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.

May 23 Writer Birthdays

1606 – Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer, mathematician, and Catholic philosopher.

1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalized binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms, and is known as the “father of modern taxonomy.”

1729 – Giuseppe Parini, Italian Neoclassical poet, writer, and satirist.

1802 – Mary Hennell, British reforming writer and encyclopedia contributor; two of her sisters, her brother, and her brother-in-law were also writers. She and her sisters are believed to be the basis for the fictional Meyrick family in George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda.

1810 – Margaret Fuller, U.S. journalist, poet, social reformer, feminist, critic, and foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune; she died in 1850 in a boat fire.

1818 – Louisa Annie Murray, English-born Canadian writer, poet, and novelist.

1819 – Louisa Morton Greene (née Willard), U.S. reformer, writer, public speaker, abolitionist, suffragist, women’s rights worker, temperance worker, and Civil War relief worker; she is regarded as the first American woman to publicly rebel against discrimination towards women in industry, refusing to accept a woman’s pay rate after doing a man’s job.

1821 – Felicia Mary Frances Skene (also known by the pseudonyms Erskine Moir and Francis Scougal), French-born Scottish writer, poet, biographer, memoirist, philanthropist, and prison reformer. As a child, she played with the children of the exiled King Charles X of France, and sat on the knee of her father’s close friend, Sir Walter Scott, telling him fairy tales; as an adult, she had many well-known friends, including Florence Nightingale.

1826 – Adile Sultan, Ottoman Turkish poet, princess, and philanthropist; she was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II and the sister of the Sultans Abdulmejid I and Abdulaziz.

1841 – Karen Sundt, Norwegian journalist, editor, fairytale writer, and popular novelist who was Norway’s first female newspaper editor.

1842 – Maria Konopnicka, Polish poet, novelist, children’s writer, translator, journalist, critic, and activist for women’s rights and Polish independence.

1855 – Isabella Ormston Ford, English writer, suffragist, social reformer, and public speaker who wrote on issues related to socialism, feminism, and worker’s rights.

1891 – Pär Lagerkvist, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author of poems, plays, novels, stories, and essays, known “for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind.”

1898 – Scott O’Dell, Newbery Award-winning U.S. author of historical novels, especially for the young-adult market; he is best known for Island of the Blue Dolphins.

1903 – Walter Reisch, Austrian screenwriter, film director, and lyricist.

1906 – Sheila Wingfield (Viscountess of Powerscourt, neé Sheila Claude Beddington), British and Irish poet and memoirist.

1908 – Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Swiss writer, journalist, poet, archeologist, philosopher, photographer, and explorer.

1910 – Margaret Wise Brown, U.S. author of classic children’s picture books; her most famous is the often-copied Goodnight Moon.

1914 – Barbara Mary Ward (Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth), British economist and writer who was interested in the problems of developing countries.

1918 – Walter Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. biographer and literary critic.

1919 – Maurice Alfrédo Sixto, Haitian author, professor, translator, tour guide, social commentator, and ambassador.

1921 – James Blish, U.S. author of science-fiction and fantasy novels, including some Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term “gas giant” for large planetary bodies.

1922 – Edith Ranum, award-winning Norwegian crime-fiction writer, novelist, and playwright.

1929 – Mya Than Tint, award-winning Burmese novelist, short-story writer, documentary scriptwriter, translator, and politician; he translated many classic works of Western literature into Burmese.

1930 – Friedrich Achleitner, Austrian poet, experimental writer, art historian, professor, architect, and architecture critic; his magnum opus is a multi-volume documentation of 20th-century Austrian architecture.

1930 – Miloš Mikeln, Slovenian writer, poet, dramatist, journalist, and playwright.

1933 – Joan Collins (Dame Joan Henrietta Collins), bestselling British author of novels and nonfiction books, columnist, and Golden Globe Award-winning movie and soap-opera actress.

1933 – Ceija Stojka, award-winning Austrian Romani writer, autobiographer, painter, and musician; during World War II, she survived the Holocaust and internment at the Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Bergen-Belsen camps. She later became the Austrian spokeswoman for recognition of the Roma and Sinti genocide, along being a voice in the struggle against discrimination that the Roma continue to suffer throughout Europe.

1935 – Susan Cooper, Newbery Medal-winning English-born U.S. author of children’s fantasy novels, best known for The Dark Is Rising series.

1936 – Peter Parnall, U.S. children’s author and illustrator whose works deal with the natural world.

