May 31 Writer Birthdays

1597 – Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac, French author and historian who was best known for his epistolary essays. He was one of the founding members of the Académie française.

1773 – Johann Ludwig Tieck, German poet, translator, editor, novelist, writer, and critic; he was one of the founding fathers of the Romantic movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

1819 – Walt Whitman, influential U.S. poet, essayist, and journalist whose best-known collection is Leaves of Grass, which breaks the boundaries of poetic form and is generally more prose-like; his work used unusual images and symbols, and was controversial in his time for overt references to death and sexuality, including prostitution. His groundbreaking Song of Myself used a first-person narrator that assumed the identity of the common people to respond to the impact of urbanization on the masses. He is often labeled as the father of free verse, though he did not invent it.

1887 – Gunnar Björling, Finnish and Swedish modernist poet who was a devoted dadaist; his work was incomprehensible to many readers at the time, but was reevaluated later.

1887 – Saint-John Perse (pseudonym for Marie-René-Auguste-Aléxis Saint-Léger), Nobel Prize-winning French poet.

1889 – Helen Jane Waddell, Tokyo-born Irish poet, translator, and playwright.

1892 – Konstantin Georgiyevich Paustovsky (Константин Георгиевич Паустовский), Nobel Prize-nominated Russian Soviet writer, journalist, and novelist.

1893 – Elizabeth Coatsworth, U.S. author of fiction and poetry whose novel The Cat Who Went to Heaven won the Newbery Medal.

1898 – Norman Vincent Peale, U.S. minister and author, most notably of The Power of Positive Thinking.

1913 – William Ewart Gladstone Louw (W.E.G. Louw), South African poet, professor, and magazine founder.

1915 – Judith Wright, Australian poet, environmentalist, and human rights activist.

1916 – Hubert Ogunde, Nigerian playwright, actor, musician, and theater director who is considered the father of Nigerian theatre and the father of contemporary Yoruba theatre.

1919 – Cù Huy Cận, Vietnamese poet who was one of the leading figures in the Vietnamese New Poetry movement; he also held several high-level government positions, including Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Culture and Education.

1919 – Robie Mayhew Macauley, U.S. editor, novelist, and critic who worked in counterintelligence during World War II and based some of his writings on those experiences.

1924 – Theunis Theodorus Cloete (T.T. Cloete), award-winning South African Afrikaans poet, bible translator, essayist, and academic.

1924 – Patricia Jean “Patsy” Adam-Smith, Australian author, historian, and servicewoman who wrote on a range of subjects covering history, folklore, and the preservation of national tradition, in addition to writing an autobiography in two parts.

1925 – Julian Beck, U.S. actor, director, poet, and painter.

1933 – Gary Brandner, U.S. horror author best known for his werewolf themed novel trilogy, The Howling.

1933 – Sadashiv Vasantrao Gorakshkar, Indian writer, art historian, art critic, and museum director.

1939 – Albert James Young, U.S. poet, novelist, essayist, memoirist, screenwriter, and professor who was Poet Laureate of California and who was called “an original American voice.”

1945 – Rainer Werner Fassbinder, German movie director, screenwriter, and actor; one of the key figures of the New German Cinema.

1945 – Bernard Richard Goldberg (also known as Bernie Goldberg), multiple Emmy Award-winning American writer, journalist, sports correspondent, and political pundit.

1946 – Barbara Spinelli, Italian journalist, writer, and politician.

1947 – Phillip Hoose, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. author of books for adults and children, best known for a children’s biography of civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin.

1948 – Svetlana Alexievich, Belarusian author, winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Literature for “her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time.”

1953 – José Jaime Maussan Flota, Mexican journalist and leading ufologist.

1955 – Lynne Truss, English novelist, nonfiction author, journalist, novelist, grammarian, and radio broadcaster who is known for her championing of the English language in the popular book Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

1960 – Christopher Nash Elliott, U.S. actor, comedian, and screenwriter, best known for his comedic sketches on Late Night With David Letterman.

1968 – John Connolly, Irish writer; author of the Charlie Parker detective series.

1968 – Jane Green, bestselling English novelist who is considered one of the founders of the genre known as chick lit.

1975 – Mary Watson, award-winning South African author who in 2014 was named on the Africa39 list of young writers from sub-Saharan Africa with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature.

1977 – Cat Hellisen, South African author of fantasy novels who currently lives in Scotland.

1982 – Ian Flynn (also known by his Internet pen name Ian Potto), U.S. comic writer who was the chief writer for Archie Comic’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

1985 – Amru Salahuddien (عمرو صلاح الدين‎), Egyptian painter, photojournalist, and writer.

Postcards From the World: Dutch Waffles

It’s time to share another Postcrossing card. This one arrived today from the southern part of the Netherlands, not far from the German border. It shows stroopwafel, the Dutch waffles I remember eating when I visited the Netherlands, many years ago. They were delicious.

The Postcrosser who sent them is Jos. He is 60 (he says “60 years young”) and lives with his parents. He has retired from work in the office of a car dealer. He did not tell me a lot about himself, but did say that he collects stamps, and loves nature and Christmas cards. And waffles.

May 30 Writer Birthdays

1201 – Theobald I of Navarre, French writer and composer who was King of Navarre; he was nicknamed The Troubadour.

1597 – Bernardino de Rebolledo, Spanish poet, writer, soldier, and diplomat.

1638 – Nathan Rogers, Welsh writer, landowner, lawyer, and politician who is remembered for Memoirs of Monmouth-Shire, Anciently Called Gwent, and by the Saxons, Gwentland, which was later re-published as The Secret Memoirs of Monmouthshire; this was ostensibly a topographical and historical survey, but was most notable for its radical appendix, “Of the Case of Wentwood with the Severe Usage and Sufferings of the Tenants in the Late Reigns for Defending their Rights.” This vigorously worded diatribe aimed to stir up discontent against the Duke of Beaufort for his treatment of local people, and exhorted the Duke’s tenants to throw off their “yoke of bondage.” The Duke reputedly bought almost every copy of the book and destroyed them to prevent their circulation, resulting in the book’s great rarity.

1755 – Collin d’Harleville, French writer and playwright.

1811 – Vissarion Belinsky, Finnish-born Russian writer, literary critic, journalist, and philosopher.

1834 – Emmanuel Hiel, Flemish-Dutch poet, prose writer, composer, teacher, journalist, bookseller, librarian, translator, and government official.

1853 – Katrina Trask (also known as Kate Nichols Trask), U.S. novelist, poet, playwright, nonfiction writer, anti-war activist, and philanthropist who founded Yaddo, an artists’ community in Saratoga Springs, New York.

