March 15 Writer Birthdays

1499 – Gjon Buzuku, Albanian writer, translator, and linguist who may have been a monk and probably lived in or near Venice, Italy.

1768 – Maria Czartoryska, Polish writer, philanthropist, and princess who was also known as Duchess Maria and the Duchess Louis of Württemberg.

1778 – Pauline Fourès, French novelist, writer, painter, and musician who was a mistress of Napoleon Bonaparte.

1825 – Harriet E. Wilson, American novelist and lecturer who was the first African-American to publish a novel, Our Nig, or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, which was published anonymously in 1859 and rediscovered in 1982 by the scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; born free, Wilson was orphaned when young and bound until the age of 18 as an indentured servant.

1830 – Paul Heyse, Nobel Prize-winning German poet, dramatist, novelist, and short-story writer.

1849 – Tetcho Suehiro (born Yujiro Suehiro), Japanese politician, novelist, and journalist.

1852 – Isabella Augusta (Lady Gregory), Irish playwright, poet, folklorist, translator, autobiographer, diarist, and linguist who was especially known for her retellings of stories from Irish mythology; with William Butler Yeats and Edward Martyn, she co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre and the Abbey Theatre and wrote numerous short works for both companies.

1857 – Ishbel Hamilton-Gordon (Marchioness of Aberdeen and Temair), Scottish author, philanthropist, and women’s rights advocate.

1865 – Sui Sin Far (real name Edith Maude Eaton), English-born Canadian writer, journalist, memoirist, and short-story writer who was known for her writing about Chinese people in North America and the Chinese American experience; her pen name is the Cantonese word for the narcissus flower.

1867 – Lionel Pigot Johnson, English poet, essayist, and critic whose work influenced the Warhammer 40,000 fictional universe.

1871 – Charles Howard McIlwain, Pulitzer Prize-winning American scholar and writer on U.S. history.

1890 – Olga Freidenberg, Russian philosopher, author, university teacher, linguist, and classical philologist who was a pioneer of cultural studies in Russia; her cousin was the writer Boris Pasternak, and their correspondence has been published and studied.

1891 – Laura Papo Bohoreta (born Luna Levi), Bosnian Jewish feminist, writer, and translator who devoted her research to the condition of the Sephardic women in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

1900 – Frances Catherine Partridge, English writer, diarist, and translator who was connected to the Bloomsbury Group; she is probably best known for the publication of her diaries.

1910 – An Rutgers van der Loeff-Basenau, Dutch author of books for children and adults; she also used the pen name Rutger Bass.

1912 – Louis Paul Boon, prolific novelist who was arguably the 20th century’s most important Flemish writer in the Dutch language

1915 – Carl Emil Schorske, Pulitzer Prize-winning American cultural historian.

1916 – Junpei Gomikawa, Japanese novelist best known for his World War II novel The Human Condition.

1918 – Richard David Ellmann, American literary critic and National Book Award winner; biographer of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, and William Butler Yates.

1920 – Lawrence Sanders, American novelist and crime-fiction writer.

1921 – Madelyn Pugh (Davis), American radio and TV writer, best known for her work on “I Love Lucy”; she was also a broadcast journalist and wrote about sports, and sometimes wrote under the name Madelyn Martin.

1924 – Irina Nikolaevna Levchenko, Ukrainian-born Soviet female military hero and writer; she was made a Hero of the Soviet Union for her bravery as a tank commander during WWII.

1928 – Malohat Badriddinovna Shahobova, Tajikistani linguist, author, and professor; much of her work focuses on the relationships between Tajik and English.

1932 – Yumie Hiraiwa, award-winning Japanese screenwriter and novelist.

1939 – Robert Nye, English poet, novelist, playwright, and writer of children’s stories.

1941 – Atukwei Okai, Ghanaian poet, writer, university teacher, children’s author, cultural activist, and academic; his early work was published under the name John Okai.

1944 – Deniz Kandiyoti, Turkish and British author and professor in the fields of gender relations and developmental politics in the Middle East, specifically Turkey. She has pioneered new research into the implications of Islam and state policy on women; in particular, her work on gender and Islam, especially in post-colonial and rural development areas, has been influential.

1950 – Pilar del Río, Spanish writer, journalist, and translator.

1952 – Gillian Slovo, award-winning South African-born novelist, playwright, journalist, and memoirist.

1953 – Heather Graham, American author of romance novels.

1955 – Yangji Lee, award-winning Japanese-born Korean novelist; she died at age 37 of
acute myocarditis.

1959 – Ben Okri, controversial Man Booker Prize-winning Nigerian poet, author, and essayist.

1965 – Sunetra Gupta, Indian and British writer, translator, biologist, university teacher, epidemiologist, professor, and novelist.

1988 – Laura Ikeji-Kanu, Nigerian writer, fashion blogger, and entrepreneur.

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