January 7 Writer Birthdays

1611 – James Harrington, English political author and theorist who wrote The Commonwealth of Oceana, utopian exposition of an ideal constitution.

1774 – Anna Petrovna Bunina, Russian poet who was the first female Russian writer to make a living solely from literary work; she is related to Noble Prize-winning writer Ivan Bunin.

1824 – Julia Kavanagh, popular Irish writer, biographer, novelist, and nonfiction writer; her nonfiction explored women’s moral and political contributions to society.

1840 – Céline Renooz, Belgian feminist writer, lecturer, and activist known for her works on evolution, epistemology, and historiography and her calls to erase patriarchal structures; her philosophy, known as “neosophism,” outlined an alternative, non-male-dominated approach to science, and championed matriarchy as a beneficial social system.

1873 – Charles Péguy, important socialist French poet, essayist, and editor.

1890 – Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, U.S. writer, soldier, and entrepreneur who created DC Comics and pioneered the American comic book.

1891 – Zora Neale Hurston, U.S. author, anthropologist, and filmmaker of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1905 – Yahya Haqqi, Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, editor, literary critic, essayist, lawyer, translator, civil servant, and adviser to the National Library of Egypt.

1908 – Georgette Marie Philippart Travers, French writer and poet who was the wife of Peruvian poet César Vallejo.

1914 – Dorothy Lavinia Brown (also known as “Dr. D.”), U.S. African-American surgeon, legislator, and educator who wrote essays, an autobiography, and inspirational guides; she was the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry in the Southeastern United States and the first African-American woman to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly, where she fought for women’s rights, reproductive choice, and the rights of people of color.

1916 – Paul Keres, Estonian chess grandmaster and renowned chess writer.

1925 – Gerald Malcolm Durrell, influential Indian-born British zoologist and writer whose series of memoirs, beginning with My Family and Other Animals, recounts years of his childhood spent living on a Greek island with his eccentric family; his older brother is renowned novelist Lawrence Durrell; his sister Margaret (Margo) Durrell was also an author. The television series The Durrells in Corfu is based on Gerald’s books.

1928 – William Peter Blatty, U.S. writer most well known for the novel (and screenplay) The Exorcist.

1936 – Edward Hunter Davies, British author, journalist, biographer, and broadcaster who wrote the only authorized biography of the Beatles.

1938 – Aída Bortnik, Academy Award-nominated Argentine screenwriter, playwright, poet, journalist, writer, and lawyer.

1945 – Uma Ukpai, Nigerian writer, Christian leader, and preacher.

1946 – Michael Roizen, U.S. anesthesiologist and internist who is known for his Real Age books and the YOU series.

1948 – Shobhaa Dé, Indian novelist and columnist who depicts socialites and sex in her books; she has been called the “Jackie Collins of India.”

1951 – Minfong Ho, award-winning Burmese-born U.S. Chinese-American writer of novels for adults, teens, and children, and picture books; her fiction deals with the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asian, always set against the backdrop of real events, such as the 1970s student movement in Thailand and the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.

1954 – Abilio Estévez, Cuban novelist, playwright and poet who is now based in Spain.

1956 – Lü Gengsong, Chinese writer, politician, and civil rights activist who was imprisoned because of his book Corrupted Officials in China.

1957 – Nicholson Baker, U.S. author of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and erotica; he has also written about and edited Wikipedia.

1957 – Katie Couric (Katherine Anne Couric), U.S. writer, news presenter, television producer, journalist, voice actor, film producer, children’s writer, podcaster, and bestselling author.

1958 – Rosa Liksom, award-winning Finnish writer, photographer, playwright, translator, painter, cartoonist, and children’s writer.

1959 – Helena Corbellini (full name Gloria Helena Corbellini Troche), Uruguayan writer, poet, novelist, textbook author, cultural journalist, and professor.

1967 – Benjamin Kwakye, award-winning Ghanaian novelist and poet whose trilogy about an African immigrant’s experiences in the U.S. (The Other Crucifix, The Three Books of Shama and The Count’s False Banquet) takes the form of an impressive epic poem that spans more than 400 pages; it has been described by Kirkus Review as containing “cutting insights into human nature.”

1968 – Meltem Arikan, Turkish novelist, essayist, playwright, and short-story writer who has written women’s stories about abuse, incest, and sexual harassment; she was forced to leave Turkey because government officials there considered her work to be subversive.

1969 – Claudia Amengual, award-winning Uruguayan novelist, essayist, teacher, and translator.

1972 – Troy Parfitt, Canadian author, educator, and world traveler who focuses on critical travel commentary and cultural exposes; he is best known for his two books about China, Notes From The Other China and Why China Will Never Rule the World.

1977 – Sofi Oksanen, award-winning bestselling Finnish contemporary novelist and playwright.

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