February 19 Writer Birthdays

1717 – David Garrick, English playwright, poet, actor, and theatrical producer.

1869 – Hovhannes Tumanyan, Armenian poet, writer, translator, literary critic, journalist, and public activist who is considered the national poet of Armenia; his work was mostly realistic, focusing on everyday life.

1888 – José Eustasio Rivera Salas, Colombian lawyer and author primarily known for his national epic, the novel, The Vortex, about the plight of rubber workers in the Amazon basin.

1896 – André Robert Breton, French writer, poet, and anti-fascist who was one of the founders of the Surrealist movement.

1902 – Kay Boyle, O. Henry Award-winning American novelist, short-story writer, poet, educator, and political activist.

1903 – Louis Slobodkin, American sculptor and children’s author and illustrator who also wrote nonfiction books about art and an autobiographical novel about his brief career as a sailor.

1904 – Maurice O’Sullivan (Muiris Ó Súilleabháin), Irish-language author, noted for his memoir Twenty Years a’Growing.

1917 – Carson McCullers, American novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and playwright best known for her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts in a small town of the Southern United States; much of her work is set in the deep South.

1917- Sankichi Tōge (峠 三吉), Japanese poet, activist, and survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

1920 – Jaan Kross, Estonian novelist and short-story writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times.

1920 – Eileen Jackson Southern, American author, musicologist, and professor who was an expert in the history of Black music in America; she is best known for her book The Music of Black Americans: A History.

1926 – Ross Thomas, Edgar Award-winning American author of witty crime fiction.

1928 – Joseph Onuora Nzekwu, Nigerian professor, writer and editor of the Igbo people.

1937 – Terry Carr, American science-fiction author and editor.

1939 – Beatrice Faust, Australian author, journalist, film critic, and women’s rights activist.

1940 – Jill Krementz, well-known American photographer, author, and children’s writer.

1943 – Homer Hickham, American author whose autobiographical novel Rocket Boys was the basis for the film October Sky; he was a NASA engineer and trained the first Japanese astronauts.

1949 – Patricia O’Conner, American writer and columnist who was editor at the New York Times Book Review; she has authored several books about the English language, including Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English.

1952 – Ryu Murakami, a Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, screenwriter, film director, and science-fiction writer whose novels explore human nature through themes of disillusion, drug use, surrealism, murder, and war.

1952 – Amy Tan, award-winning Chinese-American writer of novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and memoirs whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese-American experience; she also sang vocals for the all-writer rock group, Rock Bottom Remainders.

1954 – Messaouda Boubaker, Tunisian novelist, short-story writer, and political activist who writes in Arabic.

1955 – Siri Hustvedt, American novelist, poet, and essayist.

1958 – Helen Fielding, bestselling English novelist best known for creating the character Bridget Jones.

1958 – Theresa Rebeck, influential Edgar Award-winning American playwright, television writer, and novelist.

1963 – Laurell K. Hamilton, bestselling American fantasy and romance writer; she is author of the “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” series, which includes novels, short stories, and comic books, and is considered a major influence in the fields of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

1964 – Jonathan Lethem, American essayist, and author of genre-bending literary novels and short stories.

1965 – Azubuike Ishiekwene, Nigerian journalist and columnist who has also written under the name Azu.

1970 – K.R. Meera, award-winning Indian novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, and journalist; she writes in Malayalam.

1971 – Jeff Kinney, American children’s author and cartoonist best known for the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books.

1984 – Marissa Meyer, American writer of children’s and young-adult science fiction.

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