August 19 Writer Birthdays

1631 – John Dryden, England’s first poet laureate, who was also a dramatist.

1689 – Samuel Richardson, English writer and printer whose three most important novels were written in epistolary style; he is best known for Pamela.

1807 – Jane Wells Webb Loudon, English novelist, botanist, and early pioneer of science fiction who wrote before the term was invented and was discussed for a century as a writer of Gothic fiction, fantasy, and horror; she also created the first gardening manuals intended for a mainstream audience rather than horticultural specialists.

1843 – Charles Montagu Doughty, English travel writer whose observations on Arabia and Arab life are the subject of his Travels in Arabia Deserta.

1844 – Minna Canth, Finnish novelist and dramatist.

1902 – Ogden Nash, American writer of much-quoted humorous poems, including, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

1903 – James Gould Cozzens, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and short-story writer known for his penchant for privacy; a critic of modernism, he once said, “I can’t read ten pages of Steinbeck without throwing up.”

1907 – Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Indian Hindi novelist, literary historian, essayist, critic, and scholar.

1908 – Josephine Jacobsen, National Book Award-winning Canadian-born American poet, short-story writer, essayist, and critic who was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate.

1915 – Ring Lardner Jr., American screenwriter, publicist, and journalist who was blacklisted by the Hollywood film studios during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 1950s; he was the son of sports columnist, satirist, short-story writer, and critic Ring Lardner Sr.

1909 – Jerzy Andrzejewski, prolific Polish novelist author whose writing confronts controversial moral issues; he is best known for his work about the Holocaust. One of his books, The Gates of Paradise, is notable for being written almost without punctuation, in only two sentences.

1930 – David G. Compton, British author of science-fiction, mystery, and crime novels who has also written short stories, radio plays, and a nonfiction book on stammering; his work displays an acute moral sense and traditional values. He has written under various names, including D.G. Compton, Guy Compton, and Frances Lynch.

1930 – Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning Irish-American novelist, autobiographer, librettist, and teacher, best known for his bestselling memoir, Angela’s Ashes.

1944 – Jack Canfield, American author and motivational speaker; he is best known as the co-creator of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.

1950 – Sudha Murthy (née Kulkarni), Indian novelist, engineering teacher, and social worker who writes in Kannada, Marathi, and English; she is also chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, has founded several orphanages, took part in rural development projects, and initiated a program to put computer and library facilities in all schools in Karnataka.

1950 – Mary Doria Russell, award-winning American novelist and anthropologist who has written historical fiction and science fiction; her books are noted for excellent writing and meticulous research.

1951 – Ana Miranda, Brazilian poet and novelist, especially of historical fiction; much of her work concerns the conflicts of women trying to balance careers and families.

1961 – Jonathan Coe, English author of political satires.

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