May 7 Writer Birthdays

1426 – Giovanni Pontano (later known as Giovanni Gioviano or, in Latin, Ioannes Iovianus Pontanus), poet, writer, humanist, and politician from the Duchy of Spoleto, now in Umbria in central Italy.

1711 – David Hume, Scottish historian, economist, and essayist; a key figure in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment.

1748 – Olympe de Gouges, (born Marie Gouze), French playwright, politician, journalist, philosopher, abolitionist, author, and women’s rights activist whose political writings reached a large audience, especially her most famous work, The Declaration of the Rights of Woman; she was executed by guillotine during the Reign of Terror for challenging the regime of the Revolutionary government.

1751 – Isabelle de Montolieu, Swiss novelist and translator who wrote in and translated to French; she is best known for writing the first French translations of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion and for her translation of Johann David Wyss’s The Swiss Family Robinson.

1754 – Joseph Joubert, French moralist and essayist, unpublished until after his death.

1812 – Robert Browning, English poet and playwright, married to poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

1842 – Alaide Gualberta Beccari, Italian writer, journalist, editor, social reformer, and activist for feminism and pacifism; she published the feminist journal Woman.

1846 – Anna Radius Zuccari, Italian novelist, short-story writer, magazine writer, journal founder and editor, and author of a dictionary of family hygiene; she used the pen name Neera.

1861 – Rabindranath Tagore, Bengali author; first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1867 – Władysław Reymont, Nobel Prize-winning Polish epic novelist known for symbolism, socialist concepts, romantic portrayal of the agrarian countryside, and criticism of capitalism.

1868 – Kaia Bruland Nilssen, Norwegian novelist, poet, editor, and translator; her book Aagot Vangen – et livsbillede is a biographical novel about the Norwegian sculptress Aagot Vangen.

1880 – Azim Aslan oglu Azimzade, Azerbaijani writer, artist, and caricaturist who was awarded the title People’s Artist of the Azerbaijan SSR.

1883 – Evaristo Carriego, Argentine writer, poet, and journalist who was an important influence on the writing of tango lyrics; he is best known today for the biography written about him by Jorge Luis Borges.

1892 – Archibald MacLeish, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet who also served as Librarian of Congress.

1911 – Jean Iris Ross Cockburn, Egyptian-born British writer, journalist, political activist, war correspondent, and film critic; in her youth she lived in Germany, where she was a cabaret singer and model who inspired the fictional character Sally Bowles in Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories, later adapted into the long-running stage musical Cabaret.

1911 – Zabihollah Safa, Iranian writer, poet, historian, translator, professor, literary historian, encyclopedia writer, and leading Iranologist who has written extensively on the history of Persian literature.

1926 – Hữu Mai, award-winning Vietnamese novelist and biographer; many of his books were about war.

1927 – Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, two-time Academy Award-winning German-born British/American novelist and screenwriter who is the only person to have won a Booker Prize and an Oscar.

1931 – Gene Wolfe, prolific, award-winning American science-fiction and fantasy novelist and short-story writer noted for his dense, allusive prose and for the strong influence of his Catholic faith.

1932 – Nonny Hogrogrian, Armenian-American children’s author who was a two-time Caldecott Medal winner.

1939 – Volker Braun, German poet, playwright, novelist, and short-story writer.

1939 – William Dempsey Valgardson, Canadian poet, novelist, and short story writer.

1940 – Angela Carter, pen name for Angela Olive Pearce (formerly Carter, née Stalker), English novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist who was known for her feminist, magical realism, and picaresque works.

1943 – Peter Carey, two-time Booker Prize-winning Australian novelist.

1946 – Michael Rosen, prolific British author of children’s books and poems who was Children’s Poet Laureate of Britain and a columnist and TV presenter.

1950 – Moshtaque Ahmad Noori, Indian Urdu short-story writer and critic who is a respected figure in the world of Urdu Literature.

1950 – Tim Russert, American journalist, lawyer, broadcaster, and author best known for his 16 years of serving as moderator for NBC’s news magazine show, Meet the Press.

