March 16 Writer Birthdays

1657 – Susanna Elizabeth Zeidler, German Baroque poet and advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to participate in the public and literary world; her work Beglau-bigung der Jungfer Poeterey (Certification of the Maiden Poet) is considered a classic text on the defense of women’s right to authorship.

1751 – James Madison, author of the U.S. Constitution, co-author of the Federalist Papers, and fourth U.S. President.

1808 – Hannah T. King, British-born American writer, poet, children’s author, and pioneer who converted to Mormonism while in England and emigrated to Utah in the U.S., where she was sealed to Brigham Young as his 55th and final wife, though she was legally married to another man at the time.

1839 – René François Armand “Sully” Prudhomme, French poet and essayist; winner of the first Nobel Prize in Literature.

1865 – Aspazija (pen name of Elza Johanna Emilija Lizete Pliekšane, née Elza Rozenberga), Latvian writer, poet, politician, playwright, translator, and journalist.

1867 – Jane Catulle-Mendès (born Jeanne Mette), French poet and writer who was appointed knight and officer of the Legion of Honor and Knight of the Order Leopold I of Belgium.

1883 – Ethel Campbell Louise Anderson (née Mason), Australian modernist poet, essayist, novelist, and painter; while she considered herself to be mainly a poet, she is now best appreciated for her witty and ironic stories.

1884 – Eric P. Kelly, American journalist and Newbery Award-winning children’s author.

1885 – Emory Holloway, Pulitzer Prize-winning American biographer of Walt Whitman.

1889 – Elsie Janis, American screenwriter, songwriter, actress, and singer who entertained troops during World War 1.

1892 – César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza, Peruvian poet, writer, playwright, and journalist; though he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language.

1907 – Parvin E’tesami, Persian Iranian poet, writer, and librarian.

1917 – Sophie Moss (Countess Zofia Roza Maria Jadwiga Elzbieta Katarzyna Aniela Tarnowska), Polish writer, poet, and humanitarian who founded the Cairo Branch of the Polish Red Cross when she lived in Egypt during World War 2.

1920 – Sid Fleischman, American author, screenwriter, and Newbery Award-winning children’s book author who also wrote books about stage magic.

1929 – A. K. Ramanujan (full name Attipate Krishnaswami Ramanujan), award-winning Indian writer, poet, playwright, folklorist, translator, linguist, and professor who argued for giving local, non-standard dialects their due; his poems have been called enigmatic works of startling originality and sophistication.

1930 – Izet Sarajlic, Bosnian poet, essayist, translator, and historian of philosophy; he is the former Yugoslavia’s most widely translated poet.

1935 – Wajida Tabassum, Indian writer of fiction, poetry, and songs in the Urdu language.

1942 – Dev Virahsawmy, Mauritian novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, linguist, and politician who writes easily in both French and English but is best known for his efforts to popularize the use of the Mauritian Creole language.

1948 – Margaret Weis, American fantasy novelist and gaming world creator.

1950 – Odia Ofeimun, award-winning Nigerian poet, political essayist, anthologist, and author on cultural politics.

1951 – Deborah Anne Tall, American writer, memoirist, poet, editor, anthologist, nonfiction author, and professor.

1952 – Alice Hoffman, popular American novelist, YA author & screenwriter.

1974 – Zoe Jenny, Swiss novelist, now based in London.

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