December 6 Writer Birthdays

1478 – Baldassare Castiglione (Count of Casatico), a prominent Italian Renaissance author who was also a courtier, diplomat, and soldier.

1721 – James Elphinston, Scottish philologist, orthographer, and English-language grammarian.

1730 – Sophie von La Roche, German novelist, writer, and salonnière who is considered the first financially independent professional writer in Germany.

1797 – Naum Veqilharxhi, Albanian writer, translator, lawyer, and politician who invented a unique alphabet for the Albanian language using characters he had created himself, the Vithkuqi script; he is one of the key figures in the early Albanian National Awakening.

1803 – Susanna Moodie, English-born Canadian writer, poet, and children’s author who wrote about her experiences as a settler in Canada.

1837 – Pétrus Ky (born Truong Vinh Ký), Vietnamese writer, scholar, historian, journalist, linguist, and translator whose publication helped improve understanding between colonial Vietnam and Europe. He was also known as Jean-Baptiste Pétrus.

1859 – Einar Hjörleifsson Kvaran, Icelandic editor, novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, journalist, and prominent spiritualist.

1884 – Cornelia Meigs, American children’s author of fiction and biography, best known for her 1933 biography of Louisa May Alcott, Invincible Louisa; in addition to winning the Newbery Medal for that book, she also wrote three Newbery Honor books.

1886 – Joyce Kilmer, American writer and poet best known for his poem “Trees”; though a prolific poet whose works celebrated the beauty of nature, Kilmer was also a journalist, literary critic, lecturer, editor, and religious writer.

1886 – Shūmei Ōkawa, Japanese writer, historian, translator, university teacher, journalist, and linguist.

1904 – Eve Curie Labouisse, French-U.S. writer, journalist, biographer, activist, and pianist; as the daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the sister of Irène Joliot-Curie, she was the only person in her family who did not become a scientist and win a Nobel Prize. She did write a biography of her mother and a memoir about her experiences as a war correspondent. She was dubbed the “First Lady of UNICEF” for her commitment to working for UNICEF to help mothers and children in developing countries.

1905 – Elizabeth Yates, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s books who is best known for the biographical novel Amos Fortune, Free Man .

1910 – David M. Potter, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian who wrote extensively about the American Civil War.

1916 – Nilawan Pintong, Thai feminist writer and magazine editor whose efforts toward the development of women’s rights in Thailand earned her the nickname Steel Lotus Blossom.

1931 – Zeki Müren, award-winning Turkish writer, poet, songwriter, composer, musician, and actor who was known by the nicknames “The Sun of Art” and “Pasha”; he was one of the prominent figures of the Turkish classical music.

1937 – Akram Najaf oglu Naibov, Azerbaijani writer, playwright, novelist, and member of parliament who was better known by his pen name Akram Aylisli.

1942 – Herbjørg Wassmo, Norwegian writer, poet, novelist, and teacher; her novel, Dinas bok (Dina’s Book), was made into the film I Am Dina, starring Maria Bonnevie and Gérard Depardieu.

1945 – Rafał Wojaczek, Polish poet and writer who led a troubled life and committed suicide in 1971; his work translated the realities of life in Poland into universal and existential terms.

1949 – Linda Barnes, American mystery writer, known for the “Carlotta Carlyle” series.

1949 – Lê Minh Khuê, acclaimed Vietnamese short-story writer; she was interviewed in Ken Burns’s television documentary series The Vietnam War.

1949 – Élmer Mendoza, Mexican novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and professor who is one of the key figures in the genre known as narcoliterature; he is best known for his novels, several of which feature the detective Edgar El Zurdo Mendieta.

1950 – Nirupama Rao, Indian poet, author, stateswoman, and diplomat who was India’s Foreign Secretary as well as the Indian Ambassador to both the U.S. and China; she has written books on politics and history, and also a book of poetry.

1951 – Tomson Highway, Canadian indigenous (Cree) playwright, novelist, children’s author, and musician who was also the librettist of the first Cree language opera, Pimooteewin (The Journey).

1958 – Linda Ellen Evans, bestselling American science-fiction writer.

1962 – Carin Gerhardsen, Swedish author of crime fiction who began her career as a mathematician and IT consultant; her mathematical knowledge is visible in her novels, which contain intrigues dealing with advanced calculations.

1968 – Karl Ove Knausgård, Norwegian novelist, art critic, and autobiographer who has been described as “one of the 21st century’s greatest literary sensations.”

1970 – Joumana Haddad, acclaimed Lebanese poet, translator, journalist, and women’s rights activist.

1975 – Anuradha Bhattacharyya, award-winning Indian poet, novelist, and professor who writes in English.


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