1954 – Amy Heckerling, award-winning American screenwriter, film director, producer, and author whose work includes such popular films as Clueless, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and National Lampoon’s European Vacation.

1954 – Elisabeth Rynell, Swedish screenwriter, poet, and novelist.

1957 – Sarah Mkhonza, Swazi writer, human-rights activist, lecturer, journalist, and linguist. Because her writing was critical of the authorities in Swaziland, she was ordered to stop writing; threats and assaults led her to seek political asylum in the United States.

1955 – Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, Vietnamese novelist, short-story writer, poet, teacher, and correspondent who writes for teenagers and adults and is regarded as one of Vietnam’s most successful writers for teens.

1960 – Almudena Grandes, award-winning Spanish writer, screenwriter, and journalist whose fiction is known for realism and intense psychological introspection; her novel Las edades de Lulú (The Ages of Lulu) was considered “a breakthrough for eroticism in women’s writing.”

1960 – Hisashi Nozawa, award-winning Japanese screenwriter and mystery novelist.

1964 – Elliot Perlman, Australian novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, and barrister.

Throwback Thursday: First Easter

It’s spring, and Orthodox Easter was just a few days ago, so I decided to run a picture of Easter Past for Throwback Thursday. I took this one on my son’s first Easter, when he was a little more than two months old. He’s still cute, but now he’s six-foot-three.

Baby Jon Morgan Petrini, Easter 2002. I may be biased, but I think he was a particularly cute baby. (Today is the final day of his freshman year of college.)

May 6 Writer Birthdays

1856 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and the founding father of psychoanalysis.

1868 – Gaston Leroux, French journalist and author of detective fiction, best known for the novel The Phantom of the Opera.

1885 – Yaeko Nogami (birth name Kotegawa Yae), Japanese writer, novelist, essayist, and translator.

1902 – Harry Lewis Golden, Jewish-American journalist and author who wrote satirically on race relations.

1903 – Allan G. Odell, American marketer, poet, and advertising writer best known as the Burma Shave jingle-writer.

1904 – Harry Martinson, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish sailor, author, and poet.

1910 – Leo Lionni, Dutch author and illustrator of children’s books who was also an economist, graphic designer, and architectural writer.

1912 – Nguyễn Huy Tưởng, award-winning Vietnamese writer, playwright, and revolutionary.

1913 – Douglas Stewart, New Zealand poet, short-story writer, essayist, and literary editor.

1914 – Randall Jarrell, American poet who was U.S. Poet Laureate; he was also a literary critic, children’s author, essayist, and novelist.

1915 – Orson Welles, American screenwriter, actor, and director, remembered especially for the groundbreaking film Citizen Kane and his 1938 radio broadcast of the H.G. Wells book War of the Worlds, which caused widespread panic when listeners who tuned in late mistook it for a news broadcast about a real Martian invasion.

1915 – Theodore H. White, Pulitzer Prize-winning American political journalist, best known for his series of books, “The Making of the President.”

1918 – Henrietta Boggs, U.S.-born Costa Rican author, journalist, and activist who served as First Lady of Costa Rica who died in 2020 at the age of 102.

1934 – Johnny Odd Bergh, Norwegian screenwriter, producer, and director who was a key player in the development of Norwegian television.

1935 – Ted Lewin, Caldecott Honor-winning American children’s book author and illustrator.

1941 – Charnvit Kasetsiri (ชาญวิทย์ เกษตรศิริ), Thai historian, writer, and professor who specializes in Thai history.

1942 – Vladimiro Ariel Dorfman, Argentine-Chilean novelist, playwright, and human-rights activist.

1950 – Jeffrey Deaver, bestselling American mystery and crime-novel writer.

1956 – Sujata Bhatt, award-winning Indian-American poet and translator whose free verse has been described as, “fast-moving, urgent with narratives, softly spoken.”

1965 – Ellen Banda-Aaku, award-winning Zambian novelist and short-story writer.