1874 – Nanna With, Norwegian writer, biographer, journalist, editor, and musician.

1873 – Fernando María Guerrero, Filipino writer, lawyer, poet, politician, and journalist who was a significant figure during the Philippines’ golden period of Spanish literature.

1876 – Vladimir Nazor, Croatian writer, poet, politician, and translator who served as the first Croatian head of state and the speaker of the parliament.

1898 – Hjalmar Gullberg, Swedish writer, poet, linguist, composer, and translator of Greek drama into Swedish.

1899 – Cornelia Otis Skinner, U.S. writer, biographer, screenwriter, memoirist, and actress.

1901 – Itzik Manger, Austrian and Israeli Yiddish poet and playwright, self-proclaimed folk bard, visionary, and “master tailor” of the written word who was born in what was then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and eventually settled in Israel.

1903 – Countee Cullen, U.S. poet who was a leading figure of the Harlem Renaissance.

1907 – Elly Beinhorn, award-winning German writer, photographer, and aircraft pilot.

1910 – María Teresa Babín Cortés, Puerto Rican educator, writer, and literary critic.

1912 – Millicent Selsam, prolific, award-winning U.S. teacher, botanist, and author of children’s nonfiction books.

1916 – Dinanath Dalal, Indian writer, painter, and illustrator whose works explore mythology, history, social issues, human emotions, and politics.

1918 – Guadalupe Teresa Amor Schmidtlein (pen name Pita Amor), Mexican poet who was called the 11th Muse; her poetry is notable for its direct expressions about metaphysical issues, stated in the first person

1919 – Margaret Coit, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, and biographer who wrote books on history for both children and adults.

1919 – R. Chetwynd-Hayes, British editor, anthologist, and writer of ghost stories and science fiction.

1922 – Hal Clement, pen name of U.S. science-fiction writer Harry Clement Stubbs.

1926 – Julia Urquidi Illanes, Bolivian writer who was also famous as the first wife of Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa and the namesake of one of his most famous novels, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.

1929 – Doina Cornea, Romanian writer, translator, dissident, professor, and human-rights activist; she was co-founder of the Democratic Anti-totalitarian Forum of Romania

1930 – Juan Gelman, award-winning Argentine and Mexican poet whose works celebrate life but are also tempered with social and political commentary.

1931 – Vizma Belševica, Nobel Prize-nominated Latvian poet, essayist, translator, and novelist who has been called, “the conscience of her time and her nation.”

1932 – Ray Cooney, English playwright whose biggest success, Run For Your Wife, ran for nine years in London’s West End.

1941 – Roberto Calasso, Italian writer, editor, and publisher whose writings explore the relationship between myth and the emergence of modern consciousness.

1953 – Deng Xiaohua (pen name Can Xue), Chinese avant-garde short-story writer, novelist, and literary critic; her writing breaks with the realism of earlier modern Chinese writers.

1955 – Colm Tóibín, Irish writer who was voted one of Britain’s Top 300 Intellectuals.

1957 – Chi Li, Chinese writer and novelist; two of her books have been adapted into television series.

1958 – Qaisra Shahraz, award-winning Pakistani-British novelist, scriptwriter, journalist, and educator whose work is mostly focused on the diversity of mankind, exploring aspects of racial, gender, and cultural divides.

1962 – Pia Juul, award-winning Danish poet, writer, and translator.

1964 – Miriam Meyerhoff, New Zealand author, professor, and sociolinguist.

1973 – Marina Garcés Mascareñas, Spanish writer, philosopher, essayist, and professor.

1980 – Ryogo Narita, award-winning Japanese light novelist and manga writer; his work has been adapted into two anime television series.

1986 – Rosanna Alish Waterland, Australian comedian, author, screenwriter, satirist, and actress.

May 29 Writer Birthdays

0187 – Cao Pi, Chinese writer, poet, and scholar who was the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China; he wrote more than a hundred articles on various subjects, as well as “Yan Ge Xing,” the first Chinese poem in the style of seven syllables per line.

1617 – Anna Maria von Baden-Durlach, German poet, painter, translator, and cut-paper artist.

1830 – Louise Michel, French author, writer, teacher, poet, politician, journalist, and activist who was called “French grande dame of anarchy.”

1874 – G.K. Chesterton, English writer, philosopher, literary critic, and art critic who created the fictional priest detective Father Brown.

1879 – Kosta Abraševic, Serbian poet whose writing took on patriotic themes.

1882 – Ujō Noguchi, Japanese poet, lyricist, children’s writer, and composer who was known for some of Japan’s most beloved and familiar children’s songs and traditional Min’yo folk music; he is considered to be one the three great Japanese poets and children’s songwriters.

1892 – Frederick Schiller Faust, U.S. author known primarily for his literary Western stories, written under the pseudonym Max Brand; he also created the popular fictional character of young medical intern Dr. James Kildare for a series of pulp fiction stories; Dr. Kildare was later featured in a variety of films, radio plays, and television series.

1892 – Alfonsina Storni, Swiss-born Argentinian writer, teacher, modernist poet, journalist, and diarist.

1906 – T.H. White, English author best known for his series of Arthurian novels, published together in one volume as The Once and Future King; he also wrote post-apocalyptic science fiction, essays, a translation of a Medieval bestiary, and a nonfiction book about his attempts to train a northern goshawk using traditional falconry techniques.

1911 – Leah Goldberg, prolific German-born Israeli poet, author, playwright, literary translator, and comparative literary researcher who wrote in Hebrew; her writings are considered classics of Israeli literature.

1917 – John F. Kennedy, U.S. 35th President and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage.

1923 – Bernard Clavel, French novelist, young-adult writer, and journalist who won the Prix Goncourt for his novel Les Fruits de l’hiver (The Fruits of Winter).

1923 – Harald Ulrik Sverdrup, Norwegian writer, poet, and children’s author.

1932 – Paul R. Ehrlich, U.S. biologist and professor, best known for his warnings about the consequences of population growth and limited resources; he co-authored the controversial book The Population Bomb.

1932 – Jill Adelaide Neville, Australian novelist, playwright, and poet.

1933 – Abdul Rahman Munif, Jordan-born Saudi novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, journalist, thinker, and cultural critic who is considered one of the most significant modern Saudi authors and one of the best in the Arabic language of the 20th century; Hhis novels include strong political elements as well as mockeries of the Middle Eastern elite classes, and so offended the rulers of Saudi Arabia that his Saudi citizenship was revoked and many of his books were banned.

1934 – Nancy Cárdenas, Mexican, writer, poet, playwright, actor, and activist who was a pioneer in the gay liberation movement in Mexico.

