January 7 Writer Birthdays

1774 – Anna Petrovna Bunina, Russian poet who was the first female Russian writer to make a living solely from literary work; she is related to Noble Prize-winning writer Ivan Bunin.

1824 – Julia Kavanagh, popular Irish writer, biographer, novelist, and nonfiction writer; her nonfiction explored women’s moral and political contributions to society.

1840 – Céline Renooz, Belgian feminist writer, lecturer, and activist known for her works on evolution, epistemology, and historiography and her calls to erase patriarchal structures; her philosophy, known as “neosophism,” outlined an alternative, non-male-dominated approach to science, and championed matriarchy as a beneficial social system.

1873 – Charles Péguy, important French poet, essayist, and editor.

1890 – Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, American writer, soldier, and entrepreneur who created DC Comics and pioneered the American comic book.

1891 – Zora Neale Hurston, American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1905 – Yahya Haqqi, Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, editor, literary critic, essayist, lawyer, translator, civil servant, and adviser to the National Library of Egypt.

1908 – Georgette Marie Philippart Travers, French writer and poet who was the wife of another poet, Peruvian writer César Vallejo.

1914 – Dorothy Lavinia Brown (also known as “Dr. D.”), African-American surgeon, legislator, and educator who wrote essays, an autobiography, and inspirational guides; she was the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry in the Southeastern United States and the first African-American woman to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly, where she fought for women’s rights, reproductive choice, and the rights of people of color.

1916 – Paul Keres, Estonian chess grandmaster and renowned chess writer.

1925 – Gerald Malcolm Durrell, influential Indian-born British zoologist and writer whose series of memoirs, beginning with My Family and Other Animals, recounts years of his childhood spent living on a Greek island with his eccentric family; his older brother is renowned novelist Lawrence Durrell; his sister Margaret (Margo) Durrell was also an author. The television series The Durrells in Corfu is based on Gerald’s books.

1928 – William Peter Blatty, American writer most well known for the novel (and screenplay) The Exorcist.

1936 – Edward Hunter Davies, British author, journalist, biographer, and broadcaster who wrote the only authorized biography of the Beatles.

1938 – Aída Bortnik, Academy Award-nominated Argentine screenwriter, playwright, poet, journalist, writer, and lawyer.

1945 – Uma Ukpai, Nigerian writer, Christian leader, and preacher.

1946 – Michael Roizen, American anesthesiologist and internist who is known for his Real Age books and the YOU series.

1948 – Shobhaa Dé, Indian novelist and columnist who depicts socialites and sex in her books; she has been called the “Jackie Collins of India.”

1951 – Minfong Ho, award-winning Burmese-born Chinese-American writer of novels for adults, teens, and children, and picture books; her fiction deals with the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asian, always set against the backdrop of real events, such as the 1970s student movement in Thailand and the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.

1957 – Nicholson Baker, American author of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and erotica; he has also written about and edited Wikipedia.

1958 – Rosa Liksom, award-winning Finnish writer, photographer, playwright, translator, painter, cartoonist, and children’s writer

1977 – Sofi Oksanen, award-winning bestselling Finnish contemporary novelist and playwright.

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