August 17 Writer Birthdays

1801 – Fredrika Bremer, Swedish writer and feminist reformer who has been called the Swedish Jane Austen and is credited with bringing the realistic novel to prominence in Swedish literature; her book Sketches of Everyday Life was wildly popular in Britain and the United States.

1821 – Vasile Alecsandri, Romanian poet, writer, folklorist, playwright, politician, and diplomat; he collected Romanian folk songs and a key figure in the 19th-century movement for Romanian cultural identity.

1837 – Charlotte Louise Bridges Forten Grimké, African-American diarist, poet, essayist, and civil-rights activist who sometimes wrote as Miss C.L.F. or just Lottie; she was best known for her posthumously published The Journal of Charlotte L. Forten: A Free Negro in the Slave Era, a work that was significant in providing a rare record of the life of a free black woman in the antebellum North.

1840 – Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, English writer, poet, essayist, political activist, adventurer, and Arabian horse breeder.

1863 – Gene Stratton-Porter (born Geneva Grace Stratton), American author, nature photographer, naturalist, and environmental activist whose novel A Girl of the Limberlost, set in and around her beloved Limberlost Swamp in Indiana, has been adapted into film four times.

1877 – Mathilde Marie Theresia Henriette Christine Luitpolda, (better known as Princess Mathilde of Bavaria), Bavarian German poet who was the sixth child of Ludwig III of Bavaria and Maria Theresa of Austria-Este; Mathilde is best known for her posthumously published book, Life-Dreams: The Poems of a Blighted Life.

1885 – Clara Gertrud Wichmann (also known as Clara Meijer-Wichmann) was a German-Dutch writer, lawyer, and social reformer whose writing centered around her work in movements for anarchism, anti-militarism, feminism, and reform of the criminal-justice system.

1887 – Marcus (Moziah) Garvey Jr., controversial Jamaican journalist, publisher, political activist, and orator who was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League.

1896 – Oliver Waterman Larkin, Pulitzer Prize-winning American art historian, professor, and critic.

1897 – Mouni Sadhu (pen name for Mieczyslaw Demetriusz Sudowski), Polish-born Australian author who wrote on spiritual, mystical, and esoteric subjects.

1908 – Bronisława Wajs, Polish-Romani classic poet and singer who was more commonly known by her Romani name, Papusza; she was one of the most famous Romani poets ever.

1916 – Amritlal Nagar. Indian novelist, journalist, and radio producer who was one of the prominent Hindi writers of the twentieth century.

1917 – Safa Abdul-Aziz Khulusi, Iraqi historian, novelist, poet, journalist, grammarian, educator, and broadcaster who is known for his mediation between Arabic- and English-language cultures; for his scholarship concerning modern Iraqi literature; for his theories on Arabic grammar and on Shakespeare; and for his work on the poetry of al-Mutanabb.

1921 – Geoffrey Elton, German historian, writer, lawyer, and professor who specializes in British political and constitutional history, focusing on the Tudor period.

1925 – John Hawkes, American poet, playwright, and writer of avant garde novels.

1930 – Ted Hughes, English poet, translator, and children’s writer who was Poet Laureate of Britian and who was married to poet Sylvia Plath; his children’s novel The Iron Man was adapted into the animated film The Iron Giant.

1932 – V.S.Naipaul, Nobel Prize-winning Indian/Trinidadian/British novelist, nonfiction author, short-story writer, and travel writer, best known for his novels focusing on the legacy of the British Empire’s colonialism.

1936 – Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, Ethiopian poet, playwright, and art director.

1945 – Rachel Pollack, American science-fiction author, comic-book writer, and tarot expert.

1949 – Lady Colin Campbell (born George William Ziadie and later named Georgia Arianna Ziadie), bestselling Jamaican-born British writer, biographer, autobiographer, and television and radio personality who has published three books about the British royal family.

1949 – Julian Fellowes (full name Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes, Baron Fellowes of West Stafford), English novelist, screenwriter, actor, film director, librettist, and Conservative peer of the House of Lords. He is primarily known as the author of several bestselling novels; for the Academy Award-winning screenplay for the film Gosford Park; and as the creator and writer of the popular, award-winning television series Downton Abbey.

1953 – Herta Müller, Nobel Prize-winning Romanian-born German writer who, “with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.”

1954 – Kirby Larson, Newbery Honor-winning American author of children’s books, best known for the novel Hattie Big Sky.

1957 – Kaukab Noorani Okarvi, Pakistani writer, Islamic scholar, researcher, orator, and cleric who is known as Khateeb-e-Millat (“Orator of the Nation.”)

1959 – Jonathan Franzen, Pulitzer Prize-finalist American novelist and essayist, best known for his satirical family drama, The Corrections.

1961 – Anamika, prominent Indian poet, novelist, professor, critic, and social worker who writes in Hindi and English.

1963 – Elly Griffiths (pen name of Domenica de Rosa), British crime novelist and children’s writer who is best known for two series, one featuring forensic archeologist Ruth Galloway, and the other featuring Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens.

1964 – Ian Halperin, bestselling Canadian writer, biographer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker.

1974 – Nicola Kraus, American novelist best known for the book, The Nanny Diaries, coauthored with Emma McLaughlin and drawn from their experiences working as nannies in New York City.

1982 – Jessie Burton, bestselling English author and actress; one of her novels, The Miniaturist, has been made into a television miniseries.

1986 – Deborah Feldman, American-German author, blogger, and autobiographer, known for her bestselling autobiography Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

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