1937 – Kaoru Nakamaru, Japanese journalist, television interviewer, and author with a background in international politics; Newsweek called her “the Edward R. Murrow of Japan.”

1949 – Márcia Denser, Brazilian journalist, novelist, columnist, short-story writer, and anthologist.

1951 – Chioma Opara, Nigerian author, activist, orator, and professor whose work primarily focuses on West African feminism; she is known for creating the theory of “femalism” and is a key African feminist theorist whose work has been influential in studies of gender in Africa.

1954 – Anja Snellman, award-winning Finnish author, screenwriter, writer, poet, critic, television presenter, and journalist.

1955 – Louise Anne Bouchard, award-winning Canadian-Swiss novelist, screenwriter, and photographer.

1958 – Mitch Albom, U.S. journalist and author whose books often have an inspirational theme.

1958 – Paul Street, U.S. journalist, policy researcher, nonfiction author, and political commentator.

1961 – Alanna Lockward, Dominican author, curator, and filmmaker based in Berlin and Santo Domingo; she was founding director of Art Labour Archives, a platform for theory, political activism, and art.

1964 – K.R. Tony, Indian poet, translator, professor, and botanist whose verses have established him as one of the prominent voices in contemporary Malayalam poetry.

1966 – Eliane Brum, award-winning Brazilian journalist, columnist, novelist, and documentary film director.

1967 – Sean Williams, bestselling Australian author of science-fiction novels and short stories; some of his books are Star Wars novelizations.

1976 – Sepideh Jodeyri, acclaimed Iranian poet, short-story writer, literary critic, linguist, translator and journalist, now living in exile in the U.S.

May 22 Writer Birthdays

1009 – Su Xun, Chinese Song dynasty poet and essayist.

1772 – Ram Mohan Roy, Indian writer, translator, philosopher, religious and social reformer, and humanitarian known for efforts to abolish child marriage and the practice of sati (the sacrifice of a widow on her deceased husband’s pyre); he is considered the “father of the Indian Renaissance.”

1782 – Hirose Tansō, Japanese poet, writer, teacher, and neo-Confucian scholar.

1790 – Bianca Milesi, Italian writer, painter, and educator who studied the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

1808 – Gérard de Nerval (pen name of Gérard Labrunie), French writer, translator, essayist, and Romantic poet.

1824 – Amélie Linz, German author who wrote books for children and adults; she wrote under the name Amélie Godin.

1846 – Rita Cetina Gutiérrez, influential Mexican poet, writer, educator, and feminist activist who promoted secular education in the nineteenth century.

1858 – Emmy Köhler, Swedish writer, teacher, hymnwriter, and children’s writer.

1859 –Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish physician and writer, best known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

1859 – Tsubouchi Shōyō, Japanese novelist, playwright, critic, translator, university teacher, and theater director.

1863 – Josephine Cecilia Diebitsch Peary, U.S. author and Arctic explorer; she was married to Robert Peary, who claimed to be the first to have reached the geographic North Pole, and accompanied him on many of his expeditions.

1866 – Ilya Tolstoy, Russian writer, journalist, and teacher who was the third son of acclaimed writer Leo Tolstoy.

1870 – Eva Gore-Booth, Irish writer, poet, playwright, suffragist, labor unionist, social worker, and feminist activist.

1885 – Kansuke Naka, Japanese novelist, essayist, poet, and journalist who was unusual in his willingness to criticize Japanese nationalists.

1904 – Paul Viiding, Estonian writer, poet, translator, author, and literary critic who was part of the influential group of six Estonian poets known as Arbujad, or “Soothsayers.”

1907 – Hergé (pen name of Georges Prosper Remi), Belgian comic-book artist and writer best known as the creator of The Adventures of Tintin.

1908 – Cedric Firth, New Zealand writer, architect, and builder.

1913 – Dominique Rolin, award-winning Belgian writer, novelist, autobiographer who developed a unique, feminist voice in French novel-writing, blending autobiography and fiction.

1914 – Vance Packard, U.S. journalist, editor, and author who wrote a popular series on sociology.

1922 – Mirjana Gross, Yugoslav-Croatian Jewish historian and writer.

1922 – Elvira Orphée, award-winning Argentine novelist and short-story writer

1925 – Emilio Carballido, award-winning and prolific Mexican novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who was part of the group of writers known as the Generación de los 50; he was especially renowned for his plays.

