January 14 Writer Birthdays

1551 – Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, Indian-born writer, poet, historian, translator, politician, and Grand Vizier of the Mughal emperor Akbar; he is best remembered as the author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar’s reign in three volumes, and for his Persian translation of the Bible. He was one of the “Nine Jewels” of Akbar’s royal court and was the brother of Faizi, Akbar’s Poet Laureate.

1651 – Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville (also known as Baroness d’Aulnoy, Countess d’Aulnoy, or Madame d’Aulnoy), French writer, salonnière, novelist, and collector of fairy tales; she is credited with coining the word fairy tales (contes de fées).

1690 – Chrysostomus Hanthaler, Austrian writer, librarian, historian, author, archivist, numismatist.

1700 – Christian Friedrich Henrici (pen name Picander), German poet, writer, librettist, and civil servant who wrote lyrics for many of Bach’s cantatas.

1720 – Polixénia Daniel, Hungarian writer philanthropist, and baroness; she was known for her great learning, for her charitable projects, and as a protector of artists and scientists.

1751 – Corona Elisabeth Wilhelmine Schröter, German musician, singer, composer, writer, autobiographer, and artist who collaborated with Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

1791 – Joseph Kupelwieser, Austrian playwright, librettist, dramaturge, and theatre director who wrote the libretto for Schubert’s opera Fierrabras.

1801 – Jane Welsh Carlyle, Scottish writer whose work was not published in her lifetime, though she was widely seen as an extraordinary letter writer; Virginia Woolf called her one of the “great letter writers.”

1807 – Hilario Ascasubi, Argentine poet, politician, diplomat, newspaper founder, and baker who was born in the back of a horse-drawn cart while his mother was on her way to a wedding in Buenos Aires; he is noted for introducing the use of vernacular language in his poetry and often explored political themes in his work. He used the pseudonym Santo Vega.

1811 – Avrom Ber Gotlober, Ukrainian writer, poet, playwright, translator, author, memoirist, and historian who wrote most of his works in Hebrew; he was widely known by his initials, ABG.

1814 – Luigi Dottesio, Italian patriot who was active in the writing and distribution of anti-Austrian pamphlets, until intercepted while trying to cross the Swiss border; he was executed by Austrians in 1851.

1818 – Zacharius Topelius, influential Finnish author, poet, journalist, historian, storyteller, historical novelist, and rector of the University of Helsinki; he is best known for his novels related to Finnish history, written in Swedish.

1834 – Choe Ik-hyeon, Korean writer, poet, philosopher, politician, and general who was a vocal Korean nationalist and a strong supporter of Neo-Confucianism.

1850 – Pierre Loti, French novelist and naval officer, known for his exotic novels and short stories.

1863 – Toshiko Kishida (also konwn as Toshiko Nakajima), Japanese writer, calligrapher, royal tutor, lecturer, and social reformer who was part of Japan’s first wave of feminist writers; she wrote under the name Shoen. She was arrested for her so-called Daughters in Boxes speech, which criticized the family system in Japan and the problems caused by restrictions placed on young Japanese girls.

1870 – Ida Dehmel (born Ida Coblenz), German lyric poet and muse who was an outspoken feminist and a supporter of the arts; after 1933 she was persecuted on account of being Jewish and was no longer allowed to publish; in 1942, when large-scale deportations of Jews began from her city, she committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, rather than fall into the hands of the Nazis.

1871 – Pamela Adelaide Genevieve Wyndham Glenconner Grey (Lady Glenconner, Viscountess Grey of Fallodon), English writer, poet, children’s author, editor, and publisher who was a friend to many of the literary and artistic stars of the day, including Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Ezra Pound; John Singer Sargent painted her and her sisters in the 1899 portrait, The Wyndham sisters, which was described by The Times as “the greatest picture of modern times.”

1874 – Thornton Waldo Burgess, prolific U.S. columnist, children’s writer, and conservationist who wrote about the beauty of nature and its living creatures in his books and his newspaper column, “Bedtime Stories”; he was sometimes known as the Bedtime Story Man.

1875 – Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Prize-winning French theologian, writer, organist, philosopher, and physician whose name has become synonymous with humanitarianism.

1877 – Hilja Haapala, (born Hilja Dagmar Janhonen), Finnish novelist and historical fiction writer; she wrote under both of her surnames.

