February 8 Writer Birthdays

0412 – Proclus, Constantinople-born Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, writer, mathematician, and mythographer.

1424 – Cristoforo Landino, Italian writer, poet, philosopher, academic, and humanist who was an important figure of the Florentine Renaissance; his remembered for his advocacy for the use of vernacular Italian in literature, though he also wrote in Latin, and for the support of his patron, Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici.

1434 – Pere Miquel Carbonell, Spanish Catalan historian, humanist, notary, calligrapher, poet, and writer.

1552 – Théodore-Agrippa d’Aubigné, French poet, soldier, propagandist, and chronicler whose his epic poem “Les Tragiques” is widely regarded as his masterpiece.

1577 – Robert Burton, English writer, poet, playwright, satirist, librarian, and academic whose greatest achievement was the encyclopedic book The Anatomy of Melancholy, which he wrote under the pseudonym of “Democritus Junior,” alluding to the Greek pre-Socratic philosopher, Democritus, sometimes known as the Laughing Philosopher.

1675 – Temple Stanyan, British writer, historian, civil servant, and politician whose book Grecian History became a standard work on the history of ancient Greece.

1782 – Malla Silfverstolpe, Swedish author, diarist, and salonnière whose diaries, published in four parts between 1908 and 1911, offer a unique insight into the lives of the prominent writers, composers, and other intellectuals who formed part of her circle.

1819 – John Ruskin, English art critic of the Victorian Era, best remembered for his five-volume work, Modern Painters.

1819 – Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein, Russian writer, essayist, journalist, biographer, and composer who is best known for her 40-year relationship with composer and pianist Franz Liszt and who may have written some publications credited to Liszt, especially his Life of Chopin. Her prolific correspondence with Liszt, Berlioz, and other luminaries of the day is of vital historical interest. (Some sources give her birthday as February 7.)

1828 – Jules Verne, French novelist, poet, playwright, and pioneer in the science-fiction genre, known for such classics as Journey to the Center of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

1831 – Rebecca Lee Crumpler (born Rebecca Davis), U.S. physician, nurse, and author who was the first African-American woman to become a doctor of medicine in the United States; she wrote A Book of Medical Discourses, which focused on the medical care of women and children, especially on prevention of ailments.

1837 – Elise Aubert, Norwegian novelist, memoir author, journalist, short-story writer, diarist, and nonfiction writer; she sometimes used the pseudonyms “Tante Dorthe,” and “E-e.”

1842 – Asharam Dalichand Shah, Indian Gujarati-language writer who pioneered the research into Gujarati proverbs and idioms.

1850 – Kate Chopin, U.S. novelist and short-story writer who is best known for her novel The Awakening; a forerunner of American 20th-century feminist authors of Southern or Catholic background, she is still one of the most frequently read and recognized writers of Louisiana Creole heritage.

1869 – Georgette Leblanc, French operatic soprano, actress, author, autobiographer, children’s book writer, singer, and woman of letters; she was the sister of novelist Maurice Leblanc.

1878 – Martin Buber, Austrian, German, and Jewish writer, translator, educator, pedagogue, university teacher, literary editor, philosopher, and existentialist, best known for his philosophy of dialogue, a form of existentialism centered on the distinction between the I–Thou relationship and the I–It relationship.

1888 – Enrique Banchs, Argentine poet, writer, and journalist who cultivated an ephemeral, classicist style; he wrote his entire literary output within four years, early in his career, and then never published again.

1888 – Giuseppe Ungaretti, Italian writer, Modernist poet, translator, journalist, essayist, literary critic, and university teacher; a leading representative of the experimental trend known as Ermetismo (“Hermeticism”), he was one of the most prominent contributors to 20th century Italian literature.

1890 – Claro M. Recto, Filipino writer, lawyer, politician, judge, and diplomat who is remembered mostly for his nationalism.

1893 – Perrine Moncrieff, award-winning English-born New Zealand author, conservationist, and amateur ornithologist.

1959 – Gabriele Reuter, bestselling German novelist and short-story writer who was widely read in her lifetime but is now almost forgotten; she was best known for her novel From a Good Family (Aus guter Familie), which describes a typical young woman of the Wilhelmine era, the short-story collection, Frauenseelen (“Women’s Souls”), and the novel The Americans (Der Amerikaner.)

1895 – Maurice Samuel, Romanian-born British and American novelist,writer, translator, and lecturer.

