April 19 Writer Birthdays


1666 – Sarah Kemble Knight, Colonial American teacher, businesswoman, and diarist who is especially remembered for her diary of a journey from Boston to New York in 1704–1705, which provides one of the few first-hand-accounts of travel conditions in Connecticut during colonial times.

1728 – Francesco Albergati Capacelli, Italian writer, poet, politician, playwright, translator, linguist, and politician; he had to flee his city when he was accused of murdering his second wife, Anna Grassi, a countess of Morcone, in a fit of jealousy.

1749 – Ōta Nanpo, Japanese poet, fiction writer, and samurai bureaucrat who is remembered primarily for his works in the comedic forms of kyoshi, derived from comic Chinese verse, and kyoka, derived from waka poetry; he also wrote under the pen names Yomo no Akara, Yomo Sanjin, Kyokaen, and Shokusanjin.

1819 – Frances Parthenope Verney (née Nightingale, also called Lady Verney), Italian-born English essayist, novelist, short-story writer, and journalist, much of whose writing concerned social questions of the day, including class inequity, religion, and the toll taken by war. Nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale was her sister.

1823 – Jan Simon Gerardus Gramberg, Dutch author, military physician, plantation owner, adventurer, and travel writer.

1832 – José Echegary, Spanish engineer, statesman, and dramatist who won the 1904 Nobel Prize for Literature “in recognition of the numerous and brilliant compositions which, in an individual and original manner, have revived the great traditions of the Spanish drama.”

1835 – Julius Krohn, Finnish poet, journalist, hymn writer, professor, folk poetry researcher, and translator; he lectured on Finnish literature and language, but his native language was German.

1837 – Nikolai Alexandrovich Blagoveshchensky, Russian writer, journalist, essayist, editor, short-story writer, travel writer, biographer, and ethnographer who is best known for his essays about clerical life.

1837 – Maria Elisabeth Heyde (née Hartmann), Surinamese author, writer, diarist, translator, and missionary who is best remembered for documenting her life in her diaries, writing about her travels, local customs and agricultural practices, and a knitting school she established for girls in Tibet.

1849 – Leona Florentino (born Leona Josefa Florentina), Filipino poet in the Spanish and Ilocano languages; she is considered the “mother of Philippine women’s literature” and the “bridge from oral to literary tradition.”

1872 – Alice Salomon, important German writer, economist, university teacher, social reformer, social pedagogue, and women’s rights activist.

1873 – Ruth Milles, Swedish sculptor, poet, and children’s writer.

1886 – Manuel Bandeira, Brazilian writer, poet, translator, university teacher, journalist, and literary critic.

1900 – Richard Hughes, British novelist, playwright, and poet.

1903 – Thamizhavel G. Sarangapani, Singaporean writer and journalist who was committed to rationalism and the ideal of a modern, progressive society; he denounced the Indian caste system and promoted the importance of education.

1917 – Sven Hassel (pen name of Børge Willy Redsted Pedersen), bestselling Danish novelist whose books were set during World War II; he also used the pen name Sven Hazel.

1922 – Guðrún P. Helgadóttir, award-winning Icelandic writer, poet, scholar, biographer, and educator; she specialized in both women’s history and the history of medicine.

1923 – Lygia Fagundes Telles, award-winning Brazilian novelist and short-story writer who is also a lawyer; she was the third woman elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

1931 – Mária Ember, Hungarian novelist, journalist, and essayist.

1931 – Etheridge Knight, U.S. African-American poet who was a key member of the Black Arts movement.

1947 – Sandro Petraglia, Italian screenwriter and film director.

1962 – Candy Gourlay (formerly Candy Quimpo), award-winning British-based Filipino author, journalist, and children’s writer.

1976 – Rivka Galchen, Canadian and U.S. novelist, editor, short-story writer, and writing professor who is also a medical doctor.

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