1935 – André Brink, South African novelist and professor who was best known for his novel, A Dry White Season; he was a key figure in the 1960s Afrikaans literary movement Die Sestigers, which used Afrikaans as a language to speak out against apartheid.

1938 – Brock Cole, National Book Award-winning U.S. children’s author and illustrator.

1942 – Hullad Moradabadi, Indian poet, humorist, and satirist in the Hindi language.

1943 – Linden MacIntyre, award-winning Canadian journalist, broadcaster, and novelist.

1949 – Andrew Clements, award-winning, prolific U.S. author of children’s fiction; he was also an editor and teacher.

1952 – Pia Tafdrup, award-winning Danish novelist, playwright, and poet.

1967 – Steven Levitt, award-winning U.S. economist and professor whose work on various economics topics, including crime, politics, and sports, includes more than 60 academic publications, but who is best known as co-author of the bestselling book Freakonomics.

1973 – Cristina Ali Farah, award-winning Italian writer, novelist, poet, playwright, and journalist who grew up in Somalia.

1982 – Fatima Bhutto, Pakistani writer, poet, and journalist; she is the daughter of Murtaza Bhutto, niece of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and granddaughter of former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, but has been critical of prominent members of her family; her most notable work is her 2010 non-fiction book about her family, Songs of Blood and Sword.

Writing, Travel Planning, Searching for Ancestors, and Playing With Glass Bits

I’ve been crazy busy all week, trying to finish the current round of editing on my science-fiction novel, preparing for THREE trips, taking a mosaics class, and fitting in some genealogy around the edges.

Novel Editing

On the novel, the only part left to finish editing (for this run-through) is the Epilogue. Then I have to combine all the chapters into one file, make the formatting consistent, and send it off to my editor. I probably could have finished that today if I hadn’t spent so much of the day on….

Travel Planning

Yes, I am preparing for THREE trips.

  • I leave for Italy first, and it is rapidly approaching. This week, I booked a mosaics class in Rome (not the same mosaics class alluded to above), canceled the old rental car and booked one with a more reputable company, updated my online map with more of my planned stops, and procured an international drivers’ license and some Euros at AAA. And today, I finally settled on the suitcases to buy, ordered them, and also ordered a new camera. All of our suitcases have broken wheels, straps, or zippers. And my camera died a few months ago and is impervious to all efforts at resuscitation.
  • The first Maine (and Canada) trip is later in the summer. I’ll be driving my son up to Maine for a music composition program. We’ll stop at my sister’s house in New Hampshire and see a bit of Acadia National Park in Maine. Bob is taking Amtrak home, though, after we drop our son off. I am proceeding to travel through parts of Maine, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, returning to see my son’s concert at the end of his program, and then heading home. I now have all of my hotels, my husband has his train tickets, and I am putting together a detailed itinerary and all the necessary paperwork.
  • The second Maine trip is this fall, when my niece gets married there. The wedding is in kind of a black hole in the middle of a hotel-less part of the state. The hotels around the event horizon tend to be fully booked or idiotically overpriced. It took hours and days, but today, I finally found an Airbnb and booked it. One more thing crossed off the list. Now to figure out what I’ll wear to the wedding….
Making a Mosaic

Three years ago, I took a mosaic class. I began work on a small mosaic of a type that was probably way too complex for my first-ever mosaic project, using a layered technique so that some parts of the image are built up higher than others, using various hand-cut glass and ceramic tiles (which I first have to cut to fit). I had gotten a good start, and then the pandemic came along and the rest of the class sessions were canceled. New classes started up a year or two later, but never at a time that worked for me, even if I had been comfortable meeting indoors with a group of people.

This week, the teacher invited me to a one-time session. She really wants me to sign up for another class, and I would like to, but it’s not going to happen this summer (see Travel Planning, above). Maybe in the fall. In the meantime, I did attend the session, and spent the day playing with little bits of glass. It felt good to work on my mosaic again, and think I’ve refreshed my memory enough about how the heck to do it so that I can keep playing with glass bits on my own. In my spare time. Right.

Speaking of an art form closely associated with my ancestral homeland….

Seeking Ancestors

I don’t know if any of my ancestors were mosaic artists back in Italy. But I have registered for a one-day mosaics class in Rome. I also hope to do some genealogical research onsite in Italy, if I can find a local expert to help me. The U.S.-based genealogist I’m working with for my Italian citizenship is going to give me some referrals to someone in the Perugia region.

In the meantime, she has corrected some research errors in my tree, which should help me focus my search in Italy. My great-great-grandmother’s birth name was listed as Penda on my great-grandmother’s death certificate. Or, at least, it looked like Penda. We now believe the messy handwriting was actually aiming to say Renda, which the genealogist has determined was also a mistake, a misremembered version of the actual birth name, which was Rindaletti. Got that? And once and for all, she has determined that the actual town my Petrini ancestors came from in Umbria was Nocera Umbra. At times, I have seen evidence, now proven wrong, that the town was Assisi itself (apparently I do have relatives there), Santa Maria degli Angeli, Serravalle di Chienti, Serravalle di Carda, and Nocera Scalo. But we finally have Italian records that place them in Nocera Umbra — though it appears that my great-grandparents may have moved to the second Serravalle at one point, not long before emigrating to the U.S.

I should put together a list of research questions to bring with me to Italy, so I know what to focus on if I am able to hire an expert there.

May 28 Writer Birthdays

1641 – Johann Weikhard Freiherr von Valvasor (also known as simply Valvasor), writer, geologist, cartographer, publisher, and natural historian from Carniola (present-day Slovenia) who was known as a pioneer of karst studies, but whose best known work was a 15-volume study of the history of Carniola.

1728 – Maria Angela Ardinghelli, Italian writer, poet, nonfiction writer, translator, mathematician, and physicist, best known for her translations of the works of Stephen Hales, a Newtonian physiologist who was a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences.

1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss author best remembered for his novel The Swiss Family Robinson, one of the most popular books of all time; he was inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, but Wyss wrote about a marooned family because he wanted the book to teach important lessons to children.

1783 – Rosa Maria Antonetta Paulina Assing (née Varnhagen) German lyric poet, prose writer, educator, translator, linguist, and silhouette artist.

1841 – Elise Adelaïde Haighton, Dutch feminist writer and free thinker who wrote under the pseudonyms Hroswitha and Brunhilde.

1873 – Olga Forsh, Russian and Soviet novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and memoirist.

1879 – Lilly Heber, Norwegian biographer, literary critic, historian, novelist, and magazine editor.

1881 – Daniël Francois Malherbe (commonly known as D.F. Malherbe), South African novelist, poet, dramatist, and scholar; he wrote what is regarded as the first novel of artistic value in Afrikaans, Vergeet niet (Do Not Forget).