Wanderlust, Domestic Edition

A few days ago I posted about suddenly deciding to go to Cornwall for a few days in the fall, and renting a house there that is featured in a favorite BBC series. Yesterday I posted about further plans for the trip, which will also include a village in Wales, as well as a few other southwestern England counties besides Cornwall. The entire trip is contingent on the cooperation of the pandemic. We hope we’re planning it for late enough in the year so that restrictions will have been lifted and it will be safe. If not, we’ll have to postpone the trip; all of my reservations can be canceled or changed without penalty.

I also mentioned in yesterday’s post that I had begun planning another trip, to a much nearer destination. This mini-vacation will be in the summer, not far enough ahead in time for confidence about the demise of the pandemic. So we will take all the recommended precautions. We have all been vaccinated; my son’s second shot was only this week, but he will be fully protected by the time we go.

Now for the big reveal. Where are we going? Tangier Island!

My husband and I have always wanted to visit Tangier, an island in the Virginia part of the Chesapeake Bay. It was settled in the 18th century by English immigrants, some of whom still speak a distinctive dialect not heard anywhere else. There are few cars on the island; visitors can rent bikes and golf carts, but it’s small enough so that anywhere in town is walkable.

I haven’t yet made the ferry reservations to get there, but I have rented a charming little cottage.

May 5 Writer Birthdays

1588 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher whose work Leviathan set the foundations of western political philosophy.

1813 – Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, and social critic widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.

1818 – Karl Marx, German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, and socialist revolutionary who was the founder of modern Communism and coauthor of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.

1837 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, novelist, playwright, critic, and encyclopedia writer.

1864 – Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochrane), pioneering U.S. investigative journalist, industrialist, inventor, and social reformer who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of the Jules Verne novel, and an exposé in which she worked undercover, pretending to be a mental patient to report from within on conditions at a mental institution.

1898 – Lise Deharme, influential French writer, poet, and novelist of the Surrealist movement; she also used the pen name Lisa Hirtz.

1901 – Madeleine Ley, Belgian poet, writer, and children’s author.

1904 – Richard Eberhart, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning American poet who was called “a modern stylist with romantic sensibilities.”

1906 – Louise Aslanian, Iranian/Armenian/French writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, and French Resistance fighter who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

1906 – Iasyr Shivaza, Kyrgyzstani writer, poet, translator, editor, linguist, textbook author, scholar, and social activist who wrote under the pseudonym Xianma; he founded Soviet Dungan literature and made significant contributions to Dungan art and culture; his first book, The Morning Star, is the first printed book in the history of the Dungan people, a group of Muslim people of Hui origin.

1917 – Robert Bloch, American writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction; he is best for his book Psycho, which was the basis for the Hitchcock film.

1919 – Richard Scarry, bestselling American children’s author and illustrator whose characters are anthropomorphic animals.

1920 – Arthur Hailey, British/Canadian author of meticulously researched novels, each set inside a single industry.

1937 – Joseph Lelyveld, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, newspaper editor, nonfiction author, biographer, and critic; much of his work centers on South Africa.

1943 – Michael Palin, British screenwriter, actor, singer, comedian, television presenter, children’s writer, television actor, film actor, diarist, and travel writer who was also president of the Royal Geographical Society; he came to international prominence as a member of the Monty Python comedy group.

1945 – Teresa Porzecanski, award-winning Uruguayan anthropologist, author, poet, and professor whose work focuses on the Jewish communities of Uruguay, African-descended minorities, prejudice, and ethnic issues.

1947 – Linda Fairstein, American author, attorney, and former New York City prosecutor whose work focuses on violent crimes against women and children.

1956 – Anthony Horowitz, English novelist and screenwriter, known for his suspense novels and children’s books.

1957 – Anu Garg, Indian author, columnist, and website founder whose works explore the intricacies of the English language; his website Wordsmith.org, for word lovers, has subscribers from nearly 200 countries.

1964 – Efrat Mishori, Israeli poet, author, essayist, filmmaker, and performance artist.

1976 – Déborah Heissler, award-winning French poet, writer, researcher, and literary critic.

1979 – Catherynne M. Valente (born Bethany Thomas), award-winning American science-fiction and fantasy novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, and literary critic.

Wanderlust

I spent a surprising amount of time today on travel planning. That feels like such a weird thing to say, after more than a year of going almost nowhere.

