Writers who have recently died:

Swedish writer Börge Hellström died on 17th February aged 59; he was best known as one half of the writing duo Roslund & Hellström...Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna died on 16th February aged 98; he is best known for his children's books, his most notable creation is Miffy (Nijntje in the original Dutch)...English-Irish poet Tom Raworth died on 8th February aged 78, he was a key figure in the British Poetry Revival....Canadian novelist Richard B. Wright died on 7th February aged 79, he is best known for his award winning novel Clara Callan (2001)...American poet Thomas Lux died on 5th February aged 70...Pakistani novelist Bano Qudsia died on 4th February aged 88, her best known work is Raja Gidh (1981)...Albanian poet and writer Dritëro Agolli died on 3rd February aged 85...African-American novelist William Melvin Kelley died on 1st February aged 79; he is best known for his debut novel, A Different Drummer, published in 1962...Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta died on 25th January aged 72, her best known novels include The Bride Price (1976) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979)...British author Douglas Reeman / Alexander Kent died on 23rd January aged 92 he wrote historical fiction about the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....Award winning Dutch writer and poet Robert Anker died on 20th January aged 70...Jamaican novelist Peter Abrahams died on 18th January aged 97...South Korean novelist Jung Mikyung died 18th January aged 56...English children's author and illustrator Babette Cole died on 15th January aged 66; her books include Princess Smartypants (1986) and Prince Cinders (1987)...Italian author Giulio Angioni died on 12th January aged 77...American author of The Exorcist (1971), William Peter Blatty, died on 12th January aged 89...

Vera Brittain (1893-1970)

Photo taken by: Nordavind
Death: 29th March 1970 
Location: Cremated, ashes scattered on the grave of her brother, Edward Brittain, at Granezza British Cemetery, Asiago Plateau, Italy and on the grave of her husband, George Catlin, at St James the Great Churchyard, Old Milverton, Warwickshire, England

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British writer, feminist and pacifist, best remembered as the author of the best-selling 1933 memoir Testament Of Youth, recounting her experiences during World War I. She studied English Literature at Somerville College, Oxford, she delayed her degree after one year in the summer of 1915 in order to work as a V.A.D. nurse for much of the First World War. Her fiancé, two other close friends, and her brother Edward Brittain MC were all killed during the war.

Returning to Oxford after the war she met Winifred Holtby, and a close friendship developed with both aspiring to become established on the London literary scene. The bond lasted until Holtby's death in 1935. In 1925 Brittain married George Catlin, a political scientist and philosopher.  Vera Brittain never fully got over the death of her brother Edward. When she died, aged 76, her will requested that her ashes be scattered on Edward's grave – "...for nearly 50 years much of my heart has been in that Italian village cemetery".

Mrs Humphry Ward (Mary Augusta Ward) (1851-1920)

Death:  26th March 1920
Location: John the Baptist Church, Aldbury, Hertfordshire, England
Photo taken by: Clive and Chris

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British novelist, born in Hobart, Tasmania, she was the niece of the poet Matthew Arnold and her nephew was the author Aldous Huxley. 
When Mary was five the family returned to England. In 1872 she married Thomas Humphry Ward and she began her writing career in 1881 when she published the children’s book Milly and Olly
Her writing is religious in its tone as was common in the Victorian era and her work was popular in both the UK and the US. According to the New York Times, her book Lady Rose's Daughter was the bestselling novel in the United States in 1903, as was The Marriage of William Ashe in 1905. Her most popular novel by far was the religious "novel with a purpose" Robert Elsmere, which portrayed the religious crisis of a young pastor and his family.

John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969)

Photo taken by: David N Lotz
Death: 26th March 1969
Photo taken by: Wesh
Location: Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Cause of Death: Suicide - Carbon Monoxide

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American novelist, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Confederacy of Dunces.  Toole committed suicide by running a garden hose from the exhaust pipe in through the window of the car in which he was sitting.  Toole's novels remained unpublished during his lifetime. Some years after his death his mother Thelma Toole brought the manuscript of A Confederacy of Dunces to the attention of the novelist Walker Percy, who ushered the book into print. In 1981 Toole was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Sir John Vanbrugh (1664-1726)

Death: 26th March 1726 
Location: St Stephen Walbrook Church, London, England.  Buried in vault near altar, now unmarked 
Cause of death: Asthma
Photo taken by: Atelier Joly

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English architect and dramatist, perhaps best known as the designer of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard. He wrote two argumentative and outspoken Restoration comedies, The Relapse (1696) and The Provoked Wife (1697), which have become enduring stage favourites but originally caused much controversy. In his career as a playwright, he offended many sections of Restoration and 18th century society, not only by the sexual explicitness of his plays, but also by their messages in defense of women's rights in marriage.

Brendan Behan (1923-1964)

Death: 20th March 1964
Location: Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, Ireland
Cause of death: Diabetes
Photo taken by: Alan Sharp

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Irish playwright, novelist and poet who was one of the most successful Irish dramatists of the 20th Century. He joined the youth wing of the IRA in 1937; having his first poems and writing published in the organisations magazine. In 1939 Behan was arrested in possession of explosives in Liverpool, he was sentenced to three years in Borstal and after returning to Ireland in 1941 he was tried for the attempted murder of two detectives and sentenced to fourteen years. He was released in 1946 as part of an amnesty. His time in prison was pivotal in his career in writer, it was whilst imprisoned that he wrote his first play, and by the 50's he was earning his living as a writer. Behan had difficulty dealing with the fame that his writing brought, he had always been a heavy drinker and died aged 41 after refusing to stop drinking after developing diabetes.

Stephen Vincent Benét (1898-1943)

Death:  13th March 1943
Location: Stonington Cemetery, Stonington, New London County, Connecticut, United States
Cause of death: Heart Failure

Photo taken by: dead-trek.com

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American poet and author who is best remembered for his narrative poem John Brown’s Body which won him a Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1929. He also received an O.Henry award for his short story The Devil and Daniel Webster.  He received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Western Star. His brother, William Rose Benét, was also a poet.

Ivo Andrić (1892-1975)

Death: 13th March 1975
Location: Novo Groblje (New Cemetery), Belgrade, Serbia
Photo taken by: Babsi

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Yugoslav novelist, poet and short story writer who was awarded the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature. His writings dealt mainly with life in his native Bosnia under Ottoman rule.  His best known work is Na Drini ćuprija / The Bridge on the Drina. It is a historical novel that revolves around the Mehmed Paša Sokolović Bridge in Višegrad, which spans the Drina River and stands as a silent witness to history from its construction by the Ottomans in the mid-16th century until its partial destruction during World War I. The story spans about four centuries and covers the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian occupations of the region, with a particular emphasis on the lives, destinies and relations of the local inhabitants, especially Serbs and Bosnian Muslims.