October 26 Writer Birthdays

1673 – Dimitrie Cantemir (Prince of Moldavia), Romanian writer, composer, politician, historian, geographer, orientalist, cartographer, anthropologist, philosopher, linguist, composer, musicologist, and soldier; his son Antioch, Russia’s ambassador to Great Britain and France and a friend of Montesquieu and Voltaire, would go on to be known as “the father of Russian poetry.”

1818 – Elizabeth Prentiss, American poet, novelist, short-story writer, musician, and hymnwriter.

1897 – J.L.B. Smith, South African ichthyologist, writer, researcher, chemist, and professor who was the first to identify a taxidermied fish as a coelacanth, at the time thought long extinct; he wrote more than 500 papers on fishes and named 370 new species, and is best known for coauthoring with his wife Margaret the popular book Sea Fishes of Southern Africa.

1900 – Karin Boye, Swedish poet, novelist, translator, literary critic, and science-fiction writer who is acclaimed in Sweden as a poet but better known internationally as the author of the dystopian-science fiction novel Kallocain.

1902 – Beryl Markham, British-born Kenyan author, autobiographer, aviator, adventurer, and racehorse trainer who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west; she wrote about her adventures in her memoir, West with the Night.

1905 – Ariadna Aleksandrovna Scriabina (also known as Sarah Knut, née Ariadna Alexandrovna Schletzer, though she sometimes used the pseudonym Régine), Russian poet, writer, musician, and fighter in the French Resistance who was the eldest daughter of the Russian composer Alexander Scriabin. During the German occupation of France, she organized the Jewish resistance in the south of the country until she was murdered in Toulouse for her activities, shortly before the fall of the Vichy regime; she was posthumously awarded the Croix de guerre and Médaille de la Résistance.

1934 – John L’Heureux, American author, poet, editor, and professor of English.

1939 – Karel Schoeman, South African novelist, historian, and translator who wrote primarily in Afrikaans, although several of his nonfiction books were originally written in English.

1940 – Andrew Niederman, American author who has been the ghost writer for V.C. Andrews since her death in 1986, as well as writing his own bestselling books, some of which have been made into films.

1941 – Steven Kellogg, prolific, award-winning American children’s author and illustrator whose highly detailed pen and ink drawings evolved to a singular style of watercolor and pen.

1943 – Nora Pouillon, Austrian-born chef, restaurateur, food writer, and cookbook author who was the owner of Restaurant Nora in Washington, D.C., America’s first certified organic restaurant.

1945 – Pat Conroy, American novelist, memoirist, essayist, and editor, several of whose novels have been made into movies; he is considered a leading author of the Southern literary tradition, and many of his novels have coastal settings.

1946 – Boubacar Boris Diop, Sengalese novelist, screenwriter, playwright, political writer, journalist whose best known work, Murambi, le livre des ossements (Murambi: The Book of Bones), is the fictional account of a notorious massacre during the Rwandan genocide of 1994; his book Doomi Golo is one of the only novels ever written in the Wolof language.

1951 – Catherine Obianuju Acholonu, Nigerian writer, poet, university teacher, researcher on African cultural and gender studies, and senior advisor to the president on art and culture.

1952 – Labanya Dutta Goswami, Indian Assamese writer, poet, playwright, composer, lyricist, social worker, feminist activist, and high-school principal.

1952 – Andrew Motion, British poet, novelist, and biographer who was Poet Laureate of the U.K.

1953 – Jennifer Roberson, American author of fantasy, science fiction, and historical fiction.

1954 – Adam Mars-Jones, award-winning British novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, and literary critic.

1960 – Carlo Lucarelli, Italian crime fiction writer, screenwriter, magazine editor, and television presenter.

1961- Calixthe Beyala, award-winning Cameroonian writer and novelist who writes in French.

1961 – Stacy Schiff, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, editor, columnist, essayist, and biographer.

1962 – Teresa Medeiros, bestselling, award-winning American romance novelist;
before becoming a well-known author, she was a nurse.

1966 – Azad Abul Kalam, award-winning Bangladeshi screenwriter, playwright, film director, and actor.

1969 – Shamini Flint, bestselling Malaysian writer of crime fiction and children’s books; she is also a lawyer and activist who has worked to promote fair trade products.

1971 – Jim Butcher, multiple Hugo Award-nominated American author of contemporary fantasy, best known for his urban fantasy detective series The Dresden Files.

1972 – Matsuko Deluxe (real name Matsuko Derakkusu), Japanese columnist, essayist, human rights activist, and TV personality known for his cross-dressing stage persona and his pro-gay remarks and sexuality.

1972 – Yan Ni (her pseudonym is Shan Sa, which means “wind rustle”) Chinese-born French poet, artist, and award-winning novelist.

1975 – Shandana Minhas, award-winning Pakistani novelist, children’s author, screenwriter, playwright, essayist, short-story writer, and columnist who was part of the resurgence in Pakistani media in the early 2000s; she has written extensively about Pakistani society in prose that has been described as “bitingly funny,” “piercingly witty and acutely perceptive,” and “heartbreaking and hilarious.”

1976 – Carla Maliandi, Argentine writer, novelist, playwright, and theatre director.

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