July 19 Writer Birthdays

1875 – Alice Dunbar Nelson, African-American writer, poet, educator, journalist, columnist, short-story writer, playwright, suffragist, and civil-rights activist who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.

1893 – Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet, playwright, and actor.

1896 – A.J. Cronin, Scottish novelist and physician who wrote many books that were later adapted to film; his novel The Citadel is credited with laying the groundwork for the introduction of the National Health System in Britain.

1909 – Nalapat Balamani Amma, prolific, award-winning Indian poet who wrote in Malayalam and was known as the “poetess of motherhood”; she was the mother of the renowned writer Kamala Surayya.

1916 – Eve Merriam, American poet, playwright, children’s writer, director, and lecturer.

1921 – Elizabeth Spencer, novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, and screenwriter whose novella The Light in the Piazza was adapted for the screen and transformed into a Broadway musical. She is a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction.

1922 – George McGovern, American historian, author, and politician.

1923 – Joseph Hansen, American crime writer best known for his series featuring openly gay private eye Dave Brandstetter.

1936 – Norman Manea, U.S.-based Romanian novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and essayist who writes about the Holocaust, daily life under communism, and exile.

1946 – Stephen Coonts, American thriller and suspense novelist who is especially known for his Jake Grafton books.

1953 – Zinovia Dushkova, Moldovan writer of fiction and nonfiction, poet, philosopher, and historian; her work is part of the Theosophical tradition and deals with mysticism and the occult.

1962 – Ava Kitō, Japanese diarist who wrote about her experience suffering from spinocerebellar ataxia. Ichi rittoro no namida (One Litre of Tears) was published two years before her death in 1988.

1963 – Garth Nix, Australian author of young-adult fantasy novels, including the “Keys to the Kingdom” series.

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