I posted a couple days ago about a trip to the U.K. we are hoping to take this fall. That post was about my recent booking of a few days in Port Isaac, Cornwall, at the guest house that is the exterior shooting location for Doc Martin’s home and surgery in the BBC series Doc Martin, starring Martin Clunes. It’s a characteristic Cornish stone cottage. If you’re not familiar with the television series, which I enthusiastically recommend, you can see a photo at the link above.

Yesterday I booked airline tickets for the trip. What a ridiculously long, drawn-out process, full of bait-and-switch tactics and an enormous range of prices for exactly the same flights. It seems to have gotten worse since the last time I flew. And while I was hoping prices would be down because so few people have traveled in the past year, those days are gone. Travelers are taking to the skies again, and prices were high on the routes I needed.

Today I booked a room at a small inn in Penzance, in the south of Cornwall. So we can play pirates. I also reserved a room at a more boring airport hotel outside of Bristol for our last night in Britain, when we have to catch a plane in the morning. In between, I still have several days unaccounted for. We know we want to see my husband’s ancestral village in Wales, and we have a short list of other places in Wales and southwestern England that are possibilities. We haven’t decided if we want to stay in one central location and do all of that as day trips, or if we want to find a place in England and a place in Wales. I’m leaning toward one central location, despite my nervousness about driving a rental car on the other side of the road from what we’re used to. I hate trips that involve moving to a new spot every day or two instead of spending time to start getting to know a place. We’ll work out the details over the next few months.

My big fear is that English travel restrictions will not be lifted by the time we’re supposed to go. Currently, U.S. travelers to Britain are required to quarantine for ten days on arrival. Clearly that will not work for us, seeing as how we’ll be there less than two weeks. Our thinking is that the covid-19 restrictions will loosen this summer, and we’ll be all right by fall. If not, everything I’ve reserved so far can be changed or canceled without penalty. We’re both fully vaccinated, and vaccination rates here and in the U.K. are increasing. So I live in hope. But if necessary, we can move the whole trip to next year.

I really, really hope that doesn’t happen. We are so desperate to travel!

In fact, we are so desperate to travel that I also booked another trip this week, a much smaller, closer-to-home trip by car. But I’ll save that one to talk about another time.

May 4 Writer Birthdays

1006 – Khwaja Abdullah Ansari, Persian Sufi poet known as the “Sage of Herat” for his oratory and poetic talents.

1749 – Charlotte Turner Smith, English Romantic poet, novelist, and children’s writer who initiated a revival of the English sonnet, helped establish the conventions of Gothic fiction, and wrote political novels of sensibility; scholars credit her with transforming the sonnet into an expression of woeful sentiment.

1793 – Dorothea Primrose Campbell, Scottish Shetland poet, novelist, short-story writer, and teacher whose melodic and whimsical poems and works of fiction are regarded as revealing works of English literature, containing themes about historical and societal barriers.

1825 – Thomas Henry Huxley, English biologist and essayist who advocated for evolutionary theory; he was the grandfather of biologist Julian Huxley and novelist Aldous Huxley.

1853 – Marie Robinson Wright, prominent American travel writer whose books focused on Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Mexico.

1859 – Julia de Asensi, Spanish journalist, translator, author, and children’s writer.

1866 – Lucie Faure-Goyau, French writer, poet, traveler, and woman of letters.

1900 – Meta Davis Cumberbatch, Trinidadian poet, playwright, pianist, composer, and cultural activist who spent most of her life in The Bahamas, where she became known as the “Mother of the Arts.”

1903 – Hu Yepin, Chinese writer, poet, and playwright who was a prominent member of the League of Left-Wing Writers and one of the Five Martyrs of the Left League, executed in 1931 by the Kuomintang government; he was husband of the celebrated writer Ding Ling, who was also a member of the Left League.

1905 – Boris J. Kochanowsky, Russian-born American memoirist who was forced to flee Russia for Germany during the Revolution, and then had to flee Germany for the United States to escape Nazi persecution.

1907 – Lucy Walker (pseudonym for Dorothy Lucie Sanders), prolific Australian romance novelist and teacher.

