September 12 Writer Birthdays

1590 – María de Zayas y Sotomayor, Spanish baroque author who was a pioneer of modern literary feminism.

1829 – Charles Dudley Warner, American essayist and novelist who co-authored the novel The Gilded Age with his friend Mark Twain.

1831 – Álvares de Azevedo, Brazilian Romantic poet, essayist, short-story writer, and playwright who was a major exponent of Ultra-Romanticism and Gothic literature in Brazil; his works juxtapose opposite notions, such as love and death, platonism and sarcasm, and sentimentalism and pessimism, and strongly influenced such writers as Goethe and Byron. All of his works were published posthumously due to his death at age 20 in a horseback-riding accident, and have acquired a cult following, particularly among youths of the goth subculture.

1876 – Auta de Souza, Brazilian poet who wrote Romantic poems with some Symbolistic influence; she has been called “the greatest mystical poet in Brazil.”

1880 – H.L. Mencken, American journalist, author, essayist, satirist, cultural critic, and scholar of American English. known for writing The American Language, a study of vernacular American English and for his satirical reporting on the Scopes Trial, which he dubbed the “Monkey Trial.”

1883 – Raïssa Maritain (née Oumansoff), Russian-born poet and philosopher

1894 – Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Indian Bengali author, poet, and teacher who is considered one of the key figures in modern Bengali literature.

1896 – Elsa Triolet, French writer, poet, screenwriter, and French Resistance fighter.

1897 – Irène Joliot-Curie, Nobel Prize-winning French chemist, physicist, author, politician, and anti-Fascist activist who was the daughter of Marie Curie and Pierre Curie. Jointly with her husband, Frédéric Joliot-Curie, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of artificial radioactivity; they were also the first to calculate accurately the mass of the neutron. She was also appointed Undersecretary of State for Scientific Research by the French government and was a commissioner in France’s atomic energy commission.

1900 – Jeanne Scelles-Millie, Algerian-born architectural engineer, author, editor, and children’s writer who published several collections of North African folk tales and legends.

1902 – Marya Zaturenska, Pulitzer Prize-winning Ukrainian-born American lyric poet, editor, anthologist, editor, and librarian.

1907 – Louis Macneice, Northern Irish poet, playwright, novelist, nonfiction author, and children’s writer who was part of the Auden Group.

1914 – Rais Amrohvi (real name Syed Muhammad Mehdi), Indian/Pakistani Urdu poet, journalist, philosopher, and psychoanalyst; as a poet, he was known for his style of qatanigari (quatrain writing) and promoted the Urdu language.

1917 – Han Suyin (pen name for Rosalie Matilda Kuanghu), Chinese physician, midwife, novelist, nonfiction author, and autobiographer; she wrote about modern China in English and French, set her novels in Asia, published autobiographical memoirs that covered the span of modern China, and gained a reputation as an ardent and articulate supporter of the Chinese Communist Revolution.

1921 – Stanisław Lem, Polish science-fiction writer whose novel Solaris has been adapted to film three times.

1931 – Kristin Hunter, African-American novelist, columnist, and children’s writer whose first novel, God Bless the Child, was her most widely acclaimed; most of her work confronts complex issues of race and gender.

1933 – Ato Turkson (real name Adolphus Acquah Robertson Turkson), Ghanaian composer, musicologist, and writer.

1937 – Henri Lopes, Congolese writer, diplomat, and political figure.

1937 – Ana María Rodas, Guatemalan writer, poet, journalist, and literary critic who is a key figure in Central American literature.

1939 – Issam Mahfouz, prolific Lebanese playwright, poet, journalist, author, professor, translator, and critic.

1943 – Michael Ondaatje, award-winning Sri-Lankan-born Canadian novelist, poet, fiction writer, essayist, editor, and filmmaker who is best known for his novel The English Patient.

1947 – Gabriela “Gaby” Raquel Brimmer, Mexican writer, poet, and activist for persons with disabilities; she was born with cerebral palsy and recounted her experiences in her autobiography, Gaby Brimmer, coauthored by Elena Poniatowska.

1949 – Shawqi Abdul Amir, Iraqi poet, teacher, and former diplomat who founded Kitâb fî Jarîda to make literature freely available across the Arab world, particularly those who can’t afford to buy books.

1949 – Jeremy Cronin, South African writer, author, poet, and politician.

1956 – Natalia Viktorovna Polosmak, Russian archaeologist, anthropologist, and writer who specializes in the study of early Metal Age Eurasian nomads, especially those known as the Pazyryk Culture; she is best known for her discovery and analysis of the “Ice Maiden” mummy, which is the focus of an ethnic political debate between Russian scientists and the indigenous Altay people.

1961 – Malva Flores, award-winning Mexican poet, short-story writer, essayist, and editor.

1969 – James Frey, American author of loosely autobiographical fiction.

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