May 24 Writer Birthdays

1855 – Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, English playwright and actor who specialized in farces and drawing-room comedies but also wrote an opera libretto and “problem plays” that addressed “the double standard of morality, applied unequally to men and women.”

1878 – Lillian Moller Gilbreth, American psychologist, writer, industrial and mechanical engineer, teacher, inventor, and businessperson; one of the first female engineers to earn a Ph.D., she is considered the first industrial/organizational psychologist. She and her husband, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering, especially in the areas of motion study and human factors. She is best known through two books written by two of their twelve children, Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes, which tell the story of their family life and describe how the parents applied time-and-motion studies to the organization and daily activities of their large family.

1883 – Elsa Maxwell, American gossip columnist, author, journalist, screenwriter, pianist, radio personality, actor, and songwriter; she is credited with the introduction of the scavenger hunt and treasure hunt as party games in the modern era.

1892 – Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, Newbery Medal-winning American children’s author and Methodist missionary in China.

1898 – Kathleen Hale, British children’s author and illustrator known for the the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books.

1899 – Kazi Nazrul Islam (best known as simply Nazrul), influential Bengali poet, writer, singer, translator, journalist, musician, composer, and anti-colonial revolutionary who was the national poet of Bangladesh and was sometimes called the “Rebel Poet”; he wrote on themes including freedom, religious devotion, opposition to bigotry and gender-based and caste-based discrimination, rebellion against oppression, and nationalist activism in the Indian independence movement.

1899 – Henri Michaux, Belgian-born French poet, journalist, and painter.

1905 – Mikhail Shokolov, Nobel Prize-winning Soviet Russian novelist, short-story writer, and war journalist; he is known especially for his novel And Quiet Flows the Don.

1928 – William Trevor (born William Trevor Cox), Irish novelist, playwright, screenwriter, short-story writer, and sculptor who was a three-time Whitbread Prize winner.

1940 – Joseph Brodsky, Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and essayist whose work was denounced as “pornographic and anti-Soviet” and who was arrested for social parasitism and sentenced to hard labor until his sentence was commuted; eventually he was vindicated, and lauded “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.”

1941 – Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman), Nobel Prize-winning American singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been described as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. He was included in “The Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century,” where he was called “master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation.”

1954 – Barbro KarlĂ©n, prolific Swedish author, poet, autobiographer equestrian, and mounted police officer; her first book of poetry was published when she was 12 years old, and she had published eleven books of poetry and prose by the time she was 16. She claimed that as a young child, she had memories of being Anne Frank in a past life.

1963 – Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, screenwriter, short-story writer, children’s writer, and columnist; he also won the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Many of his works take place in the same fictional universe, with certain characters mentioned in more than one book.

1984 – Devapriya Roy, Indian novelist, memoirist, and biographer.

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