1878 – Victor Segalen, French writer, poet, physician, naval doctor, ethnographer, archeologist, explorer, art-theorist, linguist, and literary critic; he traveled extensively and died in a forest in France under mysterious circumstances, reputedly with an open copy of Hamlet by his side.

1882 – Raghunath Dhondo Karve, Indian author, professor of mathematics, journal publisher, and social reformer; he was a pioneer in advocating for gender equality and initiating family planning and birth control for the masses in Mumbai.

1882 – Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Dutch and U.S. historian, journalist, and children’s book writer, known for his world history for children, The Story of Mankind, which in 1922 won the first Newbery Medal.

1885 – Zsófia Józsefné Szalatnyay Dénes, Hungarian writer, journalist, memoirist, peace activist, and advocate for women’s rights; her friends included psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and poet Rainer Maria Rilke. When she died at the age of 102, she was considered the oldest author in Hungary.

1886 – Clara Beranger (née Strouse), U.S. screenwriter of the silent-film era who was a member of the original faculty of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She was also a journalist, book author, and magazine contributor; her guide for new screenwriters, Writing for the Screen, is a classic in the field. Some of her work appeared under the pseudonym Charles S. Beranger.

1886 – Hugh Lofting, English civil engineer and author who created the classic children’s character, Doctor Dolittle.

1893 – Kanstancyja Bujlo, Belarusian poet and playwright; the main themes of her poems, which often relied on folklore, were World War II heroism, and peasant life In Belarus before 1917.

1896 – John Dos Passos, U.S. novelist and artist, known for his “USA Trilogy,” together ranked by the Modern Library as number 23 on the list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

1897 – Wasif Jawhariyyeh, Jerusalem-born Arab writer, poet, historian, and composer best known for his memoirs, The Diaries of Wasif Jawhariyyeh, which span more than six decades, covering Jerusalem’s turbulent modern history, including four regimes and five wars.

1897 – Ivan Yulianovych Kulyk, Jewish Ukrainian poet, writer, translator, diplomat, and Communist Party activist; he also wrote under the names R. Rolinato and Vasyl Rolenko.

1900 – Abu Al-Asar Hafeez Jalandhari, Indian-born Pakistani Urdu-language poet who wrote the lyrics for the National Anthem of Pakistan.

1902 – Terence Lucy Greenidge, English-born Barbadian author, actor, and film director.

1902 – F.C. Terborgh, pseudonym of Reijnier Flaes, award-winning Dutch diplomat, prose writer, and poet.

1905 – Emily Hahn, prolific U.S. journalist and author; considered an early feminist and called “a forgotten American literary treasure” by The New Yorker magazine, she wrote 54 books and more than 200 articles and short stories.

1906 – Alejandro Galindo, Mexican screenwriter, actor, and film director.

1908 – Caridad Bravo Adams, prolific, award-winning Mexican novelist and actress who published her first book at the age of 16 and went on to become the most famous telenovela writer worldwide; many of her books have been adapted for film.

1913 – Tillie Olsen, U.S. novelist and nonfiction writer associated with the political turmoil of the 1930s and part of an early generation of American feminists.

1914 – László Ladány, Hungarian journalist, author, Jesuit, and editor of China News Analysis, an influential periodical on Chinese affairs.

1914 – Dudley (Felker) Randall, U.S. African-American poet, editor, and publisher who was the first Poet Laureate of Detroit; his Broadside Press provided a forum for unknown Black writers.

1915 – André Frossard, French writer, journalist, author, essayist, philosopher, and resistance fighter; raised as an atheist and converted to Catholicism, his ancestry was Jewish. After being captured by the Gestapo, he was one of only seven survivors of a massacre that took the lives of 65 people. He survived the war and was awarded the Legion of Honor and the Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

1916 – Toyo Suyemoto, U.S. Japanese-American poet, memoirist, and librarian who was incarcerated by the United States during World War II due to her Japanese ancestry; her memoir, I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto’s Years of Internment, was published posthumously.

1916 – John Oliver Killens, U.S. African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, editor, and short-story writer who was a co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild; his novels focused on African-American life.

1918 – Ilona Edelsheim-Gyulai de Marosnémethi et Nádaska, Hungarian countess and memoirist who worked as a nurse during World War II and helped Jews escape from the Nazis.

