May 17 Writer Birthdays

1155 – Jien, Japanese historian, poet, and Buddhist monk.

1792 – Isabella Noel Byron (11th Baroness Wentworth and Baroness Byron née Milbanke), English writer, poet, memoirist, and mathematician who was married to Lord Byron; her memoirs were published after her death by writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.

1873 – Dorothy Miller Richardson, British novelist who was a pioneer of the stream-of-consciousness style.

1889 – Alfonso Reyes, influential Mexican poet, essayist, literary critic, and diplomat.

1908 – Frederic Prokosch, American novelist, poet, memoirist, and forger.

1914 – Chang Ch’ung-ho, Chinese writer, poet, calligrapher, professor, and opera singer.

1928 – Francesca Sanvitale, Italian novelist and journalist who was called “one of Italy’s most renowned contemporary authors.”

1929 – Eloise Greenfield, African-American poet, biographer, and children’s author known for her descriptive, rhythmic style and positive portrayal of the African-American experience.

1935 – Dennis Potter (full name Dennis Christopher George Potter, British dramatist, novelist, screenwriter, and nonfiction author.

1936 – Lars Gustafsson, Swedish playwright, novelist, and poet.

1939 – Gary Paulsen, American author of popular young-adult coming-of-age novels set in the wilderness; he is particularly known for the Brian’s Saga series, beginning with Hatchet. He also writes short stories, articles, and plays.

1944 – Priti Sengupta, Indian Gujarati poet, travel author, and writer.

1946 – Joan Barfoot, award-winning Canadian novelist and journalist.

1946 – F. Paul Wilson, American author of science fiction, horror, and medical thrillers.

1947 – Janet Holmes, New Zealand sociolinguist, writer, and academic who studies language and gender, language in the workplace, and New Zealand English.

1947 – Halima Xudoyberdiyeva, Uzbek poet, writer, and journalist who wrote about Uzbek nationhood and history, liberation movements, and feminism; she was awarded the title People’s Poet of Uzbekistan.

1948 – Esmeralda Santiago, Puerto Rican author and actress known for her novels and memoirs.

1950 – Valeriya Novodvorskaya, Belarussian/Russian writer, teacher, poet, politician, librarian, translator, pedagogue, journalist, and liberal political activist who was the founder and chairwoman of the Democratic Union party and a member of the editorial board of The New Times.

1950 – Dian Curtis Regan, American author of children’s and young-adult books.

1957 – Peter Høeg, Danish novelist and short-story writer, best known for the novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, which was made into the film Smilla’s Sense of Snow.

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