November 21 Writer Birthdays

1631- Catharina Questiers, Dutch writer, poet, and playwright who was among the most successful Dutch poets of the second half of the 17th century; her brother David was also a poet.

1694 – Voltaire, pen name of François-Marie Arouet, prolific French Enlightenment writer, historian, poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, history writer, science writer, pamphleteer, and philosopher; he is remembered most for his satiric novella Candide, his criticism of Christianity, and his advocacy for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. He was also one of the first authors to become renowned and commercially successful internationally.

1740 – Charlotte Baden (full name Sophia Lovisa Charlotte Baden), Danish writer, letter writer, and feminist.

1768 – Friedrich Schleiermacher, German theologian, writer, translator, philosopher, university teacher, and biblical scholar who is considered the Father of Modern Liberal Theology.

1844 – Ada Cambridge (later known as Ada Cross), English-born Australian writer, poet, autobiographer, and novelist.

1863 – Arthur Quiller-Couch, influential British writer, poet, novelist, university teacher, and literary critic who published under the pseudonymn Q; although a prolific novelist, he is remembered mainly for the monumental publication The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900 (later extended to 1918) and for his literary criticism.

1870 – Mary Johnston, U.S. novelist, suffragist, and women’s rights advocate who was one of the nation’s bestselling authors; three silent films were adapted from her novels.

1897 – Mollie Steimer (born Marthe Alperine), Russian writer, anti-war activist, free-speech proponent, trade unionist, and anarchist who also lived in the U.S. and Germany until she finally settled in Mexico.

1902 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize-winning Polish-born Jewish-American U.S. author renowned “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life.”

1903 – Einosuke Itō (伊藤 永之介), Japanese writer and journalist who was part of the Proletarian literature movement.

1907 – Jim Bishop, U.S. journalist, columnist, and author who wrote the bestseller, The Day Kennedy Was Shot.

1908 – Leo Politi, Caldecott Medal-winning Italian-American U.S. children’s author and illustrator whose works often celebrated diversity; many of them were published in both English and Spanish.

1908 – Elizabeth George Speare, two-time Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author of children’s and young adult books; she is probably best known for the novels The Witch of Blackbird Pond and The Bronze Bow.

1910 – Qian Zhongshu, Chinese essayist, novelist, satirist, translator, and scholar.

1924 – Lena Mukhina, Russian writer, diarist, and painter who as a teenager wrote in her diary about her life during the Siege of Leningrad; it was published many years later, after being discovered in a state archive.

1924 – Christopher Tolkien, British and French writer, editor, and translator who was the son of famed author and linguist J.R.R Tolkien; he was best known as the editor of much of his father’s work.

1929 – Marilyn French, controversial U.S. feminist novelist and educator who wrote nonfiction books as well as novels, including The Women’s Room; she once said, “My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminist world.”

1932 – Beryl Bainbridge, award-winning English actress and author of novels and short stories, primarily known for her works of psychological fiction, often macabre tales set among the English working class.

1936 – Alvappillai Veluppillai, Sri Lankan Tamil historian, author, and professor who wrote books and articles on Sri Lankan Tamil literature, history, and politics.

1939 – Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof, Malaysian writer, poet, playwright, short-story writer, and academic who is an expert in traditional Malay and South-East Asian theatre and is one of the leading writers of Malaysian English Literature.

1940 – Richard Marcinko, Retired U.S. Navy SEAL commander who is now known for his military fiction.

1941 – Margriet de Moor, award-winning Dutch novelist, essayist, translator, and pianist.

1947 – Jared Angira, Kenyan writer who has been called his country’s first “truly significant poet.”

1952 – Debjani Chatterjee, award-winning Indian-born British poet, writer, children’s author, editor, and translator who was also an Olympic torchbearer.

1953 – Tina Brown (Christina Hambley Brown), British/U.S. editor, publisher, writer, columnist, and biographer best known as editor of Vanity Fair and author of a biography of Princess Diana. As a child she was expelled from three boarding schools for being “an extremely subversive influence.”

1953 – Lisa Goldstein, National Book Award-winning U.S. fantasy and science-fiction writer of novels and short stories.

1955 – Dora María Téllez, Nicaraguan writer, historian, women’s rights advocate, and politician known for her involvement in the Nicaraguan Revolution.

1957 – Horacio Castellanos Moya, award-winning Salvadoran novelist, short-story writer, and journalist.

1962 – Igor Škamperle, Italian-born Slovenian sociologist, cultural theorist, novelist, essayist, translator, and mountaineer; his field of interest is mostly Renaissance culture and the theory of symbolic forms, with his most important work being Magicna renesansa (The Magical Renaissance), in which he analyzes the magical-mythological current in the European Renaissance and reflects on the reasons for its disappearance with the emergence of Classicism. He has also written on such topics as the political thought of Machiavelli, the cosmologic thought of Giordano Bruno, and various religious manifestations such as shamanism, as well as several books about mountaineering.

1963 – Eduardo Costley White, celebrated Mozambican writer and poet who is one of Mozambique’s leading poets.

1966 – Kabir Bakul, award-winning prolific Bangladeshi writer, journalist, songwriter, and lyricist.

1967 – Freya North, popular British writer whose work is considered a precursor of “chick lit,” centering on strong female characters and their raunchy exploits.

1968 – Ayu Utami, Indonesian writer, novelist, short-story author, and journalist notable for her writing about subjects formerly forbidden to Indonesian women writers, incuding sex and politics.

1973 – Thomas Enger, award-winning Norwegian writer, biographer, and journalist who is also a composer of music.

1974 – Luis Eduardo Matta (full name Luis Eduardo de Albuquerque Sá Matta), Brazilian novelist and essayist who is best known as an author of thrillers.

1977 – Mar Gómez Glez, award-winning Spanish playwright and novelist; her plays have been produced in Spain, India, Germany, and the U.S.

1977 – Sadiqa de Meijer, award-winning Dutch-born Canadian poet, essayist, and short-story writer.


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