April 1 Writer Birthdays

1545 – Peder Claussøn Friis, Norwegian author, historian, and priest whose writings were all published posthumously.

1619 – Bedrich Bridel (also known as Fridrich Bridelius), Czech baroque writer, poet, and missionary.

1647 – John Wilmot (2nd Earl of Rochester), British poet and courtier whose work reacted against the “spiritual authoritarianism” of the Puritan era; he was as well known for his rakish lifestyle as for his poetry, although the two were often interlinked.

1710 – Martha Wadsworth Brewster, American poet and writer who was one of the few colonial women who published volumes of verse before the American Revolution and the first American-born woman to publish under her own name. While she did sometimes write on religious and family themes, considered acceptable for a woman writer, her work was also the first from a woman to focus on the evils of war, military invasion, and conquest, and its cumulative effect on a nation and its citizens.

1750 – Hugo Kołłątaj, Ukrainian-born Polish writer, historian, philosopher, geographer, university teacher, anthropologist, politician, constitutional reformer, and Catholic priest who was one of the most prominent figures of the Polish Enlightenment.

1767 – Ali Bey el Abbassi, Spanish writer, explorer, politician, and spy who witnessed the Saudi conquest of Mecca in 1807; he is principally known for his travels in North Africa and the Middle East.

1776 – Marie-Sophie Germain, award-winning French mathematician, physicist, philosopher, writer, and essayist who was one of the pioneers of elasticity theory.

1839 – San’yūtei Enchō (born Jirokichi Izubuchi), Japanese author and playwright; many Japanese horror films are based on his work.

1845 – Louisa Siefert, French poet, novelist, playwright, and columnist.

1848 – Giulia Turco (also known as Giulia Turco Lazzari), Italian writer, short-story writer, food writer, cookbook writer, naturalist, baroness, and patron of the arts; she is best known for a series of lifestyle guides for young women, which expounded the virtues of travel, charity, floral design, natural medicines, and cooking.

1849 – Marian Longfellow O’Donoghue, U.S. author, post, short-story writer, and lecturer who sometimes used the pseudonym Miriam Lester; she founded the League of American Pen Women after being rejected by the Washington Press Club, which did not accept women.

1868 – Edmund Rostand, French Neo-Romantic poet and dramatist; he is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac.

1875 – Edgar Wallace, English author and war correspondent, best known today as the co-creator of King Kong.

1882 – María Domínguez Remón, Spanish journalist, poet, and republican socialist politician; she was the first democratic mayor of the Second Spanish Republic in the town of Gallur, Zaragoza, and was shot by Francoists at the beginning of the Civil War.

1886 – Brita von Horn, Swedish novelist, playwright, drama critic, and theatre director.

1901 – Idella Purnell, Mexican writer, poet, journalist, librarian, teacher, and children’s book author.

1902 – Maria Polydouri, Greek Neo-Romantic poet, author, and diarist; her work revolves around themes of love, sorrow, and death.

1911 – Augusta Baker, U.S. librarian, storyteller, and writer who worked for 35 years at the New York Public Library and developed comprehensive bibliographies of children’s literature by and about African Americans.

1912 – Ken’ichi Yoshida, Japanese writer, literary critic, translator, novelist, and literary scholar.

1913 – Claudio Sartori, Italian writer, music critic, musicologist, journalist, librarian, and professor; he is best known for his bibliography of printed Italian instrumental music before 1700 and his catalog of Italian libretti.

1922 – William Manchester, U.S. historian, reporter, author, professor, and biographer.

1925 – Jill Hellyer, award-winning Australian poet, writer, and novelist; many of her poems centered around Australian history, native landscape and wildlife, or poignant portraits of life in Australia. Her most enduring and engaging work relate to her subjective experiences of love, loss, and intensely felt details of everyday life.

1926 – Anne McCaffrey, U.S.-born Irish writer of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories; many of her books include dragons and are set on the fictional world of Pern. She was the first woman to receive a Hugo Award and also the first woman to receive a Nebula Award; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has named her a Grand Master.

1929 – Milan Kundera, reclusive Czech-born French novelist and poet whose works including The Unbearable Lightness of Being were banned by the communist government of Czechoslovakia.

1930 – Chimako Tada, Japanese poet and translator, renowned for her surreal style and evocation of women’s experience in post-war Japan; she wrote in traditional styles, such as tanka and haiku, as well as contemporary prose poetry.

1937 – Yılmaz Güney, award-winning Turkish-born Kurdish novelist, screenwriter, poet, film director, and actor; much of his work was devoted to the plight of ordinary, working-class people in Turkey, and he was often at odds with the Turkish government because of his portrayals of Kurdish culture, people, and language in his movies. His works were banned and he was imprisoned, but he escaped and fled the country.

1940 – Luz Argentina Chiriboga, Afro-Ecuadorian writer who was one of the first writers to address the duality of African and Hispanic cultures; in her poetry, novels, and short stories, she challenges stereotypes about women.

1940 – Wangari Maathai, Kenyan environmental and political activist, author, memoirist, and science writer who was the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

1942 – Samuel R. Delany, multiple Nebula Award-winning U.S. author, memoirist, essayist, and literary critic, best known for his science fiction.

1947 – Francine Prose, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, essayist, critic, and literature professor.

1948 – Hélé Béji, Tunisian writer, essayist, satirist, professor, and magazine contributor.

1948 – Catherine Millet, French writer, journalist, art critic, curator, and founder and editor of the magazine Art Press, which focuses on modern art and contemporary art.

1958 – Attiya Dawood, Pakastani Sindhi poet, writer, feminist, and activist who has been hailed as one of the most important feminist Sindhi writers of her time; she often uses her poetry to highlight the oppression of women in Pakistani society.

1958 – Hiromi Kawakami, award-winning Japanese novelist, science-fiction author, poet, and literary critic known for her offbeat style.

1960 – Frieda Hughes, English-Australian writer, poet, children’s author, and painter.

1961 – Liu Xia, Chinese poet, writer, painter, photographer, and human rights activist who was placed under house arrest for visiting her husband, reformer Liu Xiaobo, in prison when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

1964 – Naren Shankar (full name Narendra Kanakaiah Shankar), Indian and U.S. screenwriter, producer and director of several television series, especially known for three Star Trek series: Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. He has also worked on CSI, The Expanse, Farscape, and more.

1970 – Brad Meltzer, bestselling U.S. author of political thrillers, non-fiction writer, television show creator, and comic book writer.

1974 – Nii Parkes, award-winning British-born Ghanaian writer, poet, journalist, children’s writer, novelist, publisher, and sociocultural commentator.

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