January 26 Writer Birthdays

1783 – Helmina von Chézy, German writer, poet, journalist, art critic, literary critic, and librettist who wrote the libretto for Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Euryanthe and the play Rosamunde, for which Franz Schubert composed incidental music.

1831 – Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, an influential American writer, children’s author, and children’s magazine editor. Best known for her novel Hans Brinker, she was the recognized leader in juvenile literature in the 19th century and persuaded many of the world’s top writers of the world to contribute to her children’s magazine — including Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tennyson, and Longfellow. When Kipling told her a story of the Indian jungle, she asked him to write it down; the result was The Jungle Book.

1848 – Justo Sierra Méndez, prominent liberal Mexican writer, historian, journalist, poet, judge, teacher, politician, historian, journalist, and political figure who was a leading voice of the Científicos, “the scientists” who were the intellectual leaders during the regime of Porfirio Díaz.

1883 – Julie Braun-Vogelstein, German-born art historian, author, editor, and journalist.

1900 – Altaf Husain, Pakistani writer, editor, journalist, government minister, and Pakistan Movement activist who was one of the pioneers of print journalism in Pakistan.

1905 – Maria von Trapp, Austrian singer, songwriter, musician, and author who wrote the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, based on her family’s experiences; her book inspired the West German film The Trapp Family, which in turn inspired the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and its beloved film version, starring Julie Andrews as Maria.

1915 – K.S. Narasimhaswamy, Indian poet in the Kannada language; his most popular collection of poems, Mysooru Mallige, is often given to newly married couples in Karnataka.

1918 – Philip José Farmer, inventive and prolific award-winning American author of science-fiction novels and short stories, best known for his Riverworld series of novels and for his designation as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

1918 – Amy Witting, pen name of an Australian novelist and poet Joan Austral Fraser, who has been widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s “finest fiction writers, whose work was full of the atmosphere and color or times past.”

1925 – Miep Diekmann, award-winning Dutch novelist and children’s author who traveled to both Aruba and Czechoslovakia to coach writers in those countries and expand opportunities for them to publish.

1929 – Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize-winning American cartoonist, author, screenwriter, playwright, children’s book author, illustrator, and educator who was considered the most widely read satirist in the country; in 2004 he was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame.

1930 – Srifa Mahawan, award-winning Thai novelist, short-story writer, and teacher who saw 11 of her novels win the Thai National Book Award and was named National Artist for Thailand in 1996; she also wrote under the names Srifa Ladavalaya, Sifa, and Jullada Pakdeephumin.

1938 – Henry Jaglom, British-American film director and playwright.

1943 – Susan Griffin, award-winning American poet, writer, essayist, and playwright whose book A Chorus of Stones was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

1944 – Angela Davis, American left-wing political activist, academic, and author
of books on class, feminism, and the U.S. prison system.

1945 – Nguyen Ngoc Ngan, Vietnamese writer and essayist, now based in Canada; he was imprisoned after the fall of Saigon and did forced labor in a re-education camp, an experience described in his autobiography, The Will Of Heaven; after his release he escaped by boat to Malaysia, but the boat capsized in a storm and his wife and child drowned, but he was pulled unconscious from the water.

1949 – Jonathan Carroll, World Fantasy Award-winning American-born Australian-based author of novels and short stories, most of them in the genres of magical realism, slipstream, and fantasy.

1949 – Marie Maamar Seurat (née Bachi), Syrian novelist, biographer, and nonfiction writer whose husband, sociologist Michel Seurat, was kidnapped and killed by the Islamic Jihad Organization, prompting her to write the book The Crows of Aleppo, in which she denounced the hypocrisy of politics.

1951 – Laurence Shames, American author of Florida-based fiction and mystery novels.

1954 – María Teresa Andruetto, award-winning Argentine writer, poet, playwright, and children’s author.

1966 – Anita Nair, Indian novelist, poet, screenwriter, children’s author, and essayist who writes in English.

1973 – Shinjo Mayu, Japanese Manga author and illustrator who is especially noted for the series Sensual Phrase, which has been collected in 18 bound volumes and adapted as a 44-episode anime television series.

1974 – Shannon Hale, Newbery Honor-winning American author of young-adult fantasy.

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