December 18 Writer Birthdays

1828 – Abraham Viktor Rydberg, important Swedish novelist categorized as a classical idealist; he has been called “Sweden’s last Romantic.”

1847 – Augusta Holmès, French composer, writer, poet, librettist, and pianist who published some of her work under the pseudonym Hermann Zenta; she wrote the lyrics to almost of her musical works.

1856 – Graciano López Jaena, Filipino journalist, orator, propagandist, and revolutionary, best known for his written work, La Solidaridad

1870 – Saki, pen name of British writer Hector Hugh Munro, known for his witty short stories.

1889 – Elsie Edith Bowerman, British lawyer, writer, suffragist, and RMS Titanic survivor.

1903 – Rokhl Auerbakh (also spelled Rokhl Oyerbakh and Rachel Auerbach), Israeli writer, essayist, historian, Holocaust scholar, and Holocaust survivor who wrote prolifically in both Polish and Yiddish, focusing on prewar Jewish cultural life and postwar Holocaust documentation and witness testimonies.

1907 – Christopher Fry, English poet and playwright whose dramas written in verse made him a key dramatist of the 1940s and 50s.

1913 – Alfred Bester, American science-fiction author, screenwriter, and magazine editor who won the first-ever Hugo award; he is credited with helping to invent modern science fiction.

1917 – Ossie Davis, African-American dramatist, screenwriter, novelist, and actor who wrote the play Purlie Victorious and its musical adaptation Purlie, about a Southern Black preacher who hopes to establish a racially integrated church; he was married to the American actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee.

1918 – Hal Kanter, American screenwriter and comedy writer who penned movies and television shows and created the pioneering sitcom Julia, starring Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse bringing up a young son alone; it was the first show to feature a Black female lead.

1925 – Geulah Cohen, award-winning Israeli writer, journalist, publisher, and politician who founded the Tehiya party.

1927 – Sterling Lanier, American science-fiction and fantasy writer, editor, and sculptor; as an editor, his greatest contribution was championing the publication of the manuscript for what became Frank Herbert’s bestselling novel Dune.

1927 – Marilyn Sachs, award-winning American children’s and young-adult novelist who has written more than 30 books.

1932 – Na. Parthasarathy, award-winning Indian journalist, magazine editor, and writer of Tamil-language historical novels; his many pen names include Theeran, Aravindan, Manivannan, Ponmudi, Valavan, Kadalazhagan, Ilampooranan, and Sengulam Veerasinga Kavirayar.

1935 – Jacques Pépin, French chef, author, and television personality who has written many cookbooks.

1939 – Michael Moorcock, English author of science-fiction, fantasy, and literary novels.

1943 – Violet Barungi, Ugandan writer, novelist, children’s author, and editor.

1946 – Steve Biko, South African writer, political organizer, and anti-apartheid activist who published articles under the pseudonym Frank Talk, and whose best known work is the book I Write What I Like: Selected Writings and The Testimony Of Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa. After being tortured and beaten by state security officers, he died of a massive brain hemorrhage in 1977.

1948 – Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, fantasy author, children’s novelist, screenwriter, and poet whose most famous contribution to children’s fantasy is the bestselling Little Vampire series; Sommer-Bodenburg says her vampire “is not a bloodthirsty monster, however, but an affectionate little vampire with fears and foibles who will perhaps help free children of their own fears.” The books have been adapted to theatre, radio, cinema, and television.

1949 – Koigi wa Wamwere, Kenyan writer, politician, human-rights activist, and journalist and writer, famous for opposing both the Jomo Kenyatta and the Daniel arap Moi regimes, both of which sent him to detention.

1950 – Leonard Maltin, American film critic, film historian, and author.

1961 – A.M. Homes, controversial, award-winning American writer; her novel The End Of Alice raised hackles for its subject matter, a convicted child molester and murderer.

1971 – Barkha Dutt, award-winning Indian television journalist, editor, and columnist.

1973 – Lucy Worsley, English historian, young-adult novelist, nonfiction author, Jane Austen biographer, curator, and television presenter. She is best known as a BBC presenter on historical topics, especially about the English aristocracy.

1974 – Mazarine Marie Pingeot, French writer, journalist, essayist, philosopher, and professor.

1981 – Nives Celzijus Drpić (born Nives Zeljković), Croatian columnist, writer, model, and singer; her husband is Greek football player Dino Drpić.

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