February 21 Writer Birthdays

1755 – Anne Grant (often called Mrs. Anne Grant of Laggan), Scottish poet and author best known for her collection of mostly biographical poems Memoirs of an American Lady as well as her earlier work Letters from the Mountains.

1817 – José Zorrilla y Moral, Spanish poet and dramatist whose work was part of the Romantic movement.

1820 – Apollo Korzeniowski, Polish poet, playwright, translator, clandestine political activist, and father of Polish-English novelist Joseph Conrad.

1821 – Charles Scribner, American founder of the company, Charles Scribner’s Sons, a major publisher of books and magazines.

1888 – Clemence Dane, pseudonym of Winifred Ashton, English novelist, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, science-fiction writer, painter, and sculptor.

1903 – Anais Nin, French-born Cuban-American novelist, diarist, critic, essayist, and writer of short stories and erotica; she is best known for the journals she wrote for 60 years, many of which have been published, and which feature intimate details of her relationships with friends and lovers who included some of the best-known literary figures of the day.

1903 – Raymond Queneau, French author who produced some of the most important prose and poetry of the mid-20th century.

1907 – W.H. Auden (Wystan Hugh Auden), Pulitzer Prize-winning English-born American poet and anti-war socialist whose work is noted for its stylistic and technical achievement; its engagement with politics, morals, love, and religion; and its variety in tone, form and content.

1927- Erma Bombeck, American humorist, columnist, and author whose writing found the humor in suburban home life and gained her an enormous following.

1936 – Barbara Jordan, groundbreaking African-American lawyer, politician, professor, speechwriter, and autobiographer; she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was President Bill Clinton’s choice for Supreme Court Justice but was not nominated because of her poor health.

1937 – Jilly Cooper, British author, journalist, nonfiction writer, children’s book author, and bestselling romance novelist.

1943 – Lyudmila Evgenyevna Ulitskaya, internationally acclaimed modern Russian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, children’s writer, translator, and human-rights activist.

1946 – Monica Johnson, award-winning American screenwriter and producer for television and movies; she often collaborated with Albert Brooks and sometimes wrote under the name Monica McGowan.

1947 – Lidia Bastianich (Lidia Giuliana Matticchio Bastianich), Croatian-born Italian-American celebrity chef, television host, author, and restaurateur who specializes in Italian cuisine.

1948 – Elizabeth Edmondson (who also wrote under the names Elizabeth Aston and Elizabeth Pewsey), Chilean-born English author who wrote primarily in the mystery, historical, and contemporary fiction genres; many of her published stories were adaptations and sequels of Jane Austen’s works.

1952 – Jia Pingwa, one of China’s most popular authors of novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction; one of his best-known novels, Ruined City, was banned for more than 17 years for explicit sexual content.

1956 – Ha Jin, Chinese-born poet, novelist, short-story writer, and university teacher whose work is associated with the Misty Poetry movement.

1950 – Håkan Nesser, Swedish author best known for his crime fiction.

1952 – Jeff Shaara, American author of historical fiction; he is the son of Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Shaara.

1962 – Charles Michael Palahniuk, American novelist and journalist who describes his work as “transgressional fiction”; he is best known for the novel Fight Club.

1962 – David Foster Wallace, influential American novelist.

1969 – Gabeba Baderoon, award-winning South African poet and professor.

1977 – Jonathan Safran Foer, American modernist author of fiction and nonfiction, best known for his novels Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

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