October 21 Writer Birthdays

1772 – Samuel Taylor Coleridge, English poet, philosopher, and literary critic, best known for his works The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and Kubla Khan; he was one of the Lake Poets and is considered a founder (along with his friend, poet William Wordsworth) of the Romantic movement in English poetry.

1790 – Alphonse Marie Louis de Prat Lamartine, French poet, statesman, and man of letters whose poetry strongly influenced the French Romantic movement.

1845 – William McKendree Carleton, U.S. poet who wrote about rural life.

1846 – Edmondo De Amicis, Italian novelist, journalist, poet, children’s author, and short-story writer.

1850 – Salomé Ureña de Henríquez (better known as Salomé Ureña), revered Dominican Republic poet and educator who was a proponent of higher education for Dominican women; she opened one of the first centers of higher education for young women in the Dominican Republic, which she named “Instituto de Señoritas.”

1894 – Edogawa Ranpo, pen name of Japanese author and critic Tarō Hirai, who helped developed Japanese mystery fiction.

1904 – Patrick Kavanagh, Irish poet and novelist who is considered one of the foremost poets of the 20th century.

1914 – Martin Gardner, U.S. popular math and science writer and puzzle creator; he wrote a math games column in Scientific American for many years.

1921 – Ingrid van Houten-Groeneveld, Dutch astronomer who, together with Tom Gehrels and her husband Cornelis Johannes van Houten, was the discoverer of thousands of asteroids; she published extensively in her field.

1929 – Ursula K. LeGuin, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy author, multiple winner of both the Hugo and the Nebula awards, and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; she has also written realistic fiction, essays, and children’s books, and was designated a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

1936 – Simon James Holliday Gray, English playwright, memoirist, and university lecturer.

1940 – Frances FitzGerald, U.S. journalist and author, best known for her account of the Vietnam War.

1942 – Ingibjörg Haraldsdóttir, Icelandic writer, poet, translator, and linguist.

1943 – Ann Cameron, popular U.S.-born author of children’s and young-adult books who works with Lake Atitlan Libraries, a foundation that aims to improve literacy by supporting libraries in Latin America; she now lives most of the year in Panajachel, Guatemala, the small town she calls San Pablo in her short novel The Most Beautiful Place in the World.

1944 – Ene Mihkelson, award-winning Estonian writer, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and poet; she also worked as a teacher and then as a researcher for the Estonian Literary Museum. Her poetry lacks meter, rhythm, and rhyme, but contains surprising inversions and is known for its intensity, allegorical content, and metaphysical topics.

1946 – Dominique Moïsi, French political scientist, writer, essayist, and professor.

1947 – Sabine Deitmer, German crime writer known for her character Beate Stein.

1947 – Darinka Jevric, Serbian poet, journalist, and critic; her most famous poem is “Dečanska Zvona” (“The Deçani Bells”).

1947 – Maria Johanna Meijsing, award-winning Dutch novelist, writer, and journalist; she was the older sister of both writer Geerten Meijsing and philosopher Monica Meijsing.

1947 – Ai Ogawa, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet whose original name was Florence Anthony.

1947 – Mary Elizabeth Pipher (also known as Mary Bray Pipher), U.S. psychologist and author of bestselling nonfiction books.

1948 – Daniel Picouly, award-winning French novelist, children’s author, comics writer, television presenter, and professor.

1948 – Ellen Wittlinger, U.S. children’s librarian and author of young-adult fiction, poetry, and plays.

1949 – Paul Wilson, Australian author, columnist, and meditation teacher who has written two novels and 19 self-help and spiritually-oriented books, including, among others, The Calm Technique, Instant Calm, The Little Book of Calm, Calm at Work, and Calm, No Matter What; the Times (U.K.) has nicknamed him The Guru of Calm.

1952 – Mehdi Charef, award-winning Algerian-born French screenwriter, playwright, writer, and film director.

1952 – Patti Davis, U.S. actress, novelist, and autobiographer who is the daughter of former United States President Ronald Reagan.

1953 – Sergio De Santis, Italian author and journalist known for his short stories.

1954 – Jose “Joey” Javier Reyes, award-winning Filipino writer, screenwriter, film director, and professor.

1956 – Casparus Johan Bakkes (sometimes known as “C. Johan”), noted South African writer, essayist, travel writer, and professor.

1956 – Carrie Fisher, U.S. actress, bestselling novelist, and screenwriter who was best known for her role as Princess Leia in the “Star Wars” film series; Fisher was the daughter of iconic actress, singer, and dancer Debbie Reynolds and singing star Eddie Fisher.

1956 – Gustavo Daniel Perednik, Argentinian-born Israeli author, educator, and philosopher; an expert on Antisemitism, or Judeophobia, he has been a guest lecturer at in more than 50 countries, and has published 15 books and more than 1,000 articles on Judaism and modernity.

1957 – Julian David Cope, English poet, author, musician, antiquarian, musicologist, and cultural commentator who originally came to prominence as singer and songwriter in the Liverpool post-punk band the Teardrop Explodes; he is also an author on both musicology and Neolithic culture, an autobiographer, and a political and cultural activist with an interest in occultism and paganism.

1958 – Gaétan Soucy, award-winning Canadian writer, playwright, author, philosopher, novelist, and professor.

1959 – Mauro Martini Raccasi, Italian novelist, screenwriter, and journalist who has written historical fiction, children’s books, biographies, action-adventure fiction, and educator.

1964 – Mário Lúcio, Cape Verdean writer, poet, composer, singer, musician, and painter who was Cape Verde’s Minister of Culture.

1975 – Saharil Hasrin Sanin, Malaysian writer, visual artist, industrial engineer, and blogger.

1978 – Ruth Lillegraven, award-winning Norwegian poet, novelist, and children’s writer.

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