January 8 Writer Birthdays

1037 – Su Tung Po (also called Su Shi), Chinese poet, essayist, calligrapher, gastronome, painter, pharmacologist, and politician.

1589 – Ivan (Dživo) Franov Gundulić (nickname Mačica), the most celebrated Croatian Baroque poet from the Republic of Ragusa (now southern Croatia).

1601 – Baltasar Gracián y Morales, Spanish Baroque Jesuit writer, philosopher, and scholar who is the most representative writer of the Spanish baroque literary style known as Conceptismo (Conceptism), characterized by the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit to illustrate ideas; his proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

1618 – Marie-Jacqueline Bouette de Blémur (also known as Mère Saint-Benoît), French Benedictine nun, historian, and mystical writer.

1796 – Eliza Constantia Campbell, Welsh author and short-story writer; she published Stories from the History of Wales under the pseudonym A Lady of the Principality. The classical scholar Lewis Campbell was her son.

1824 – Francisco González Bocanegra, Mexican poet who wrote the lyrics for the Mexican National Anthem.

1824 – Wilkie Collins, Victorian-era English novelist and lifelong friend of Charles Dickens.

1854 – Yan Fu, Chinese writer, translator, sociologist, and scholar who was most famous for introducing western ideas, including Darwin’s “natural selection,” to China in the late 19th century.

1859 – Fanny Bullock Workman, U.S. travel writer, explorer, cartographer, geographer, and author who was one of the first female professional mountaineers and set several women’s altitude records; she not only explored, but also wrote about her adventures and championed women’s rights, including suffrage.

1867 – Emily Greene Balch, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. writer, economist, pedagogue, university teacher, journalist, sociologist, trade unionist, and peace activist who combined an academic career at Wellesley College with an interest in social issues such as poverty, child labor, and immigration and was a central leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, based in Switzerland.

1880 – Guðrún Lárusdóttir, Icelandic writer, novelist, young-adult author, short-story writer, translator, and politician who was the second woman to be elected to the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, where she served two terms.

1881 – Linnie Marsh Wolfe, U.S. librarian and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for her biography of John Muir.

1886 – Hrand Nazariantz, Turkish-born Ottoman Armenian journalist, poet, and writer who lived most of his life in Italy.

1891 – Margaret Ethel Storm Jameson, English journalist, author, science-fiction novelist, theater reviewer, autobiographer, biographer, and women’s suffragist.

1897 – Dennis Wheatley, English author of thrillers and occult fiction, whose Gregory Sallust series was an inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

1908 – Eufrosinia Antonovna Kersnovskaya, Russian writer and illustrator who spent 12 years in Gulag camps and wrote her memoirs there, illustrating them with 680 of her drawings of life in the Gulag.

1909 – Ashapoorna Devi (also known as Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi), prominent Bengali Indian novelist and poet.

1912 – Amador Daguio, award-winning Filipina poet and writer.

1917 – Peter Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of literary fiction set in the southern United States.

1927 – Alfred Charles Tomlinson, award-winning British poet, translator, artist, and educator whose poetry is known for its attention to both visual and aural perception, its painterly effects, and its cosmopolitan style and subject matter.

1928 – Gaston Miron, important, award-winning French-Canadian poet, writer, and editor who was a key figure in the Quebec separatist movement; his masterpiece, L’homme rapaillé (partly translated as The March to Love: Selected Poems of Gaston Miron) is one of the most widely read texts of the Quebecois literary canon.

1931 – Suzanne Massie (née Rohrbach), U.S. writer, memoirist, and scholar of Russian history who played an important role in the relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War.

1933 – Ko Un, prolific South Korean poet, writer, and activist who became a Buddhist monk after witnessing the devastation of the Korean War and was detained, tortured, and imprisoned repeatedly for his opposition to the military regime.

1934 – Alexandra Ripley, U.S. writer best known as the author of Scarlett, a sequel to Gone With The Wind.

1938 – Simone Schwarz-Bart (born Simone Brumant), award-winning French novelist, historical novelist, playwright, and encyclopedia writerof Guadeloupean origin.; her book Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle is considered one of the masterpieces of Caribbean literature. She is deeply committed to political issues, and the issues women of color; she has explored the languages and locations of her ancestry in her works, and examines male domination over women in the Caribbean, as well as themes of alienation in exile.

1941 – Dai Qing, Chinese writer, book author, journalist, and activist for China-related issues; most significantly, against the Three Gorges Dam Project.

1941 – Boris Vallejo, Peruvian-U.S. painter known for his fantasy cover artwork.

1942 – Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, professor, and author whose popular works included the bestseller A Brief History of Time.

1944 – Terry Brooks, popular U.S. writer of epic fantasy novels, film novelizations, and short stories who is one of the best selling living fantasy writers today.

1945 – Nancy Bond, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. children’s author.

1947 – Himanshi Indulal Shelat, award-winning Indian Gujarati short-story writer, editor, literary critic, translator, and professor.

1951 – Karen Tei Yamashita, Japanese-U.S. writer and professor who has won the American Book Award.

1952 – Hamma Hammami, Tunisian writer, editor, politician, and labor activist.

1956 – Thomas Rosenboom, award-winning Dutch author of novels and short stories.

1962 – John Rualo Castriciones, Filipino lawyer, public servant, and writer who serves as a government cabinet minister.

1971 – Tanya Levin, social worker, writer, and feminist best known for her book People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of a Life in and out of Hillsong, an exposé of the controversial Hillsong Church, which Levin formerly belonged to, though she now describes herself as an atheist.

1973 – Madhulika Liddle, Indian novelist, short-story writer, travel writer, and movie critic who writes in English and is best known for her books featuring the 17th century Mughal detective Muzaffar Jang.

1974 – Rieke Diah Pitaloka Intan Purnamasari (popularly known as Rieke Diah Pitaloka), Indonesian author, television personality, and politician.

1977 – Amber Benson, U.S. screenwriter, actor, writer, singer, film director, film producer, novelist, and comics writer; she is best known for her role as Tara in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1986 – K. Vijayakarthikeyan, award-winning Indian book author, bureaucrat, and civil servant.

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