March 24 Writer Birthdays

1103 – Yue Fei (courtesy name Pengju), Chinese military general, calligrapher, and poet who is regarded as a patriot and national folk hero.

1579 – Tirso de Molina, Spanish Baroque playwright, poet, writer, poet, historian, and Roman Catholic monk who is primarily known for writing The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest, the play from which the popular character of Don Juan originates; his work is also significance for its abundance of female protagonists and its exploration of sexual issues.

1657 – Arai Hakuseki, Japanese writer, poet, politician, economist, historian, philosopher, and politician who used the pen name Hakuseki.

1697 – Yunli (formally known as Prince Guo), Manchu Chinese poet, calligrapher, and prince of the Qing dynasty.

1768 – Gabriele von Baumberg, Austrian author and poet; several of her poems were set to music by Mozart and Schubert, and she set the theme of the first movement of Haydn’s String Quartet, Op. 50, No. 1, to words, for inscription on a monument honoring the composer.

1775 – Muthuswami Dikshitar, Indian poet, author, and legendary composer of Indian classical music.

1796 – Zulma Carraud, French author who is best known for her children’s books and her textbooks.

1810 – Paulina Westdahl (real name Eleonora Polynetta Emilia Westdahl), Swedish writer, translator, and journalist known for her leadership in the Swedish Awakening movement; she wrote novels as well as a book on sobriety and the dangers of drink.

1826 – Matilda Joslyn Gage, U.S. author, editor, journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, suffragist, and activist for women’s rights and Native American rights who ran an Underground Railroad station out of her home and wrote prolifically against oppression of all kinds; her son-in-law, Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, called her “the most gifted and educated woman of her age.”

1834 – William Morris, influential English poet, artist, designer, and social activist who was a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.

1855 – Olive Schreiner, South African author, anti-war activist, and intellectual who was best known for her novel, The Story of an African Farm.

1872 – Mammed Said Ordubadi, Azerbaijani writer, poet, novelist, playwright, journalist, and politician.

1882 – Enid Derham, Australian poet, playwright, children’s writer, editor, and academic; while her poetry was influenced by her classical studies, she was also one of the earliest Australian writers to recognize the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

1894 – Alice Rühle-Gerstel, German-Jewish writer, feminist, journalist, children’s writer, and psychologist.

1897 – Theodora Kroeber (full name Theodora Covel Kracaw Kroeber Quinn), U.S. writer, anthropologist, and university Regent, best known for her accounts of several Native Californian cultures; her influential book Ishi in Two Worlds was an account of the last member of the Yahi tribe of Northern California, whom her husband, anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, had befriended and studied. Her later work included a collaboration with her daughter, renowned science-fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin.

1899 – Dorothy Constance Stratton, trailblazing U.S. Coast Guard officer, educator, writer, and nonfiction author who was the first woman to be commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, and is best known as the first director of the SPARS, the U.S. Coast Guard Women’s Reserve; she was also Purdue University’s first full-time Dean of Women, the first director of personnel at the International Monetary Fund, and the national executive director of the Girl Scouts of the USA.

1903 – Alejandro Casona, Spanish writer, poet, playwright, and screenwriter who was part of the Generation of ’27 literary movement.

1903 – Gwilym R. Jones, award-winning Welsh poet, editor, and journalist.

1903 – Malcolm Muggeridge, English writer, journalist, satirist, diarist, autobiographer, biographer, playwright, lecturer, soldier, and spy.

1905 – Lilian Serpas, Salvadoran poet, writer, and journalist.

1906 – Plakkiyil Chacko Devassia (often known as Mahakavi P.C. Devassia), award-winning Indian Sanskrit writer, poet, and scholar who also made important contributions to Malayalam literature.

1912 – Dorothy Irene Height, U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom-winning African-American civil rights and women’s rights activist who focused on the issues of African-American women, including unemployment, illiteracy, and voter awareness; she is credited as the first leader in the civil-rights movement to recognize inequality for women and African-Americans as problems that should be considered as a whole. She was also a columnist and author; her memoir, Open Wide The Freedom Gates, was adapted into a musical stage play, If This Hat Could Talk.

1914 – Krystyna Krahelska, Polish writer, poet, geographer, ethnographer, nurse, and singer who took part in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising during World War II and was killed there when shot three times in the chest while rescuing a wounded colleague.

1916 – Donald Hamilton, U.S. writer of pulp spy fiction, crime fiction, and westerns.

1916 – Siegfried Leopold Kratochwil, Austrian painter, poet, and author who became one of the best-known Austrian Naïve artists.

1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, U.S. beat poet, painter, social activist, and founder of San Francisco’s City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.

1920 – Mary Stolz, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. author of children’s books and young-adult novels.

1921 – Traian Coșovei, award-winning Romanian writer, poet, and journalist who was known for his works of Socialist Realism.

1921 – Wilson Harris, innovative Guyanese writer, poet, novelist, and essayist whose writing style is abstract and densely metaphorical; he is considered one of the most original English-language voices in postwar literature.

1923 – Michael Legat, British author of romance novels and guides for writers.

1924 – Vincent Cronin, British author of cultural histories and biography, best known for biographies of French royalty and historical work about the Renaissance; his father was the Scottish novelist A.J. Cronin.

1926 – Dario Fo, Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, actor, and director who “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”

1927 – Jomí García Ascot, award-winning Tunisian-born Spanish poet, essayist, novelist, biographer, nonfiction author, filmmaker, educator, and magazine founder who lived in Mexico; he and his wife, María Luisa Elío, were friends and neighbors of writer Gabriel García Márquez and helped critique the book One Hundred Years of Solitude as it developed, leading García Márquez to dedicate the book to them with the inscription, “Para Jomí García Ascot y María Luisa Elío.”

1928 – Habib Jalib, Pakistani revolutionary poet, lyricist, songwriter, politician, and left-wing activist who opposed martial law, authoritarianism, and state oppression and has been called “truly the poet of the masses.”

1935 – Mary Berry (also known as Dame Mary Rosa Alleyne Hunnings), award-winning British food writer, prolific cookbook author, autobiographer, and television presenter with many series to her credit, including the Great British Baking Show (also called the Great British Bake Off), Mary Berry Cooks, and Mary Berry’s Country House Secrets, among others.

1936 – José Franco, award-winning Panamanian writer, poet, journalist, lawyer, and diplomat.

1943 – Kate (Catherine Merrial) Webb (born March 24, 1943) – New Zealand journalist and war correspondent; she was known for her fearless and tenacious reporting throughout the Vietnam War, and at one point was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese and was thought to have been killed in captivity but survived to write about the weeks-long ordeal.

1944 – Mary Balogh, Welsh-Canadian author of historical romance novels.

1949 – Tabitha King (born Tabitha Jane Spruce), U.S. writer, novelist, and science-fiction writer; she is married to author Stephen King.

1970 – Erica Kennedy, U.S. African-American author, journalist, blogger, singer, and bestselling novelist.

1981 – Anna Bagriana, award-winning Ukrainian writer, poet, novelist, playwright, linguist, and translator.

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