March 20 Writer Birthdays

0043 BC – Publius Ovidius Naso, known as Ovid, Ancient Roman poet best known for the Metamorphoses.

1612 – Anne Bradstreet (née Dudley), the most prominent of early English poets in North America and the first writer in England’s American colonies to be published.

1770 – Johann Christian Friedrich Hölderlin, German schizophrenic lyric poet.

1828 – Henrik Willem Ibsen, Norwegian playwright and poet, considered the “Father of Realism.”

1845 – Lucy Myers Wright Mitchell, American classical historian and archaeologist.

1893 – Salomón de la Selva, Nicaraguan poet, writer, journalist, diplomat, and trade unionist who was an honorary member of the Mexican Academy of Language.

1899 – Jafar Gafar oglu Jabbarli, Azerbaijani playwright, poet, screenwriter, and film director.

1904 – B.F. Skinner, influential American psychologist and author.

1905 – Vera Fyodorovna Panova, Russian Soviet novelist, playwright, screenwriter, short-story writer, and journalist.

1907 – Gamila El Alaily (also spelled Jamila), notable Egyptian poet and newsletter editor who was the first female member of the Apollo Poet Society; she was a pioneer in the literary scene of Egypt and an influential modernist.

1907 – Hugh MacLennan, Canadian Nova Scotian novelist and essayist.

1908 – Kathryn Anderson McLean (pen name Kathryn Forbes), American memoirist and short-story writer.

1917 – Kalervo Hemming Hortamo, Finnish poet and teacher.

1920 – Andrée Chedid (born Andrée Saab Khoury), award-winning Egyptian-French poet, novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and feminist author of Lebanese descent.

1920 – Sirkka Selja (real name Sirkka-Liisa Tulonen), Finnish poet and writer.

1922 – Carl Reiner, popular American comedian, actor, director, and screenwriter.

1923 – Marc Saporta, Istanbul-born French journalist, novelist, and literary critic.

1928 – Fred Rogers, American author, screenwriter, songwriter, pedagogist, and minister who was the iconic host of the classic children’s TV show, Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

1933 – Otar Chiladze, Georgian writer, poet, screenwriter, playwright, translator, and opinion journalist who played a prominent role in the resurrection of Georgian prose in the post-Joseph Stalin era; his novels characteristically fuse Sumerian and Hellenic mythology with the predicaments of a modern Georgian intellectual.

1934 – David Malouf, award-winning Australian novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction author.

1937 – Lois Lowry, multiple Newbery Medal-winning American author known for her children’s and young-adult books, many of which deal with difficult subject matter, dystopias, and complex themes in works for young audiences; some of her books have been challenged or banned in schools and libraries, in particular the novel The Giver, which is required reading in other schools.

1938 – Jona Oberski, Dutch poet, writer, and nuclear physicist whose parents, who were Jewish, escaped from Nazi Germany to the Netherlands; when the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, the family was transported to concentration camps, where both of Jona’s parents died but he survived.

1940 – Sapardi Djoko Damono, Indonesian poet and translator who is widely regarded as the pioneer of lyric poetry in Indonesia.

1945 – Ljubica Ostojic, Bosnian poet, writer, playwright, screenwriter, and professor who writes in Croatian language.

1946 – Bok Geo-il, South Korean novelist, poet, literary critic, and social commentator.

1948 – Pamela Sargent, Nebula Award-winning science-fiction author, editor, and feminist who has written, among other things, alternate-history stories and Star Trek novels, as well as editing anthologies that spotlight women’s contributions to science fiction.

1953 – Alicia Kozameh, Argentine novelist, short-story writer, poet, anthologist, and professor.

1954 – Louis Sachar, popular Newbery Medal-winning American author of books for children and young adults; School Library Journal has ranked his novel Holes as sixth among all children’s novels.

1955 – Nina Kiriki Hoffman, American fantasy, science-fiction, and horror author.

1959 – Mary Roach, American author of popular science books with a whimsical edge.

1964 – Yelena Trofimenko, Belarusian poet, screenwriter, actress, and film director

1966 – Irma Kurti, well-known Albanian poet, writer, and journalist.

1968 – A.J. Jacobs, American journalist and author.

1974 – Elo Viiding, Estonian poet and short-story writer who writes about oppressed people and about the deficiencies in the Estonian education system; some of her work was written under the pseudonym Elo Vee.

1985 – Polina Zherebtsova, award-winning Chechen Russian writer, poet, historian, human rights activist, journalist, philosopher, peace activist, and diarist whose memoir Ant in a Glass Jar, covered her childhood, adolescence, and youth that witnessed three Chechen wars.

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