March 10 Writer Birthdays

1749 – Lorenzo Da Ponte, Italian opera librettist for Mozart, best known for The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni; he was also a poet and a Catholic priest.

1841 – Ina Coolbrith, American poet, writer, journalist, librarian, and prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay literary community. Called the “Sweet Singer of California,” she was the first California Poet Laureate and the first poet laureate of any American state; her poetry was praised by Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and Alfred Lord Tennyson and was known for sensuous descriptions of natural scenes that brought greater accuracy to the art of Victorian poetry, without trite sentiment. She was the niece of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith but left the Mormon community as a child.

1861 – Pauline Johnson (full name Emily Pauline Johnson), popular Canadian First Nations poet, short-story writer, and performer who was also known by her Mohawk stage name Tekahionwake (“Double-Life”); her father was a Mohawk chief of mixed ancestry, and her mother was an English immigrant. Jones was one of a generation of widely read writers who began to define Canadian literature.

1903 – Clare Boothe Luce, American author, screenwriter, playwright, journalist, politician, ambassador, journalist, and anti-Communist activist

1920 – Jack Kent, American author and illustrator of children’s books; he created the King Aroo cartoon strip.

1924 – Judith Jones, American writer and editor best known for having rescued The Diary of Anne Frank from the reject pile, and for championing Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

1944 – Samares Mazumdar, prominent, award-winning Indian Bengali author and children’s writer.

1945 – Katharine Houghton, American actress, writer, award-winning playwright, and children’s author. She is best known for portraying Joanna “Joey” Drayton, a white woman who brings her black fiancé home to meet her parents (played by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) in the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Hepburn was, in real life, Houghton’s aunt.

1952 – Johanna Lindsey, American author of bestselling historical romance novels.

1968 – Felice Arena, Australian children’s author and illustrator, playwright, and actor.

1986 – Summer Edward, Trinidadian writer, children’s editor, educator, literary activist and children’s literature specialist now based in the U.S.

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