February 18 Writer Birthdays

1718 – Søren Abildgaard, Norwegian writer, illustrator, artist, draftsman, geologist, and naturalist who traveled throughout Denmark to create drawings of its tombstones, runes, and other historic monuments; he was also an illustrator and painter on historian Jacob Langebek’s tour to Sweden and the Baltic provinces, and is remembered for his studies of topographical and geological conditions and phenomena.

1855 – Jean Jules Jusserand, Pulitzer Prize-winning French scholar of history and Medieval English literature, author, and Ambassador to the U.S. during World War I; Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., features a memorial to him.

1883 – Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer and philosopher, best known for his novel Zorba the Greek.

1909 – Dido Sotiriou, Turkish-born Greek novelist, journalist, and playwright; her bestselling novel, Bloody Earth, or Farewell Anatolia, deals with the trauma of the Greek-Turkish population exchange and the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor.

1909 – Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American novelist and short-story writer; also known as a historian and environmentalist.

1922 – Helen Gurley Brown, American author, publisher, and businesswoman who was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.

1924 – Chin Shunshin (also known as Chen Shunchen), Taiwanese-Japanese novelist, translator, and cultural critic who is best known for historical fiction and mystery novels.

1925 – Jack Gilbert, award-winning American poet whose work is known for its simple lyricism and straightforward clarity of tone, as well as a resonating control over his emotions; many of his poems are about his relationships with women.

1925 – Krishna Sobti (Hindi: कृष्णा सोबती), Hindi fiction writer and essayist, best known for her 1966 novel Mitro Marajani, an unapologetic portrayal of a married woman’s sexuality.

1926 – A.R. Ammons, National Book Award-winning American poet; much of his work was inspired by his childhood on a North Carolina cotton and tobacco farm during the Great Depression.

1928 – Eeva Karin Kilpi (née Salo), Russian-born Finnish writer, poet, and feminist.

1929 – Len Deighton, British novelist, military historian, graphic artist, and food writer who is best known for his spy novels.

1931 – Toni Morrison, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American novelist, essayist, editor, and educator who is one of the most acclaimed writers of her time; her novels are known for epic themes, exquisite language, and richly detailed African-American characters.

1933 – Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, author, musician, film director, performance artist, and peace activist who is best known for her marriage to Beatle John Lennon.

1934 – Audre Lorde, Caribbean-American writer, poet, librarian, and activist.

1935 – Janette Oke, Canadian author of inspirational and Christian historical fiction, usually set in the pioneer era.

1936 – Jeanne Auel, bestselling Finnish-American author known for her Earth’s Children series of books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores early humans, especially interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals.

1939 – Claude Ake, Nigerian author, political scientist, and professor who was considered one of Africa’s foremost political philosophers; he specialized in political economy, political theory, and development studies and is known for his research on development and democracy in Africa.

1950 – Bebe Moore Campbell, American journalist, teacher, and bestselling author of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature.

1950 – John Wilden Hughes, Jr., American film director, producer, and screenwriter who wrote or directed some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.

1952 – Mara Zalite, award-winning Latvian writer, composer, and cultural worker; her literary works include novels, poetry, essays, plays, drama, prose, and librettos, and often deal with historical problems and have symbolic meanings that correspond with Latvian mythology and culture.

1955 – Lisa See, bestselling American writer and novelist whose work is often inspired by her Chinese-American background.

1957 – George Pelecanos, American author of detective fiction, mostly set in Washington, D.C.; he is also a television writer and producer.

1961 – Douglas Rushkoff, American media theorist, writer, and graphic novelist, known for his connection with early cyberpunk culture.

1964 – María del Carmen Aristegui Flores, Mexican journalist and anchorwoman who is widely regarded as one of Mexico’s leading journalists and opinion leaders; she is best known for her critical investigations of the Mexican government.

1976 – Bernadette Sembrano (full name Bernadette Lorraine Palisada Dominguez Sembrano Aguinaldo), Filipina reporter, newscaster, and television host.

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