October 23 Writer Birthdays

1543 – Juan de la Cueva de Garoza, influential Spanish writer, dramatist, and poet whose plays drew on a mixture of classical, historical, and fictional themes; maximized theatrical effects by playing up sensationalistic scenes of violence and supernatural events; and introduced new metrical forms to indicate mood and tone.

1752 – Maria Anna Adamberger, Austrian writer, poet, child actress, and stage actress.

1774 – René de Chazet (full name René André Polydore Balthazar Alissan de Chazet), prolific award-winning French playwright, poet, and novelist.

1786 – Barron Field, English-born Australian writer, poet, theater critic, Elizabethan scholar, and judge; though his poetry (unlike his prose) had little literary merit, he does have the distinction of having written the first volume of verse published in Australia, and he also founded the first savings bank there.

1840 – Mary Mathews Adams (also known as Mary Mathews Smith and Mary Mathews Barnes), Irish-born U.S. writer, poet, author, songwriter, Shakespearean scholar, teacher, and philanthropist.

1844 – Robert Bridges, British Poet Laureate and physician whose daughter was the poet Elizabeth Daryush.

1853 – João Capistrano de Abreu, Brazilian historian and author whose works are characterized by a rigorous investigation of the sources and a critical view of the historical process; his book Capítulos de História Colonial (“Chapters of Colonial History”) is still considered a key reference on Brazilian history.

1859 – Jadunath Majumdar, award-winning Indian journalist, writer, and editor who also served in the first Legislative Assembly and the Bengal Legislative Council.

1867 – Hanna Frosterus-Segerstråle, Finnish artist, writer, and children’s book author; she is best known for her art, especially portraits and paintings of intimate family life, but her children’s books — published under the pseudonyms “H.F.” and “-anna” — were also well received.

1871 – Gjergj Fishta, Albanian poet, writer, magazine editor, educator, politician, translator, and Franciscan friar who is considered the national poet of Albania and one of the most influential Albanian writers of the 20th century; he is best remembered for his epic masterpiece Lahuta e Malcís and for chairing the commission of the Congress of Monastir, which standardized the Albanian alphabet.

1874 – Fanny Maria Alving, Swedish poet, foreign correspondent, novelist, crime novelist, and short-story writer who used the pseudonyms Fanny Norrman, Ulrik Uhland, and Maja X.

1881 – Georgios Kandilaptis, Greek scholar, journalist, author, and teacher who wrote on history, folklore, literature, and sociology, especially concerning the Turkish region of Pontus.

1886 – Shukhalata Rao, Indian Bengali children’s book author, teacher, and social worker; she also founded the Shishu-o-Matri Mangal Kendro (Centre for the Welfare of Children and Mothers).

1897 – Marjorie Flack, U.S. children’s author and illustrator who is best known for her book The Story About Ping (some sources give her birthday as Oct. 22).

1900 – Delia Weber, Afro-Dominican teacher, artist, poet, and film actress who was also an activist for feminism and women’s suffrage; she used her writing and painting to depict the world in which she lived and the restrictions she faced.

1901 – Kristmann Guðmundsson, Icelandic novelist and journalist who is notable for his works of romantic fiction.

1904 – Eurialo De Michelis, Italian author, poet, and literary critic.

1904 – Harvey Penick, U.S. golfer and author of a bestselling guide to golf, The Little Red Book.

1905 – Norah Lange, award-winning Argentine novelist and influential ultramodernist poet who was associated with the Buenos Aires avant garde of the 1920s and 1930s and was a member of the Florida Group, which also included such figures as Oliverio Girondo (whom she married in 1943) and Jorge Luis Borges (who dedicated an article to her in his first book of prose, Inquisiciones).

1907 – Karl Kielblock, award-winning South African writer and teacher; his novels include suspense fiction, detective stories, and young-adult fiction.

1907 – Sofka Skipwith (born Sophia Dolgorouky) Russian writer, memoirist, translator, secretary, war hero, and personal assistant to actor Laurence Olivier; she was also a Russian princess, the daughter of Prince Peter Dolgorouky and Countess Sophy Bobrinsky, and was forced to flee the country after the Revolution. During World War II, she was captured in France by the Nazis and sent to an internment camp, where she helped dozens of Jews escape. She was honored for her efforts by both the British government and by Israel, where she has been named one of the Righteous Among Nations.

1913 – Ali Al-Wardi, Iraqi author, historian, sociologist, anthropologist, and educator.

