October 12 Writer Birthdays

1580 – Hortensio Félix Paravicino y Arteaga, Spanish writer, poet, playwright, and Catholic monk. He was also an art critic and connoisseur of painting, but argued for the destruction of all paintings of nudes, writing, “The finest paintings are the greatest threat: burn the best of them”; his views on art were considered extreme even for 17th century Spain, and his rant was not published.

1765 – José Eduardo de Cárdenas, Mexican writer, poet, theologist, priest, and politician of New Spain (now Mexico).

1786 – Roxandra Skarlatovna Edling-Sturdza (also called Roxana or Roksandra), Turkish-born writer, memoirist, activist, and philanthropist; after moving to St. Petersburg, Russia, she became the master of ceremonies at the court of Alexander I of Russia and his wife, the Empress Elizabeth Alexeievna and counselor to the empress. She is most remembered for founding schools and orphanages for young refugees during the wars and revolutions in the Balkans.

1795 – Janet Hamilton, Scottish poet, writer, memoirist, and essayist who wrote reminiscences of village and rural Scotland during her youth, writing in both English and Scots.

1810 – Dionísia Gonçalves Pinto (pen name Nísia Floresta Brasileira Augusta), Brazilian educator, translator, writer, and poet who is considered the “first Brazilian feminist”; she was one of the first women to publish her work in newspapers in Brazil, and also wrote a book defending the rights of women, Native Americans, and slaves.

1829 – Michel Maxwell Philip, Trinidadian novelist, lawyer, and civil servant.

1842 – Alice Durand (pen name Henry Gréville), award-winning French writer and novelist who lived for years in St. Petersburg and often wrote about Russian society, even after returning to France.

1850 – Pellegrino Matteucci, Italian explorer known for his expeditions to Africa and the books he wrote about them.

1859 – Diana Abgar, Burmese-born Armenia writer, politician, opinion journalist, and diplomat who served as the Armenian Counsel to Japan; much of her writing focuses on the plight of oppressed people, international relations, and the impact of imperialism on world affairs and global peace.

1860 – Constanța Hodoș, award-winning Austrian-born Romanian novelist, short-story writer, playwright, children’s writer, and opinion journalist who sometimes used the pen name Th. Costan.

1864 – Monroe Alpheus Majors, African-American writer, biographer, journalist, editor, doctor, and civil rights activist who was one of the first black physicians in the American Southwest and established a medical association for black physicians who were not allowed entry into the American Medical Association; one of his most celebrated works is a book of biographies of African-American women, Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities.

1864 – Kamini Roy, Indian poet, social worker, educator, and feminist, in 2019, Google honored Roy with a Doodle on her 155th birthday; the accompanying writeup started with her quote, “Why should a woman be confined to home and denied her rightful place in society?”

1875 – Aleister Crowley, an English occultist who wrote books on the subject; he was also a novelist, poet, painter, and magician.

1879 – Danica Markovic, Serbian writer who is considered the first modern Serbian woman lyric poet and is also important for her feminist writings; her pseudonym was Zvezdanka.

1883 – Mercedes Pinto Armas, Spanish writer, poet, playwright, and journalist; one of her novels was made into a film by Luis Buñuel.

1887 – Abolqasem Lahouti, Persian writer, poet, artist, journalist, and political activist.

1887- Paula Preradovic (known professionally as Paula von Preradovic or by her married name, Paula Molden), Austrian writer and poet who was the granddaughter of the poet, writer. and military general Petar Preradovic. She is best known for writing the lyrics to the national anthem of Austria.

1889 – Pilar Barrios, important Uruguayan poet, author, and journalist who was one of the most notable Black intellectuals in Uruguay and wrote in his poetry about the class-based racism in his society; with his book Piel Negra, he became one of only two Black Uruguayan poets to be published in book form (the other was Virginia Brindis de Salas).

1891 – Edith Stein (religious name Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, also known as St.
Edith Stein or St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross), German nun, writer, theologian, philosopher, university teacher, translator, linguist, nursing assistant, Catholic saint, and resistance fighter who began as a Jewish philosopher but later, along with her sister Rosa, converted to Catholicism and becoming a Discalced Carmelite nun. In 1942 both sisters were arrested by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz.

1894 – Agnes von Krusenstjerna, Swedish writer and artist whose books challenged the moral standards of the day and touched off a literary controversy about freedom of speech.

