March 23 Writer Birthdays

1596 – Elizabeth of Hesse-Kassel, Princess of Hesse-Kassel, Duchess of Mecklenburg, and a prolific poet and translator who wrote in German and Italian, was renowned for her wit, and was also a music composer; her godmother was Queen Elizabeth I of England.

1615 – Ferrante Pallavicino, popular Italian writer of numerous antisocial, obscene, and satirical stories and novels with biblical and profane themes; he published his work under pseudonyms, but was eventually found out and beheaded for his scandalous writings.

1703 – Cajsa Warg (real name Anna Christina Warg), Swedish chef, author, and cookbook writer who is one of the best-known cooks in Swedish history.

1776 – Vicente Salias, Venezuelan doctor, journalist, writer, and lyricist who is best known for writing Venezuela’s national anthem.

1814 – Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda y Arteaga, Cuban-born Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright who sometimes used the pseudonym La Peregrina (The Pilgrim); her most famous work is the antislavery novel Sab, about a slave who is deeply in love with his mistress Carlota, who is entirely oblivious to his feelings for her.

1831 – Louisa Dow Benton, U.S. writer, linguist, translator, letter-writer, and scholar.

1848 – Antonio Dionisio Lussich, Uruguayan writer, naturalist, arboricultorist, and sailor.

1857 – Fannie Merritt Farmer, American and Canadian culinary expert, cookbook author, essayist, and cooking teacher. Her Boston Cooking-School Cook Book became a widely used culinary text, so popular that later editions were called the Fannie Farmer Cookbook and are still in print today; it was the first cookbook to introduce the concept of using standardized measuring spoons and cups.

1862 – Gabriela Preissová (née Gabriela Sekerová), Czech author, playwright, and short-story writer who sometimes used the pen name Matylda Dumontová; most of her work was about village life, and featured strong heroines. Some of her writing was adapted for opera and film.

1870 – Nanny Matilda Hammarström, Finnish author, memoirist, children’s writer, illustrator, politician, and teacher who was known in particular as an author of children’s books with nature themes.

1879 – P.K. Narayana Pillai (full name Sahitya Panchanan P.K. Narayana Pillai), Indian literary critic, essayist, scholar, grammarian and poet of Malayalam language; he is regarded as one of the pioneers of literary criticism in Malayalam.

1881 – Roger Martin du Gard, Nobel Prize-winning French author lauded “for the artistic power and truth with which he has depicted human conflict as well as some fundamental aspects of contemporary life.”

1882 – Amalie Emmy Noether (better known as Emmy Noether), German mathematician and writer who made important contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics.

1883 – Paca Navas (full name Francisca Raquel Navas Gardela), Honduran poet, journalist, writer, suffragist, and feminist who spent most of her life in exile because of her liberal politics.

1889 – Hipatia Cárdenas de Bustamante (also known by her pseudonym, Aspacia), Ecuadorian writer, poet, journalist, suffragist, and politician.

1903 – Norris Frank Davey (also known by his pen name, Frank Sargeson), New Zealand novelist and short-story writer who has been credited with introducing everyday New Zealand English to literature.

1910 – Akira Kurosawa, Japanese film director and screenwriter who is considered one of the most important and influential figures in the history of filmmaking.

1912 – Eleanor Cameron, National Book Award-winning U.S. librarian, critic, essayist, and children’s author, best known for The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet, and for her criticism of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which she found tasteless, sadistic, and phony overall, as well as racist in its original depiction of the Oompa-Loompas; descriptions and pictures of them were revised for later editions, possibly as a result of her criticism.

1923 – Ralph Giordano, German writer, journalist, and publicist.

1923 – Helena Khan, prolific, award-winning Bangladeshi writer, novelist, children’s author, and educator.

1924 – Bjørn G. Andersen, Norwegian writer, professor, geologist, glaciologist, professor, and association football player; he is best remembered for his foundational contributions to glacial geology and to scientists’ understanding of climate change.

1927 – Lu Wenfu, Chinese writer, novelist, essayist,, short-story writer, journalist, and magazine editor whose work is set in the city of Suzhou, in the Jiangsu province.

1947 – Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Nebula Award-winning U.S. author of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories who frequently collaborated with author Anne McCaffrey; she is also a registered nurse.

1942 – Ama Ata Aidoo (née Christina Ama Aidoo), Ghanaian novelist, playwright, short-story writer, professor, and Minister of Education; her work, written in English, emphasizes the paradoxical position of the modern African woman; some sources list her birth year as 1940. She is considered one of Africa’s greatest writers.

1943 – Winston Francis Groom, Jr., U.S. novelist and nonfiction writer, best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a wildly popular film.

1950 – Ahdaf Soueif, Egyptian novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, and political and cultural commentator; in her works, she focuses on Egyptian history and politics and also writes about Palestinians.

1951 – Plantu (pen name for Jean Plantureux), French cartoonist, political satirist, and sculptor.

1952 – Kim Stanley Robinson, U.S. author of science-fiction and fantasy books and short stories, best known for his Mars trilogy; a winner of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Awards, he has produced work that the Atlantic calls “the gold-standard of realistic, and highly literary, science-fiction writing,” and he has been called by The New Yorker, “one of the greatest living science-fiction writers.”

1960 – Yoko Tawada, award-winning Japanese writer, novelist, essayist, playwright, Germanist, and literary scholar who is based in Germany and writes in both Japanese and German.

1968 – Mitch Cullin, U.S. novelist, poet, and short-story writer who lives in both the United States and Japan.

1972 – Judith Godrèche, French screenwriter, director, actress, and novelist.

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