1920 – Gianni Rodari, award-winning Italian screenwriter, writer, poet, pedagogue, journalist, children’s writer, and science-fiction writer; he is best known for his children’s books.

1922 – Altaír Tejeda de Tamez, Mexican poet, playwright, novelist, journalist, columnist, essayist, short-story writer, and professor.

1929 – Jere Hoar, U.S. short-story writer, screenwriter, journalist, professor, and author of scholarly articles.

1932 – Vasily Ivanovich Belov, prolific Soviet Russian poet, playwright, writer, and bestselling novelist; he was a harsh critic of Soviet rural policies (particularly collectivization), which he felt were aimed at repressing the Russian national identity, and he took a tough stance on ecological issues and on restoration of the old Russian historic sites and churches.

1933 – Junichi Watanabe, bestselling Japanese author known for his portrayals of the extramarital affairs of middle aged people.

1937 – Maureen Patricia Lines (locally known as Bibi Dow of Kalash), British author, travel writer, photographer, social worker, and environmentalist who was known for her work on the Kalasha culture of Pakistan.

1938 – Edi Sedyawati, Indonesian archeologist, historian, author, and professor; she also served as Indonesia’s Director General of Culture in the Ministry of Education and Culture.

1940 – Khin Maung Win, Burmese writer and retired math professor at the Yangon University; he is known for writing on a wide range of topics, including many mathematical books.

1942 – Michael Crichton, U.S. author of bestselling science-fiction thrillers; also a television producer, scientist, and professor, he was best known as the author of Jurassic Park and the Emmy-winning creator of the television drama ER.

1943 – Marga Tjoa, popular, prolific Indonesian author of romance and children’s literature; she is better known by the pen name Marga T.

1945 – Vera Ilyinichna Matveyeva, Russian poet and singer-songwriter.

1946 – Alicia Borinsky, award-winning Argentine writer, poet, novelist, professor, and literary critic whose critical work has helped frame the discussion about the writers of the Latin American Boom (or Boom latinoamericano), an important movement in Latin American literature. Among her other scholarly achievements are the introduction of the works of Macedonio Fernández—Borges’s master—to a wider reading public and her exploration of the intersection between literary theory, culture, and gender studies. One critic said of her work: “Alicia Borinsky is unique, with an Argentine ear perfectly attuned to tangos and boleros… Her All Night Movie renews and transforms the genre of the picaresque novel.”

1950 – Bruce Brooks, U.S. writer of young adult and children’s literature.

1952 – Antjie Krog, South African poet, academic, and writer.

1954 – Ang Lee, popular, award-winning Taiwanese screenwriter, writer, and film director who has made many critically and popularly acclaimed films that are known for their emotional charge and exploration of hidden emotions, including martial arts drama Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; romantic drama Brokeback Mountain; and magic realist survival drama Life of Pi.

1955 – Setsuko Shinoda, award-winning Japanese writer, novelist, and science-fiction writer; some of her works have been adapted for television.

1959 – Ning Ying, Chinese screenwriter and film director who is often considered a member of China’s “Sixth Generation” filmmaker coterie; her sister, the screenwriter Ning Dai, is a frequent collaborator.

1961 – Laurie Halse Anderson, bestselling U.S. author of children’s and young-adult novels; two-time finalist for the National Book Award.

1962 – Matt Novak, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books; he has also worked as a Disney animator and a filmmaker.

1963 – Okwui Enwezor, Nigerian curator, art critic, writer, poet, and educator who specialized in art history.

1963 – Gordon Korman, Canadian author of children and young-adult fiction who sold his first book manuscript to Scholastic when he was a freshman in high school.

1965 – Augusten Burroughs (born Christopher Richter Robison) bestselling U.S. writer of memoirs, essays, columns, and a novel.

1969 – Trudi Canavan, bestselling Australian fantasy author, graphic designer, and artist.

1973 – Matthew Quick, U.S. teacher and author of bestselling young-adult novels; he is best known for his novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film.

1974 – Aravind Adiga, Man Booker Prize-winning Indian author, essayist, and journalist.

1974 – Derek Landy, Irish fantasy author, children’s writer, and screenwriter.

1975 – Karuho Shiina, award-winning Japanese manga writer and artist; some of her works have been adapted for television and film.

1977 – Olatunde Osunsanmi, Nigerian-born screenwriter, television director, film director, and film producer.

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