krone banknote as well as Danish postage stamps.
"When in the end, the day came on which I was going away, I learned the strange learning that things can happen which we ourselves cannot possibly imagine, either beforehand, or at the time when they are taking place, or afterwards when we look back on them."—Out of Africa