May 23 Writer Birthdays

1606 – Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer, mathematician, and Catholic philosopher.

1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalized binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms, and is known as the “father of modern taxonomy.”

1729 – Giuseppe Parini, Italian Neoclassical poet, writer, and satirist.

1802 – Mary Hennell, British reforming writer and encyclopedia contributor; two of her sisters, her brother, and her brother-in-law were also writers. She and her sisters are believed to be the basis for the fictional Meyrick family in George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda.

1810 – Margaret Fuller, U.S. journalist, poet, social reformer, feminist, critic, and foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune; she died in 1850 in a boat fire.

1818 – Louisa Annie Murray, English-born Canadian writer, poet, and novelist.

1819 – Louisa Morton Greene (née Willard), U.S. reformer, writer, public speaker, abolitionist, suffragist, women’s rights worker, temperance worker, and Civil War relief worker; she is regarded as the first American woman to publicly rebel against discrimination towards women in industry, refusing to accept a woman’s pay rate after doing a man’s job.

1821 – Felicia Mary Frances Skene (also known by the pseudonyms Erskine Moir and Francis Scougal), French-born Scottish writer, poet, biographer, memoirist, philanthropist, and prison reformer. As a child, she played with the children of the exiled King Charles X of France, and sat on the knee of her father’s close friend, Sir Walter Scott, telling him fairy tales; as an adult, she had many well-known friends, including Florence Nightingale.

1826 – Adile Sultan, Ottoman Turkish poet, princess, and philanthropist; she was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II and the sister of the Sultans Abdulmejid I and Abdulaziz.

1841 – Karen Sundt, Norwegian journalist, editor, fairytale writer, and popular novelist who was Norway’s first female newspaper editor.

1842 – Maria Konopnicka, Polish poet, novelist, children’s writer, translator, journalist, critic, and activist for women’s rights and Polish independence.

1855 – Isabella Ormston Ford, English writer, suffragist, social reformer, and public speaker who wrote on issues related to socialism, feminism, and worker’s rights.

1891 – Pär Lagerkvist, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author of poems, plays, novels, stories, and essays, known “for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind.”

1898 – Scott O’Dell, Newbery Award-winning U.S. author of historical novels, especially for the young-adult market; he is best known for Island of the Blue Dolphins.

1903 – Walter Reisch, Austrian screenwriter, film director, and lyricist.

1906 – Sheila Wingfield (Viscountess of Powerscourt, neé Sheila Claude Beddington), British and Irish poet and memoirist.

1908 – Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Swiss writer, journalist, poet, archeologist, philosopher, photographer, and explorer.

1910 – Margaret Wise Brown, U.S. author of classic children’s picture books; her most famous is the often-copied Goodnight Moon.

1914 – Barbara Mary Ward (Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth), British economist and writer who was interested in the problems of developing countries.

1918 – Walter Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. biographer and literary critic.

1919 – Maurice Alfrédo Sixto, Haitian author, professor, translator, tour guide, social commentator, and ambassador.

1921 – James Blish, U.S. author of science-fiction and fantasy novels, including some Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term “gas giant” for large planetary bodies.

1922 – Edith Ranum, award-winning Norwegian crime-fiction writer, novelist, and playwright.

1929 – Mya Than Tint, award-winning Burmese novelist, short-story writer, documentary scriptwriter, translator, and politician; he translated many classic works of Western literature into Burmese.

1930 – Friedrich Achleitner, Austrian poet, experimental writer, art historian, professor, architect, and architecture critic; his magnum opus is a multi-volume documentation of 20th-century Austrian architecture.

1930 – Miloš Mikeln, Slovenian writer, poet, dramatist, journalist, and playwright.

1933 – Joan Collins (Dame Joan Henrietta Collins), bestselling British author of novels and nonfiction books, columnist, and Golden Globe Award-winning movie and soap-opera actress.

1933 – Ceija Stojka, award-winning Austrian Romani writer, autobiographer, painter, and musician; during World War II, she survived the Holocaust and internment at the Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Bergen-Belsen camps. She later became the Austrian spokeswoman for recognition of the Roma and Sinti genocide, along being a voice in the struggle against discrimination that the Roma continue to suffer throughout Europe.

1935 – Susan Cooper, Newbery Medal-winning English-born U.S. author of children’s fantasy novels, best known for The Dark Is Rising series.

1936 – Peter Parnall, U.S. children’s author and illustrator whose works deal with the natural world.

1937 – Kaoru Nakamaru, Japanese journalist, television interviewer, and author with a background in international politics; Newsweek called her “the Edward R. Murrow of Japan.”

1949 – Márcia Denser, Brazilian journalist, novelist, columnist, short-story writer, and anthologist.

1951 – Chioma Opara, Nigerian author, activist, orator, and professor whose work primarily focuses on West African feminism; she is known for creating the theory of “femalism” and is a key African feminist theorist whose work has been influential in studies of gender in Africa.

1954 – Anja Snellman, award-winning Finnish author, screenwriter, writer, poet, critic, television presenter, and journalist.

1955 – Louise Anne Bouchard, award-winning Canadian-Swiss novelist, screenwriter, and photographer.

1958 – Mitch Albom, U.S. journalist and author whose books often have an inspirational theme.

1958 – Paul Street, U.S. journalist, policy researcher, nonfiction author, and political commentator.

1961 – Alanna Lockward, Dominican author, curator, and filmmaker based in Berlin and Santo Domingo; she was founding director of Art Labour Archives, a platform for theory, political activism, and art.

1964 – K.R. Tony, Indian poet, translator, professor, and botanist whose verses have established him as one of the prominent voices in contemporary Malayalam poetry.

1966 – Eliane Brum, award-winning Brazilian journalist, columnist, novelist, and documentary film director.

1967 – Sean Williams, bestselling Australian author of science-fiction novels and short stories; some of his books are Star Wars novelizations.

1976 – Sepideh Jodeyri, acclaimed Iranian poet, short-story writer, literary critic, linguist, translator and journalist, now living in exile in the U.S.

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