1896 – Eugenio Montale, Nobel Prize-winning Italian writer, poet, editor, and translator who is considered the greatest Italian lyric poet since Giacomo Leopardi.

1904 – Jiǎng Bīngzhī (pen name Ding Ling, formerly romanized as Ting Ling), award-winning Chinese short-story writer and novelist who is considered a major figure in 20th century Chinese literature.

1904 – Lester Dent, American pulp fiction author, best known as creator of the character Doc Savage.

1908 – Alfredo Pareja Diezcanseco, Ecuadorian novelist, essayist, journalist, historian, and diplomat; he was considered an innovator of the Latin American novel.

1908 – Paul Engle, American poet, editor, teacher, literary critic, novelist, and playwright who is best known as the director of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

1908 – Anne Petry, American author who became the first black woman writer with sales topping a million copies; she is best known for her novel The Street.

1909 – Dorothy Livesay, award-winning Canadian poet, short-story writer, and memoir writer whose “well-crafted poems … not only showed skilled use of the imagist technique but prefigured Margaret Atwood’s condemnations of exploitative and fearful attitudes to the Canadian landscape.”

1910 – Robert Fitzgerald, British poet, educator, journalist, author, and translator whose translations of the Greek classics became the standard texts.

1912 – Alice Childress, American playwright, actor, and author of young-adult literature.

1912 – Rafael “Liling” R. Roces Jr., Filipino journalist, writer, and World War II spy who was captured by the Japanese and beheaded.

1912 – Isaiah Ghele Sakpo, Nigerian writer, Christian clergyman, and evangelist.

1921 – Logie Bruce-Lockhart, British writer, headmaster, Scottish rugby player, and author of books about fishing.

1923 – Armanda Guiducci, Italian writer, literary critic, and Marxist feminist who was a major player in the feminist debates of the 1970s.

1925 – Robin Skelton, British poet, professor, anthologist, professor, and editor who was a practicing Wiccan and often wrote on neopagan religions, but who was best known as an authority on Irish literature.

1928 – Domna Samiou, Greek music researcher, writer, and musician whose expertise was in Greek and Turkish folk music; she traveled from village to village collecting traditional songs and lyrics in order to preserve the countries’ musical heritage, and recorded them to compile an archive of traditional songs.

1929 – Toto Sudarto Bachtiar, Indonesian poet and translator whose poetry has been described as having “a haunting lyric grace”, but is notoriously difficult to understand because he used words in symbolic rather than literal ways, his verses did not correspond to syntactic units, and he seldom used punctuation.

1929 – Ella Holm Bull, award-winning Norwegian author and teacher who was dedicated to promoting the Southern Sami language for many years; she is especially known for helping to create an orthography for Southern Sámi.

1934 – Oğuz Atay, Turkish bestselling novelist, playwright, engineer, and university teacher.

1936 – Frederick Nnabuenyi Ugonna, Nigerian ethnologist, linguist, and writer who is remembered for his studies of the Igbo language and other African languages as well as of African literature.

1938 – Nida Fazli, award-winning Indian Hindi and Urdu poet, screenwriter, author, and lyricist.

1942 – Rosaura Barahona, Mexican writer, journalist, columnist, and educator.

1946 – Marina Lewycka, award-winning British novelist of Ukrainian origin and German birth; she is best known for her debut novel, A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Lewycka was born in a World War II refugee camp in Germany.

1948 – Soji Shimada, award-winning Japanese mystery writer, some of whose works are humorous; he also writes manga and is a columnist.

1951 – Coralie Frei, Comorian nurse and writer currently living in Switzerland; she is the first Comorian woman to write a novel, and has also written poetry.

1956 – Rafael Ábalos, Spanish author of young-adult fantasy.

1959 – Catherine Anne Merridale, British writer, historian, and university teacher with a special interest in Russian history.

1962 – Amanda Castro, award-winning Honduran poet.

1963 – Donna Williams, Australian writer, screenwriter, autobiographer, sculptor, artist, and singer-songwriter. At age two, she was assessed as “psychotic,” but as an adult, she was diagnosed as autistic; she became a consultant about autism and wrote textbooks on the subject.

1981 – NoViolet Bulawayo (pen name of Elizabeth Zandile Tshele), award-winning Zimbabwean novelist and short-story writer; she has been named a “5 Under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation and was cited as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Africans by New African magazine.

1982 – Julie Kagawa, American novelist and young-adult author who writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and magic realism; she is best known for writing the 15-book Iron Fey series, which begins with The Iron King.

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