September 20 Writer Birthdays

1614 – Martino Martini (called Wèi Kuangguó in China), Italian Jesuit missionary, cartographer, and historian whose work focused on ancient Imperial China.

1674 – Eustachio Manfredi, Italian mathematician, astronomer, and poet.

1803 – Catherine Crowe, English novelist, playwright, essayist, translator, children’s author, and short-story writer who was particularly known for her stories about the supernatural and for her novels that were set in middle-class life, but with complicated, sensational plots regarding the predicaments of Victorian women brought up in seclusion and mistreated by men.

1816 – Fredrik August Dahlgren, Swedish writer, poet, playwright, songwriter, and lyricist.

1831 – Kate Harrington (born Rebecca Harrington Smith, and later known as Rebecca Smith Pollard), American poet, writer, journalist, columnist, children’s book writer, teacher, and pedagogist; she was the anonymous author of Emma Bartlett, or Prejudice and Fanaticism, a fictional reply to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, intended to expose the hypocrisy of Know-Nothingism. She was a pioneer in the field of reading, creating a sequential reading program that was a forerunner of the phonics movement, complete with a separate teacher’s manual and spelling and reading books, along with a graded series of literature readers.

1850 – Adelina Lopes Vieira, Portuguese-born Brazilian writer, poet, short-story writer, playwright, short-story writer, and teacher.

1878 – Upton Sinclair, Pulitzer Prize-winning American muckraking novelist, nonfiction author, politician, and journalist.

1884 – William Maxwell Evarts Perkins (better known as Maxwell Perkins), well-known American book editor whose authors included Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Thomas Wolfe.

1885 – Céline Arnauld (born Carolina Goldstein), Romanian poet, writer, and novelist associated with Dadaism.

1887 – Andrés Chabrillón (anglicised as Andres Chabrillon), Argentine poet, writer, lecturer, and literature professor of French descent; he is considered one of the advanced poets of the creationism movement.

1888 – Elisheva Bikhovski (born Elizaveta Ivanovna Zhirkov), Russian-born Israeli poet, writer, literary critic; she was not culturally Jewish, but Jewish classmates introduced her to their culture and traditions, and she often wrote in Hebrew and Yiddish. She was sometimes known simply by her adopted Biblical Hebrew name, Elishéva.

1890 – Rachel Bluwstein Sela (known only by her first name, Rachel, or as “Rachel the Poetess”), Russian-born Israeli Hebrew-language poet.

1899 – Leo Strauss, German-born Jewish-American political philosopher and professor.

1902 – Stevie Smith (real name Florence Margaret Smith), English poet, novelist, and essayist; the poet Sylvia Plath was a fan of her poetry and sent her a letter that described herself as “a desperate Smith-addict.” All of Smith’s novels were fictionalized versions of her own life; other common subjects in her writing include loneliness, death, myth and legend, absurd vignettes of middle-class British life, war, human cruelty, and religion.

1903 – Natallia Aliaksiejeuna Arsienjeva, Belarusian writer, poet, playwright, translator, linguist, librettist, journalist, newspaper editor, and lyricist of hymns.

1906 – Tomoji Ishizuka, Japanese haiku poet and novelist.

1921 – Grazyna Chrostowska, Polish poet who fought in the Polish underground during World War II; in 1941 she was deported to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she and her sister were killed a few months later.

1922 – Aguinaldo Fonseca, Cape Verdean poet whose work portrayed civic passion and decried social injustices.

1922 – Edie Kerouac-Parker, American memoirist who wrote about being married to author Jack Kerouac and who was the basis for several fictional characters in his books.

1926 – Noémia de Sousa (full name Carolina Noémia Abranches de Sousa Soares, but also known as Vera Micaia), Mozambican poet, writer, and journalist of mixed Portuguese and Bantu descent who wrote in the Portuguese language; she was a key poet of the Moçambicanidade anti-colonial literary movement.