1888 – Cyril Valentine Briggs, African-Caribbean writer, editor, and communist activist who was born on the island of Nevis, part of the Caribbean Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and later emigrated to the United States; he is best remembered as founder and editor of The Crusader, a seminal magazine of the New Negro Movement, and as founder of the African Blood Brotherhood, a small but historically important radical organization dedicated to advancing the cause of Pan-Africanism.

1890 – María Currea Manrique, award-winning Colombian writer, journalist, suffragist, politician, and nurse who helped pass laws that recognized women’s right to citizenship, education, and enfranchisement.

1893 – Mina Witkojc, German writer, journalist, poet, and translator who wrote in the Lower Sorbian language.

1899 – Irena Krzywicka (née Goldberg), Russian-born Polish feminist writer, translator, and activist for women’s rights; in her works, she promoted sexual education, contraception, and planned parenthood.

1900 – Nan Chauncy, British-born Australian children’s writer.

1900 – Pak Hon-yong, Korean writer, journalist, philosopher, independence activist, and politician.

1908 – Ian Fleming, English naval intelligence officer best known for his spy novels, which introduced the character James Bond.

1912 – Patrick White, Nobel Prize-winning English-born Australian writer, praised for his “epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.”

1913 – May Swenson, U.S. poet who has been called one of the most important and original poets of the 20th century.

1915 – Dorothy Auchterlonie, English-born Australian writer, literary critic, poet, and academic.

1916 – Walker Percy, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist, essayist, and educator whose works were set in the American South.

1918 – Mary Vaughan Jones, celebrated Welsh children’s writer and teacher.

1922 – José Craveirinha, Mozambican author, journalist, short-story writer, and poet who was one of the African pioneers of the Négritude movement and is today considered the greatest poet of Mozambique; his poems, written in Portuguese, address such issues as racism and the Portuguese colonial domination of Mozambique. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Mário Vieira, José Cravo, Jesuíno Cravo, J. Cravo, J.C., Abílio Cossa, and José G. Vetrinha.

1929 – Stephen Birmingham, U.S. writer of social-history books about rich people, including the nonfiction book Our Crowd about the Jewish elite in New York.

1932 – Kuroi Senji (pen name of Osabe Shunjiro), award-winning Japanese author of fiction and essays; he is a member of the “Introspective Generation” of Japanese writers, whose work depicts the thoughts of ordinary Japanese.

1935 – Antigone Kefala, award-winning Australian and Greek poet and prose writer who is considered an important voice in capturing the migrant experience in contemporary Australia; her poetry and prose, written in both Greek and English, has been described as having an almost metaphysical detachment.

1940 – Maeve Binchy, bestselling award-winning Irish novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, playwright, journalist, columnist, and essayist whose fiction often revolved around life in small-town Ireland.

1944 – Vidaluz Meneses Robleto, award-winning Nicaraguan poet, writer, librarian, professor, and social activist.

1946 – K. Satchidanandan, Malayalam Indian poet, critic, and translator who was a pioneer of modern poetry in the Malayalam language. (Some sources give his birth year as 1948.)

1947 – Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and politician who authored many books on Egyptology.

1947 – Richard White, U.S. historian and author specializing in the history of the American West.

1953 – Silvana De Mari, Italian children’s writer, fantasy author, blogger, and surgeon.

1955 – Geoffrey A. Landis, U.S. NASA aerospace engineer, professor, and author of hard science fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; he has won a Nebula Award and two Hugo Awards, and holds nine patents, mostly for improvements to solar cells and photovoltaic devices.

1955 – Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s librarian, children’s literature author, and storyteller, best known for her picture book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village.

1966 – Miljenko Jergovic, prominent Bosnian writer, poet, and journalist, praised for his storytelling skills, his ability to create a compelling atmosphere, his lyricism, his immersion in history, and his ability to incorporate tradition into contemporary prose.

1958 – Kunle Ajibade, Nigerian journalist, editor, and author.

1961 – Ömer Sükrü Asan, Turkish folklorist, writer, photographer, historian, and ethnologist.

1967 – Priya A.S., Indian Malayalam writer of short stories, children’s literature, translations, and memoirs.

1969 – Muriel Barbery, Moroccan-born French novelist, best known for her book The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

1984 – Chanida Phaengdara Potter, Lao-born U.S. writer, activist, and community-development strategist in the Lao American and Southeast Asian diaspora communities; she is well known for her work as the founding editor of the online publication, Little Laos on the Prairie, and leads an organization that aims to empower Southeast Asian diaspora communities by bridging the access gap to community, storytelling, languages, and cross-cultural connections.

May 27 Writer Birthdays

1378 – Zhu Quan, Chinese Ming-dynasty prince who was a writer, poet, playwright, painter, historian, military commander, composer, and zither player.

1652 – Elizabeth Charlotte (Madame Palatine), German and French writer and princess who married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans; her vast, frank correspondence provides a detailed account of the personalities and activities at the court of her brother-in-law, Louis XIV, for half a century.

1763 – Juan Germán Roscio, Venezuelan writer, editor, journalist, lawyer, politician, and diplomat.

1772 – Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, French writer, bookseller, psychic, and professional fortune-teller of considerable fame and influence.

1818 – Amelia Jenks Bloomer, U.S. newspaper editor, writer, women’s rights activist, and temperance advocate; though she did not create the women’s clothing style known as bloomers, her name became associated with it because of her early and strong advocacy.

1819 – Julia Ward Howe, prominent U.S. abolitionist, social activist, and poet who authored “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

1828 – Caroline Gravière, Belgian novelist and short-story writer.

1831 – Raoul de Navery (pseudonym of Madame Chervet, born Marie-Eugenie Saffray), French Roman Catholic novelist and poet who often wrote on religious themes.

1832 – Alexandr Nikolayevich Aksakov (also spelled Aksakof), Russian writer, translator, journalist, editor, and psychic researcher; he is credited with coining the term “telekinesis.”

1832 – Catherine Drew, Irish journalist, writer, editor, columnist, and novelist; she was one of the founding members of the Ladies’ Press Association, and campaigned for the rights of women journalists.

1860 – Manuel Teixeira Gomes, Portuguese writer, novelist, playwright, memoirist, diplomat, and politician who served as President of Portugal.

1860 – Margrethe Munthe, Norwegian writer, poet, children’s author, playwright, and songwriter.

1862 – Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane, Scottish author, biographer, philosopher, suffragist, nursing administrator, and social-welfare worker; she was the first female Justice of the Peace in Scotland.

