January 4 Writer Birthdays

1746 – Benjamin Rush, physician, writer, educator, and humanitarian who founded Dickinson College and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

1785 – Jacob Grimm, German mythologist, who, along with his brother Wilhelm, was one of the authors of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

1900 – James Bond, American ornithologist and author of Birds of the West Indies, from which volume Ian Fleming took inspiration for his main character’s name.

1901 – Cyril Lionel Robert James, influential Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist, and essayist who sometimes wrote under the pen-name J.R. Johnson and is considered a pioneering voice in postcolonial literature.

1924 – Gopaldas Saxena (pen name ‘Neeraj’), one of the best-known poets and authors in Hindi literature.

1933 – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s and young adult fiction, best known for her Shiloh trilogy.

1940 – Gao Xingjian, Nobel Prize-winning Chinese novelist and playwright.

1943 – Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and biographer, best known for her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

1943 – Jean Kilbourne, feminist author, speaker, and filmmaker who is internationally recognized for her work on images of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising; she is also credited with introducing the idea of educating about media literacy.

1958 – Andy Borowitz, comedian and New York Times bestselling author who won the first National Press Club award for humor; he is best known for his satirical website, the Borowitz Report, which has an audience in the millions. CBS News Sunday Morning has called him “one of the funniest people in America.”

1962 – Harlan Coben, American author of mysteries and thrillers set in New York and New Jersey.

1976 – Seth Grahame-Smith, American best-selling author, screenwriter, and film and TV producer; he is best known as the author of bestselling novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

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