February 28 Writer Birthdays

1533 – Michel de Montaigne, influential French Renaissance writer and philosopher who popularized the essay as a literary genre.

1797 – Mary Lyon, U.S. educator, author, religious writer, and pioneer in the field of women’s education; she founded and served as president of Mount Holyoke College.

1814 – William Henry Giles Kingston, British writer of historical novels and travel books, who was best known for his popular tales for boys; often known as “W.H.G.” Kingston.

1820 – John Tenniel, English illustrator, graphic humorist, political cartoonist, writer, and poet; he is remembered mainly as the principal political cartoonist for Punch magazine and for his illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

1824 – Karl-Maria Kertbeny (also called Károly Mária Kertbeny or Karl-Maria Benkert), Austrian-born Hungarian journalist, memoirist, and human rights campaigner, best known for coining the words heterosexual and homosexual.

1844 – Girish Chandra Ghosh, Bengali musician, poet, playwright, novelist, theatre director, and actor, considered the Father of Bengali Theatre.

1866 – Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian poet, writer, playwright, philosopher, linguist, translator, and literary scholar who played a key role in the development of the Symbolist literary movement in Russia.

1894 – Ben Hecht, prolific U.S. screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist who was sometimes called the Shakespeare of Hollywood.

1895 – Marcel Pagnol, French author, playwright, and filmmaker, best known for his novel Jean de Florette.

1902 – Marcela Paz, pen name of Esther Huneeus Salas de Claro, a popular Chilean writer and children’s author.; she also used the pen names of Paula de la Sierra, Lukim Retse, P. Neka, and Juanita Godoy.

1909 – Ketti Frings, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, playwright, and screenwriter.

1909 – Stephen Spender, English poet, novelist, critic, essayist, professor, and literary magazine founder; his work explored themes of social injustice and class struggle.

1911 – Justus Cornelias Dirks, award-winning South African writer, novelist, and children’s author.

1913 – Adele McQueen, U.S. educator, pedagogue, parenting expert, and university teacher who also lived in Africa and wrote a Liberian cookbook.

1919 – Sumio Mori, Japanese poet noted for his haiku and his interest in the haikai traditions of pre-modern times.

1930 – Pareeth Mammy Meerakutty, Indian Malayalam writer, historian, grammarian, literary critic, children’s writer, literary historian, biographer, translator, and teacher who taught Malayalam language and literature.

1936 – Sanjib Chattopadhyay, award-winning Indian Bengali novelist, children’s author, and short-story writer; his style is characterized by the use of short satirical sentences, humor, and lively language, and his work is often about families living in Calcutta.

1939 – Erika Pluhar, Austrian author, actress, and singer who has been writing books since her childhood.

1941 – Guðrið Helmsdal Nielsen (born as Guðrið Helmsdal Poulsen), Faroese writer and poet; her first collection of poetry, Lýtt lot, which was published in 1963, was the first modern collection of poems in the Faroese language. She writes in both Faroese and Danish.

1942 – Liu Hsia (better known by her pen name Hsinglintzu), prolific Taiwanese writer and activist for people with disabilities, who was diagnosed with atrophic arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of 12; in 1980, she was named one of the nation’s Ten Outstanding Young Women.

1944 – Julio Escoto, Honduran novelist, essayist, and short-story writer.

1946 – Steve Martini, U.S. journalist, lawyer, and author of legal thrillers.

1947 – Leena Krohn, Finnish novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and children’s author whose work explores themes of morality, the borders between reality and illusion, and artificial intelligence.

1948 – Alfred Sant, Maltese novelist and politician who served as Prime Minister of Malta between 1996 and 1998.

1948 – Donna Jo Napoli, U.S. writer of children’s and young adult fiction, as well as a prominent linguist and professor.

1952 – Rudy Andeweg, Dutch author, writer, and university teacher who has written on political psychology, voting behavior, political elites, political leadership, comparative politics and political institutions.

1952 – Simon Hammelburg, Dutch journalist, author, composer, songwriter, and Holocaust educator.

1958 – Natalya Estemirova, Russian writer, journalist, lecturer, and human rights activist; she was abducted and assassinated in 2009 while working on extremely sensitive cases of human-rights abuses in Chechnya.

1959 – Megan McDonald, U.S. children’s author, best known for the Judy Moody books.

1963 – Kristina Masuwa-Morgan (better known as Kristina Rungano), Zimbabwean poet, short-story writer, educator, and computer scientist who was the first published Zimbabwean woman poet. Much of her poetry discusses themes about the experiences of women in wartime.

1964 – Lotta Lotass (real name Britt Inger Liselott Lotass Hagström), Swedish writer, playwright, and literary critic.

1964 – Daniel Munduruku, award-winning Brazilian writer, children’s author, museum director, and educator; a member of the Munduruku indigenous people, he often writes children’s books that deal with traditional indigenous life and tales.

1965 – Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning Irish writer of literary fiction.

1966 – Philip Reeve, award-winning English writer, author, illustrator, children’s writer, and science-fiction author who is primarily known for the book Mortal Engines, its sequels, and its film adaptation.

1970 – Lemony Snicket, Pen name of U.S. novelist Daniel Handler, author of the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books for children.

1977 – Chris Wooding, award-winning British author, children’s writer, science-fiction writer, and fantasy writer; he wrote his first novel, Crashing, at the age of 19.

1978 – Daria Sofia Elisabeth (Lisa) Aschan (better known as Lisa Aschan), award-winning but controversial Swedish film director and screenwriter.

1989 – César González (also known by his pseudonym Camilo Blajaquis), Argentinian poet, screenwriter, writer, cinematographer, author, and film director who is often referred to as “el poeta villero” (the poet from the ghetto).

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