June 17 Writer Birthdays

1797 – Alexandre Vinet, Swiss literary critic and theologian who advocated for religious freedom and the separation of church and state.

1808 – Everhardus Johannes Potgieter, Dutch writer, travel author, poet, and founder of a literary magazine, where he wrote under the initials W.Dg.

1808 – Henrik Arnold Thaulow Wergeland, Norwegian poet, prolific playwright, historian, and linguist; he is often described as a leading pioneer in the development of a distinctly Norwegian literary heritage.

1867 – Henry Lawson, Australian poet and short-story writer.

1868 – Kazi Dawa Samdup, Indian writer, linguist, and translator who one of the first translators of important works of Tibetan Buddhism into the English language and who played a significant role in relations between British India and Tibet.

1871 – James Weldon Johnson, African-American author, poet, educator, civil-rights activist, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and NAACP leader.

1875 – Charles Moravia, Haitian poet, playwright, teacher, and diplomat.

1880 – Carl Van Vechten, American music and dance critic, novelist, and nonfiction writer; portrait photographer for some of the best-known writers, musicians, and intellectuals of his day; he was also a patron of the Harlem Renaissance and literary executor for Gertrude Stein.

1900 – Renata Viganò, Italian writer and World War II resistance fighter; much of her writing featured fictionalized accounts of her experiences as a partisan, especially her best known work, the neo-realist novel L’Agnese va a morire.

1911 – James Cameron, British journalist, author, broadcaster, and autobiographer who was a leading figure in post-WWII journalism.

1911 – Thomas Allen Munro Curnow, New Zealand poet and journalist.

1914 – John Hersey, Chinese-born American journalist whose first novel, A Bell for Adano, won the Pulitzer Prize.

1921 – Mi. Pa. Somu, (full name Mi. Pa. Somasundaram), Indian Tamil journalist, poet, writer, and musicologist.

1922 – Lyuba Ognenova-Marinova, pioneering Bulgarian archaeologist, science writer, researcher, and professor; she was the first underwater archaeologist in the country and headed the investigations of the ancient Thracian city of Nesebar.

1922 – Lili Zografou, Greek journalist, novelist, playwright, essayist, and political activist.

1925 – Luce d’Eramo, Italian writer and literary critic who is best known for her autobiographical novel Deviazione, which recounts her experiences in Germany during World War II.

1934 – Futa Helu, Tongan philosopher, historian, and educator.

1935 – Nina Federova Averina, prolific, award-winning Russian and Australian writer, bibliographer, journalist, historian, and poet.

1943 – Chantal Mouffe, Belgian writer, political scientist, philosopher, university teacher, and feminist.

1944 – Zhanna Bichevskaya, award-winning Russian writer, poet, composer, singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

1947 – Linda Chavez, American author, commentator, columnist, and talk-show host.

1949 – Celia Rees, English author of young-adult fiction; her novels include Witch Child, Sorceress, and Pirates!; they span genres including historical fiction, gothic fiction, thrillers, and fantasy.

1952 – Marie-Louise Gay, Canadian children’s book writer and illustrator.

1954 – Kerry Greenwood, Australian author and solicitor who has written many plays and books, notably a string of historical detective novels centered on the character of Phryne Fisher.

1955 – Alan Taylor, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian, author, and professor who specializes in early U.S. history.

1968 – Deanna Raybourn, American author of historical fiction and historical mysteries; her books include the Lady Julia Grey series.

1969 – Yoshiki Nakamura, Japanese manga artist and writer; she is best known for her series Skip Beat!

1971 – Herve Yamguen, Cameroonian writer, playwright, painter, sculptor, and teacher who often writes about art.

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