March 4 Writer Birthdays

1493 – Anna Bijns, Flemish writer, poet, teacher, and school administrator; she was the first author in Dutch-language literature who owed her success in part to the recently invented printing press.

1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss folklorist and author who is best remembered for the book Swiss Family Robinson.

1793 – Ōshio Heihachirō, Japanese samurai, writer, Neo-Confucianism scholar, and rebel leader.

1798 – Sigurður Breiðfjörð, prolific Icelandic poet, writer, and cooper.

1803 – Nikolay Mikhailovich Yazykov, Russian poet, writer, and Slavophile who was one of the most popular poets of his generation.

1819 – Narcyza Zmichowska (also known by her pen name, Gabryella), Polish novelist and poet who is considered a precursor of feminism in Poland.

1827 – Henrietta Keddie, prolific Scottish novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Sarah Tytler; her domestic realism was popular with women readers, as were her conduct books for girls.

1833 – Agripina Samper Agudelo, Colombian writer and poet who wrote under the pseudonym “Pía-Rigán,” an anagram of her real name; her works were unpublished in her own lifetime, and published only posthumously.

1836 – Matilda Betham-Edwards, English novelist, travel writer, poet, and children’s writer.

1851 – Alexandros Pepekas Papadiamantis, influential Greek short-story writer, novelist, journalist, and translator.

1856 – Toru Dutt, Indian Bengali poet, novelist, essayist, and translator who wrote in English and French, but is best known for her poems in English; in her work, she explored themes of loneliness, longing, patriotism and nostalgia. She died at the age of 21.

1862 – Louise Cruppi (née Crémieux), French writer, musician, feminist, and activist.

1865 – Eduard Vilde, revered Estonian writer, journalist, humorist, and diplomat who is considered a pioneer of critical realism in Estonian literature; he is generally credited as being the country’s first professional writer.

1871 – Mykola Burachek, Ukrainian writer, impressionist painter, art historian, and university teacher.

1875 – Enrique Larreta, Argentine writer, academic, journalist, diplomat, and art collector who was a ten-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1878 – Takeo Arishima, Japanese novelist, essayist, diarist, short-story writer, poet, philosopher, social critic, and literary critic; his work was critically acclaimed for his style, but the themes and characters of his works, which focused on women and lower-class men. He died in 1923 in a suicide pact with the woman he loved, after her husband learned of their affair.

1881 – T.S. Stribling, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. lawyer, short-story writer, novelist, and journalist who wrote about the American South.

1893 – Anne Marie Frederikke Telmányi (née Nielsen), Danish painter, writer, and biographer; as an artist, she is remembered for her landscapes, mythological subjects, and portraits of important figures of the times.

1897 – Bernice Love Wiggins (also known as Bernice Love Clay), U.S. African-American poet and writer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.

1901 – Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo (born Joseph-Casimir Rabearivelo), Madagascan poet who is widely considered to be Africa’s first modern poet and the greatest literary artist of Madagascar.

1906 – Meindert DeJong, Dutch-U.S. author of children’s books who won multiple Newbery Medals.

1913 – Marie-Louise-Taos Amrouche, Tunisian-born Algerian writer, singer, and author who was the first Algerian woman to publish a novel.

1914 – Barbara Newhall Follett, U.S. child-prodigy novelist whose first two books were published when she was twelve and fourteen; she disappeared at age 25 and was never found.

1919 – Rosamund Stanhope, British poet and teacher known for her use of esoteric and unusual words.

1921 – Phanishwar Nath Renu, Indian author, screenwriter, and activist who was one of the most successful and influential writers of modern Hindi literature.

1924 – Alcira Soust Scaffo, Uruguayan writer, poet, and teacher who lived in Mexico for more than two decades; during the occupation of the National Autonomous University of Mexico by the Mexican Army, she remained hidden for 15 days in a bathroom at the university.

1928 – Alan Sillitoe, English writer; one of the “Angry Young Men” of the 1950s; he is remembered for his brash and angry accounts of working-class life. which injected new vigor into post-World War II British fiction.

1932 – Miriam Makeba, South African singer, songwriter, autobiographer, and human-rights activist.

1940 – David Plante, U.S. and British novelist, professor, diarist, and memoirist.

1942 – Maria Baciu, award-winning Romanian poet, novelist, children’s writer, professor, and literary critic.

1942 – Eleanor Millard, Canadian writer, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, social worker, and politician.

1943 – Lourdes Ortiz, Spanish novelist, crime novelist, historical novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and translator; her work focuses mainly on social and political topics.

1946 – Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, U.S. author, editor, journalist, memoirist, and music critic; her published works include rock criticism, a memoir, and two series of science fiction/fantasy and murder mystery novels; she was one of the first women rock critics and is a High Priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition.

1946 – Márcio Souza, Brazilian writer, novelist, science-fiction author, and literary critic; much of his work focuses on the Amazon basin.

1948 – Julia Cameron, U.S. teacher, author, artist, and poet whose best known books are The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write.

1948 – James Ellroy, U.S. author of crime fiction and essays, much of whose work is characterized by a telegrammatic prose style that omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences; he has called himself, “The Demon Dog of American Literature.

1951 – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Korean novelist, producer, director, professor, and artist who was murdered a week after her novel was published.

1953 – Geoff Nicholson, British satirical novelist and nonfiction writer.

1953 – Peggy Rathman, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books.

1953 – Daniel Woodrell, U.S. novelist and short-story writer whose work is set in the Ozarks.

1954 – Irina Borisovna Ratushinskaya, Ukrainian Soviet dissident, poet, memoirist, writer, screenwriter, teacher, and physicist; in 1983, she was convicted of “agitation carried on for the purpose of subverting or weakening the Soviet regime” through her poetry, and spent three-and-a-half years in a labor camp, where she continued to write poetry, scratching poems into soap with a matchstick, memorizing them, and then washing them away.

1965 – Khaled Hosseini, Afghan-U.S. novelist, short-story writer, physician, and advocate for refugees; his first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller and a critical success.

1965 – Alexander Shaganov, Russian writer, poet, audio engineer, singer, songwriter, and lyricist who wrote the lyrics for many popular songs.

1966 – Dav Pilkey, U.S. cartoonist, author, and illustrator of children’s books, most notably the “Captain Underpants” series.

1970 – Amélie Sarn, French author, comic-book writer, comics artist, children’s author, and translator.

1971 – Aram Hur, South Korean writer, teacher, humanist, educator, publisher, lecturer, restauranteur, and social entrepreneur; she is the founder and chairperson of Indigo Book Company, a humanities bookstore for young people which also hosts public events, educational movements, and social activities, and is a combination of nonprofit book publisher, magazine, bookstore, after-school program, and community center.

1975 – Fiona Maazel, award-winning U.S. novelist who was named a “5 under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation.


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