October 20 Writer Birthdays

1733 – Sugita Genpaku, Japanese writer, scholar, and translator best known for his translations of anatomy books.

1740 – Isabelle de Charrière (née Isabella Agneta Elisabeth van Tuyll van Serooskerken), Dutch French-language writer, composer, poet, playwright, translator, philosopher, novelist, essayist, and feminist.

1781 – Jovan Atanasijev Došenovic, Serbian philosopher, poet, and translator who is considered one of the first Serbian literary aestheticians.

1822 – Thomas Hughes, English author, lawyer, judge, and Member of Parliament who wrote Tom Brown’s School Days, a semi-autobiographical work set at Rugby School, which Hughes had attended.

1836 – Daniel Owen, Welsh novelist, translator, and tailor who is generally regarded as the foremost Welsh-language novelist of the 19th century and the first significant novelist to write in Welsh; he sometimes used the pseudonym Glaslwyn.

1854 – Arthur Rimbaud, French poet who wrote most of his poetry while in his late teens. He is remembered for his surreal themes and his influence on modern literature and art; his work is considered a forerunner to Surrealism.

1855 – Govardhanram Tripathi, Indian Gujarati-language novelist, writer, lawyer, poet, biographer, literary critic, and literary historian; his four-volume novel, Saraswatichandra, is acclaimed as one of the masterpiece of Gujarati literature.

1867 – Millicent Sutherland-Leveson-Gower (the Duchess of Sutherland, née Lady Millicent Fanny St. Clair-Erskine), British author, editor, journalist, playwright, society hostess, and social reformer who often used the pen name Erskine Gower. By her later marriages she was known as Lady Millicent Fitzgerald and Lady Millicent Hawes.

1873 – Nellie Letitia McClung (born Letitia Ellen Mooney), Canadian author, politician, feminist, suffragist, and social activist.

1883 – Harukichi Shimoi, Japanese poet, writer, and teacher.

1885 – Davidson Don Tengo Jabavu, South African writer, politician, university teacher, linguist, and activist; he was one of the founders of the All African Convention (AAC), which sought to unite all non-European opposition to the segregationist South African government.

1891 – Samuel Flagg Bemis, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and biographer.

1893 – Jomo Kenyatta, Kenyan author, anti-colonial activist, and politician who was Prime Minister and then President of Kenya.

1895 – Sten Bergman, Swedish zoologist, writer, memoirist, explorer, ornithologist, and museum director.

1902 – Felisberto Hernandez, influential Uruguayan writer, short-story writer, and pianist who earned a living playing solo piano in silent-movie theaters to accompany the films; as a short-story writer, Hernández is considered to be the forefather of magic realism.

1905 – Frederic Dannay, pen name of U.S. writer Daniel Nathan, who with his cousin Manford Lepofsky (pen name Manfred Bennington Lee) wrote as the fictional detective Ellery Queen.

1906 – Daniil Andreyev, Russian writer, poet, mystic, philosopher, and literary scholar.

1906 – Ango Sakaguchi (real name Heigo Sakaguchi), Japanese novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and critic.

1906 – Winifred Eileen Watson, English writer who is best known for her novel, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, which was adapted into a film of the same name.

1912 – Vũ Trọng Phụng, Vietnamese writer and journalist who is considered to be one of the most influential literary figures of the 20th century; his work has been called, “the single most remarkable individual achievement in modern Vietnamese literature.”

1914 – Carlos Augusto León, award-winning Venezuelan poet, essayist, historian, politician. and scientist; as he grew older he became outspoken in politics, particularly in defense of the common people and disadvantaged social groups.

1920 – Janet Jagan, Guyanan writer, children’s writer, politician, and nurse who was President and Prime Minister of Guyana.

1920 – Jože Javoršek, Slovenian playwright, writer, poet, translator, and essayist who is regarded as one of the greatest masters of style and language among Slovene authors.

1921 – Kati Rekai, Hungarian-Canadian writer and broadcaster who is author of a series of travel books for children.

1923 – Otfried Preußler, Czech-born German screenwriter, writer, military personnel, translator, pedagogue, and children’s books author.

1925 – Art Buchwald, U.S. humorist best known for his long-running column in the Washington Post.

1932 – Michael McClure, U.S. poet, playwright, songwriter, and novelist who was one of the five poets (including Allen Ginsberg) who read at the famous San Francisco Six Gallery reading in 1955; he became a key member of the Beat Generation and is immortalized as “Pat McLear” in Jack Kerouac’s book Big Sur.

1940 – Robert Pinsky, U.S. poet, essayist, translator, and literary critic who was the United States Poet Laureate.

1946 – Lewis Grizzard, U.S. writer and humorist, known for his southern demeanor.

1946 – Elfriede Jelinek, Nobel Prize-winning Austrian playwright and novelist praised for her “musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that, with extraordinary linguistic zeal, reveal the absurdity of society’s cliches and their subjugating power.”

1950 – Nikki Grimes, prolific, award-winning U.S. author, poet, journalist, photographer, radio broadcaster, and textile artist who is best known for her books for children and young adults.

1955 – David Profumo, English novelist, editor, columnist, nonfiction writer, memoirist, short-story writer, and educator.

1957 – Gennifer Choldenko, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. children’s author who is best known for her historical fiction novel Al Capone Does My Shirts.

1958 – Lynn Flewelling, U.S. fantasy fiction author who has also been a teacher, house painter, necropsy technician, journalist, and editor; her fiction promotes feminism and LGBT rights.

1961 – Kate Mosse, English novelist, nonfiction writer, short-story author, and broadcaster. She is best known for her Languedoc Trilogy, starting with Labyrinth, which was made into a television miniseries.

1963 – Dorothea Rosa Herliany, Indonesian poet, essayist, art critic, and short-story writer.

1974 – Claudio Bergamin, Chilean and Italian graphic novelist and fantasy artist who is best known for creating rock-and-roll album covers as well as cover art for paranormal novels.

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