February 11 Writer Birthdays

1783 – Jarena Lee – first female African-American autobiographer and first female African-American ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

1802 – Lydia Maria Child, political-rights activist for the cause of women, slaves, and American Indians; also a novelist and poet; she is best known for the poem used as the lyrics to the song, “Over the River and Through the Wood.”

1898 – Leo Szilard, Hungarian-born physicist, biologist, inventor, and professor who played key parts in the invention of the nuclear reactor, linear accelerator, and electron microscope, and was involved in the first cloning of a human cell.

1900 – Hans-Georg Gadamer, German philosopher and writer.

1909 – Joseph Leo Mankiewicz, American film director, screenwriter, and producer

1916 – Florynce Kennedy, American attorney, civil-rights activist, feminist, and autobiographer.

1917 – Sidney Sheldon, American writer who started out writing for TV, but then moved to his best-selling fiction work.

1931 – Larry Merchant, American sportswriter, television commentator, and boxing analyst.

1939 – Jane Yolen, prolific, award-winning American author of sci-fi, fantasy, and children’s books, as well as poetry; she has won two Nebula Awards, the Caldecott Medal, a World Fantasy Award, a National Book Award nomination, and a Damon Knight Grand Master Award, among others. She has written more than 350 books and is best known for the novel The Devil’s Arithmetic and the picture book How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?

1946 – Jeffrey Gitomer, American author, professional speaker, and business trainer who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty, and personal development.

1957 – Pico Iyer, British-born essayist and novelist, many of whose works deal with the crossings of cultures.

1959 – Celeste O. Norfleet, American author of romance novels and young-adult books.

1962 – Sandra Tsing Loh, American writer, actress, and radio personality.

1968 – Mo Willems, American children’s book author and illustrator, best known for the picture book, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.

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