1867 – Arnold Bennett, English novelist who has an omelette named after him at the Savoy Hotel in London.

1876 – Antoni Ferdynand Ossendowski, Polish writer, journalist, traveler, globetrotter, explorer, and university professor who is best known for his books about Lenin and the Russian Civil War.

1878 – María Jesús Alvarado Rivera, Peruvian writer, journalist, educator, social activist, and rebel feminist; she was called the “first modern champion of women’s rights in Peru.”

1880 – Ninu “Anthony” Cremona (also colloquially known as Is-Sur Nin), award-winning Maltese writer, playwright, editor, biographer, and health inspector whose biggest contribution to the Maltese language was the formulation of the Maltese orthography.

1882 – Terezie Císarová (known as Thea Cervenková), Czech screenwriter, writer, filmmaker, film critic, and journalist; she was known as the “lady crazy about film.”

1884 – Max Brod, German-speaking Czech and Jewish (later Israeli) author, composer, and journalist who is most famous as friend and biographer of Franz Kafka.

1890 – Konstantin Vasilyevich Ivanov, Russian Chuvash poet, memoirist, and translator who was a key figure in Chuvash literature.

1891 – Liu Bannong, influential Chinese poet and linguist who was a leader in the May Fourth Movement.

1891 – Jaan Kärner, Estonian poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, science writer, historical writer, and translator; he was especially known for his nature poetry.

1894 – Dashiell Hammett, U.S. detective novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and activist; he was best known for The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man, which were adapted for film. The New York Times called him “one of the finest mystery writers of all time.”

1898 – David Crosthwait, U.S. African-American mechanical, electrical engineer, writer, inventor, and university teacher; he is best known for writing instruction manuals and guides that established standards and codes for heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems.

1900 – Magda Portal, Peruvian poet, feminist, author, and political activist who was a key figure in the Vanguardia poetry literary movement in Peru and Latin America, as well as a founder of the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) political party.

1905 – Nesca Robb, Irish writer, poet, historian, biographer, researcher, and art critic; she is well known for her large, two-volume history of William of Orange.

1906 – Phra Dharmakosacarya (Nguam Indapañño), famous and influential Thai ascetic philosopher who was known as an innovative interpreter of Buddhist doctrine and Thai folk beliefs, developing a philosophy that considered the nature of all religions to be “inwardly the same.” He was also known as Phra Thammakosachan (Ngueam Inthapanyo) and as Buddhadasa Bhikkhu.

1906 – Kristian Osvald Viderø, award-winning Danish Faroese writer, poet, clergyman, and Bible translator.

1907 – Nicolas Calas, Greek poet and art critic who also used the pseudonyms Nikos Kalamaris, Nikitas Randos, and M. Spieros.

1907 – Rachel Carson, U.S. marine biologist, environmentalist, writer, and activist; her book The Silent Spring is credited with starting the global environmental movement.

1911 – Astrid Grethe Grouleff Heltberg, Danish writer, poet, essayist, novelist, memoirist, children’s writer, journalist, and stenographer.

1912 – John Cheever, Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist and short-story writer who is sometimes called “the Chekhov of the suburbs.” His main themes include the duality of human nature and a nostalgia for a vanishing way of life, characterized by abiding cultural traditions and a profound sense of community, as opposed to the alienating nomadism of modern suburbia.

1915 – Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist and nonfiction author whose most popular works include The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War.

1917 – Estrella D. Alfon, well-known, prolific Filipina author, short-story writer, and professor who wrote in English.

1924 – Bal Gangadhar Samant, Indian writer in the Marathi language who wrote a wide range of books, including fiction, biographies, dramas, and history.

1925 – Tony Hillerman, bestselling U.S. author of detective novels, short stories, a memoir, and nonfiction books about the southwestern United States; he is best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, which are rich in details about Native American cultures. He has said that his Navajo name means, “He who is afraid of his horse.”

1926 – Petr Sgall, Czech writer, linguist, and university educator.

1928 – Armando Ayala Anguiano, Mexican writer, novelist, businessperson, historian, editor, and journalist.

1929 – Roman Ivanovych Ivanychuk, award-winning Ukrainian novelist, short-story writer, editor, politician, and teacher.

1930 – John Barth, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and professor, known for the postmodernist and metafictional qualities of his work. His controversial 1967 essay, “The Literature of Exhaustion,” considered a manifesto of postmodernism, depicted literary realism as a “used-up” tradition; despite criticism that his essay was a statement of “the death of the novel,” Barth insisted that he meant only that literature was moving into a new stage.

1930 – Madeleine Ouellette-Michalska, Canadian writer, poet, essayist, and novelist.

1931 – Ottaplakkal Nambiyadikkal Velu Kurup (known as O.N.V. Kurup or simply O.N.V.) – Indian Malayalam poet and lyricist who is considered one of the finest lyrical poets in India.

1932 – M.E. Kerr (who also wrote as Marijane Meaker Kerr, Ann Aldrich, and Vin Packer), U.S. novelist, lesbian pulp-fiction writer, mystery writer, and children’s author.

1932 – Linda Pastan, U.S. poet who writes about the anxieties that exist under the surface of ordinary life.

1933 – Manohar Shankar Oak, Indian Marathi poet, novelist, and translator who influenced English-language poets including Allen Ginsberg; Oak developed his own meters of free verse in poetry and is credited with changing the flavor of Marathi poetic language.

1934 – Harlan Ellison, prolific and influential U.S. author of novels, short stories, screenplays, essays, comic books, and reviews, most of them in the genres of speculative fiction; he was also known for his outspoken, combative personality, and was the winner of multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars.

1935 – Karen Christine (“Kim”) Friele, Norwegian writer, gay-rights activist, and human-rights activist, famous for being the first Norwegian to publicly acknowledge and advocate for her sexuality; in 2005 she was proclaimed the fourth most important Norwegian of the century.

1937 – Andrei Georgiyevich Bitov, Russian novelist, poet, and writer of absurdist short stories.

1940 – Edmund Morris, Pulitzer Prize-winning Kenyan-born biographer of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

1944 – Ginette Anfousse, French-Canadian writer and illustrator of children’s books, as well as a literary critic.

1945 – Anthony Pagden, U.S. author, translator, and professor of history and political science.

1949 – Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexican journalist, author, professor, and dancer who has written extensively about Latin America for the British and American press.

1951 – Inger Marianne Larsen, award-winning Danish poet, writer, and novelist.

1953 – Emha Ainun Nadjib, Indonesian poet, novelist, short-story writer, and essayist; his real name was Muhammad Ainun Nadjib; he also wrote under the name Cak Nun. He leads the Kiai Kanjeng group, which stages dramas and musical performances on religious themes.

