December 20 Writer Birthdays

1808 – Laura Smith Haviland, Canadian abolitionist, suffragette, and social reformer who was an important figure in the history of the Underground Railroad.

1838 – Edwin Abbott Abbott, English schoolmaster and theologian, best known for the satirical novella Flatland.

1875 – Theodore Francis Powys (published as T.F. Powys), British novelist and short-story writer who is best remembered for his allegorical novel Mr. Weston’s Good Wine, in which Weston the wine merchant is evidently God.

1875 – Marie de Régnier (also known by her maiden name Marie de Heredia and her pen-name Gérard d’Houville), French writer, poet, novelist, journalist, and children’s writer who was a key figure in the artistic circles of early 20th-century Paris).

1880 – Sara Cecilia Görvell Fabricius (better known by her pen name Cora Sandel), Norwegian writer and painter whose most famous works are the novels now known as the Alberta Trilogy.

1883 – Marjorie Paget (Marchioness of Anglesey), British writer, art historian, biographer, artist, and illustrator.

1891 – Maria Skobtsova (born Elizaveta Yurievna Pilenko, and known as Mother Maria, or Saint Mary of Paris), Russian writer, poet, and member of the French Resistance during World War II; she died in a Nazi concentration camp and was canonized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

1894 – Mara Ðordevic-Malagurski, prominent Serbian writer, playwright, and ethnographer who sometimes wrote under the pen name Nevenka.

1899 – Claudia Lars (born Margarita del Carmen Brannon Vega), award-winning Salvadoran poet, writer, and translator who was appointed cultural attaché to the Embassy of El Salvador in Guatemala.

1902 – Vasil Iljoski, Macedonian writer, dramatist, and professor who was an important figure in Macedonian literature.

1904 – Yevgenia (Eugenia) Solomonovna Ginzburg, Russian author, memoirist, and journalist who served an 18-year sentence in the Gulag as a political prisoner.

1905 – Galina Iosifovna Serebryakova, Polish-Russian writer, journalist, opera singer, and Gulag survivor; her most ambitious writing project was a three-volume fictionalized life of Karl Marx.

1911 – Hortense Calisher, American writer of neo-realist fiction who was the second female president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; she was also an activist for abortion rights. Her books were known for extensive exploration of her characters; complex plots; imagination and daring; and allusive, nuanced language that was at odds with the minimalism typical of fiction at the time.

1920 – Väinö Linna, Finnish author best known for his novel, Tuntematon sotilas (The Unknown Soldier).

1927 – David Markson, American author of postmodernist novels, including Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

1951 – Kate Atkinson, postmodern British novelist and playwright whose work has been described as “Kurt Vonnegut meets Jane Austen.”

1951 – Peter May, Scottish novelist known for his crime fiction.

1954 – Sandra Cisneros, Mexican-American novelist, acclaimed for her first novel The House on Mango Street.

1957 – Lulu Delacre, prolific Puerto Rican author and illustrator of award-winning children’s books that celebrate Latino heritage and promote cultural diversity.

1960 – Nalo Hopkinson, Jamaican-born Canadian science-fiction and fantasy author of novels and short stories whose work often draws on Caribbean history and language, and on its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

1969 – Alain de Botton, bestselling British-based Swiss writer, philosopher, essayist, television presenter, and entrepreneur whose books and television shows emphasize philosophy’s relevance to everyday life.

1973 – Nadège Noële Ango Obiang, Gabonese short-story writer, playwright, romance author, poet, and economist.

1973 – Maarja Kangro, Estonian poet, short-story writer, librettist, and translator.

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