August 16 Writer Birthdays

1865 – Dame Mary Jean Gilmore (née Cameron), prolific Australian author, poet, editor, teacher, journalist, columnist, and labor activist who wrote on many themes but is best known for her evocative views of country life; on her death at the age of 97, she was accorded a state funeral. Her image is featured on the Australian ten-dollar note.

1884 – Hugo Gernsback, Luxembourgian-American writer, editor, and influential science-fiction magazine publisher; one of science fiction’s most prestigious awards programs, the Hugos, are named after him.

1888 – T.E. Lawrence (Thomas Edward Lawrence), British archaeologist, army officer, diplomat, and writer who is best known as Lawrence of Arabia.

1899 – Andrei Platonov (pen name of Andrei Platonovich Klimentov), Russian writer, poet, playwright, science-fiction author, and philosopher whose works are considered a precursor to existentialism; in his lifetime, most of his works were banned for their skepticism toward collectivization and other Stalinist policies, and for their experimental, avant-garde form.

1902 – Georgette Heyer, British romance and mystery novelist who is credited with originating the Regency romance genre with her novel Regency Buck.

1904 – Subhadra Kumari Chauhan, Indian poet and author; one of her most popular poems is “Jhansi ki Rani,” about the courageous Queen of Jhansi.

1908 – William Keepers Maxwell, Jr., National Book Award-winning American novelist, editor, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, children’s author, and memoirist.

1917 – Matt Christopher, popular American author of children’s books and short stories, mostly about sports.

1920 – Charles Bukowski, American author who was part of the Dirty Realism movement; immortalized in lyrics by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

1934 – Diana Wynne Jones, influential, award-winning British fantasy novelist, poet, literary critic, academic, and short-story; much of her work was written for children and young adults.

1983 – Valeria Luiselli, award-winning Mexican author of novels and essays.

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