September 8 Writer Birthdays

1474 – Luovico Ariosto, Italian Renaissance poet best remembered for his romantic epic and satire of the chivalric tradition, Orlando Furioso, which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens, with diversions into many subplots.

1830 – Frédéric Mistra, Nobel Prize-winning French author, poet, and lexicographer in the Occitan language who was honored “in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people.”

1886 – Siegfried Sassoon, English poet, author. and soldier who was best known for his poetry describing the horrors of WWI.

1888 – Aliza Greenblatt, Ukrainian-born American Yiddish poet and autobiographer; many of her poems have been set to music and recorded.

1903 – Jane Arbor (pen name of Eileen Norah Owbridge), British author of doctor/nurse and foreign romance novels.

1924 – Grace Metalious, American author best known for her controversial bestselling novel Peyton Place, about the dark, steamy secrets of a small New England town.

1925 – Bat-Sheva Dagan, Polish-Israeli educator, children’s author, poet, songwriter, and speaker who was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust and writes about her experiences to educate children and young adults; she is considered a pioneer in children’s Holocaust education.

1930 – Marilyn Durham, U.S. author whose novel The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing was made into a Burt Reynolds film.

1933 – Michael Frayn, British playwright, novelist, and nonfiction writer.

1940 – Jack Prelutsky, American author of children’s poetry who was named the first U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate.

1945 – Jon Scieszka (rhymes with “Fresca”), bestselling American children’s writer and advocate for children’s literature; his books are filled with wacky humor and unexpected twists.

1947 – Ann Beattie, award-winning American short-story writer, novelist, and professor who has been compared to Chekhov for her “beguiling originality” and mastery of the short-story form.

1947 – Marianne Wiggins, award-winning American author whose work is characterized by “a bold intelligence and an ear for hidden comedy; she was married for a time to novelist Salman Rushdie.

1954 – Ruby Bridges, writer and civil rights activist who has authored several books about her experiences as the six-year-old who made history in 1960 by becoming the first African-American student to desegregate a formerly all-white school in New Orleans.

1954 – Michael Shermer, American science writer, professor, and notable skeptic who founded the Skeptics Society and is editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which investigates pseudoscientific and supernatural claims.

1955 – Osonye Tess Onwueme (also known as T. Akaeke Onwueme), Nigerian playwright, poet, and professor who rose to prominence writing plays with themes of social justice, culture, and the environment; her work showcases historically silenced views such as those of African women, and advocates for the poor, the environment, and victims of domestic violence.

1955 – Terry Tempest Williams, American nature writer, memoirist, children’s nonfiction author, editor, conservationist, and activist; much of her writing is rooted in the American West.

1962 – Christopher Klim, American novelist known for the novels Jesus Lives in Trenton and The Winners Circle.

1967 – Kimberly Peirce, award-winning American screenwriter and director for television and film.

1974 – Boris Ryzhy, award-winning Russian poet and geologist who was starting to receive recognition as one of the premier poets of his generation when he died of suicide at age 26.

1983 – Lang Leav, bestselling, award-winning Cambodian author, poet, and Instagram sensation who was born in a Khmer Rouge refugee camp in Thailand, grew up in Australia, and now lives in New Zealand.

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