August 2 Writer Birthdays

1865 – Irving Babbitt, American academic and literary critic; a founder of the New Humanism movement.

1867 – Ernest Christopher Dowson, English poet, novelist, and short-story writer associated with the Decadent movement.

1870 – Marianne Weber (born Marianne Schnitger), German writer, legal historian, sociologist, women’s rights activist, and politician; she married well-known social theorist Max Weber.

1878 – Aino Krohn Kallas, Russian-born Finnish-Estonian author whose novellas are considered to be prominent pieces of Finnish literature; a recurring theme in her work is what she termed “the slaying Eros,” a love that often leads to death.

1878 – Amy Roberta Ruck (better known as Berta Ruck), Indian-born (now Pakistan) Welsh author of more than 90 romance novels as well as short stories, an autobiography, and two memoirs; Bernard Darwin, the golf writer and grandchild of Charles Darwin, was her cousin.

1884 – Rómulo Ángel del Monte Carmelo Gallegos, Venezuelan novelist and politician who was the first cleanly elected president in his country’s history.

1894 – Bertha Lutz, Brazilian writer, zoologist, botanist, herpetologist, politician, diplomat, and leading figure in the Pan American feminist movement and human-rights movement, who helped gain women’s suffrage in Brazil. She was also a naturalist at the National Museum, specializing in poison dart frogs; three frog species and two lizard species are named after her.

1894 – Francis James Westbrook Pegler, American journalist and columnist famed for his opposition to the New Deal and labor unions.

1900 – Holling C. Holling, American children’s book author and illustrator best known for the book Paddle-to-the-Sea, a Caldecott Honor book; he also wrote and illustrated a comic strip.

1901 – Maysie Coucher Greig, Australian author of thrillers and romance novels who was also a columnist, and journalist; she wrote under the names Jennifer Ames, Ann Barclay, and Mary Douglas Warren and was considered the most prolific woman novelist of the time.

1924 – James Baldwin, important, prolific, and influential African-American author and civil-rights activist, known for novels, plays, poetry, short stories, and essays, and considered one of the greatest writers of his generation.

1934 – Stephen Sandy, American poet and professor.

1942 – Isabel Allende, award-winning Chilean-American novel best known for her works of magic realism; she is considered the most widely read Spanish-language author, but is also fluent in English. Awards include Chile’s National Literature Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her father was first cousin to Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970 to 1973.

1942 – Nell Irvin Painter, American historian, author, and university professor who specializes in 19th-century history of the southern U.S.

1943 – Rose Tremain, British novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and chancellor of the University of East Anglia

1946 – James Howe, American author of children’s and young adult books, notably the Bunnicula series about a vampire rabbit who sucks the juice out of vegetables.

1946 – Kenji Nakagami, Japanese novelist, poet, essayist, and literary critic who is best known as the first, and so far the only, post-war Japanese writer to identify himself publicly as a Burakumin, a member of one of Japan’s long-suffering outcaste groups; his works depict the intense life-experiences of people struggling to survive in a Burakumin community in western Japan. He has been called “the first writer from the ghetto to make it into the mainstream and to attempt to tell other Japanese, however fictively or even fantastically, about life at the rough end of the economic miracle.”

1947 – Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and screenwriter best known for his book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.

1949 – Bei Dao (aka Zhao Zhengkai) Beijing-born poet now living in exile in the U.S.; he is one of the few Chinese writers to have an international audience.

1954 – Ken MacLeod, Scottish science-fiction writer of space opera and hard sci-fi who has been nominated for Hugo and Nebula Awards.

1955 – Caleb Carr, American novelist, screenwriter, and military historian.

1956 – Narisa Chakrabongse, Thai writer, publisher, environmental activist, and princess, whose work focuses on South Asian art, culture, and language, as well as the environment; born in the U.K., she is the daughter of Prince Chula Chakrabongse of Thailand and his English wife Elizabeth Hunter; her paternal grandfather was Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, who was the son of King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) of Siam.

1960 – Vijayalakshmi, influential, award-winning Malayalam–language poet and short-story writer from the south Indian state of Kerala; much of her work focuses on gender equality.

1968 – Christina Alexandra “Chrystia” Freeland, Canadian writer, journalist, nonfiction book author, and politician who is serving as the tenth and current Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the thirteenth Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.


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