June 12 Writer Birthdays

1524 – Achilles Statius (or Aquiles Estaço), Portuguese humanist and writer who moved to Rome, where he was a secretary to the Pope.

1663 – Anne-Marguerite Petit du Noyer, French journalist whose reports of the negotiations leading to the Peace of Utrecht were read and admired all over Europe.

1771 – Manuel María de Arjona, Spanish poet and writer.

1781 – Anne Marie Mangor, Danish cookbook author, cook, and carpet weaver; her first cookbook, Kogebog for smaa Huusholdninger (Cookbook for Small Households), was first published anonymously, but she added her name to it when it became successful and went through many editions. Its success encouraged her to write more cookbooks, including books aimed at young girls and at soldiers in the field.

1796 – Eugénie Foa (born Esther-Eugénie Rodrigues-Henriques), prolific French writer, memoirist, short-story writer, and children’s author who was by descent a Sephardi Jew; she is best known for her story “Le Petit Éclusier,” which was adapted much later by Mary Mapes Dodge as the bestseller Hans Brinker; or, the Silver Skates. Foa sometimes used the pen name Maria Fitzclarence.

1796 – Mary Leman Grimstone, British poet, novelist, and social reformer who wrote under her own name as well as under the pseudonyms Oscar and Cleone; while living in Tasmania, she wrote one of the first Australian novels, Louise Egerton. She also wrote about women’s rights.

1802 – Harriet Martineau, English writer, historian, journalist, author, essayist, lecturer, economist, sociologist, feminist, philosopher, linguist, translator, and suffragist who earned enough to support herself entirely by her writing, a rare feat for a woman in the Victorian era. Queen Victoria was still a princess when she became a fan of Martineau’s writings, and invited her to her coronation in 1838, an event Martineau described in amusing detail for her many readers. Martineau said of her own approach to writing: “when one studies a society, one must focus on all its aspects, including key political, religious, and social institutions.”

1814 – Zsigmond Kemény, Hungarian writer, journalist, and politician.

1819 – Charles Kingsley, English minister, historian, and novelist who wrote westerns but is best known for his children’s book The Water Babies; he was also one of the few clergymen of his time to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution.

1821 – Luise Büchner, German writer, poet, essayist, novelist, travel writer, and women’s rights activist who campaigned for equality of education for girls and was important in the development of nursing as a paid vocation without denominational attachments, rather than a voluntary activity associated with religious orders.

1827 – Johanna Spyri, Swiss author of children’s stories, best known for the classic book Heidi, which has been adapted many times for film, television, and musical theater.

1838 – John Henry Nicholson, Australian writer, teacher, and scholar of Asian studies; he is best known for his allegorical history of a man’s life on the earth, The Adventures of Halek.

1839 – Elizabeth Josephine Brown, U.S. African-American writer and biographer who was the daughter of escaped slave William Wells Brown and his wife, Elizabeth Schooner, who was of African-American and Native American ancestry. Her account of his life, Biography of an American Bondman, by His Daughter, was long believed to be the first biography written by an African-American woman, but is now known to have been the second one. Brown’s biography of her father parallels his own writing about his life, but she included details of abuse and mistreatment that he left out, openly addressed the problems of mulatto slaves, and expanded the account to include his life in Europe, where he lived for several years before abolitionist supporters purchased his freedom for him.

1848 – Nordahl Rolfsen, Norwegian writer, teacher, translator, and journalist who is best known for a series of five readers for elementary school students that became the most widespread schoolbooks in Norway.

1859 – Guido Mazzoni, Italian poet, writer, translator, literary critic, professor, and politician.

1883 – Margaret Haig Thomas (2nd Viscountess Rhondda), English writer, essayist, autobiographer, and feminist who was a key figure in the history of women’s suffrage in Britain.

1892 – Djuna Barnes, U.S. writer who played a key part in the development of the 20th century Modernist movement; her novel Nightwood became a cult work of modern fiction and stands out today for its portrayal of lesbian themes and its distinctive writing style.

1892 – Hilda Vaughan, Welsh novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose books were set mostly in rural communities of her native Radnorshire.

1897 – Josefina Acosta de Barón, Colombian writer, composer, pianist, and teacher.

1900 – Zev Vilnay, Moldovan-born Israeli writer, geographer, historian, folklorist, lecturer, and pedagogue who was a pioneer in the sphere of outdoor hiking and touring in Israel.

1908 – Moufdi Zakaria, Algerian poet, writer, songwriter, and activist. While in prison for his political activism, he wrote the poem that became Algerian national anthem; it was said that he wrote it on the walls of his cell using his own blood, because he had neither pencils nor paper.

1912 – Eva Crane (born Ethel Eva Widdowson), British author and researcher on the subject of bees and beekeeping; she wrote more than 180 papers, articles, and books, some of which are regarded as seminal works in the field. She was also a nuclear physicist and quantum mathematician.

1914 – Mohammad Moin, prominent Iranian scholar of Persian literature and Iranian Studies.

1922 – Margherita Hack, award-winning Italian astrophysicist, author, science writer, editor, and professor; the asteroid 8558 Hack was named in her honor.

1925 – Gladys Cox Hansen, award-winning U.S. author, archivist, and librarian who was an expert on the history of San Francisco and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake; her exhaustive research on victims of the earthquake resulted in the setting aside of the official 1907 death count of 478 in favor of the more than 3,000 lives lost that her research indicated.

1929 – Brigid Antonia Brophy (Lady Levey), English novelist, critic, and social reformer whose works reflected her feminist, pacifist leanings and expressed controversial opinions on marriage, the Vietnam War, animal rights, religion, and education.

1929 – Anne Frank (full name Annelies Marie Frank), German-born Jewish diarist and Holocaust victim who lived in Amsterdam and wrote her diary entries while in hiding from the Nazis. When she and her family and other companions were captured and taken to concentration camps, the diary pages were left behind; they were later published as The Diary of a Young Girl, which has become one of the most widely read and influential holocaust memoirs. She died in a concentration camp at the age of 15.

1931 – Rona Jaffe, U.S. novelist, writer, editor, and columnist.

1931 – Trevanian, pen name of U.S. writer Rodney William Whitaker, who wrote in a variety of genres and was also a film scholar; his other pen names included Nicholas Seare, Beñat Le Cagot, and Edoard Moran.

1953 – Tess Gerritsen (real name Terry Gerritsen), award-winning U.S. Chinese-American novelist, short-story writer, and retired physician who started out writing romances, but shifted to medical thrillers.

1965 – Wendy Holden (also known as Taylor Holden), British journalist and bestselling novelist,

1973 – Tilly Bagshawe (born Matilda Emily N. Bagshawe), British freelance journalist and author

1979 – Dmitry A. Glukhovsky, Russian author, journalist, and radio personality whose novel Metro 2033 has been made into a video game.

1985 – Kyle Higgins, U.S. comic-book writer and film director, best known for work on the Batman franchise at DC Comics.

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