1927 – Peter Matthiessen, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, and CIA agent; he co-founded The Paris Review, which he started as a cover for his CIA activities.

1928 – Serge Doubrovsky, award-winning French writer, teacher, translator, and literary critic.

1930 – John Grant, Scottish author, children’s writer, illustrator, and broadcaster who was best known as the author of the Littlenose series of children’s stories.

1932 – Tavo Burat, Italian writer, poet, journalist, and ecologist who spent much of his career promoting the Piedmontese language.

1933 – Arnold Lobel, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and illustrator, known for the “Frog and Toad” picture books.

1934 – Gary Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, journalist, and historian who specializes in U.S. history, politics, and religion, especially the history of the Roman Catholic Church; he is best known for his book, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America.

1942 – Souad Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti economist, writer and poet; in her work, she expresses the concerns of Arabic women in general and Kuwaiti women in particular, and presents the dualities of life and death, men and women, and treachery and loyalty.

1943 – Lisa Carducci (also known as Li Shasha), award-winning Canadian writer, short-story writer, poet, and translator of Italian descent, living in China.

1944 – Lynn Barber, British journalist, magazine writer, editor, and memoirist.

1944 – John Flanagan, Australian fantasy writer who is best known for his medieval fantasy series, the Ranger’s Apprentice.

1947 – Anthony Holden, British author, literary critic, translator, biographer, broadcaster, and poker player who was first president of the International Federation of Poker.

1950 – Irène Frain (née Le Pohon), French novelist, journalist, and historian.

1951 – Coral Bracho, award-winning Mexican poet, linguist, and translator.

1954 – Katalin Lévai, Hungarian writer, novelist, and liberal politician who is a Member of the European Parliament and one of Hungary’s most fervent supporters of same-sex marriage, gender equality, and full access for people with disabilities.

1957 – Katrin Ottarsdóttir, award-winning Faroese poet, novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, film director, and actress whose work prominently features her native Faroe Islands, which make up an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

1959 – Andy Andrews, U.S. novelist, self-help author, and motivational speaker.

1959 – Tosca Reno, Canadian nutrition expert, wellness advocate, and author of bestselling health-related books.

1961 – Anique Poitras, award-winning Canadian writer, poet, and lecturer whose work was aimed mostly at adolescent readers.

1962 – José Manuel Prieto, award-winning Cuban writer, novelist, translator, and scholar.

1972 – Max Brooks, U.S. horror author, screenwriter, and actor; he is the son of comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft.

1975 – Inés Bortagaray Sabarrós, award-winning Uruguayan author, short-story writer, and screenwriter.

1976 – Shane Koyczan, Canadian poet and “talk rock” artist.

1976 – Ingrid Storholmen, Norwegian poet, novelist, and literary critic.

1978 – Tansy Rayner Roberts, award-winning Australian fantasy writer who has published short stories, novels, and children’s fiction; she also writes crime fiction under the name Livia Day.


May 21 Writer Birthdays

1546 – Madeleine de l’Aubespine, French writer, poet, literary patron, and lady in waiting to Catherine de Medici; l’Aubespine was one of the earliest female erotic poets and was one of the few female poets whose work was praised by “the prince of poets,” Pierre de Ronsard.

1688 – Alexander Pope, English poet and translator best known for his use of satirical verse; he is considered one of the foremost poets of his time.

1811 – Julia Griffiths, British writer, editor, and prominent abolitionist who worked with the American freed slave Frederick Douglass and was one of six founding members of the influential Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society; she is most noted for publishing Autographs for Freedom, an anthology of anti-slavery literature.

1864 – Stéphanie Clotilde Louise Herminie Marie Charlotte (Princess Stéphanie of Belgium), Belgian writer, memoirist, diarist, and inventor who was a Belgian princess by birth and Crown Princess of Austria through marriage to heir-apparent Archduke Rudolf. She was famously widowed when Rudolf and his mistress, Mary Vetsera, died in an apparent murder-suicide pact. When she later published her memoir, including Rudolf’s last letter to her — evidence of the suicide pact — a scandal ensued and police visited every bookshop in Vienna and seized all copies; it was later published overseas. She also invented a combined chafing dish and spirit lamp, for which she held a U.S. patent.

1880 – Tudor Arghezi (pen name for Ion N. Theodorescu), Romanian writer, poet, journalist, and children’s author who is best known for his unique contributions to poetry and to children’s literature.

