January 4 Writer Birthdays

1643 – Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician who was one of the great minds of the Scientific Revolution; he developed the principles of modern physics published his most acclaimed work, The Principia : Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which has been called the single most influential book on physics.

1746 – Benjamin Rush, U.S. physician, writer, educator, and humanitarian who founded Dickinson College and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

1785 – Jacob Grimm, German mythologist, who, along with his brother Wilhelm, was one of the authors of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

1812 – Evdokiya Rostopchina, Russian writer, poet, playwright, translator, and countess; much of her poetry was about unrequited love, but during her trip abroad in 1845 she poet wrote an allegorical ballad, “Forced Marriage,” in which she condemned Russia’s relationship with Poland, enraging Nicholas I, who banished her from St. Petersburg, forcing her to live in Moscow until the tsar’s death.

1839 – Casimiro de Abreu, Brazilian poet, novelist, and playwright of the Ultra-Romanticism movement.

1878 – Alfred Edgar Coppard, English poet and short-story writer.

1882 – Violet Van der Elst, British writer, businesswoman, and activist for ending the death penalty; she was best known for her book On the Gallows, about capital punishment; she also published a collection of ghost stories, The Torture Chamber and Other Stories.

1883 – Max Eastman, U.S. writer and poet whose work covered literature, philosophy, and society, and who was known for his radical politics.

1883 – Johanna Westerdijk, Dutch plant pathologist and author who was the first female professor in the Netherlands; she wrote extensively about a broad spectrum of plant diseases and mycology, but her main interest was in pathogenic diseases of trees and physiological diseases of plants and how to control them.

1889 – Yumeno Kyusaku (pen name of Sugiyama Taido), Japanese detective novelist whose pen name means “a person who always dreams”; he was known for his avant-gardism and his surrealistic, wildly imaginative narratives.

1900 – James Bond, U.S. ornithologist and author of Birds of the West Indies, from which volume spy novelist Ian Fleming took inspiration for his main character’s name.

1901 – Cyril Lionel Robert James, influential Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist, and essayist who sometimes wrote under the pen-name J.R. Johnson and is considered a pioneering voice in postcolonial literature.

1915 – Marie-Louise von Franz, German-born Swiss writer and social scientist who was a Jungian psychologist; she was renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts.

1922 – Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente, English author and poet who was responsible for writing much of the early religious liturgy within the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca; she also worked as a translator at Bletchley Park during World War II.

1924 – Gopaldas Saxena (pen name Neeraj), Indian writer who is one of the best-known poets and authors in Hindi literature.

1930 – Zahida Zaidi, award-winning Indian scholar, poet, playwright, literary critic, translator, and professor who wrote more than 30 books in Urdu and English.

1931 – Kim Yang-shik, award-winning Korean poet, writer, essayist, philosopher, translator, art museum director, and Indologist.

1933 – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author of children’s and young adult fiction, best known for her Shiloh trilogy.

1940 – Hossein Elahi Ghomshei, Iranian writer, translator, philosopher, lecturer, and mystic

1940 – Gao Xingjian, Nobel Prize-winning Chinese novelist and playwright.

1943 – Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and biographer, best known for her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

1943 – Jean Kilbourne, U.S. feminist author, speaker, and filmmaker who is internationally recognized for her work on images of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising; she is credited with introducing the idea of educating about media literacy.

1946 – Lisa Appignanesi (born Elzbieta Borensztejn), Polish-born writer, novelist, professor, and campaigner for free expression; she is best known for her award-winning book Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors.

1948 – Natalie Goldberg, U.S. author whose most popular books explore writing as Zen practice; her best known work is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

1952 – Ana Romero Masiá, Spanish writer, educator, historian, and archaeologist who excavated the Iron Age Castro de Borneiro archeological site in Galicia, Spain.

1956 – Sarojini Sahoo, Indian feminist writer, journalist, editor, philosopher, columnist, and essayist who has been listed as one of 25 Exceptional Women of India.

1957 – Soti Triantafyllou, Greek writer, poet, columnist, translator, and journalist.

1958 – Andy Borowitz, U.S. comedian and New York Times bestselling author who won the first National Press Club award for humor; he is best known for his satirical website, the Borowitz Report, which has an audience in the millions. CBS News Sunday Morning has called him “one of the funniest people in America.”

1961 – Simon Tay, Singaporean author, lawyer, law academic, and politician.

1962 – Harlan Coben, U.S. author of mysteries and thrillers set in New York and New Jersey.

1962 – Simon Njami, Swiss-born Cameroonian writer, essayist, novelist, biographer, art critic, art curator, screenwriter, and professor who co-founded Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art, and the Ethnicolor Festival in Paris; he is known for showcasing the work of African contemporary artists on international stages.

1963 – Fernando Contreras Castro, award-winning Costa Rican novelist, poet, educator, and short-story writer who is part of the Generation of Disenchantment literary movement.

1963 – Denny Januar Ali (known as Denny JA ), bestselling Indonesian author, poet, journalist, and social activist; in 2015, Time magazine named him one of thirty most influential people on the Internet.

1964 – Christina Baker Kline, bestselling U.S. novelist best known for her work of historical fiction, Orphan Train.

1969 – Asher Kravitz, Israeli writer, novelist, and university lecturer on physics and mathematics; he is also a wildlife photographer and animal-rights activist; his novels include humorous whodunits, a story about a soldier fighting in an anti-terrorist unit in the Israeli army, and an autobiography of a dog born into the household of a German Jewish family during the pre-Holocaust period.

1970 – Carl Frode Tiller, award-winning Norwegian writer, historian, author, musician, and novelist who write in the Nynorsk (New Norwegian) language.

.1975 – León Krauze (full name León Rodrigo Krauze Turrent), award-winning Mexican journalist, author, sports journalist, sports historian, news anchor, and television host.

1976 – Seth Grahame-Smith, U.S. bestselling author, screenwriter, and film and television producer; he is best known as the author of bestselling novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

1981 – Sarah Crossan, award-winning Irish author of young-adult fiction; in 2018, she was appointed Laureate na nÓg, or Irish Children’s Laureate.

1988 – Nabila Jamshed, Indian writer, translator, public speaker, and children’s author whose debut novel is the fantasy Wish Upon A Time – The Legendary Scimitar.

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