Eudora Welty is considered one of the most important authors of the twentieth century. Although the majority of her stories are set in the American South and reflect the region's language and culture, critics agree that Welty's treatment of universal (covering or including all) themes and her wide-ranging artistic influences clearly cross all regional boundaries.
Edith Wharton was born Edith Newbold Jones in New York City, on January 24, probably in 1861. Like many other biographical facts, she kept her birth year secret.
The American painter, etcher, and lithographer James Whistler created a new set of principles for the fine arts, championed art for art's sake, and introduced a subtle style of painting in which atmosphere and mood were the main focus.
Walt Whitman is generally considered to be the most important American poet of the nineteenth century. He wrote in free verse (not in traditional poetic form), relying heavily on the rhythms of common American speech.
Romanian-born American writer, speaker, and teacher Elie Wiesel is a survivor of the Holocaust, the massive killing of Jews by the Nazis, Germany's radical army during World War II (1939–45; a war fought between the Axis powers: Italy, Germany, and Japan—and the Allies: England, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States). Wiesel is currently the chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.
Oscar Fingall O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, on October 16, 1854. His father, Sir William Wilde, was a well-known surgeon; his mother, Jane Francisca Elgee Wilde, wrote popular poetry and other work under the pseudonym (pen name) Speranza.
American author Laura Ingalls Wilder was the creator of the much-loved children's series of "Little House" books that recounted her life as a young girl on the Western frontier during the late 1800s.
Novelist and playwright Thornton Wilder won two Pulitzer Prizes for his plays Our Town and The Skin of Our Teeth, written in 1938 and 1942 respectively. His most well-known novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, also won him a Pulitzer Prize in 1927.
Tennessee Williams was born Thomas Lanier Williams in Columbus, Mississippi, on March 26, 1914, the second of three children of Cornelius and Edwina Williams. His father, a traveling salesman, was rarely home and for many years the family lived with his mother's parents.
Woodrow Wilson was admired as a writer, a scholar, and an educator more than two decades before he became president. He spent twenty-four years working in the academic world as a professor, then as a college president, before he was elected governor of New Jersey.
America's first lady of talk shows, Oprah Winfrey is well known for surpassing her competition to become the most watched daytime show host on television. Her natural style with guests and audiences on the Oprah Winfrey Show earned her widespread popularity, as well as her own production company, Harpo, Inc.
Anna May Wong is chiefly remembered as the first actress of Asian descent to achieve stardom as the "Oriental temptress," so much a fixture of melodramas in the late 1920s and 1930s.
American golfer Tiger Woods is the youngest man ever, and the first man of color, to win the Masters Tournament of golf.
The English novelist, critic, and essayist Virginia Woolf ranks as one of England's most distinguished writers of the middle part of the twentieth century. Her novels can perhaps best be described as impressionistic, a literary style which attempts to inspire impressions rather than recreating reality.
William Wordsworth was an early leader of romanticism (a literary movement that celebrated nature and concentrated on human emotions) in English poetry and ranks as one of the greatest lyric poets in the history of English literature.
The American aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first to accomplish manned, powered flight in a heavier-than-air machine.
The American architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed dramatically creative buildings during a career of almost seventy years. His work established the imagery for much of the modern architectural environment.
The works of Richard Wright, a politically sophisticated and socially involved African American author, are notable for their passionate sincerity. He was perceptive about the universal problems that had the ability to destroy mankind.
William Butler Yeats was an Irish poet and dramatist (playwright). Some think he was the greatest poet of the twentieth century.
Boris Yeltsin, who became president of Russia in 1991, was one of the most complex political leaders of his time. A longtime Communist Party leader, he was an important leader in the reform (social improvement) movements of the late 1980s and 1990s.
From Pulitzer prize-winning playwright to young adult fiction writer, American author Paul Zindel turned his real-life turbulent (marked by disturbance and unrest) teens into fictional stories to show teenagers that their lives and feelings do matter.