April 8 Writer Birthdays

1530 – Giovan Battista Pigna, Italian humanist, poet, and historian.

1561 – Dominicus Baudius, French-born Dutch writer, poet, historian, lawyer, and university teacher.

1695 – Johann Christian Günther, German lyric poet whose work was characterized by a deep and lively sensibility, a fine imagination, a clever wit, an ear for melody and rhythm, and a cynical outlook.

1741 – Basílio da Gama, Brazilian poet and writer who was best known for his epic poem O Uraguai; he was also known by his pen name, Termindo Sipílio.

1753 – Charles-Antoine-Guillaume Pigault de l’Espinoy (better known as Pigault-Lebrun), French novelist, writer, playwright, historian, and actor.

1798 – Dionysios Solomos, Greek poet who was a central figure in the Heptanese School of poetry and is considered the national poet of Greece; he is best known for writing the “Hymn to Liberty,” of which the first two stanzas, set to music by Nikolaos Mantzaros, became the Greek and Cypriot national anthem, but is also revered for his contribution to the preservation of earlier Greek poetic tradition. Little of his work was published during his lifetime.

1827 – Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, English educationalist, writer, artist, college founder, and leading feminist and women’s-rights activist who published her influential Brief Summary of the Laws of England Concerning Women and co-founded the English Woman’s Journal.

1843 – Angelo Agostini, Italian-born Brazilian writer, journalist, cartoonist, comics artist, and illustrator who is considered the first Brazilian cartoonist.

1849 – Lula Greene Richards, U.S. writer, poet, journalist, and editor who was the first female periodical editor in Utah Territory; she published her work under a variety of pen names, including Louisa L. Greene (or Green), Lula Green, and Lula G. Richards.

1857 – José Veríssimo, Brazilian writer, essayist, journalist, literary critic, professor, sociologist, and university teacher.

1858 – Carrie Frances Judd Montgomery, U.S. writer, editor, philanthropist, faith healer, preacher, and evangelist who was influential in the American Divine Healing Movement and played a significant role in promoting Faith healing and Pentecostalism throughout her writings.

1861 – Giuliano M. Kremmerz (born Ciro Formisano), Italian writer, journalist, philosopher, and alchemist working within the tradition of hermeticism; he founded the Confraternita Terapeutica e Magica di Myriam (Therapeutic and Magic Brotherhood of Myriam), based on the concept of “sacred materialism,” the idea of the unity of all that exists, with no separation between spirit and matter.

1863 – Jules Huret, French journalist, author, and editor who is best known for his interviews with writers including Émile Zola and Guy de Maupassant.

1864 – Orelia Key Bell, U.S. poet, hymnwriter, and patriotic author who is best known as the writer of the Christian Science “Millennium Hymn.”

1865 – Ekaterina Mikhailovna Lopatina (pen name Katerina Eltsova), Russian writer and biographer who used the pen name Katerina Eltsova; she became part of the post-revolutionary Russian emigre community in France, and was a close friend of writer Ivan Bunin.

1869 – Harvey Cushing, U.S. neurosurgeon and author of a Pulitzer prize-winning biography of Sir William Osler.

1869 – Katarina Jovanović, Serbian writer, journalist, translator, literary historian, publicist, philosopher, and humanitarian; she was nicknamed Mamica (“Little Mother”) for her efforts to help orphans and refugees, locate missing people, and organize distribution of humanitarian aid for the sick and wounded during and after the Balkan Wars and World War I.

1877 – Otto Corbach, German writer, journalist, editor, and publicist.

1879 – Robert Haven Schauffler, Czech-born U.S. writer, cellist, athlete, and war hero who published poetry; biographies of Beethoven, Brahms, and Schumann; and a series of books celebrating the holidays of the United States.

1880 – Margherita Sarfatti, Italian journalist, author, biographer, art critic, art patron, collector, salonnière, and propaganda adviser to the National Fascist Party; she was Benito Mussolini’s biographer as well as one of his mistresses.

1883 – Francisco García Calderón Rey, Chilean-born Peruvian writer, author, and diplomat who is best known for his multivolume work, Latin American: Its Rise and Progress. He was the son of Francisco García Calderón, who was Provisional President of Peru in 1881.

1886 – Margaret Ayer Barnes, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and playwright; she is best known for her novel Years of Grace and her stage adaptation of Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence.

1887 – Hope Mirrlees, British writer, poet, novelist, and translator who is best known for a fantasy novel, Lud-in-the-Mist, and for “Paris: A Poem,” a modernist poem that has been deemed “modernism’s lost masterpiece, a work of extraordinary energy and intensity, scope and ambition.”

1887 – Ramnarayan V. Pathak, award-winning Indian Gujarati author, poet, playwright, literary critic, and short-story writer.