1912 – Elvi Aulikki Sinervo, award-winning Finnish poet and author.

1914 – Toshihiko Izutsu, Japanese professor and author of many books on Islam and other religions; he was fluent in more than 30 languages.

1916 – Jane Jacobs, American/Canadian journalist, author, urban planner, economist, sociologist, activist, and writer on urbanism; her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities argued that urban renewal did not respect the needs of city-dwellers, and organized grassroots efforts to protect neighborhoods from “slum clearance.”

1917 – Nicomedes “Nick” Márquez Joaquín, Filipino novelist, poet, short-story writer, and journalist who wrote in English; he also wrote using the pen name Quijano de Manila.

1921 – Suzanne Marie Adèle Beauclerk, Duchess of St Albans (née Fesq; and also known as Suzanne St Albans), Malaysian-born British writer, biographer, autobiographer, and painter.

1925 – Ruth First, South African writer, politician, author, university teacher, journalist, and anti-apartheid political activist who moved to Mozambique in exile from South Africa, and was assassinated there.

1928 – Thomas Kinsella, Irish poet, translator, and anthologist.

1935 – Dalip Kaur Tiwana, award-winning Indian Punjabi novelist, and short-story writer, and professor.

1937 – Göran Tunström, Swedish author, poet, and translator with a style that was personal and intimate, with a clear autobiographical tone.

1939 – Amoz Oz (born Amos Klausner), Israeli writer, novelist, journalist, and literature professor.

1940 – Robin Cook, American physician and novelist known for his medical thrillers.

1941 – George Will, American conservative writer, journalist, and columnist whose works focus on politics or baseball.

1945 – Sylviane Agacinski-Jospin, French author, philosopher, and professor; her husband, Lionel Jospin, is a former Prime Minister of France.

1947 – Marele Day, award-winning Australian author of mystery novels.

1949 – Ágústína Jónsdóttir, Icelandic writer, artist, and educator.

1949 – Graham Swift, award-winning English author of magical realism novels.

1953 – Yacouba Konaté, Ivorian writer, art critic, curator, and professor.

1956 – David Guterson, American author best known for the novel Snow Falling on Cedars, which was made into a feature film.

1963 – Maria Evangelina Leonel Gandolfo (known as Vange Leonel), Brazilian novelist, journalist, playwright, singer-songwriter, rhythm guitarist, feminist and LGBT activist, and beer sommelier.

1963 – Vera Anatolyevna Pavlova, Russian poet, music historian, librettist, and lyricist.

1967 – Justin D. Fox, South African author, photojournalist, lecturer, and editor.

1967 – Dalia Ibelhauptaitė, Lithuanian playwright, writer, and theatre director whose work combines the traditions of Russian and Western theatre.

1969 – Ben Mutua Jonathan Muriithi (born Jonathan Nyaga, and often known simply as BMJ), Kenyan-born, U.S.-based print, radio and television journalist.

1979 – Kristin Harmel, American author of women’s fiction.

Eyes on the Sparrows

If you look carefully, you can see the baby sparrows in the newly relocated nest in our front yard.

Yesterday Bob pulled out some ugly, scraggly shrubs near our front door, so we could replace them with azaleas. He commented to me that a sparrow in the dogwood tree was scolding him the whole time.

Then we saw the nest. One of the ugly shrubs had been home to a nest full of baby birds. They had survived having their home uprooted, and were still in the nest as it lay on the sidewalk in the debris of branches. The mother sparrow still shrieked at us from the top of the dogwood tree.

Bob tried to place the nest into the branches of the dogwood tree, but there wasn’t a good, stable joint to sit it in. Also, that nest would have been out in the open and so vulnerable. So instead, he gently set the nest in the remaining shrub next to the ones he’d removed. He had to tie it with twine to make sure it wouldn’t fall.

As we planted the new azaleas, we worried that the sparrow parents wouldn’t find their babies in the new location, or that they would reject the nest after we’d tampered with it. But a half-hour later, two sparrows were flying back and forth, bringing food for those hatchlings.

