July 17 Writer Birthdays

1862 – Oscar Ivar Levertin, Swedish poet, critic, professor, and literary historian who was a dominant voice of the Swedish cultural scene.

1888 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon (published in Hebrew under the acronym Shai Agnon and in English as S.Y. Agnon), Nobel Prize-winning Ukrainian-born author whose work explores conflicts between the modern world and traditional Jewish life and language; he is considered a central figure in modern Hebrew literature and has been called “one of the great storytellers of our time.”

1889 – Erle Stanley Gardner, American lawyer and author of mysteries and pulp fiction, best known for creating the world’s most famous fictional lawyer, Perry Mason.

1896 – Yrjö Vilho Soini, Finnish journalist, novelist, and playwright, who used the pen name Agapetus; his humorous works enjoyed wide popularity in Finland, and several have been adapted into films.

1901 – Bruno Jasieński, Polish writer, poet, playwright, and science-fiction writer who was the leader of the Polish Futurist movement.

1902 – Matilde Rodríguez Cabo Guzmán, Mexican writer, surgeon, feminist activist, and suffragist who was also the first female psychiatrist; she also founded Mexico’s first school for people with learning disabilities.

1902 – Christina Ellen Stead, Australian author, short-story writer, screenwriter, and writing teacher who was noted for her satirical wit and penetrating psychological characterizations. Time magazine named her best-known novel, the loosely autobiographical The Man Who Loved Children, as one of the 100 Best Novels from 1923-2005, and American author and critic Jonathan Franzen hailed it as a masterpiece. Her book Letty Fox: Her Luck, though considered an equally fine novel, was banned in Australia for several years because it was considered amoral and salacious.

1903 – Michio Takeyama, Japanese screenwriter, writer, translator, literary critic, children’s writer, critic, novelist, linguist, and scholar of German literature.

1911 – Yang Jiang, Chinese playwright, author, and translator who is best known for her successful comedies; she was also the first Chinese person to produce a complete Chinese version of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote.

1912 – Michael Gilbert, British author of mysteries, thrillers, and short stories; he was also a lawyer who had writer Raymond Chandler as a client.

1917 – Christiane Rochefort, French novelist, short-story writer, essayist, feminist, and social critic.

1921 – Robert V. Remini, National Book Award-winning American historian, author, and professor who wrote a multi-volume biography of U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

1924 – Olive Ann Burns, American writer best known for her novel Cold Sassy Tree; as a journalist, she wrote under the pseudonym Amy Larkin.

1930 – Baburao Bagul, Indian Marathi writer who was a pioneer of modern literature in Marathi and an important figure in the Indian short story.

1932 – Karla Kuskin, American poet who writes, illustrates, and reviews children’s books; she was nominated for a National Book Award.

1935 – Anupurath Krishnankutty (popularly known as Mundur Krishnankutty), award-winning Indian Malayalam novelist and short-story writer whose work is renowned for the realistic portrayal of life in Palakkad villages, focusing on the transformational crisis of an agrarian society.

1937 – Oladele Awobuluyi, Nigerian linguist, professor, and author whose research focuses on African languages, in particular Yoruba, but also Kanuri and Edo.

1940 – Clive William Nicol, Welsh-born Japanese and Canadian novelist, nonfiction writer, children’s author, singer, songwriter, and actor who was also a game warden in Ethiopia; he wrote in English and Japanese.

1943 – LaVyrle Spencer, bestselling, prolific American author of modern and historical romance novels.

1944 – Shi-Kuo Chang, Chinese Taiwanese writer, science-fiction author, and computer scientist.

1944 – Thomas N. Huffman, South African archeologist, anthropologist, author, and professor who specializes in pre-colonial farming societies in southern Africa. He is best known for his book, A Handbook to the Iron Age: The Archaeology of Pre-Colonial Farming Societies in Southern Africa.

1946 – Chris Crutcher, American family therapist and author of young-adult novels, many of which focus on teenage boys who are athletes who face personal problems; his books are controversial and are often banned because of their honest depictions of subjects such as religion, homosexuality, poverty, and child abuse.

1951 – Mark Bowden, American journalist, magazine editor, and author; his book Black Hawk Down was made into a popular movie.

1951 – Alain Suied, award-winning Tunisian-born French poet and translator.

1954 – J. Michael Straczynski, American journalist, screenwriter, playwright, horror novelist, and comic-book writer who is best known for creating and writing the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.

1954 – Lourdes Urrea, Mexican author, children’s writer, artist, and speaker.

1955 – Francesca Marciano, award-winning Italian writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor.

1956 – Angelo Cannavacciuolo, award-winning Italian novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor.

1957 – Maria Arbatova, award-winning Russian and Soviet writer, novelist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, translator, journalist, opinion journalist, politician, broadcaster, and feminist’ some of her works were censored for their controversial content.

1964 – Hajime Kanzaka, Japanese novelist and manga story writer; he is best known for writing the Slayers novels, which were adapted into a hit anime series.

1971 – Cory Doctorow, Canadian-British science-fiction author, journalist, activist, and blogger at Boing Boing; he is a Fellow of the Electronic Freedom Foundation and has released many of his books with Creative Commons licensing.

1990 – Mattie Stepanek, bestselling American poet, essayist, and peace activist who died at the age of 13.

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