1901 – Suzanne Lilar, Flemish Belgian novelist, playwright, journalist, essayist, literary critic, philosopher, and lawyer who wrote in French.

1906 – Profira Sadoveanu, Romanian writer, poet, journalist, children’s author, memoirist, interviewer, and translator who sometimes used the pseudonym Valer Donea; she was strongly influenced by the literary style of her father, novelist Mihail Sadoveanu, and adopted his florid descriptions, but she infused her writing with a feminine sensibility.

1912 – Siddhi Charan Shrestha, Nepalese writer, poet, journalist, and linguistic rights activist who was one of the most prominent writers in Nepal; his revolutionary poetry contributed to the struggle against the autocratic Rana regime, leading to his imprisonment for sedition because of one of his poems, which contained the now-famous line, “Without revolution, there can be no proper peace.”

1913 – Oloori Kofoworola “Kofo” Aina Ademola (Lady Ademola, née Moore), Nigerian children’s book author and educator who was the first black African woman to earn a degree from Oxford University and the first president of the National Council of Women Societies in Nigeria.

1916 – Harold Robbins, bestselling U.S. author of popular novels, known for his deftness at blending his own life experiences, history, melodrama, sex, and high society into a fast-moving story.

1917 – Enid Elizabeth Backhouse, Australian novelist, scriptwriter, and playwright, best known for her family history Against Time and Place.

1922 – Surendra Mohanty, Indian writer, author, autobiographer, and politician who wrote in Oriya.

1923 – Dorothy Hewett, award-winning Australian novelist, poet, playwright, and feminist writer who has been called “one of Australia’s best-loved and most respected writers.”

1932 – Gabriele Wohmann, German novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and film director.

1935 – Hisako Matsubara, award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, playwright, nonfiction author, editor, columnist, and critic who has published works in Japanese, English, and German; her novels are set in recent Japanese history and address cultural changes and western influences, and her nonfiction books highlight contrasts between Japanese history and European history.

1938 – Ana Diosdado, Argentine-born Argentinian-Spanish author, screenwriter, playwright, theater director, and actress.

1943 – Beverley Naidoo, award-winning South African author, children’s writer, novelist, and biographer.

1944 – Janet Dailey (full name Janet Anne Haradon Dailey), bestselling U.S. author of romance novels, with many different series and stand-alone novels.

1948 – Elizabeth Buchan, British writer of novels, short stories, nonfiction, and biography; she is best known for her romantic novels.

1951 – Al Franken (Alan Stuart Franken), U.S. comedian, screenwriter, author, actor, journalist, radio personality, and U.S. Senator.

1951 – Victoria (Torey) Lynn Hayden, U.S. special-education teacher, university lecturer, and writer of fiction and nonfiction books based on her experiences teaching and counseling children with special needs.

1952 – Arezki Metref, Algerian journalist, writer, and poet.

1962 – Hege Storhaug, Norwegian writer, women’s rights activist, and journalist who has been particularly critical of Islam’s treatment of women; she is also a former player on the Norway women’s national volleyball team.

1964 – Miriam Toews, Canadian writer and actress, best known for her novels set in the Mennonite community.

1967 – Lemn Sissay, award-winning British author, poet, playwright, broadcaster, and university chancellor who was the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics.

1983 – P.V. Shajikumar, award-winning Malayalam author, screenplay writer, and software engineer.

Postcards From the World: London, 1958

Untitled photograph by Frank Horvat, London 1958. (This is Postcrossing card US-8315183 from New York.)

Today’s featured postcard shows a photo taken in London, but the card comes to me from a Postcrosser in New York.

The photograph is dated 1958; unfortunately, there is no other information on the card, except for the name of the photographer: Frank Horvat. He was an Italian photographer who spent much of his career in France and was best known for his fashion photography in the 1950s and 1960s and for his pictures of women.

A Postcrosser named Tracy sent me the card. She is married and is the mother of two redheaded daughters. She loves festivals, henna tattoos, international music, pine cones, walks in the woods, and growing her own vegetables and herbs. She likes to read but has trouble making the time for it. And I am pleased to have met her via this stylish yet quirky postcard.

May 20 Writer Birthdays

1470 – Pietro Bembo, Venetian Italian writer, poet, librarian, historian, essayist, translator, and Catholic cardinal; he influential in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage.

1505 – Levinus Lemnius, Dutch writer, physician, astrologer, and Catholic priest.