1897 – Nina Mikhailovna Pavlova, Russian botanist, plant breeder, and children’s literature author. As a botanist she is noted for developing cultivars of berry plants, including 24 new varieties of currant and gooseberry; as a children’s author, she popularized scientific topics for children as fairy tales.

1911 – Elizabeth Bishop, U.S. poet and writer who was a Pulitzer and National Book Award winner and the U.S. Poet Laureate.

1912 – René Wheeler, French writer, screenwriter, and film director who received an Academy Award nomination in 1947 for writing the film A Cage of Nightingales.

1913 – Danai Stratigopoulou, Greek singer, writer, translator, and university academic; she acquired recognition in the literary world for translating the works of Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda into the Greek language.

1917 – Ehsan Tabari , Iranian philosopher and literary giant who played a major role in modernization of literature and cultural enlightenment in twentieth-century in Iran; he was also instrumental in fostering deep understanding of Marxist philosophy in Iran.

1921 – Eila Kivikk’aho (real name Eila Sylvia Sammalkorpi née Lamberg), award-winning Finnish poet, author, and translator.

1924 – Lisel Mueller, German-born National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet and translator.

1926 – Neal Cassady, U.S. writer and poet who was a major figure of the Beat Generation and the model for the Dean Moriarty character in Kerouac’s On The Road.

1930 – Eva Strittmatter (née Braun), bestselling German writer of poetry, prose, and children’s literature; she is regarded as the most successful German poet of the second half of the 20th century.

1934 – Lada Galina (pen name of Ganka Slavova Karanfilova), Bulgarian writer, essayist, journalist, magazine editor, publishing house editor, satirist, and literary critic.

1936 – Ogdo (Yevdokiya) Yegorovna Aksyonova, award-winning Russian writer and poet of the Dolgan language; she was born to a family of reindeer herders, and is now considered the founder of Dolgan written literature. She was also an editor and educator.

1940 – Zahid Hussain (better known by the pen name Wasim Barelvi), leading Indian poet in the Urdu language.

1941 – Elena Fernández Gómez (known by the pen name Elena Santiago), award-winning Spanish novelist, poet, children’s author, and short-story writer.

1947 – Yi Zhongtian, Chinese writer, historian, television presenter, and professor of ancient Chinese literature; his academic interests include literature, art, aesthetics, psychology, anthropology, and history, and many of his works focus on popularizing academic subjects.

1951 – Ashok Chakradhar, Indian writer, poet, literary critic, and university professor who works towards the propagation of the Hindustani language.

1951 – Sharman Macdonald, award-winning Scottish novelist, playwright, screenwriter, librettist, and actress.

1955 – John Grisham, U.S. author and attorney, lauded for his bestselling legal thrillers; Grisham is one of only three authors (along with Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling), to have sold two million copies of a book on a first printing. In addition to his legal novels for adults, he writes nonfiction books, short stories, and legal thrillers for children. Many of his books have been made into movies and television programs.

1955 – Nancy Oliver, U.S. screenwriter, best known for the film, Lars and the Real Girl.

1956 – Mayadhar Swain, award-winning Indian Odia science writer, author, professor, and engineer who has written 50 books on popular science.

1959 – Amy Yamada (pen name Yamada Eimi), award-winning and popular but controversial Japanese writer who is most famous for stories that address issues of sexuality, racism, and interracial love and marriage; while she is most known for her stories of complicated and messy romantic love, she also writes on the daily minutiae of life, child-raising, and bullying.

1962 – Malorie Blackman, British screenwriter, children’s book author, novelist, and science-fiction writer who held the title of British Children’s Laureate; in some of her work, she uses science-fiction elements and situations to explore social and ethical issues.

1966 – Ra Heeduk, award-winning South Korean poet, essayist, writer, and literary critic; her poetic imagination is grounded in the force of life and growth as manifested in motherhood and plant life.

1969 – Mary Robinette Kowal, award-winning U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist and short-story writer who is also a professional voice actor and puppeteer.

1969 – Shahnaz Munni, Bangladeshi journalist, poet, essayist, novelist, short-story writer, translator, and young-adult writer who is chief news editor with the Dhaka-based television channel News24.

1980 – Ramona Badescu, Romanian-born French author of children’s literature; her most popular children’s book series, Pomelo the Garden Elephant, follows the adventures of the titled protagonist, a tiny garden elephant who is about the size of a dandelion.

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