1919 – Sayyid Athar Hussein Rizvi (known as Kaifi Azmi), Indian Urdu poet, lyricist, and songwriter who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures.

1919 – Andy Rooney, U.S. author, journalist, and television personality, best known for his “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” segments on the CBS newsmagazine show 60 Minutes.

1920 – Jean Gwenaël Dutourd, award-winning French novelist, philosopher, and World War II resistance fighter who was arrested by the Nazis twice during the war and escaped both times.

1920 – Chế Lan Viên, prolific Vietnamese writer, poet, essayist, memoirist, and critic whose first collection of poems was published when he was only 17.

1921 – Kenneth Bulmer, prolific British author, best known for his science fiction, but who also wrote realistic fiction, military fiction, sea stories, and magazine articles; he wrote under many pseudonyms, including Alan Burt Akers, Ken Blake, Ernest Corley, Arthur Frazier, Adam Hardy, Philip Kent, Bruno Krauss, Neil Langholm, Manning Norvil, Charles R. Pike, Dray Prescot, Andrew Quiller, Richard Silver, Tully Zetford, and Rupert Clinton.

1925 – Yukio Mishima, pen name of Japanese author and poet Kimitake Hiraoka, who was known for his avant-garde writing as well as his ritual suicide.

1926 – Mahaswetah Devi, award-winning Indian Bengali novelist, short-story writer, educator, and human-rights activist who worked for the rights and empowerment of tribal people.

1926 – Thomas Tryon, U.S. actor and author of science-fiction, horror, and mystery novels and screenplays.

1928 – Lars Hans Carl Abraham Forssell, versatile Swedish writer, poet, playwright, songwriter, lyricist, librettist, children’s writer, and translator.

1928 – Enrique Osvaldo Sdrech, Argentine writer and journalist, best known for his true crime stories.

1929 – Zoya Alexandrovna Krakhmalnikova, award-winning Russian dissident writer and activist of Ukrainian origin; she was repeatedly arrested by Soviet authorities for her publications.

1937 – Yevhen Hutsalo, Ukrainian screenwriter, writer, poet, journalist, children’s writer, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and opinion journalist.

1945 – Liv Køltzow, award-winning Norwegian novelist, playwright, biographer, and essayist who is regarded as one of the key Norwegian feminist writers of the 1970s.

1947 – Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, historian, and Martin Luther King Jr. biographer who wrote about the Civil Rights movement.

1947 – Marianne Viermyr, award-winning Norwegian writer and children’s author.

1948 – John Lescroart, U.S. author of legal and crime thriller novels.

1949- Oliviero Beha, award-winning Italian author, poet, journalist, sports journalist, writer, essayist, television presenter, and radio host.

1949 – Mary Robison, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1950 – Arthur Byron Cover, U.S. book author and short-story writer whose work is in the science-fiction, fantasy, and horror genres.

1950 – Elfie Donnelly, British and Austrian author, crime writer, poet, children’s writer, travel writer, autobiographer, and screenwriter who has written numerous books and radio dramas for children; her best known works are Bibi Blocksberg (a radio drama about a girl who is a witch) and Benjamin Blümchen (an animated television series about a talking elephant).

1951 – Martin Auer, award-winning Austrian writer, children’s author, journalist, singer-songwriter, and magician.

1952 – Maureen Dowd, U.S. author and New York Times columnist.

1957 – David Bergen, award-winning Canadian novelist and short-story writer.

1957 – Anchee Min, U.S. Chinese-American author of fiction and memoirs.

1960 – Edward St. Aubyn, award-winning British author and journalist; his semi-autobiographical novels, some of which have been made into a television series, have been hailed as a powerful exploration of how emotional health can be carved out of childhood adversity.

1967 – Glenda Goertzen, Canadian author of children’s and young adult fantasy, including the best-selling children’s novel The Prairie Dogs.

1968 – Kulpreet Yadav, award-winning Indian writer of thriller novels, including, among others, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate and The Girl Who Loved a Spy; he is also a retired naval officer.

1970 – Nuala Ní Chonchúir, award-winning Irish poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and translator.

1973 – Djenar Maesa Ayu (also known as Nay), Indonesian novelist, short-story writer, actress, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose controversial work has been described both as provocative and lurid, and as unique and brave.

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