1754 – Elisabeth “Elisa” Charlotte Constanzia von der Recke (née von Medem), German writer, memoirist, biographer, and poet.

1787 – Ema Saikō, Japanese writer, poet, artist, painter, and calligrapher who was one of the most acclaimed Japanese artists of her age; her kanshi poetry is known for being self-reflective and autobiographical.

1799 – Honore de Balzac, French novelist and playwright who is considered one of the founders of European realism.

1806 – John Stuart Mill, British writer, philosopher, economist, autobiographer, suffragist, and feminist; he is considered one of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism and contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy.

1811 – Alfred Domett, New Zealand writer, poet, barrister, and politician who was Prime Minister of New Zealand.

1824 – Sofia Dmitriyevna Khvoshchinskaya, Russian writer of literary fiction and social commentary; she was also a painter and translator.

1830 – Hector Malot, French novelist, memoirist, literary critic, and theatre critic.

1850 – Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Indian Marathi writer, whose writings have had a decisive influence on modern Marathi prose style.

1858 – Emma Adler (née Braun), Austrian journalist and writer who also wrote under the pen names Marion Lorm and Helene Erdmann.

1870 – Sarah Winifred Parry, acclaimed Welsh short-story writer and novelist who is credited with developing the modern Welsh short story.

1882 – Sigrid Undset, Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist, known for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages.

1884 – Salman Mumtaz, renowned Azerbaijani poet, writer, literary scholar, and literary historian; in his efforts to collect, publish, and promote his country’s classical literary legacy, he discovered unknown manuscripts of several Azerbaijani poets.

1885 – Dorita Fairlie Bruce, popular British novelist and children’s writer; she was a pioneer in creating series of books that followed a group of girls throughout their school years and beyond.

1886 – Chieko Takamura, Japanese writer, poet, painter, illustrator, and papercut artist; she was an early member of the Japanese feminist movement Seitōsha.

1890 – Allan Nevins, U.S. historian and biographer, winner of the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Grover Cleveland.

1893 – Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas, Lithuanian writer, poet, literary critic, and literary historian.

1897 – Diego Abad de Santillán (born Sinesio Vaudilio García Fernández), Spanish author, economist, editor, writer, politician, and journalist who was a leading figure in the Spanish and Argentine anarchist movements.

1900 – Lydia Cabrera, Afro-Cuban writer, poet, and anthropologist who was an expert on Santería and other Afro-Cuban religions; her most important book is El Monte (The Wilderness), which was the first major ethnographic study of Afro-Cuban traditions, herbalism, and religion.

1900 – Sumitranandan Pant, Indian poet who was one of the most celebrated 20th century poets of the Hindi language; he was known for romanticism in his poems, which were inspired by nature, people, and the beauty within.

1902 – Horacio Hidrovo Velásquez, award-winning Ecuadorian novelist, poet, and short-story writer; his son was the poet Horacio Hidrovo Peñaherrera.

1904 – Margery Louise Allingham, English writer of detective fiction, best remembered for her “golden age” stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.

1904 – Tatsuo Nagai, Japanese writer of short stories, novels, and essays who was best known for his portrayals of city life; he also wrote haiku poetry under the pen name Tomonkyo.

1904 – Hemi Potatau, New Zealand Maori writer, soldier, and Presbyterian minister.

1905 – Hedda Zinner, German political writer, journalist, translator, actress, and radio broadcaster.

1911 – Annie M.G. Schmidt, Dutch writer, poet, librarian, playwright, author, and children’s writer; she is considered one of the greatest Dutch writers and has been called “the Queen of Dutch children’s literature.”

1919 – Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Polish writer, poet, journalist, literary critic, political dissident, and World War II resistance fighter; his is best known for A World Apart, his personal account of life in a Soviet Gulag.

1919 – Berry Morgan (born Betty Berry Taylor Brumfield), U.S. novelist, short-story writer, professor, and civil-rights activist who wrote about the South; her work has been compared to that of Flannery O’Connor.

1921 – Kulwant Singh Virk, award-winning Indian short-story writer who wrote mostly in Punjabi but also in English.

1923 – Samuel “Sam” Selvon, Trinidadian writer, journalist, and novelist; his novel The Lonely Londoners is groundbreaking in its use of creolized English for narrative as well as dialogue.

1924 – Mitsuo Aida, Japanese poet and calligrapher who was known as The Poet of Zen; his work was influenced by Zen Buddhism.

