February 2 Writer Birthdays

1745 – Hannah More, popular English novelist, religious writer, poet, and playwright.

1787 – Charles Etienne Boniface, French-born South African writer, poet, music teacher, playwright, journalist , and lawyer whose writings and compositions are among the earliest publications of what was then the Cape Colony.

1841 – Sarah Hackett Stevenson, U.S. obstetrician, educator, writer, and biology textbook author who was the first woman member of the American Medical Association.

1863 – Francisco de Asís de Icaza y Beña, Mexican writer, poet, literary critic, and historian of literature; he was the father of Carmen de Icaza, VIII Baronesa de Claret, a popular Spanish novelist.

1882 – James Joyce, Irish modernist author, novelist, short-story writer, poet, and critic, known for his command of the English language and his provocatively complex works of fiction; he is considered one of the most important and influential authors of his era.

1883 – Johnston McCulley, U.S. author who created the character Zorro.

1883 – Julia Nava de Ruisánchez (also Ruiz Sánchez), Mexican writer and activist during the Mexican Revolution; she is also remembered for establishing the first Mexican institution for training social workers.

1886 – William Rose Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, writer, and editor who was the older brother of writer Stephen Vincent Benét.

1895 – Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr., U.S. poet and playwright best known for Caleb, the Degenerate, one of the earliest dramas by an African-American writer.

1905 – Ayn Rand, Russian-U.S. novelist, philosopher, and Conservative/Libertarian political activist; she is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing the philosophical system Objectivism.

1913 – Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese writer, teacher, farmer, botanist, and philosopher celebrated for his works on natural farming and re-vegetating desertified lands.

1915 – Abba Eban, South African-born Israeli diplomat, writer, historian, politician, and scholar of the Arabic and Hebrew languages; he also held several Israeli cabinet posts and ambassadorships, and was Vice President of the United Nations General Assembly.

1916 – Ngô Xuân Diệu, prominent Vietnamese poet more commonly known by the pen name Xuân Diệu.

1918 – Hella Haasse, Dutch novelist and autobiographer who is often referred to as the “Grande Dameof Dutch Literature”; her novel Oeroeg (The Black Lake) was a staple for generations of Dutch schoolchildren, but Heren van de Thee (The Tea Lords) is considered her masterpiece.

1922 – Juan Marichal, award-winning Spanish-Canarian historian, writer, literary critic, essayist, and professor whos most famous work is The Complete Works of Manuel Azaña, a Spanish politician; he also published the writings and works of his father-in-law, Spanish poet Pedro Salinas, in Three Voices of Pedro Salinas.

1923 – James Dickey, Poet Laureate of the United States and author of the novel Deliverance, which was made into the 1972 film.

1931 – Judith Viorst, bestselling, award-winning U.S. children’s writer, poet, and novelist whose most beloved work is the picture book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

1940 – Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling U.S. mystery writer who has also written under the pen names Robin Paige and Carolyn Keene.

1940 – Thomas Disch, U.S. poet and Hugo Award-winning science-fiction author.

1921 – Jan Slepian, U.S. poet, psychologist, and author of books for children and young adults.

1923 – Liz Smith (Mary Elizabeth Smith), U.S. gossip columnist for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, Cosmopolitan, and Newsday; she was known as “The Grand Dame of Dish.”

1931 – Judith Viorst, U.S. journalist, psychoanalysis researcher, and author of popular children’s books, including the beloved picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

1948 – Ina Rosenberg Garten, U.S. cookbook author, food columnist, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and former staff member of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

1955 – Mauricio-José Schwarz, Mexican writer, journalist, photographer, nonfiction writer, science-fiction writer, and founder of both the science-fiction magazine Estacosa and the Mexican Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy.

1969 – Dambisa Felicia Moyo, Zambian economist and author who analyzes the macroeconomy and global affairs.

1970 – Santa Montefiore (Santa Palmer-Tomkinson), British novelist and socialite of Argentinian background; her father, Charles Anthony Palmer-Tomkinson, represented Britain on the Olympic ski team and is a close friend of Prince Charles.

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