December 13 Writer Birthdays

1720 – Carlo Gozzi, Italian playwright, poet, memoirist, and champion of Commedia dell’arte.

1797 – Christian Johann Heinrich Heine, German journalist, essayist, and literary critic who was also one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century; some of his early lyric poetry was set to music by such composers as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.

1832 – Matsudaira Teru (or Princess Teru), Japanese writer, poet, and aristocrat who was the leader of 600 women and children involved in the siege of Aizuwakamatsu Castle (Tsuruga Castle); she was also skilled in waka poetry and calligraphy.

1835 – Pathani Samanta (real name Mahamahopadhyaya Chandrasekhara Singha Harichandana Mahapatra Samanta), Indian astronomer, writer, and scholar who measured the distance from the Earth to the Sun with a bamboo pipe and many other traditional instruments; he compiled his observations, research, and calculations into the book Siddhanta Darpana, with verses written in Sanskrit.

1871 – Emily Carr, Canadian artist and writer who was heavily inspired by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast; her autobiography is still considered the finest example of Canadian autobiographical literature.

1890 – Mary Franeis Butts, British modernist writer whose work found recognition in literary magazines such as The Bookman and The Little Review, as well as from fellow modernists including T. S. Eliot.

1890 – Marc Connelly, Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright who was a key member of the Algonquin Round Table.

1895 – Lucía Sánchez Saornil, Spanish poet, writer, journalist, trade unionist, feminist, and anarchist; she is best known as one of the founders of Mujeres Libres.

1902 – Yevgeny Petrov (Евгений Петров), pen name of Yevgeny Petrovich Katayev (Евгений Петрович Катаев), a popular Soviet author and war correspondent; he is best known for satirical novels written with his coauthor Ilya Ilf.

1903 – Shibram Chakraborty (শিবরাম চক্রবর্তী), popular Bengali writer, poet, playwright, humorist, novelist, nonfiction author, and revolutionary whose humorous stories are noted for their unique use of puns, alliteration, and irony.

1906 – Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, prolific Afrikaner book author, journalist, educator, philosopher, explorer, and conservationist who was also a farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Britain’s Prince Charles, and godfather of Prince William.

1911 – Mom Luang Boonlua Debyasuvarn née Kunchon (pen name Boonlua), award-winning Thai writer, novelist, literary critic, educator, translator, and government official; she is considered one of Thailand’s most important educators during a crucial phase of the country’s modernization.

1911 – Kenneth Patchen, award-winning American poet and novelist who experimented with different forms of writing and incorporated painting, drawing, and jazz music into his works.

1915 – Ross McDonald, Pen name of American-Canadian crime fiction writer Kenneth Millar, known for his Lew Archer series.

1916 – Leonard Weisgard, American illustrator whose work on Margaret Wise Brown’s The Little Island won him the 1948 Caldecott Medal.

1924 – Beatriz Guido, Argentine writer, screenwriter, and novelist.

1925 – John Ehle, Jr., American writer best known for fiction set in the Appalachian Mountains; he has been described as “the father of Appalachian literature.”

1926 – Rita Tornborg, award-winning Swedish novelist and short-story writer who was born in South Africa and grew up in Poland.

1927 – James Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.

1928 – Loula Anagnostaki, Greek writer and playwright who was the sister of poet Manolis Anagnostakis

1931 – Ida Vos, Dutch writer, poet, and children’s author; much of her work describes her experiences as a Jewish girl during World War II, including her time spent in hiding from the Nazis.

1935 – Adélia Luzia Prado Freitas, award-winning Brazilian poet, prose writer, and translator whose work is a seeming paradox of a deep and spiritual Catholicism, combined with the physical and the carnal.

1935 – Türkan Saylan, Turkish medical doctor, writer, teacher, and social activist; she was famous for fighting leprosy and for founding a charitable foundation.

1946 – Kim Chae-won, South Korean author best known for the dreamlike quality of her prose.

1949 – R.A MacAvoy, American fantasy author whose books draw on Celtic and Zen themes.

1951 – Jiro Asada (pen name for Kojiro Iwato), award-winning Japanese author who wrote picaresque novels, historical novels, novels set in China, and short stories.

1952 – Jean Rouaud, French author who won the Prix Goncourt for the novel Fields of Glory (Les Champs d’honneur.)

1954 – Emma Bull, influential American science-fiction and fantasy author; her novel War for the Oaks is a pioneering work in urban fantasy.

1954 – Tamora Pierce, popular and prolific award-winning American author of young-adult fantasy fiction; she says she first started writing to escape the drama of her parents’ divorce, writing fan fiction based on her favorite stories until she decided to write her stories about strong female characters, because she noticed a lack of them in the books she read when she was young.

1959 – Todd Stanley Purdum, American writer, reporter, editor, and political correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine.

1962 – Ilkka Remes (real name Petri Pykälä), popular, award-winning Finnish author of thrillers and young-adult literature; he says he uses a pseudonym because he does not want to be considered only a thriller writer, and wants to be able to write in other genres in the future.

1991 – Brianna “Bri” Lee, Australian writer, editor, lawyer, and women’s rights activist who is best known for her memoir Eggshell Skull, which describes her experience as a complainant in the Australian court system for sexual abuse as a child.

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