1929 – Marcelino dos Santos, Mozambican poet, writer, revolutionary, and politician; he has also written under the pseudonyms Kalungano and Lilinho Micaia.

1935 – Hanna Krall, Polish writer and journalist who specializes in writing about the history of the Holocaust in occupied Poland.

1936 – Glenn R. Swetman, U.S. poet, professor, short-story writer, and playwright.

1937 – Maria Teresa Mascarenhas Horta, Portuguese feminist poet, journalist, novelist, and activist.

1940 – Claude Dagens, French writer and Catholic bishop who specializes in Catholic doctrine; he has written much about the role of the Church in French society and its relationship with secularism.

1941 – Betty Louise Turtle (née Webster, which she also used in her published works), Australian astronomer, physicist, and writer who, along with her colleague Paul Murdin, identified the powerful X-ray source Cygnus X-1 as the first clear candidate for a black hole.

1944 – Clyde Edgerton, U.S. author and professor whose books are known for endearing characters, small-town Southern dialogue, and realistic fire-and-brimstone religious sermons.

1945 – Lutfi Lepaja, Kosovo Albanian novelist, essayist, poet, teacher, playwright, and literary critic.

1949 – Mary Pope Osborne, award-winning U.S. children’s book author best known for her popular “Magic Tree House” series and for her efforts to promote literacy.

1949 – Michèle Brigitte Roberts, British writer, novelist, and poet.

1949 – David William Thomas, Canadian actor, screenwriter, comedian, and director.

1950 – Wei Jingsheng, Chinese writer, essayist, and human rights activist known for his involvement in the Chinese democracy movement; his essay, “The Fifth Modernization,” posted on the Democracy Wall in Beijing in 1978, resulted in his arrest and conviction for “counterrevolutionary” activities; he spent a total of 18 years in prison.

1951 – Stanley Bing (pen name for Gil Schwartz), U.S. business humorist, novelist, and columnist.

1952 – Walter Isaacson, U.S. writer and journalist.

1955 – Sirivennela (pen name for Chembolu SeethaRama Sastry) – Indian poet and film lyricist who writes in the Telugu language; his work shows great versatility but is best known for its optimism and humor.

1956 – Douglas Jerome Preston, U.S. author of thriller novels, often with collaborator Lincoln Child.

1959 – Marianne Curley, Australian author best known for her “Guardians of Time” trilogy and her “Old Magic” books.

1963 – Christopher Sorrentino, U.S. novelist of Puerto Rican descent.

1964 – Marcela Iacub, Argentine writer, novelist, poet, and lawyer who is now based in France, where she specializes in bioethics research.

1966 – Dan Abrams, U.S. journalist, author, television host, legal commentator, former anchor of “Nightline,” and Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News.

1969 – Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, editor, and biographer.

1970 – Dorthe Nors, Danish novelist, short-story writer, and translator.

1974 – Chékéba Hachemi, Afghan writer, diplomat, activist, and feminist.

May 19 Writer Birthdays

1771 – Rahel Antonie Friederike Varnhagen, German author, essayist, and letter writer who hosted one of the most prominent salons in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries; in addition to her own writings, she is the subject of a celebrated biography, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess, written by Hannah Arendt, who cherished Varnhagen as her “closest friend, though…dead for some hundred years.” The asteroid 100029 Varnhagen is named in her honor.

1794 – Anna Brownell Jameson, Irish-born English writer, author, and art historian who also wrote on such diverse topics as feminism, travel, Shakespeare, poets, and German culture.

1812 – Charlotte Guest (born Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie; later known as Lady Charlotte Schreiber), Welsh writer, linguist, translator, art collector, publisher, and businesswoman who is known as the first publisher in modern print format of The Mabinogion, which is the earliest prose literature of Britain; she was a leading figure in the study of literature and the wider Welsh Renaissance of the 19th century, and was renowned as an international industrialist, pioneering liberal educator, philanthropist, and society hostess.

1855 – Marie Musaeus Higgins, German writer and educationist, best known as the founder and principal of Musaeus College in Sri Lanka; she also authored publications based on Buddhist and Sinhala cultural themes and was an important figure in the pre-independence Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka and a pioneer in female education.

1870 – Kitaro Nishida, Japanese writer, professor, and philosopher who founded the Kyoto School of philosophy.

1886 – Bernadotte Everly Schmitt, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and professor of European history.