1928 – Donald Hall, American poet, playwright, essayist, broadcaster, professor, and children’s book writer who was U.S. Poet Laureate.

1928 – Carlos Alberto de Lacerda, Mozambique-born poet, artist, professor, and broadcaster who lived and worked in Portugal, the U.K., and the United States.

1929 – Ivan Oleksiyovych Svitlichny, Ukrainian poet, literary critic, translator, editor, and Soviet dissident.

1931 – Paulin Joachim, award-winning Beninese poet, journalist, and editor.

1942- Beatriz Copello, award-winning Argentine-born Australian writer, poet, playwright, short-story writer, and psychologist whose best known work is her book of lesbian poetry, Women, Souls and Shadows.

1943 – Luigi Fontanella, award-winning Italian poet, critic, translator, playwright, editor, and novelist.

1944 – Lance Henson, prolific Cheyenne poet and playwright who has been described as the “foremost Cheyenne poet now writing.” His poems draw upon his Cheyenne heritage, using Cheyenne philosophy, words from the Cheyenne language, nature imagery, and social and political commentary; he writes in a minimalist style with no capitalization, punctuation, rhyme, or meter. Henson is currently based in Italy.

1945 – Gulnazar Keldi, Tajikistani poet, editor, and journalist who wrote the lyrics of “Surudi Milli,” the national anthem of Tajikistan.

1946 – Julian Kornhauser, Polish writer, novelist, poet, translator, university teacher, and literary critic.

1947 – Jude Deveraux, American author of bestselling historical and contemporary romance novels.

1948 – George R.R. Martin, wildly popular American fantasy novelist, Emmy-winning screenwriter, and television producer, best known for his “Song of Ice & Fire” books and the Game of Thrones HBO series based on them.

1949 – Philip Max Neilsen, Australian poet, fiction writer, professor, editor, and children’s author.

1950 – Nadia Cavalera, Italian writer, poet, journalist, literary critic, nonfiction writer, and founder of a literary magazine.

1950 – Drago Štambuk, Croatian physician, poet, essayist, and diplomat.

1951 – A.A. Attanasio, American science-fiction and fantasy author.

1954 – Judith Thompson, award-winning Canadian playwright whose plays confront the horror and violence of modern society.

1960 – Ana Paula de Jesus Faria Santana (known as Ana de Santana or Ana Koluki), Angolan writer, poet, and economist who is part of the Generation of Uncertainties movement of contemporary women writers in Angola; her works blend the heritages of Angola and Africa, political failings and civil strife, and the fragmentation experienced in everyday life.

1962 – Aurora Luque Ortiz, award-winning Spanish poet, writer, translator, teacher, columnist, and professor of Ancient Greek; her work has been said to combine classical tradition with “the most furious modernity.”

1963 – Joseph Victor O’Connor, Irish novelist, short-story writer, and journalist; his sister is singer Sinead O’Connor, and his wife is novelist and screenwriter Anne-Marie Casey.

1966 – Frank Jorge (better known by his stage name Frank Jorge), Brazilian writer, poet, songwriter, and classical guitarist.

1970 – Rachel Rose, Canadian poet, essayist, and short-story writer who is a former Poet Laureate of Vancouver; in 2011, she was commissioned by the Queer Arts Festival in Vancouver to write the libretto for Canada’s first lesbian opera, When The Sun Comes Out.

1974 – Owen Sheers, Fiji-born Welsh poet, author, playwright, and television presenter; he was the first writer-in-residence to be appointed by any national rugby union team.

1977 – Chris Mooney, bestselling American author and journalist who writes about the relationship between science and politics and currently writes for the Washington Post; he is best known for his bestselling book, The Republican War on Science. (Not to be confused with Chris Mooney, the bestselling author of thrillers.)

1993 – Sreyash Sarkar, Indian Bengali poet, writer, painter, and musician whose work “represents an endearing world of ‘some basic formal truths.'”


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