January 21 Writer Birthdays

1895 – Davíð Stefánsson, Icelandic poet, novelist, playwright, and librarian.

1904 – Richard P. Blackmur, American poet and literary critic.

1905 – Wanda Wasilewska, Polish writer, screenwriter, politician, and journalist.

1908 – Vaikom Muhammad Basheer (commonly known as Beypore Sultan), award-winning Indian independence activist, freedom fighter, and writer of Malayalam novels and short stories; he was known for a down-to-earth style of writing that made him popular among literary critics as well as average readers.

1923 – Judith Merril (pen name for Judith Josephine Grossman) American/Canadian science-fiction writer, editor, and political activist.

1925 – Eva Ibbotson, award-winning Austrian-born British author who wrote for adults, young adults, and children. Some critics have charged that Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling took “Platform 9 3/4” from “Platform 13” in Ibbotson’s book, The Secret of Platform 13 (both were located at King’s Cross station in London) but Ibbotson said she was flattered by the similarity, and that it was normal for writers to borrow from each other.

1927 – Robert Neil Butler, Pulitzer Prize-winning American physician and nonfiction author.

1943 – Pratibha Ray, Indian academic, novelist, travel writer, and short-story writer.

1952 – Louis Menand, American writer, essayist, and academic, best known for his book The Metaphysical Club, an intellectual and cultural history of late 19th and early 20th century America.

1969 – M.K. Hobson, Nebula Award-nominated American author known for her historical fantasy, which she describes as “bustlepunk.”

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