December 2 Writer Birthdays

1728 – Ferdinando Galiani, influential Italian economist and writer who was a leading figure of the Enlightenment.

1820 – Elizaveta Niklaevna Akhmatova (pen name Leila), Russian writer, publisher, and translator who is remembered most today for her translations of English and French writers into Russian.

1868 – Francis Jammes, French poet whose poems are known for their lyricism and for singing the pleasures of a humble country life; his later work also introduced a strong religious element, after the poet’s conversion to Roman Catholicism.

1885 – Níkos Kazantazakís, Greek novelist, playwright, essayist, travel writer, and translator who was nominated nine times for the Nobel Prize for Literature; his best known books are Zorba the Greek (also published as The Life and Times of Alexis Zorbas) and The Last Temptation of Christ.

1886 – Annie Francé-Harrar, prolific Austrian writer, utopian novelist, poet, and scientist who addressed the issue of soil fertility and erosion in both her fiction and her scientific works. Albert Einstein was an admirer of her work.

1897 – Rewi Alley, New Zealand-born writer, educator, translator, and activist who spent many years in China and dedicated much of his career supporting the Communist Revolution and its social reforms.

1900 – Nina Gagen-Torn, Russian writer, poet, historian, ethnologist, and anthropologist who served two terms in labor camps during the Stalinist era; most of her work was in Russian and Bulgarian folklore, the ethnography of the peoples of the Soviet Union, and the history of the Russian ethnography. She also wrote and published poems and short stories.

1900 – Shigeko Yuki, Japanese novelist and children’s writer; she also studied music composition and piano.

1901 – Ida Friederike Görres (born Elisabeth Friederike, Reichsgräfin Coudenhove-Kalergi), Austrian writer, biographer, and essayist who was the daughter of an Austrian count and his Japanese wife.

1905 – Åse Gruda Skard, Norwegian author, university professor, and child psychologist; she was a noted pioneer in the field of childhood development and psychology.

1908 – Helena Bechlerowa, Polish author, poet, children’s writer, and translator.

1909 – Helen Adam, Scottish poet, collage artist, and photographer who is often associated with the Beat poets, though she would more accurately be considered one of the predecessors of the Beat Generation.

1909 – Joseph P. Lash, U.S. political activist, Eleanor Roosevelt biographer, and author who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

1910 – Russell Lynes, U.S. art historian, critic, and author who was also managing editor of Harper’s Magazine.

1911 – Ieronim Șerbu, Romanian writer, short-story author, and literary critic; his early prose was analytical, but after 1945, and his country’s turn toward socialist realism, he adopted social and ethical themes.

1914 – Adolph Green, U.S. lyricist and playwright who, with long-time collaborator Betty Comden, penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved Hollywood and Broadway musicals, including On the Town, Singing in the Rain, and Peter Pan.

1926 – Pak Kyongni, prominent, award-winning South Korean novelist. She is best known for her 16-volume story Toji (토지, or The Land), an epic saga set amidst the turbulent history of Korea during 19th and 20th century; it was later adapted into a movie, a television series, and an opera.

1927 – Goh Sin Tub, prolific and well-known Singaporean novelist, children’s author, and short-story writer who was a pioneer of Singaporean literature.

1929 – Leon Litwack, Pulitzer Prize winning U.S. author and historian whose work focused on U.S. history, especially slavery and the Reconstruction era, and their aftermath into the 20th century.

1931 – Rama Kant, Indian Hindi-language fiction writer best known for his works about the struggles of the lower and middle-classes.

1935 – David Hackett Fisher, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, biographer, and professor whose work ranges from macroeconomic and cultural trends to narrative histories of significant events, and also includes exploration into the study of history itself.

1936 – Hebe Uhart, Argentine writer, journalist, novelist, playwright, travel writer, and short-story writer; she was also a teacher.

1936 – Aagot Vinterbo-Hohr, Norwegian Sami physician, novelist, essayist, and poet.

1937 – Brian Lumley, English author of horror fiction who first became known for writing in H.P. Lovecraft’s shared universe centered on the Cthulhu Mythos; he is a winner of the Bram Stoker Award for lifetime achievement in horror writing.

