Poet, novelist and short story writer Charles Bukowski was born in Germany on this day in 1920. The author of six novels, many hundreds of short stories and thousands of poems, in 1986 TIME magazine named Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife.”
Bukowski’s final novel, Pulp, was completed not long before Bukowski died of leukemia in 1994. The novel was a pastiche of American pulp fiction and a poorly executed mystery that is nonetheless considered to contain some of the author’s sharpest writing and starkest observations.
The author has been the topic of several films, notably the 2003 documentary Bukowski: Born Into This. James Franco is currently working on a film adaptation of Bukowski’s 1982 novel Ham on Rye, which Franco has described as one of his “favorite books of all time.”