April 4 Writer Birthdays

1661 – Uejima Onitsura, Japanese haiku poet who belonged to the Danrin school of Japanese poetry.

1785 – Bettina von Arnim (born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano), German countess, writer, novelist, publisher, composer, singer, illustrator, social activist, and salonnière; the archetype of the Romantic era’s zeitgeist, she was known for the company she kept, especially her close friends Goethe and Beethoven. As a composer, her style was unconventional, melding favorite folk melodies and historical themes with innovative harmonies, phrase lengths, and improvisations that became synonymous with the music of the era.

1818 – Thomas Mayne Reid, Irish and American adventure novelist whose work was a major influence on Arthur Conan Doyle.

1828 – Margaret Oliphant, prolific Scottish novelist and historical writer whose fictional works included domestic realism, historical novels, and tales of the supernatural.

1858 – Rémy de Gourmont, French novelist and critic who is best known as an apologist for the symbolists.

1868 – Felipe Calderón, Filipino author, lawyer, and politician who was known as the Father of the Malolos Constitution.

1886 – Frank Luther Mott, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and journalist.

1892 – Edith Södergran, innovative, trailblazing Finnish poet who wrote in Swedish; her influences came from French Symbolism, German expressionism, and Russian futurism.

1896 – Robert Emmet Sherwood, American writer who won Pulitzer prizes in both drama and biography; he was also a member of the Algonquin round table and a speechwriter for U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt.

1901 – Arthur William Baden Powell, New Zealand scientist, paleontologist, malacologist (one who studies mollusks), and author; his writings and classifications of mollusks have been a major influence in his field, and several species have been named after him.

1908 – Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, American author whose upbringing in a house of twelve children inspired her memoir, Cheaper by the Dozen; daughter of Lillian Moller Gilbreth and Frank Bunker Gilbreth, pioneers in the field of time and motion study, now called organizational behavior.

1913 – Sun Li, Chinese writer of novels and short stories; he is often associated with Lake Baiyangdian, the area around which many of his stories are set.

1914 – Marguerite Duras, Saigon-born French novelist, playwright, short-story writer, essayist, screenwriter, and experimental film director whose work sometimes drew on her childhood in Asia; she was a French resistance fighter during World War 2; her most important work is the screenplay for the 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amor.

1928 – Maya Angelou, influential, award-winning African-American author, poet, playwright, essayist, screenwriter, actress, and civil-rights activist, best known for her series of autobiographies and for reciting a poem for the inauguration of U.S. President Bill Clinton; much of her work centers on themes of racism, identity, family, and travel. She is one of the best known and most revered of all American poets.

1932 – Meisei Gotō (後藤 明生), award-winning Japanese novelist who was also known as Akio Gotō.

1932 – Johanna Reiss, Dutch-born Caldecott Medal-winning children’s writer whose books are based on her childhood experiences as a Jewish girl in the Netherlands during the Holocaust.

1932 – Andrei Arsenyevich Tarkovsky, Soviet Russian screenwriter, author, filmmaker, theatre director, and film theorist who was one of the most influential directors in the history of Russian and world cinema; his films explored spiritual and metaphysical themes, and are noted for slow pacing, long takes, dreamlike visual imagery, and preoccupation with nature and memory.

1938 – Kazuko Hosoki, prolific Japanese author, astrologer, and television personality who has written more than 100 books; she is well known as a proponent of ancestor worship as central to the Japanese identity.

1938 – P. Valsala, Indian Malayalam novelist, short story writer, social activist, and educator.

1940 – Frances Mayes, American novelist, poet, memoirist, essayist, screenwriter, and university professor; she is best known for her bestselling book, Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy, a memoir about buying, renovating, and living in a villa in the Tuscan hill town of Cortona.

1942 – Kitty Kelley, American journalist and author of bestselling unauthorized biographies of celebrities.

1942 – Elizabeth Levy, prolific American author of children’s books who has written a long-running series of mystery novels for young readers and the “Horrible Histories” spin-off series “America’s Funny but True History”; she is also known for her Star Wars novelizations.

1945 – B.T. Lalitha Naik, Indian writer, journalist, novelist, politician, and social activist; she wrote poems, short stories, books, articles, and radio programs, and was also known for leading important literary, social and language-rights movements such as Bandaya movement and Gokak agitation, and for her work as a government minister.

1948 – Jila Mossaed Estakhri, Iranian-born Swedish writer and poet who writes in both Swedish and Persian.

1948 – Dan Simmons, American science-fiction, fantasy, and horror novelist who has won the Hugo, Locus, and World Fantasy awards.

1956 – David E. Kelley, Emmy Award-winning American screenwriter and television producer known for such shows as L.A. Law, Picket Fences, Ally McBeal, and more.

1957 – Andrew Haruna, Nigerian academic and author who is a professor of linguistics and the Nigerian language, as well as the vice chancellor of the Federal University of Gashua.

1983 – Tang Fei, pen name of Chinese science-fiction writer Wang Jing, who mainly writes speculative novellas and short stories.

1984 – Kiana Danial, award-winning Iranian finance expert, author, and journalist who has written about investment management and cryptocurrency.

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