It's always about time to celebrate what fathers have contributed to literature, both in being the writers of great works and by being the role models (both good and bad) that shaped the lives and minds of other writers who would be great.
We have the stereotype of fathers who have imparted wisdom to their sons and daughter. Some fathers have accomplished the task by penning their words on paper, so that all the generations to come could read it. In one such work, "Letter from a Distant Land", the writer, Philip Booth writes to his daughter:
"Lie back, daughter, let your head
be tipped back in the cup of my hand.
Gently, and I will hold you. Spread
your arms wide, lie out on the stream and look high at the gulls. A dead-
man's float is face down. You will dive
and swim soon enough where this tidewater ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe
me, when you tire on the long thrash to your island, lie up, and survive.
As you float now, where I held you
and let go, remember when fear
cramps your heart what I told you:
lie gently and wide to the light-year
starts, lie back, and the sea will hold you."
It isn't exactly the most famous of poems, but it seems to set a certain tone. Fathers have been an important part of the literary process, even when they have not been the actual creators. As parents, along with the mothers, these men have shaped the lives of great writers. I'm not saying that the shaping was always positive. Joyce depicts drunken and irresponsible father based on his own experience; many authors simply never knew their fathers from absence, irresponsibility, or other dereliction. What's important about literature, though, is how authors use their experiences to shape their literature.
That doesn't mean that all literature is autobiographical in nature. Much of it is not and should not be taken as such. But, there are those moments of revelation in literature when you see some insight into the author, how he or she became a writer, who their father must have been. Sometimes, I don't think we should even hazard a guess. We don't want to taint the literature with false assumptions. There are certain moments of clarity though when you realize that the author's background has been important. In those moments, I guess we could use the phrase-title of Pattiann Rogers: "The Family is All There Is."