December 5 Writer Birthdays

1556 – Anne Cecil (Countess of Oxford), English writer, poet, and courtier nobility, and writer who served as a Maid of Honor to Queen Elizabeth I; she is best known for writing six elegiac poems memorializing herson after his premature death as an infant.

1822 – Elizabeth Cabot Agassiz, American author, science writer, educator, naturalist, explorer, and writer, biographer, and philosopher who co-founded and served as the first president of Radcliffe College; a researcher of natural history, she was an author and illustrator of natural history texts and accompanied her husband, biologist Louis Agassi, on his journey to Brazil in 1865-66 and on the Hassler expedition in 1871-72.

1830 – Christina Rossetti, English writer of romantic and children’s poems, best known for her long poem Goblin Market.

1864 – Aimée Crocker, American writer, poet, mystic, autobiographer, art collector, heiress, and Bohemian known for her cultural exploration of the Far East; her extravagant parties in San Francisco, New York and Paris,; and for her collections of husbands, lovers, adopted children, Buddhas, pearls, tattoos, and snakes. Her autobiography, And I’d Do It Again, chronicles her adventures touring the Far East, including an escape from headhunters in Borneo, a poisoning in Hong Kong, a murder attempt by knife-throwing servants in Shanghai, and three weeks in the harem of Bhurlana (she claimed to be the first English speaking woman who had ever seen the inside of a harem).

1872 – Vir Singh (Punjabi: ਭਾਈ ਵੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ ), Indian poet, scholar, and theologian who was a key figure in the movement for the revival of Punjabi literary tradition.

1876 – Flora Thompson, English author, poet, novelist, essayist, and postmaster, best known for her semi-autobiographical trilogy about the English countryside, Lark Rise to Candleford, which has been adapted for television.

1885 – Louise Bryant (born Anna Louise Mohan), American journalist, writer, editor, suffragist, and political activist who was best known for her sympathetic coverage of Russia and the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution; she married fellow journalist John Reed. The film Reds depicted her and Reed’s time in Russia, Bryant was played by Diane Keaton, alongside Warren Beatty as Reed.

1886 – Rose Wilder Lane, American journalist, travel writer, novelist, and political theorist who was the daughter of American writer Laura Ingalls Wilder; Along with Ayn Rand and Isabel Paterson, Lane is considered one of the founders of the American libertarian movement.

1896 – Ann Nolan Clark, Newbery Medal-winning American children’s author.

1918 – Jagan Nath Azad, prolific Indian Urdu poet, writer, biographer, travel writer, and academician.

1934 – Joan Didion, American author of novels, essays, and literary journalism, known for her lucid prose and incisive depictions of social unrest and psychological fragmentation.

1935 – Calvin Marshall Trillin, American journalist, humorist, food writer, poet, memoir writer, and novelist.

1936 – James Lee Burke, Edgar Award-winning American author of mysteries, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series.

1954 – Hanif Kureishi, English author, screenwriter, and playwright; The Times has named him one of Britain’s 50 greatest writers since 1945.

1968 – Lydia Millet, American novelist of literary fiction with a hint of dark humor.

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