1956- Kiba Lumberg (real name Kirsti Leila Annikki Lumberg), Finnish author, artist, and critic author of Finnish Kale (Romani) descent; she is known as a critic of the traditional Roma culture.

1958 – Rajni Tilak, prominent Indian Dalit poet, short-story writer, autobiogrqapher, translator, and anthologist who was also an activist for the rights of women and for workers, and a leading voice in Dalit feminism and writing.

1962 – Mare Kandre, Swedish novelist, poet, and short-story writer of Estonian descent whose writing was sometimes influenced by Gothic fiction; her work often deals with girls’ development to adulthood, women’s roles, and marginalized and traumatized individuals who break with society’s expectations. Before she became a writer, she was the frontwoman for the music group Global Infantilists.

1963 – Ningiukulu (Ningeokuluk) Teevee, Canadian Inuit writer and visual artist who is an award-winning children’s writer who often draws on Inuit traditions and folklore.

1966 – Heston Blumenthal, English chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author.

1971 – Vilma Kadlecková, award-winning Czech author of science-fiction and fantasy novels and children’s literature.

May 26 Writer Birthdays

1700 – Nicolaus Zinzendorf, German writer, poet, translator, theologian, hymnwriter, orator, religious and social reformer, and bishop of the Moravian Church.

1799 – Felipe Poey, Cuban writer, zoologist, lepidopterist, and ichthyologist.

1833 – Hannah Cullwick, British diarist whose work revealed lesser-known aspects of the relations between Victorian servants and their masters. Working in domestic service, she caught the attention of Arthur Munby, a prominent barrister and philanthropist, who was studying the conditions of working women; to escape poverty, she married him reluctantly and secretly, but it was an unconventional partnership, with role-playing, as documented in both their diaries, which have survived, along with letters and photographs.

1855 – Vittoria Aganoor, Italian poet with Armenian ancestry; she is considered a minor but important figure in nineteenth century poetry.

1887 – Leonard Bacon, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, translator, and literary critic who sometimes used the pen name Autholycus.

1904 – Ahmet Necip Fazil Kisakürek, Turkish poet, novelist, playwright, and Islamist ideologue.

1905 – Ruth M. Arthur, Scottish children’s and young-adult novelist.

1911 – Marta Hillers, German journalist, writer, and diarist whose anonyously published memoir, Eine Frau in Berlin (A Woman in Berlin), is the diary of a German woman during and after the Battle of Berlin; the book details the author’s rape, in the context of mass rape by occupying forces, and how she chose to take a Soviet officer as protector. When the book was published in Germany in 1959, the author was accused of “besmirching the honor of German women,” but it was republished after her death to critical acclaim and became a bestseller.

1915 – Antonia Forest, pseudonym of British children’s book author Patricia Giulia Caulfield Kate Rubenstein.

1916 – Halil İnalcık, Turkish writer, historian, university professor, and founding member of the Eurasian Academy; his highly influential research centered on social and economic approaches to the empire.

1917 – Harivallabh Chunilal Bhayani, Indian linguist, researcher, critic, and translator.

1933 – Edward Whittemore, U.S. novelist and CIA agent whose work includes the highly praised series, Jerusalem Quartet.

1934 – Ann Schlee, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, best known for her children’s books.

1934 – Sheila Greenwald, U.S. children’s book author and illustrator whose real name is Sheila Ellen Green.

1936 – Natalya Yevgenyevna Gorbanevskaya, Russian poet, translator, editor, and founder of A Chronicle of Current Events (1968–1982); in 1968 she took part in the Red Square demonstration against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and was incarcerated in a mental hospital; she was released in 1972 and now lives in France.

1938 – Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, award-winning Russian novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, screenwriter, playwright, and children’s writer; she is counted among Russia’s premier living literary figures and has been compared in style to Anton Chekhov and in influence to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

1945 – Bronwen Wallace, Canadian poet, short-story writer, filmmaker, and essayist.

1946 – Radwa Ashour, Egyptian novelist, writer, literary critic, and university teacher.

1947 – Carol O’Connell, U.S. author of crime novels who was an art major but turned to writing when her painting career failed.

1951 – Sally Ride, U.S. physicist and astronaut who also wrote science books for children; she was the first American woman in space.

1954 – Alan Hollinghurst, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, poet, short story writer, and translator.

1954 – Aritha Van Herk, Canadian writer, novelist, short story writer, critic, and university professor; her work often includes feminist themes and depicts and analyzes the culture of western Canada.

1955 – Doris Dörrie, German author, screenwriter, film director, and university teacher.

1956 – Andreas Brandhorst, Germany writer, translator, lingist, and author of fantasy and science fiction; in addition to writing under his own name, he uses the pseudonyms Thomas Lockwood and Andreas Weiler.

1957 – Alaa Al Aswany, Egyptian novelist, screenwriter, politician, and dentist.

1964 – Caitlín Kiernan, Irish-born U.S. paleontologist and author of dark fantasy and science-fiction novels, short stories, and comic books; she is the winner of multiple World Fantasy and Bram Stoker awards.

1967 – Sara Mannheimer, award-winning Swedish novelist, designer, and glass blower.

1967 – Mika Yamamoto, award-winning Japanese video and photo journalist who was killed in 2012 while covering the ongoing Syrian Civil War.

1973 – Clémentine Autain, French writer, journalist, and politician.

1981 – Julia DeVillers and Jennifer Roy, identical twins who write fiction and nonfiction books for children and teens, including a co-written series of books about a pair of twins, in which each sister writes the part of one twin.

1973 – Sushma Joshi, award-winning Nepali novelist, nonfiction writer, reporter, short-story writer, essayist, and filmmaker; her fiction and non-fiction deal with Nepal’s civil conflict, as well as stories of globalization, migration, and diaspora.
“The Prediction”, another book of short stories that bring together stories of tradition and modernity, was published in 2013.

May 25 Writer Birthdays

1461 – Zanobi Acciaioli, Florentian Italian writer, poet, translator, and Dominican friar who was Librarian of the Vatican under Pope Leo X.

1625 – John Davies, Welsh writer, translator, and historian.

1661 – Claude Buffier, Polish-born French writer, historian, theologian, cartographer, teacher, and philosopher.

1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson, U.S. essayist, poet, lecturer, and philosopher who was a key figure in the Transcendentalist movement.

1803 – Edward Bulwer-Lytton, English novelist, poet, playwright, and Member of Parliament who coined several phrases that are still used today, including “the great unwashed,” “pursuit of the almighty dollar,” and “the pen is mightier than the sword.” He is best known for the opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night”; it inspired the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which invites entrants to submit the opening sentence to the worst possible hypothetical novel.

