March 16 Writer Birthdays

1657 – Susanna Elizabeth Zeidler, German Baroque poet and advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to participate in the public and literary world; her work Beglau-bigung der Jungfer Poeterey (Certification of the Maiden Poet) is considered a classic text on the defense of women’s right to authorship.

1744 – Nicolas-Germain Léonard, Guadeloupean poet, novelist, and writer who spent much of his career in France; his poetry was fairly conventional, but is remembered for its “astonishing evidence for the experience of living through revolutionary France during the months after the declaration of the republic and the trials against Louis XVI.”

1750 – Caroline Lucretia Herschel, award-winning German astronomer, writer, and singer whose most significant contributions to astronomy were the discoveries of several comets; she was the younger sister of astronomer William Herschel and the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist.

1751 – James Madison, U.S. statesman who was author of the U.S. Constitution, co-author of the Federalist Papers, and fourth U.S. President.

1782 – Vasili Krasovsky, Russian writer and poet.

1799 – Anna Atkins (née Anna Children), British botanist, photographer, novelist, and science writer who is considered the first person to publish a book illustrated with photographic images and the first woman to create a photograph.

1808 – Hannah T. King, British-born U.S. writer, poet, children’s author, and pioneer who converted to Mormonism while in England and emigrated to Utah in the U.S., where she was sealed to Brigham Young as his 55th and final wife, though she was legally married to another man at the time.

1839 – René François Armand “Sully” Prudhomme, French poet and essayist; winner of the first Nobel Prize in Literature.

1865 – Aspazija (pen name of Elza Johanna Emilija Lizete Pliekšane, née Elza Rozenberga), Latvian writer, poet, politician, playwright, translator, and journalist.

1867 – Jane Catulle-Mendès (born Jeanne Mette), French poet and writer who was appointed knight and officer of the Legion of Honor and Knight of the Order Leopold I of Belgium.

1877 – Nanalal Dalpatram Kavi, Indian Gujarati poet, author, playwright, and biographer. One critic said of him, “few poets in Gujarat have reached as high a zenith in esteem as Nanalal, who during his own life time was acknowledged as the greatest lyrical poet of Gujarat.”

1878 – Émile Cammaerts, Belgian playwright, poet, author, translator, and professor who wrote primarily in English and French.

1883 – Ethel Campbell Louise Anderson (née Mason), Australian modernist poet, essayist, novelist, and painter; while she considered herself to be mainly a poet, she is now best appreciated for her witty and ironic stories.

1884 – Eric P. Kelly, U.S. journalist and Newbery Award-winning children’s author.

1885 – Emory Holloway, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer of Walt Whitman.

1889 – Elsie Janis, U.S. screenwriter, songwriter, actress, and singer who entertained troops during World War 1.

1892 – César Abraham Vallejo Mendoza, Peruvian poet, writer, playwright, and journalist; though he published only three books of poetry during his lifetime, he is considered one of the great poetic innovators of the 20th century in any language.

1907 – Parvin E’tesami, Persian Iranian poet, writer, and librarian.

1917 – Sophie Moss (Countess Zofia Roza Maria Jadwiga Elzbieta Katarzyna Aniela Tarnowska), Polish writer, poet, and humanitarian who founded the Cairo Branch of the Polish Red Cross when she lived in Egypt during World War 2.

1920 – Sid Fleischman, U.S. author, screenwriter, and Newbery Award-winning children’s book author who also wrote books about stage magic.

1929 – A. K. Ramanujan (full name Attipate Krishnaswami Ramanujan), award-winning Indian writer, poet, playwright, folklorist, translator, linguist, and professor who argued for giving local, non-standard dialects their due; his poems have been called enigmatic works of startling originality and sophistication.

1930 – Izet Sarajlic, Bosnian poet, essayist, translator, and historian of philosophy; he is the former Yugoslavia’s most widely translated poet.

1935 – Wajida Tabassum, Indian writer of fiction, poetry, and songs in the Urdu language.

1942 – Dev Virahsawmy, Mauritian novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, linguist, and politician who writes easily in both French and English but is best known for his efforts to popularize the use of the Mauritian Creole language.

1948 – Margaret Weis, U.S. fantasy novelist and gaming world creator.

1950 – Odia Ofeimun, award-winning Nigerian poet, political essayist, anthologist, and author on cultural politics.

1951 – Deborah Anne Tall, U.S. writer, memoirist, poet, editor, anthologist, nonfiction author, and professor.

1952 – Alice Hoffman, popular U.S. novelist, YA author, and screenwriter.

1974 – Zoe Jenny, Swiss novelist, now based in London.

1981 – Ruhaini Matdarin, award-winning Malaysian novelist, short-story writer, and fairy-tale author.

1985 – Chude Jideonwo, Nigerian writer, journalist, lawyer, and entrepreneur.

1991 – Lin Yi-han, Taiwanese novelist whose only book, Fang Si-Qi’s First Love Paradise. is about a teenage girl who is sexually abused by her tutor.; the author’s suicide at the age of 26 has led to speculation that the novel implies that Lin herself was molested, but no evidence of any such abuse has been found.

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