1889 – Tản Đà (pen name for Nguyễn Khắc Hiếu), Vietnamese poet who used both traditional Sino-Vietnamese forms and European influences and was a transitional figure between the turn of the 1890s and the “New Poetry” movement of the 1930s.

1894 – Gudipati Venkata Chalam (popularly known as Chalam), Indian writer, novelist, and philosopher who was one of the most influential personalities in modern Telugu literature; most of his writings centered on women, especially the kind of difficulties women face—physical as well as psychological—in society.

1903 – Ernest Samuels, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer and lawyer.

1908 – Manik Bandopadhyay, prolific Indian Bengali novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter who is widely regarded as one of the key figures of 20th century Bengali literature.

1909 – T. Harry Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and Huey P. Long biographer.

1914 – Sharif Hussain (pseudonym Nasim Hijazi), Indian Urdu novelist who used historic settings as the background for his novels and based most of his work on Islamic history.

1918 – Edward Wilmot Blyden III, Sierra Leonean diplomat, writer, political scientist, and educator who contributed to the post-colonial discourse on African self-government.

1926 – Nancy Adams (full name Jacqueline Nancy Mary Adams), New Zealand botanist, author, science writer, botanical artist, and museum curator.

1928 – Ana Daniel (pseudonym of Maria de Lourdes d’Oliveira Canellas da Assunção Sousa), Portuguese poet and writer.

1930 – Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, U.S. African-American playwright best known for Raisin in the Sun.

1932 – Elena Poniatowska, Polish-Mexican novelist and journalist who specializes in social and political issues focused on women and the poor.

1933 – Tom Feelings, U.S. children’s author and illustrator, cartoonist, teacher, and activist who focused on the African-American experience in his work; his most famous book is The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo.

1934 – Ruskin Bond, award-winning Indian author of British descent who writes for both children and adults.

1934 – Jim Lehrer, U.S. journalist and novelist best known as long-time host of the PBS News Hour.

1938 – Girish Karnad, Indian playwright, screenwriter, author, translator, film director, linguist, and actor.

1939 – Hasnat Abdul Hye, award-winning, prolific Bangladeshi writer and novelist who wrote in both Bengali and English.

1941 – Nora Ephron, acclaimed U.S. screenwriter, playwright, novelist, memoirist, journalist, columnist, essayist, and filmmaker; as a screenwriter and playwright, she was nominated for three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award; some of her most famous scripts were for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle; her book Heartburn was based on her marriage to Washington Post Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein; she also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation.

1941 – Furio Jesi, Italian writer, historian, archaeologist, mythographer, and university teacher.

1945 – Wera Sæther, Norwegian psychologist, poet, novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, and author of books for teens.

1947 – Mercè Company i González, Spanish author and journalist who writes in Spanish, Catalan, and French.

1952 – Sarah Ellis, Canadian children’s writer, literary reviewer, librarian, and university teacher.

1958 – Maria Idolina Landolfi, Italian novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and literary critic.

1960 – Francesca Archibugi, Italian screenwriter, actor, writer, and film director.

1963 – Kristin Dimitrova, award-winning Bulgarian poet, writer, editor, essayist, and translator.

1964 – Tabassum Akhlaq (also known as Tabassum Afridi and Tabassum Akhlaq Malihabadi) Pakistani poet, writer, columnist, and event organizer; her poetry touches on themes of romance, religion, solitude, and peace.

1965 – Jacek Piekara, Polish fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and game writer who is best known for his stories about inquisitor Mordimer Madderdin; underthe pen name Jack de Craft he wrote also a novel about Conan the Barbarian.

1966 – Jodi Picoult, bestselling award-winning U.S. author, some of whose works have been made into films or TV movies; she also wrote for the DC Comics Wonder Woman series. Her books often center on families and relationships but also take inspiration from current events.

1967 – Muriel Diallo, award-winning Ivory Coast writer, children’s author and illustrator, painter, and teacher who writes in French.

1971 – Uwem Akpan, award-winning Nigerian novelist and short-story writer.

1972 – Süreyyya Evren, Turkish novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, and cultural theorist.

1973 – Tuuve Aro, Finnish novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, film critic, and film producer.

1973 – Alice Roberts, British author, physician, biologist, paleontologist, physical anthropologist, archaeologist, professor, and television presenter.

1974 – Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, Moroccan journalist, publisher, and editor.

1975 – Eva Polna, Russian writer, poet, librarian, composer, musician, and bibliographer.