January 13 Writer Birthdays

1674 – Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, French dramatist whose licentious plays portrayed the depravity of high Parisian culture.

1802 – Eduard von Bauernfeld, Viennese comedic playwright, essayist, poet, and translator whose plays are known for their clever plots, witty situations, and elegant diction; he sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms Rusticocampus and Feld. He was a friend of composer Franz Schubert, who set some of his poems to music.

1832 – Horatio Alger Jr., U.S. author known for his “rags-to-riches” children’s books about impoverished boys who improve their situations through courage, honesty, and hard work.

1853 – Nicolina Maria “Marie” Sloot, Indonesian-born Dutch writer, novelist, and philanthropist who is best known by her pen name Melati van Java, but who also wrote under the pen names Max van Ravestein and Mathilde; she was one of the first women to become a member of Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde, the Dutch literary society.

1871 – Mihal Grameno, Albanian writer, journalist, freedom fighter for Albanian nationalism, and politician.

1894 – Ramnath Biswas, Bengali Indian travel writer, revolutionary, soldier, and explorer who was best known for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.

1901 – A.B. Guthrie Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. writer best known for his novel The Way West.

1906 – Zhou Youguang, Chinese linguist, sinologist, writer, translator, and economist who is known as the “father of Pinyin,” a system for the writing of Mandarin Chinese in Roman script.

1913 – Jean Verdi Salomon Razakandrainy (commonly known as Dox), Malagasy writer, poet, playwright, painter, translator, and composer who is considered one of the most important figures in the literary history of Madagascar.

1921 – Dachine Rainer, U.S.-born British poet, writer, essayist, and novelist; she was buried in London, where her tombstone reads, “Poet and Anarchist.”

1926 – Michael Bond, English author most famous for his children’s books about Paddington Bear.

1926 – Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, U.S. professor and author of both feminist academic works and bestselling mystery novels (under the name Amanda Cross).

1931 – Flora Nwanzuruahu Nkiru Nwapa, Nigerian novelist, poet, publisher, and activist who has been called the mother of modern African Literature; she was the first African woman novelist to be published in English in Britain, and was best known for recreating life and traditions from an Igbo woman’s viewpoint.

1933 – Shahnon Ahmad, Malaysian novelist and satirist.

1934 – Oyeleye Oyediran, noted Nigerian political scientist, author, editor, and professor.

1934 – Carolyn See, award-winning and popular U.S. novelist, memoirist, nonfiction author, professor, short-story writer, and literary critic; she also wrote under the name Monica Highland. Her work has been described as “brutally honest,” and author Jonathan Kirsch called her “the defining voice for a certain kind of California experience in the mid-’70s and 1980s.”

1938 – Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Nôbonita Deb Sen), prolific, award-winning Bengali Indian writer and academic who wrote poetry, novels, short stories, plays, literary criticism, personal essays, travelogues, humor, children’s literature, and translations.

1940 – Edmund White, U.S. novelist, essayist, and memoirs; his best-known books are his trio of autobiographic novels, A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony.

1947 – Jurgis Kuncinas, award-winning Lithuanian writer, poet, novelist, essayist, and translator.

1949 – Manuela Dviri Vitali Norsa, award-winning Israeli and Italian journalist, author, educator, poet, playwright, children’s writer, translator, short-story writer, and peace activist.

1950 – Miri Ben-Simhon, French-born Israeli writer, poet, translator, short-story writer, and literary editor whose work dealt with issues relating to gender, ethnicity, class, culture and politics; she wrote about being a Mizrahi woman in Israel, and about being a Mizrahi poet in an Ashkenazi literary world. Her poetry has been called “sensitive and brutal, personal and political.”

1950 – Sharon Robinson, U.S. African-American author, biographer, health writer, and nurse-midwife; her father was baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

1951 – Nigel Cox, New Zealand author, novelist, and museum director.

1951 – Frank Peretti, U.S. author of Christian fiction, screenplays, and children’s books; much of his work involves supernatural elements; he also plays bluegrass banjo.

1952 – Barry Chamish, Canadian-born Israeli writer and public speaker who was best known for promoting conspiracy theories about the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

1953 – Abul Ahsan Chowdhury, award-winning Bangladeshi poet, professor, editor, researcher, and folklorist.

1954 – Brian Caswell, award-winning Australian writer and teacher who is best known as the author of children’s and young-adult fiction but who also writes nonfiction books about education.

1955 – Jay McInerney, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, essayist, editor, and wine columnist who is best known for the novel Bright Lights, Big City.

1957 – Lorrie Moore, award-winning U.S. author known for her humorous and poignant novels and short stories.

1960 – Gundega Repše, award-winning Latvian writer.

1960 – Jorge García Usta, Colombian novelist, poet, essayist, and journalist.

1963 – Peredur I. Lynch, award-winning Welsh writer, editor, professor who specializes in Welsh literary history, especially Medieval and Early Modern Welsh poetry.

1966 – Maria de la Pau Janer, award-winning Spanish writer from Spain who works in both Spanish and Catalan.

1969 – Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, Mexican writer, journalist, and researcher who is the wife of the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

1969 – Yūichi Suzumoto, Japanese screenwriter, writer, novelist, and video-game developer.

1970 – Shonda Rhimes, U.S. screenwriter, director, producer, author and memoirist.

1972 – Arnhild Lauveng, award-winning Norwegian psychologist, writer, and memoirist.

1972 – Miroslav Žamboch, Czech writer, physicist, nuclear physicist, novelist, short-story writer, science-fiction writer, and amateur boxer.

1984 – Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabian writer, blogger, and human-rights activist who is creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.

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