May 23 Writer Birthdays

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.”

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

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

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 American 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/Irish poet and memoirist.

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

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

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

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

1921 – James Blish, American 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.

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.

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

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

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

1958 – Paul Street, American 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.

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.

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