1818 – Louise de Broglie (Countess d’Haussonville), Swiss-born French writer, biographer, essayist, and historian.

1832 – Marie-Louise Gagneur, French feminist writer, essayist, novelist, short-story writer, and activist whose works explored contemporary issues concerning the status of women in society.

1839 – Manuel Sánchez Mármol, Mexican writer, journalist, lawyer, and politician.

1842 – Helen Blackburn, Irish writer, editor, and campaigner for women’s rights, especially in the field of employment.

1843 – Frances Mary Peard, English writer, novelist, short-story writer, and children’s author; most of her books were short-story volumes and historical fiction, and many were set abroad.

1846 – Naim Frashëri, Albanian poet, civil servant, historian, journalist, and translator who was national poet of Albania, the pioneer of modern Albanian literature, and one of the most influential Albanian cultural icons of his century.

1861 – Julia Boynton Green, U.S. author and poet who is remembered as an anti-Modernist who railed against free verse.

1883 – Jehanne d’Orliac, French writer, playwright, poet, biographer, and lecturer.

1892 – Jeanne Coroller-Danio, French Breton nationalist, author, and children’s writer who was best known for her nationalistic book, History of our Brittany. She is also known by her original name Jeanne Coroller and by her married name Jeanne Chassin du Guerny; her best-known pen-name was Danio, but she also published her work under various pseudonyms, including J.C. Danio, Jeanne de Coatgourc’han, Gilles Gautrel, and Gilesse Penguilly.

1899 – Boris Artzybasheff, Newbery Medal-winning Russian-born U.S. illustrator and commercial artist known for his surrealistic style.

1902 – Jorge Vera-Cruz Barbosa, Cape Verdean poet and writer; the publication of his poetry anthology Arquipélago (Archipelago) in 1935 is regarded as the beginning of Cape Verdean poetry. He was one of the founders of the literary journal Claridade (Clarity) in 1936, which marked the beginning of modern Cape Verdean literature.

1902 – Helvi Leiviskä, award-winning Finnish writer, composer, music educator, critic, and librarian.

1903 – Dagny Tande Lid, Norwegian writer, poet, autobiographer, scientific illustrator, painter, and postage-stamp designer; she is most noted for her drawings of plants, for her own illustrated poetry collections, and for her botanical illustrations on Norwegian postage stamps.

1904 – Hariprasad Maniray Vyas, Indian Gujarati writer, humorist, and author of children’s literature.

1908 – Theodore Roethke, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. poet and educator who was one of the most accomplished and influential poets of his generation; his work is characterized by introspection, rhythm and natural imagery.

1920 – Maria Gomori, Hungarian-born Canadian writer and therapist who was a pioneer in the field of systems family therapy and a significant contributor to the fields of psychiatric and social-work training.

1923 – Simon Malley, prominent Egyptian writer and journalist who was a strong supporter of Third World independence movements; he was known for being “partisan, fearless and controversial.”

1925 – Haroldo Conti, Argentine writer, screenwriter, writer, journalist, and Latin professor.

1925 – Rosario Castellanos Figueroa, influential Mexican poet and author who was one of Mexico’s most important literary voices of the last century; her work dealt with cultural and gender oppression and has influenced Mexican feminist theory and cultural studies.

1926 – Phyllis Fay Gotlieb (née Bloom), award-winning Canadian poet and science-fiction novelist.

1926 – Dhiruben Patel, Indian Gujarati novelist, playwright, poet, children’s writer, short-story writer, professor, publisher, humor writer, and translator; one of her plays was adapted into a film.

1927 – Robert Ludlum, bestselling U.S. author of thriller novels, best known for the Jason Bourne books.

1927 – Elio Pagliarani, Italian poet and literary critic, who belonged to the avant-garde Gruppo 63 movemement.

1928 – Harkisan Laldas Mehta, Indian Gujarati novelist, editor, and journalist.

1931 – Jiří Vacek, Czech writer, translator, mystic, and interpreter of spiritual literature.

1932 – John Gregory Dunne, U.S. novelist, screenwriter, and literary critic who was the younger brother of author Dominick Dunne and the husband of author Joan Didion.

1934 – Esther Regina Largman, award-winning Brazilian author whose works are part of the high-school curriculum in Brazilian schools.

1935 – W.P. Kinsella, Canadian novelist and short-story writer best known for his book Shoeless Joe, which was adapted into the film Field of Dreams.

1936 – David Levering Lewis, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, professor, and biographer.

1936 – Jacqueline Risset, French writer, poet, translator, and literary critic.

1938 – Raymond Carver, U.S. short-story writer, poet, and essayist, known for minimalism and “dirty realism,” a literary movement that used spare, unadorned language to depict the seamier or more mundane aspects of ordinary life.

1938 – Margaret Forster, British writer, screenwriter, novelist, historian, biographer, memoirist, journalist, and literary critic. She is best known for her novel Georgy Girl, which was made into a successful film of the same name and inspired a hit song by The Seekers; her biographies of Daphne du Maurier and Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and her memoirs Hidden Lives and Precious Lives.

1938 – Joyce Carol Thomas, National Book Award-winning U.S. African-American poet, playwright, and children’s author.

1939 – Tibor Várady, Yugoslavian/Serbian writer, editor, and legal scholar who was one of the founders of the Hungarian language avant-garde literary magazine Új Symposion.

1947 – Moon Chung-hee, award-winning South Korean poet and professor whose writing presents a complex interplay of vivid emotions and sensations.

1948 – Jojo Cobbinah, Ghanaian author, columnist, and literary reviewer who is especially noted for his travel guides but who has also written a cookbook of West African cuisine.

1949 – Jamaica Kincaid (born Elaine Cynthia Potter), Antiguan-born U.S. novelist, essayist, professor, gardener, and gardening writer whose work explores themes of colonialism and colonial legacy, gender and sexuality, mother-daughter relationships, racism, class, power, and adolescence.

1952 – Al Sarrantonio, prolific U.S. horror and science-fiction author, editor, publisher, and anthologist.

1953 – Eve Ensler (also known as simply V), U.S. feminist playwright and author, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues, which The New York Times called “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.”

1957 – Agata Tuszynska, Polish writer, poet, and journalist.

1959 – Ronit Matalon, Israeli writer, journalist, children’s writer, and essayist.

1960 – Eric Brown, award-winning British writer, science-fiction author, short-story writer, playwright, and children’s author; some of his works are set in India.

