May 5 Writer Birthdays

1588 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher whose work Leviathan set the foundations of western political philosophy.

1739 – Đuro Ferić, Croatian poet, translator, and Jesuit vicar.

1797 – Hippolyte-Louis Guérin de Litteau, French poet and writer whose poetry inspired many composers during the Second French Empire and the French Third Republic.

1813 – Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, and social critic widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.

1818 – Karl Marx, German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, and socialist revolutionary who was the founder of modern Communism and coauthor of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.

1834 – Emily Rebecca Page, American poet, prose writer, and editor.

1837 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, novelist, playwright, critic, and encyclopedia writer.

1841 – Kristofer Janson, Norwegian writer, poet, journalist, and clergyman who is commonly recognized as the founder of the Norwegian Unitarian Church.

1864 – Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochrane), pioneering U.S. investigative journalist, industrialist, inventor, and social reformer who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of the Jules Verne novel, and an exposé in which she worked undercover, pretending to be a mental patient to report from within on conditions at a mental institution.

1864 – Mahavir Prasad Dwivedi, Indian Hindi writer, poet, translator, and editor; the second phase of the Modern Period in Hindi literature is called Dwivedi Yug, in his honor.

1865 – Helen Maud Merrill (pen name Samantha Spriggins), U.S. writer, poet, songwriter, humor writer, and editor.

1892 – Ahmad Javad, Azerbaijani poet, writer, editor, teacher, and professor who is most remembered for writing the words of the National Anthem of Azerbaijan.

1893 – Ivo Pelay (born Guillermo Juan Robustiano Pichot), Argentine playwright, journalist, radio writer, songwriter, lyricist, and theater manager who was one of Argentina’s most prolific playwrights of the early 20th century; he is best known for his 1925 nationalist dramedy, La canción de los barrios (Song of the Streets). While most of his plays were satires or straight comedies, he also wrote popular local musicals, which helped popularize the tango style of music.

1898 – Lise Deharme, influential French writer, poet, and novelist of the Surrealist movement; she also used the pen name Lisa Hirtz.

1901 – Madeleine Ley, Belgian poet, writer, and children’s author.

1904 – Richard Eberhart, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning U.S. poet who was called “a modern stylist with romantic sensibilities.”

1906 – Louise Aslanian, Iranian, Armenian, and French writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, and French Resistance fighter who died in a Nazi concentration camp.

1906 – Iasyr Shivaza, Kyrgyzstani writer, poet, translator, editor, linguist, textbook author, scholar, and social activist who wrote under the pseudonym Xianma; he founded Soviet Dungan literature and made significant contributions to Dungan art and culture; his first book, The Morning Star, is the first printed book in the history of the Dungan people, a group of Muslim people of Hui origin.

1907 – Iryna Vilde (real name Daryna Dmytrivna Polotniuk, née Makohon), Ukranian and Soviet writer and correspondent; her works are now considered classics of Ukrainian literature.

1909 – George Claessen, Sri Lankan artist and poet whose art was inspired by his mystical outlook and beliefs; he was a founding member of the Colombo ’43 Group school of modern art.

1914 – Mehdi Hamidi Shirazi, Iranian writer, poet, translator, and university professor.

1917 – Robert Bloch, U.S. writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction; he is best for his book Psycho, which was the basis for the Hitchcock film.

1919 – Richard Scarry, bestselling U.S. children’s author and illustrator whose characters are anthropomorphic animals.

1920 – Arthur Hailey, British and Canadian author of meticulously researched novels, each set inside a single industry.

1921 – Mavis Lilian Batey, English author and historian of gardening who campaigned to save historic parks and gardens; during World War II, she left college and became one of the leading codebreakers at Bletchley Park.

1932 – Aleksandra Andreevna Antonova, award-winning Russian Sámi teacher, writer, poet, fiction writer, textbook author, and translator; she was instrumental in formulating the official Kildin Sámi written language.

1932 – Mavjuda Hakimova, award-winning Tajikistan and Soviet poet, playwright, and children’s writer who is sometimes known simply as Mavjuda. Much of her work combines the conventions of Persian poetry with standard Soviet ideals, and deals with themes of love and nature; in the 1970s, she turned to writing plays, depicting daily life in Tajikistan in the post-Stalin era. She also wrote two volumes of poetry for children.

1937 – Joseph Lelyveld, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist, newspaper editor, nonfiction author, biographer, and critic; much of his work centers on South Africa.

1943 – Michael Palin, British screenwriter, actor, singer, comedian, television presenter, children’s writer, television actor, film actor, diarist, and travel writer who was also president of the Royal Geographical Society; he came to international prominence as a member of the Monty Python comedy group.

1945 – Teresa Porzecanski, award-winning Uruguayan anthropologist, author, poet, and professor whose work focuses on the Jewish communities of Uruguay, African-descended minorities, prejudice, and ethnic issues.

1946 – Akhudiat, award-winning Indonesian writer, poet, playwright, and lecturer.

1947 – Linda Fairstein, U.S. author, attorney, and former New York City prosecutor whose work focuses on violent crimes against women and children.

1952- Hafsat Abdulwaheed, Nigerian writer, poet, and women’s rights activist who was the first female Hausa writer from Northern Nigeria to have written a published novel.

1955 – Roni Margulies, Turkish writer, poet, author, translator, journalist, and political activist.

1956 – Anthony Horowitz, English novelist and screenwriter, known for his suspense novels and children’s books.

1957 – Anu Garg, Indian author, columnist, and website founder whose works explore the intricacies of the English language; his website Wordsmith.org, for word lovers, has subscribers from nearly 200 countries.

1958 – Ras Nas (also known as Nasibu Mwanukuzi), Tanzanian poet, musician, journalist, and magazine writer who blends African music and reggae with a dash of poetry.

1964 – Efrat Mishori, Israeli poet, author, essayist, filmmaker, and performance artist.

1976 – Déborah Heissler, award-winning French poet, writer, researcher, and literary critic.

1979 – Catherynne M. Valente (born Bethany Thomas), award-winning U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, and literary critic; her novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was the first online, crowdfunded book to win a major literary award before traditional publication.

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