1939 – Jaleh Amouzgar, award-winning Azerbajaini writer, historian, Iranologist, translator, linguist, and professor who has contributed significantly to Ancient Iranian studies and to the history of literature in ancient Iran; she also took part in the Encyclopædia Iranica project at Columbia University.

1939 – Yaël Dayan, Israeli political activist, novelist, newspaper columnist, and journalist who was elected to the Knesset, Israel’s legislative body.

1941 – Ahn Junghyo, award-winning South Korean novelist, linguist, and literary translator.

1942 – Anna Guðrún Jónasdóttir, Icelandic writer, editor, professor, political scientist, and gender studies academic; the New York Times Book Review described her book Why Women Are Oppressed as a “thorough attempt to revitalize one of the most provocative early themes of America’s women’s liberation movement.”

1943 – Michiel Heyns, award-winning South African author, translator, novelist, critic, and professor.

1944 – Ibrahim Rugova, Yugoslavian-born writer, poet, literary critic, literary theorist, journalist, and scholar who was elected the first President of the Republic of Kosovo.

1944 – Botho Strauss, award-winning Germany playwright, novelist, and essayist.

1946 – Ibrahim Abdel Meguid, renowned Egyptian novelist and writer whose best-known books include Birds of Amber, No One Sleeps in Alexandria, and The Other Place.

1946 – David Macaulay, bestselling Caldecott Medal-winning British-born U.S. author and illustrator of picture books for children and adults; his books, including Cathedral and The Way Things Work, combine text and highly detailed illustrations that explain architecture, design and engineering.

1947 – Charles Lovemore Mungoshi, versatile, award-winning Zimbabwean novelist, editor, poet, children’s author, translator, and short-story writer who wrote in both English and Shona.

1948 – Elizabeth Berg, bestselling U.S. novelist, playwright, registered nurse, and rock-band singer whose books have won many awards.

1948 – T.C. Boyle (Thomas Coraghessan Boyle), prolific U.S. novelist and short-story writer who has been awarded the PEN/Faulkner prize for fiction.

1950 – Benedict Fitzgerald, controversial U.S. screenwriter who co-wrote the screenplay for the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ.

1950 – Olvido García Valdés, Spanish poet, essayist, translator, art critic, and professor; she is married to the poet Miguel Casado.

1954 – Angela Webber, Australian author, screenwriter, television producer, and comedian; she was especially known for her portrayal of her comedic alter-ego, the anarchic punk pensioner “Lillian Pascoe,” who had a fondness for heavy metal music and who regularly proclaimed her slogan “Rage ’til ya puke!”

1957 – Carl Jóhan Jensen, award-winning Faroese writer, poet, and literary critic.

1958 – George Saunders, U.S. writer of essays, short stories, and children’s books.

1961 – Doron Rabinovici, Israeli and Austrian novelist, historian, short-story writer, and essayist who is known as an intellectual voice against racism and anti-Semitism; in his book Credo und Credit, a collection of essays and articles about literature and politics, he combines serious and ironic texts to speak about his identity as a Jew who was born in Israel, lives in Vienna, and writes in German.

1963 – Ann Patchett, U.S. novelist who won the Orange Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award.

1971 – Frank Cho, South Korean-born screenwriter, comic-book writer and illustrator, and comic-strip artist.

1971 – Jüri Reinvere, Estonian essayist, poet, and composer who often sets his own poems to music; much of his work combines Modernism with Romanticism.

1971 – Roman Senchin, award-winning Russian novelist, editor, and literary critic.

1974 – Xavier Domènech i Sampere, Spanish historian, writer, politician, and social activist.

1971 – Linn Tormodsdatter Grøndahl Sunne, award-winning Norwegian novelist, children’s writer, and politician.

1981 – Shredy Jabarin, Arab-Israeli screenwriter, actor, director, and producer.

1983 – Tara June Winch, award-winning indigenous Australian novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer; one reviewer wrote, “Winch can pack a punch and break your heart within a few pages.”

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