1961 – Núria Perpinyà Filella, Spanish novelist, playwright, essayist, and professor; her novels deal with unusual topics and are characterized by their intellectual irony, formal rigor, and experimentalism. Her fiction is written in Catalan, but most of her essays are in Spanish or English.

1967 – Poppy Z. Brite, pen name of U.S. author Billy Martin (born Melissa Ann Brite), known for gothic horror that features gay and bisexual characters.

1974 – Madeleine Thien, award-winning Canadian novelist and short-story writer whose work reflects the increasingly transcultural nature of Canadian literature, exploring art, expression, and politics inside Cambodia and China, as well as within diasporic Asian communities.

1986 – Mariatu Kamara, Sierra Leonean memoirist and UNICEF Special Representative who is a survivor of the civil war in Sierra Leone; she became pregnant at age 12 when she was raped, but shortly afterward her village was invaded by Revolutionary United Front rebels, who murdered most of her family and cut off both of her hands. Years later, after escaping and eventually emigrating to Canada, she wrote The Bite of the Mango, about her experiences during the war.

May 24 Writer Birthdays

1670 – Vitus Pichler, controversial Austrian writer, professor, philosopher, Jesuit priest, and scholar of canon law who is regarded as the first writer to lay down, clearly and separately, the distinction between fundamental theology and science.

1788 – Susan Anne Livingston Ridley Sedgwick, U.S. writer who specialized in children’s novels; she is also well known for painting a watercolor-on-ivory portrait of a former slave, Elizabeth Freeman, who came to work for her family as a paid employee after Sedgwick’s father-in-law represented Freeman in a successful court case to win her freedom.

1813 – Krishna Mohan Banerjee, Indian Bengali scholar, writer, linguist, ethicist, teacher, and philosopher.

1819 – Charles Edward Augustus de Boos, English-born Australian writer, editor, and journalist.

1841 – Sergey Nikolayevich Terpigorev (Серге́й Никола́евич Терпиго́рев), Russian writer novelist and essayist, best known for his essays denouncing fraud and embezzlement, and exploring the difficult lives of the common people.

1850 – Mary Christian Dundas Hamilton, Scottish writer and poet who is best known for writing the lyrics to popular hymns, especially “A Hymn for Aviators.”

1854 – Mona Caird, Scottish novelist, essayist, writer, and feminist who was a controversial activist for women’s suffrage, animal rights, and civil liberties.

1855 – Florence Caroline Dixie (née Douglas), British writer, journalist, novelist, travel writer, novelist, science-fiction writer, children’s author, and feminist. Her travel chronicle Across Patagonia; her children’s books The Young Castaways and Aniwee, or, The Warrior Queen, and her feminist utopia Gloriana, or The Revolution of 1900 all deal with feminist themes related to girls, women, and their positions in society.

1855 – Arthur Wing Pinero, English playwright and actor who specialized in farces and drawing-room comedies but also wrote an opera libretto and “problem plays” that addressed “the double standard of morality, applied unequally to men and women.”

1859 – Sophia Morrison, Manx cultural activist, folklore collector, journal editor, and author who is considered a key figure of the Manx cultural revival; she is best remembered today for writing Manx Fairy Tales, although her greatest influence was as an activist for the revitalization of Manx culture, particularly through her work with the Manx Language Society and its journal. (Manx refers to the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency.)

1878 – Mary Grant Bruce, popular Australian novelist, children’s writer, and journalist who was most famous for her Billabong series, focusing on the adventures of the Linton family on Billabong Station in Victoria and in England and Ireland during World War I; her writing was considered influential in forming concepts of Australian national identity.

1878 – Lillian Moller Gilbreth, U.S. psychologist, writer, industrial and mechanical engineer, teacher, inventor, and businessperson; one of the first female engineers to earn a Ph.D., she is considered the first industrial and organizational psychologist. She and her husband, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering, especially in the areas of motion study and human factors. She is best known through two books written by two of their twelve children, Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes, which tell the story of their family life and describe how the parents applied time-and-motion studies to the organization and daily activities of their large family.

1878 – Helena Mniszek-Tchorznicka, prolific Polish novelist; three of her novels were adapted into movies, including her first book, Trędowata, which was made into three films and a television series. She was also known by her first husband’s surname, Chyzynska, and her second husband’s surname, Rawicz Radomyska.

1881 – Eberhard Frowein, German writer, screenwriter, and film director

1883 – Elsa Maxwell, U.S. gossip columnist, author, journalist, screenwriter, pianist, radio personality, actor, and songwriter; she is credited with the introduction of the scavenger hunt and treasure hunt as party games in the modern era.

1885 – Pandit Karuppan, Indian poet, playwright, activist, and Sanskrit scholar who was called the “Lincoln of Kerala” for steering socioeconomically and educationally backward communities to the forefront.

1887 – Jean de La Varende, French writer, novelist, biographer, painter, short-story writer, and literary critic; his novel Leather-Nose was the basis for a film.

1892 – Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and Methodist missionary in China.

1898 – Kathleen Hale, British children’s author and illustrator known for the the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books.

1899 – Kazi Nazrul Islam (best known as simply Nazrul), influential Bengali poet, writer, singer, translator, journalist, musician, composer, and anti-colonial revolutionary who was the national poet of Bangladesh and was sometimes called the “Rebel Poet”; he wrote on themes including freedom, religious devotion, opposition to bigotry and gender-based and caste-based discrimination, rebellion against oppression, and nationalist activism in the Indian independence movement.

1899 – Henri Michaux, Belgian-born French poet, journalist, and painter.

1905 – Mikhail Shokolov, Nobel Prize-winning Soviet Russian novelist, short-story writer, and war journalist; he is known especially for his novel And Quiet Flows the Don.

1928 – William Trevor (born William Trevor Cox), Irish novelist, playwright, screenwriter, short-story writer, and sculptor who was a three-time Whitbread Prize winner.

1940 – Joseph Brodsky, Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and essayist whose work was denounced as “pornographic and anti-Soviet” and who was arrested for social parasitism and sentenced to hard labor until his sentence was commuted; eventually he was vindicated, and lauded “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.”

1941 – Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman), Nobel Prize-winning U.S. singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been described as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. He was included in “The Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century,” where he was called “master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation.”

1954 – Barbro Karlén, prolific Swedish author, poet, autobiographer equestrian, and mounted police officer; her first book of poetry was published when she was 12 years old, and she had published eleven books of poetry and prose by the time she was 16. She claimed that as a young child, she had memories of being Anne Frank in a past life.

1963 – Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, screenwriter, short-story writer, children’s writer, and columnist; he also won the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Many of his works take place in the same fictional universe, with certain characters mentioned in more than one book.

1984 – Devapriya Roy, Indian novelist, memoirist, and biographer.