May 3 Writer Birthdays

1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian, politician, philosopher, and writer who is widely considered the founder of modern political science and is best known for his handbook for unscrupulous politicians, The Prince.

1533 – Cheng Dawei, Chinese writer and mathematician who is known as “the most illustrious Chinese arithmetician,” mainly because he was the author of Suanfa Tongzong (General Source of Computational Methods).

1829 – Ellen Elizabeth Ellis, English-born New Zealand feminist and writer.

1843 – Edward Dowden, Irish critic, biographer, and poet, noted for his critical work on Shakespeare.

1849 – Jacob Riis, Danish-born “muck-raking” journalist, photographer, and social reformer who shocked his readers by shining a spotlight on the squalid living conditions in New York City tenements.

1853 – Edgar Watson Howe, American novelist who was also a newspaper and magazine editor.

1859 – Andy Adams, American author of western fiction about cowboys.

1873 – Nini Roll Anker, Norwegian novelist and playwright whose books often concerned the lives of women within different social classes, as well as the women’s rights movement and the rights of the working class.

1896 – Dorothy Gladys “Dodie” Smith, English children’s novelist and playwright, known best for the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.

1907 – Harvey Earl Wilson, American journalist, gossip columnist, and author,

1912 – May Sarton, pen name of Belgian-born Eleanore Marie Sarton, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.

1913 – William Motter Inge, Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright and novelist whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s he had a string of memorable Broadway productions, including Picnic, Come Back Little Sheba, and Bus Stop.

1914 – Itsuo Tsuda, influential Korean-born Japanese philosopher, author, and teacher of aikido and Seitai.

1917 – Betty Comden, American screenwriter, songwriter, playwright, lyricist, and memoirist who began writing musicals with her working partner Adolph Green because they couldn’t find work as actors; their work includes some of the most celebrated musicals in history, including Singing in the Rain, Peter Pan, Auntie Mame, and On the Town.

1924 – Yehuda Amichai, German-born Israeli poet who is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest modern poet.

1929 – Jahanara Imam, Indian Bangladeshi writer and political activist; for her efforts to bring those accused of committing war crimes in the Bangladesh Liberation War to trial, she has been called “Shaheed Janani” (Mother of Martyrs).

1931 – Hamlet Bareh Ngapkynta, Indian writer, historian, and film director who was the first person from the Khasi tribe, an indigenous ethic group of the state, to secure a doctoral degree; he also made the first feature film in the Khasi language, Ka Synjuk Ri ki Laiphew Syiem (The Alliance of Thirty Kings).

1935 – Sujatha, pen name of S. Rangarajan, prolific Indian Tamil writer of novels, short stories, books on science, plays, columns, and poetry; he was one of the most popular authors in Tamil literature.

1937 – Mohammad Hoghooghi, Iranian poet, author, and critic; his book Modern Poetry, From Beginning Until Today is one of the leading encyclopedic sources on modern Iranian poetry.

1944 – Twins Seven Seven (born Omoba Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyelale Osuntoki), Nigerian painter, sculptor, writer, dancer, and musician who was one of the best known artists of the Osogbo School.

1947 – Aino Hivand, Norwegian-Sami visual artist and children’s book writer with an expressionist and abstract style.

1947 – Mavis Jukes, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s fiction and nonfiction books who often writes on health-related issues.

1948 – Leslie Marmon Silko, Native American novelist, poet, and essayist.

1951 – Tatyana Nikitichna Tolstaya, Russian writer, television host, publicist, novelist, and essayist who is the granddaughter of famous writer Leo Tolstoy.

1955 – Hailji, South Korean writer and poet whose series of “Racetrack” novels created controversy in Korea; many of his works have been made into movies or plays, making him a key figure in the development of modern Korean cinema.

1959 – Ben Elton, English comedian, author, actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright, known for political satire; his work includes writing for television series such as Blackadder, as well as a sequel to Phantom of the Opera.

1962 – Shukri Mabkhout, Tunisian writer, academic, and literary critic

1965 – Ninotchka “Nina” García, Colombian fashion journalist, editor, and critic

1972 – Reza Aslan, Iranian-born American author, commentator, and religious scholar.