1905 – Helen Joseph, English-born South African writer, autobiographer, educator, and anti-apartheid leader who was a founding member of the Congress of Democrats and played a pivotal role in the formation of the Federation of South African Women; for her anti-apartheid activism, she was arrested on charges of high treason and, despite her acquittal, was placed under house arrest and subject to multiple attempts on her life.

1906 – Malcolm “Max” Afford, award-winning Australian playwright, short-story writer, novelist, and radio writer.

1906 – Marjorie Lewty (née Lobb), prolific British writer of short stories and romance novels.

1907 – Sixto Pondal Ríos, Argentine writer, poet, screenwriter, playwright, and journalist; one of his stories was the basis for the 1948 film Romance on the High Seas, which was notable for being Doris Day’s first film role.

1908 – Karl Åke Torsten Gustafsson, Swedish botanist, geneticist, essayist, poet, and professor.

1909 – John Fante, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, speechwriter, and screenwriter who is best known for his semi-autobiographical novel Ask the Dust.

1911 – Emil Cioran, Romanian philosopher and essayist who published works in both Romanian and French; his work is noted for its pervasive philosophical pessimism, and frequently engages with issues of suffering, decay, and nihilism.

1913 – Erna Diez, Austrian art historian, classical archaeologist, and author who specialized in Roman art.

1916 – Yolanda Oreamuno Unger, award-winning Costa Rican novelist and short-story writer whose most acclaimed work is the novel La Ruta de su Evasión (Her Escape Route).

1918 – Glendon Swarthout, award-winning U.S. author and journalist whose best known work is Bless the Beasts and Children; several of his books were adapted for film.

1927 – Tilly Armstrong, British romance novelist who also wrote under the pseudonyms Tania Langley and Kate Alexander.

1928 – Yngvar Ustvedt, Norwegian writer, biographer, literary researcher, literary critic, theatre critic, and radio personality.

1937 – Seymour Hersh, award-winning U.S. investigative journalist, author, and political writer who broke the My Lai massacre story and covered many of the most important news events of his time.

1937 – Momo Kapor, Serbian novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer, war correspondent, essayist, journalist, travel writer, autobiographer, painter, illustrator, and actor.

1939 – Trina Schart Hyman, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. author and illustrator of children’s picture books; she is considered one of the first white American illustrators (after Ezra Jack Keats) to incorporate black characters into her illustrations regularly, in large part triggered by her daughter’s marriage to a man from Cameroon. Her work was known for its complexity and sophistication.

1940 – Adil Jehangir Jussawalla, Indian poet, author, magazine editor, and translator.

1943 – Jean-Marie Rouart, French novelist, essayist, and journalist.

1946 – Sonia Berjman, prolific Argentine writer, historian, art historian, landscape historian, author, and philosopher whose work centers on the parks, squares, and statues of the city of Buenos Aires.

1946 – Mahmoud Hosseini Zad, award-winning Iranian writer, playwright, educator, translator, and short-story writer who was best known for his translations.

1947 – Christine De Luca, Scottish poet and writer who was appointed Edinburgh’s Makar, or Poet Laureate and who is a global advocate for the Shetland dialect and the literature of the Northern Isles of Scotland; she writes in both English and Shetlandic.

1947 – Robert Toru Kiyosaki, U.S. investor and author of bestselling personal finance books.

1948 – Eva Heller, award-winning German writer and social scientist who published in a wide range of genres, including novels, children’s books, and nonfiction.

1949 – Erdal Merdan, Turkish and German writer, playwright, actor, and film director.

1951 – Kaori Momoi, award-winning Japanese actress, screenwriter, and film director.

1955 – Barbara Kingsolver, bestselling and critically acclaimed U.S. author of fiction, poetry, essays, nonfiction, and memoir, possibly best known for her novel The Poisonwood Bible; her work often focuses on social justice, biodiversity, and the interaction between humans and their communities and environments.

1962 – Alberto Angela, Italian paleontologist, writer, science journalist, and scientific popularizer.

1970 – Catherine Chidgey, award-winning New Zealand novelist and short-story writer; one critic called her work “a witty and melancholy alchemy of heat and chill, a work of craft and fluency, which revitalizes the book in all its guises,” and concluded, “for those who love books, Catherine Chidgey is a find.”

1974 – Nnedi Okorafor, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Nigerian-U.S. writer of fantasy and science fiction for adults and children; she describes her work as “Africanfuturism” and “Africanjujuism,” and says it is heavily influenced by her dual Nigerian and American heritage.

1978 – Kazuhiro “Kazu” Kibuishi, Japanese-born U.S. graphic-novel author, illustrator, and editor; he is best known as creator and editor of the comic anthology Flight and for the webcomic Copper.

1980 – Marion Montaigne, French cartoonist and writer, known particularly for her comics about popular science.

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