August 29 Writer Birthdays

1632 – John Locke, English philosopher best known for his works on government and education, and for “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.”

1708 – Olof von Dalin, Swedish poet and historian who was an influential literary figure of the Swedish Enlightenment.

1724 – Giovanni Battista Casti, Italian poet, satirist, and author of comic opera librettos.

1803 – Mirza Salaamat Ali Dabeer, leading Indian Urdu poet who perfected the art of Marsiya writing (Marsiya is a genre of religious elegiac poetry).

1809 – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., American physician, poet, author, and medical reformer who was one of the Fireside Poets group and who was considered to be one of the best writers of his day; he was also the father of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

1815 – Anna Ella Carroll, American writer, Constitutional theorist, propagandist, anti-slavery activist, pamphleteer, and advisor to President Lincoln; she sometimes wrote under the pseudonym “Hancock” and was influential in crafting Union strategy during the American Civil War.

1837 – Ram Sharma, Indo-Anglian poet who alternately criticized and praised the government in his poems and newspaper articles.

1862 – Maurice Maeterlinck, Nobel Prize-winning Belgian writer lauded for his “many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations.”

1863 – Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy, Indian Telugu writer who was one of the earliest modern Telugu linguists and social visionaries during the British rule; he championed the cause of using a language comprehensible to the common people as opposed to more scholastic language.

1865 – Hedwig Lachmann, German author, translator, and poet.

1879 – Han Yong-un (born Han Yu-cheon), Korean Buddhist writer, reformer, philosopher, and poet.

1881 – Valery Nicolas Larbaud, French novelist, poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator who also used the pseudonyms A.-O. Barnabooth, L. Hagiosy, and XM Tourmier de Zamble.

1884 – Juliette Roche (also known as Juliette Roche Gleizes), French writer, poet, and painter who was associated with the Cubist and Dada movements.

1888 – Salme Pekkala-Dutt (née Salme Anette Murrik), Estonian-British communist politician, writer, and poet; she is best known for her history of the Chartist movement, When England Arose.

1891 – Chunseong (born Lee Chang-nim), Korean Buddhist monk, scholar, poet, writer, and philosopher.

1891 – Marquis James, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, author, and biographer of Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson.

1894 – Manuel Navarro Luna, Cuban poet, journalist, and revolutionary.

1898 – Preston Sturges, Oscar-winning American screenwriter, film director, and playwright, known for taking the 1930s screwball comedy genre to another level, writing dialogue that even today sounds surprisingly naturalistic and mature.

1912 – Stéphanie Corinna Bille, award-winning French-speaking Swiss novelist, poet, essayist, editor, children’s writer, and short-story writer.

1916 – Robert Rhydwenfro Williams, Welsh poet, novelist, and Baptist minister; his work is mainly written in his native Welsh language, and is noted for adapting the established style and context of traditional rural Welsh poetry to that of a modern industrial landscape.

1922 – John Edward Williams, National Book Award-winning American author, editor, and professor.

1923 – Karen Gershon (born Kaethe Loewenthal) German-born British Jewish writer, poet, historian, and novelist who escaped Nazi Germany before World War II as part of the kindertransport child rescue effort. Her book We Came as Children: A Collective Autobiography uses testimonies of those who were part of the kindertransport to construct a single account; one of her best-known poems, “I Was Not There,” describes her feelings of guilt at not being there when her parents were murdered by the Nazis.

1926 – René Depestre, Haitian poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and Communist activist who lived in Cuba as an exile.

1929 – Thom Gunn, award-winning English poet who spent part of his career in the U.S.

1935 – Djamel Amrani, Algerian writer, newspaper editor, and radio broadcaster who was arrested, tortured, and exiled for his activities in the Algerian liberation movement.

1941 – Kioumars Saberi Foumani, Iranian satirist, writer, poet, journalist, and teacher who is also known by his pen name Gol-Agha.

1942 – Gordana Kuić, award-winning Serbian novelist; she is best known for her first novel, The Scent of Rain in the Balkans, an unexpected hit that was later made into a ballet, a play, and a television series.

1945 – Galit Hasan-Rokem, Israeli poet, linguist, professor, translator, and literary theorist whose research interests include proverbs, folklore, and culture of the Middle East.

1946 – Susanna Roxman (born Pia Susanna Ellinor Roxman), Swedish writer, poet, critic, and encyclopedia writer; her first few books were written in Swedish, but she switched over to English for her later works.

1947 – Temple Grandin, American zoologist, doctor of animal science, author, professor, screenwriter, consultant to the livestock industry, and autism activist who was one of the first people on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism; she invented the “hug box” device to calm people on the spectrum, and made the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was also the subject of the Emmy-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin.

1952 – Karen Hesse, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s and YA books, known especially for her historical fiction.

1953 – Diana Ferrus, South African writer, poet, and storyteller of mixed Khoisan and slave ancestry.

1953 – Nancy Holder, four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning American writer, editor, and author of science-fiction novels and short stories, known for her numerous tie-in books based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other TV series; she also wrote the “Wicked” series, about a family feud between a coven of witches and a coven of warlocks; she also contributed to the design of the game, Dungeon Master.

1954 – Michael P. Kube-McDowell, American science-fiction novelist who has written books in the Star Wars universe, as well as his own works.

1950 – Sue Harrison, American novelist best known for her “Ivory Carver” trilogy, which focuses on prehistoric Aleut tribes.

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