September 8 Writer Birthdays

1474 – Luovico Ariosto, Italian Renaissance poet best remembered for his romantic epic and satire of the chivalric tradition, Orlando Furioso, which describes the adventures of Charlemagne, Orlando, and the Franks as they battle against the Saracens, with diversions into many subplots.

1830 – Frédéric Mistral, Nobel Prize-winning French author, poet, and lexicographer in the Occitan language who was honored “in recognition of the fresh originality and true inspiration of his poetic production, which faithfully reflects the natural scenery and native spirit of his people.”

1886 – Siegfried Sassoon, English poet, author. and soldier who was best known for his poetry describing the horrors of WWI.

1888 – Aliza Greenblatt, Ukrainian-born American Yiddish poet and autobiographer; many of her poems have been set to music and recorded.

1890 – Dorothy Stopford Price, Irish physician who researched and wrote about childhood tuberculosis and was key to the elimination of the disease in Ireland by introducing the BCG vaccine.

1903 – Jane Arbor (pen name of Eileen Norah Owbridge), British author of doctor/nurse and foreign romance novels.

1924 – Grace Metalious, American author best known for her controversial bestselling novel Peyton Place, about the dark, steamy secrets of a small New England town.

1925 – Bat-Sheva Dagan, Polish-Israeli educator, children’s author, poet, songwriter, and speaker who was the only member of her family to survive the Holocaust and writes about her experiences to educate children and young adults; she is considered a pioneer in children’s Holocaust education.

1930 – Marilyn Durham, American author whose novel The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing was made into a Burt Reynolds film.

1933 – Michael Frayn, British playwright, novelist, and nonfiction writer.

1938 – Kuppali Puttappa Poornachandra Tejaswi, prominent Indian Kannada writer, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, photographer, publisher, painter, naturalist, and environmentalist who made a great impression in the “Navya” period of Kannada Literature and inaugurated the Bandaaya (“Protest Literature”) movement.

1938 – Martinho da Vila, Brazilian singer and composer who is considered to be one of the main representatives of samba; he is also a novelist, columnist, and journalist, and is a spokesperson for Afro-Brazilian issues as well as for the Brazilian Communist Party.

1940 – Jack Prelutsky, American author of children’s poetry who was named the first U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate.

1940 – Elly de Waard, Dutch poet and rock music critic who had a leading role in the poetic movement known as De Nieuwe Wilden (The New Savages).

1947 – Valery Afanassiev, Russian-born pianist and conductor who defected to Belgium while on a concert tour; he also a writes poetry, novels, and drama.

1947 – Ann Beattie, award-winning American short-story writer, novelist, and professor who has been compared to Chekhov for her “beguiling originality” and mastery of the short-story form.

1947 – Marianne Wiggins, award-winning American author whose work is characterized by “a bold intelligence and an ear for hidden comedy; she was married for a time to novelist Salman Rushdie.

1949 – Justine Mintsa, Gabonese writer and member of the Fang culture; she was the first African woman to publish a novel with the prestigious publisher Gallimard, in Paris.

1952 – Ioanna Karystiani, award-winning Greek screenwriter, novelist, short-story writer and cartoonist; her novel Mikra Anglia (“Little England,” but published in English as “The Jasmine Island“) — in which she describes the romances, lives, and work of a family in the sailor community of the island of Andros in the first half of the twentieth century — was adapted into a film.

1954 – Ruby Bridges, American writer and civil rights activist who has authored several books about her experiences as the six-year-old who made history in 1960 by becoming the first African-American student to desegregate a formerly all-white school in New Orleans.

1954 – Jon Scieszka (rhymes with “Fresca”), bestselling American children’s writer and advocate for children’s literature; his books, which include The True Story of the Three Little Pigs and The Stinky Cheese Man, are filled with wacky humor and unexpected twists.

1954 – Michael Shermer, American science writer, professor, and notable skeptic who founded the Skeptics Society and is editor-in-chief of its magazine Skeptic, which investigates pseudoscientific and supernatural claims.

1955 – Imdadul Haq Milan, award-winning Bangladeshi novelist and newspaper editor.

1955 – Osonye Tess Onwueme (also known as T. Akaeke Onwueme), Nigerian playwright, poet, and professor who rose to prominence writing plays with themes of social justice, culture, and the environment; her work showcases historically silenced views such as those of African women, and advocates for the poor, the environment, and victims of domestic violence.

1955 – Terry Tempest Williams, American nature writer, memoirist, children’s nonfiction author, editor, conservationist, and activist; much of her writing is rooted in the American West.

1962 – Christopher Klim, American novelist known for the novels Jesus Lives in Trenton and The Winners Circle.

1962 – Sergio Witz Rodríguez, award-winning and controversial Mexican poet who sparked outrage with his publication of a brief poem in which he expressed a desire to use the flag of Mexico as lavatory paper; he was charged with “insulting national symbols” and found guilty in federal court, but was let off with a small fine.

1967 – Kimberly Peirce, award-winning American screenwriter and director for television and film.

1970 – Kati Hiekkapelto, award-winning Finnish crime novelist, performance artist, punk singer, and special-education teacher.

1974 – Boris Ryzhy, award-winning Russian poet and geologist who was starting to receive recognition as one of the premier poets of his generation when he died of suicide at age 26.

1978 – Angela Rawlings (known simply as “a rawlings”), award-winning Canadian poet, editor, educator, and interdisciplinary artist.

1980 – Irena Jordanova, Macedonian novelist and short-story writer whose fiction is characterized by bold self-irony, playfulness with meanings and allusions, a predominance of the bizarre, and positive themes of love and affection contrasted with scenes of cruelty and violence.

1983 – Lang Leav, bestselling, award-winning Cambodian author, poet, and Instagram sensation who was born in a Khmer Rouge refugee camp in Thailand, grew up in Australia, and now lives in New Zealand.

1986 – Nuraliah Norasid, award-winning Singaporean novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and researcher whose work explores how speculative fiction can be used to explore “issues such as marginality, isolation, and socio-historical traumas facing the Malay community in Singapore.”

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