December 17 Writer Birthdays

1556 – Abdul Rahim Khan-I-Khana, Indian Muslim poet and government minister, also known as simply Rahim; he was known for his Hindi dohe (couplets) and his books on astrology.

1807 – John Greenleaf Whittier, American Quaker poet and abolitionist.

1823 – Teréz Ferenczy, Hungarian poet who was only just beginning to see her works published when her shocking suicide brought her poems to wider prominence, with most of them published posthumously.

1830 – Jules de Goncourt, French novelist who published books together with his brother Edmond.

1873 – Ford Madox Ford (born Joseph Leopold Ford Hermann Madox Hueffer), prolific English novelist, poet, essayist, memoirist, critic, and editor best known for his novel The Good Soldier.

1884 – Alison Uttley (born Alice Jane Taylor), prolific English novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and children’s author, bests known for a children’s series about Little Grey Rabbit and Sam Pig, and for a pioneering time slip novel for children, A Traveller in Time, about the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots.

1894 – Margaret Mary Leigh, English poet and novelist who lived in Scotland and wrote about life in crofting communities; she was the cousin of novelist Dorothy L.

1903 – Erskine Caldwell, American Southern author who wrote about poverty and racism.

1907 – Christianna Brand, Malaysian-born British screenwriter, crime writer, children’s author, short-story writer, and novelist who wrote under various pseudonyms, including Mary Ann Ashe, Mary Brand, Annabel Jones, Mary Roland, and China Thompson.

1908 – Sylvia Constance Ashton-Warner, New Zealand writer, poet, novelist, autobiographer, and educator.

1916 – Penelope Fitzgerald, Booker Prize-winning British author of historical fiction; the Times included her in its list of the 50 Greatest British Writers Since 1945.

1919 – Es’kia Mphahlele, South African fiction writer and human-rights activist.

1921 – Anne Golon, French author, screenwriter, and journalist who is better known to English-speaking readers as Sergeanne Golon; her most famous work is a series of novels about a heroine named Angelique.

1926 – Solomon Adeboye Babalola, Nigerian poet, professor, and translator who wrote English translations of Yoruba oral poetry and traditional chants.

1929 – William Safire, American author, known for his novels and his works on writing and politics.

1931 – Yvonne Keuls, Indonesian-born Dutch writer and quiz show panelist who writes award-winning novels about social problems, as well as about herself and her family, in a realistic and sometimes humorous way.

1937 – John Kennedy Toole, posthumous Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces.

1939 – Chong Hyon-jong, South Korean writer, reporter, poet, and professor whose poetry explores the dynamic tension between pain and happiness, and between reality and dream; his later work explores the acceptance of life and the wonders of nature, focusing on reconciliation rather than conflict.

1939 – Mustapha Matura (born Noel Matura), Trinidadian playwright and poet who lived in London most of his life and was called “the most perceptive and humane of Black dramatists writing in Britain.”

1944 – Jack L. Chalker, American science-fiction author and teacher.

1945 – Jacqueline Wilson, three-time Newbery Honor-winning American poet and author of books for children and teens.

1947 – Golrokhsar Safi, Tajikistani writer, poet, newspaper editor, and prominent Iranologist who is knwon for her contributions to modern Persian poetry and folk songs and for being Tajikistan’s national poet.

1974 – Nika Georgievna Turbina, Russian poet famous for her profound and emotional poems; she published her first collection of poetry at the age of 10.

1987 – Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, American writer and poet; her work covers such topics as mental illness and coming out as a transgender woman, as well as more traditional subjects such as love, anger, and beauty.

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