April 16 Writer Birthdays

1612 – Abraham Calovius, German writer, theologian, and university teacher who championed Lutheran orthodoxy.

1755 – Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (also known as Madame Le Brun), French portrait painter and autobiographer whose work merged Rococo and Neoclassical style; she rose to prominence as the official portrait painter to Marie Antoinette, but fled France after the arrest of the royal family during the French Revolution, to spend the next 12 years painting aristocratic portraits in Italy, Austria, and Russia. After returning to France, she wrote and published a three-volume autobiography.

1805 – Cléon Galoppe d’Onquaire (full name Pierre Jean Hyacinthe Adonis, or Antoine, Galoppe d’Onquaire), French writer, poet, playwright, and librettist.

1820 – Charlotte Ann Fillebrown Jerauld, U.S. poet, essayist, religious writer, and short-story writer who supported herself by the age of 15, writing and working in a book bindery; she died in childbirth at the age of 25.

1844 – Anatole France (born François-Anatole Thibault), Nobel Prize-winning French poet, journalist, and novelist praised for “his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound sense of sympathy, grace, and true Gallic temperament.”

1845 – Júlio Ribeiro, Brazilian writer, grammarian, novelist, and journalist; he is famous for his controversial romance A Carne and for designing the flag of the State of São Paulo, which he wanted to be the flag of Brazil.

1850 – Auguste Groner (née Kopallik), Austrian writer and science-fiction author who was internationally known for her detective fiction; she also published under the pseudonyms Olaf Björnson, Renorga, Metis, and A. of the Paura.

1866 – José de Diego, Puerto Rican writer, lawyer, journalist, activist, and politician; his advocacy for Puerto Rico’s independence from Spain and from the United States earned him the nickname, “The Father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement.”

1871 – John Millington Synge, Irish playwright who wrote Playboy of the Western World.

1890 – Paul Hazoumé, Beninese writer, educator, ethnologist, and politician.

1890 – Gertrude Chandler Warner, U.S. children’s book author and teacher who is best known as the creator of the Boxcar Children, a series of books about the adventures of a family of orphaned children who live in a railroad boxcar.

1891 – Dorothy P. Lathrop, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s book author and illustrator, best known for her book Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, the memoir of a doll.

1892 – Howard Mumford Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. writer, journalist, poet, literary critic, editor, intellectual historian, and professor.

1893 – Germaine Guèvremont, Canadian writer, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and short-story writer; her novels are largely recognized as the last influential examples of romans du terroir, the traditionalist form of Quebec literature in the early 20th century.

1896 – Jožka Jaburková, Czech journalist, writer, translator, and politician who wrote about life in Prague, especially the concerns of women, the needs of children, and social issues such as unemployment. She fought in the Czechoslovak anti-fascist resistance; she was arrested by the Nazis in 1939 and imprisoned in the Ravensbrück concentration camp, where she was tortured to death.

1896 – Tristan Tzara, Romanian and French avant-garde poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, critic, editor, and performance artist.

1899 – Rosario María Gutiérrez Eskildsen, Mexican writer, poet, linguist, lexicographer, and educator who is remembered for her studies on the regional peculiarities of speech in her home state of Tabasco.

1903 – Jhinabhai Ratanji Desai (better known by his pen name Snehrashmi), Indian Gujarati-language author, poet, autobiographer, short-story writer, and activist for Indian independence.

1910 – Berton Roueché, U.S. writer and author who wrote for The New Yorker magazine for almost 50 years; his medical mysteries inspired many story lines of the television show House.

1912 – Edmond Jabès, Egyptian Jewish writer, poet, and playwright who was active in Cairo’s artistic and literary avant-garde culture and was one of the best known literary figures to write in French after World War II, until he was forced to flee to France in 1957 when Egypt expelled most of its Jewish population; his work after exile from Egypt reflects a consciousness deeply troubled by the brutality of the Holocaust.

1912 – Garth Williams, U.S. illustrator of children’s books including many that have become classics, including Charlotte’s Web, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books, and a dozen Little Golden Books.

1914 – Hiro Saga (嵯峨 浩), Japanese memoir writer who was a relative of Emperor Shōwa and the sister-in-law of Puyi, the last monarch of the Qing dynasty of China; after her marriage, she was known as Aishinkakura Hiro or Aixinjueluo Hao.

1916 – Behçet Necatigil, important Turkish author, poet, translator, and teacher who was also known for his radio dramas.

1922 – Kingsley Amis, English writer known for his comic novels; he also wrote a James Bond novel under the pseudonym Robert Markham.

1930 – Carol Bly, award-winning U.S. author of short stories, essays, and nonfiction works about writing; she was also a teacher.

1935 – Sarah Kirsch (born Ingrid Bernstein), German poet, writer, translator, children’s author, and activist who she changed her name to Sarah in protest against her father’s anti-Semitism); she is regarded as one of the greatest German-language post-war poets.

1939 – Diane Middlebrook, award-winning U.S. biographer, poet, and professor who wrote critically acclaimed biographies of Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath.

1945 – Sebastian Smart Barker, British poet whose work has been compared to that of William Blake in its use of the long, ecstatic line and his “ability to write lyric poetry which used simple words to encapsulate profound meanings.” He was the son of Canadian poet Elizabeth Smart and English poet George Barker.

1961 – Margaret Kudirat Ladipo, Nigerian author, researcher, chemist, and academic.

1961 – Izuru Narushima, award-winning Japanese scriptwriter and film director.

1969 – Daphna Hacker, award-winning Israeli writer, jurist, sociologist, academic, and legal scholar.

1970 – Makoto Nakamura (中村 誠), Japanese screenwriter and producer of anime.

1972 – Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. African-American poet, memoirist, and radio host; she is best known for her poetry book Life on Mars and for being named U.S. Poet Laureate.

1980 – Khaya Dlanga, award-winning South African author of In My Arrogant Opinion and To Quote Myself: A Memoir.

1982 – Dareen Tatour, Palestinian Israeli poet, photographer, and social media activist who writes in Arabic.

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