February 14 Writer Birthdays

1404 – Leon Battista Alberti, Italian Renaissance humanist author, playwright, poet, artist, architect, priest, linguist, philosopher, mathematician, musicologist, and cryptographer.

1760 – Richard Allen, African-American writer, educator, and minister; one of the United States’s most active and influential Black leaders, in 1794, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), the first independent Black denomination in the United States.

1811 – Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Argentinian writer, activist, and statesman who was the seventh President of Argentina; his writing spanned a wide range of genres and topics, including autobiography, history, political philosophy, and journalism. (Some sources give his birthday as February 15, 1811.)

1818 – Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey) U.S. writer, orator, memoirist, social reformer, abolitionist, women’s suffragist, and statesman who escaped from slavery to became a leader of the abolitionist movement; he described his experiences as a slave in his 1845 autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, which became a bestseller and promoted the cause of abolition. He was the first African-American nominated for Vice President of the United States, as the running mate of Presidential nominee Victoria Woodhull, on the Equal Rights Party ticket. Some sources give his birth year as 1817.

1820 – Kutty Kunju Thankachi, Malayalam Indian poet, writer, and composer who is considered the first female poet of Kerala.

1822 – Susan Archer Weiss, U.S. poet, author, and artist; because she was deaf, she rarely mingled in society beyond a select circle of friends, one of whom was writer Edgar Allen Poe.

1855 – Frank Harris, Irish-born editor, novelist, short-story writer, journalist, playwright, biographer, and publisher; he was friendly with many well-known figures of his day, including Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.

1861 – Andrew C. McLaughlin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, best known for A Constitutional History of the United States.

1864 – Liudmila “Liuda” Malinauskaite-Šliupiene (also known by her pen name Egle), Lithuanian poet and playwright who was one of the first Lithuanian women poets, a pioneer of Lithuanian amateur theater, and an early advocate of women’s rights.

1864 – Israel Zangwill, Jewish British novelist, mystery writer, and playwright who published some of his works under the pen-names J. Freeman Bell, Countess von S., and Marshallik. He was at the forefront of cultural Zionism during the 19th century, but later rejected the search for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and became the prime thinker behind the territorial movement, which sought to find an alternative territory for the Jewish homeland.

1869 – Nadezhda Konstantinovna Krupskaya, Russian Bolshevik who was a writer, librarian, teacher, and politician; she was the wife of Vladimir Lenin.

1890 – Nina Hamnett, Welsh artist and writer who was an expert on sailors’ chanteys; she became known as the Queen of Bohemia.

1909 – Abraham Moses Klein, Russian-born Canadian poet, journalist, novelist, short-story writer and lawyer who has been called “one of Canada’s greatest poets and a leading figure in Jewish-Canadian culture.”

1909 – Carlton Moss, U.S. African-American playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, and professor who was a key figure in independent African-American cinema.

1911 – Sagawa Chika, Japanese avant-garde poet, writer, and translator.

1914 – Britt G. Hallqvist, Swedish writer, poet, translator, theologian, and hymnwriter.

1921 – Paula Gruden (or Pavla Gruden), Slovenian-born Australian poet, translator, and editor who is particularly known as a writer of haiku.

1925 – Waheed Qureshi (Urdu: وحید قریشی), noted Pakistani writer, linguist, literary critic, researcher, and scholar of Urdu literature and eastern languages.

1930 – Shulamith Hareven, Polish-born Israeli poet, writer, translator, journalist, essayist, and peace activist; she also wrote a thriller published under the pen name “Tal Yaeri” and was the first woman inducted into the Academy of the Hebrew Language.

1938 – Syed Mahmood Khundmiri, Indian Urdu language poet, humorist, architect, artist, and orator who was one of the leading Urdu poets of the 20th century.

1944- Carl Bernstein, U.S. journalist and author, most famous for his reporting, with Bob Woodward, on the Watergate scandal for the Washington Post, and for their bestselling book All the President’s Men, which describes their work in uncovering the facts; Dustin Hoffman played him in the film. Bernstein was married to author, playwright, and film director Nora Ephron, who adapted her book Heartburn, loosely based on their marriage, into a film starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep.

1946 – Hanni Ossott, award-winning Venezuelan writer, poet, journalist, translator, linguist, journalist, and university professor.

1952 – Ken Diston Lipenga, Malawian writer, author, literary theorist, short-story writer, journalist, and politician who was a Member of Malawi’s Parliament.

1952 – George Shannon, U.S. teacher, librarian, storyteller, and popular author of children’s books.

1955 – Claire Cook, bestselling U.S. novelist who wrote her first book at the age of 45, in her minivan while she waited through her daughter’s swim practice.

1957 – Marina Arrate, Chilean writer, poet, literary critic, psychologist, publisher, and professor.

1963 – Caridad Atencio, award-winning Cuban poet and essayist who is considered one of the most important poets of her generation.

1965 – Lucinda Riley, bestselling Irish author of popular historical fiction, best known for her seven-novel series, “The Seven Sisters.”

1977 – Tow Ubukata, Japanese novelist, science-fiction writer, and anime screenwriter.

1985 – Beejan Olfat, award-winning Australian playwright, actor, and theatrical producer of Iranian descent.

1986 – Rahima Naz, Pakistani poet who writes in Urdu and Khowar; the most prominent themes in her poetry are love and feminism.

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