June 18 Writer Birthdays

1489 – Francesco Maria Molza, Italian Renaissance writer and poet who was described as “one of the most promising of contemporary authors.”

1642 – Paul Tallement (known as Paul Tallemant le Jeune (the Younger), French writer, scholar, and Catholic priest; he is remembered chiefly for his imaginary allegorical travel-memoir Voyage de l’isle d’amour (Voyage To the Isle of Love), where the places are ruled by figures such as Respect, Concern, Pride, Warmth, Modesty, Coquetry, and Gallantry. He also wrote divertissements, panegyrics, and funeral elogies.

1754 – Anna Maria Lenngren, Swedish writer, poet, translator, and salonnière. One of her best-known poems is “Några ord till min kära dotter, ifall jag hade någon” (“Advice to My Dear Daughter, If I Had One”); she also wrote on Sweden’s class system in satirical poems against snobbery.

1812 – Ivan Alexandrovich Goncharov, Russian novelist and travel writer whose greatest work is Oblomov, a satire on Old World Russia.

1827 – Alexander Balloch Grosart, Scottish author, editor, and clergyman who is chiefly remembered for reprinting rare Elizabethan literature, a work which he undertook because of his interest in Puritan theology.

1838 – Auberon Herbert, English writer, theorist, and philosopher.

1861 – Devaki Nandan Khatri, Indian writer who belonged to the first generation of popular novelists in the modern Hindi language; he was also the first author of mystery novels in Hindi.

1862 – Carolyn Wells, prolific U.S. writer, poet, novelist, mystery novelist, autobiographer, librarian, newspaper writer, and children’s writer.

1872 – Ana de Castro Osório, Portuguese writer, suffragette, children’s author, novelist, and women’s suffragist.

1877 – Abraham Yahuda, Jewish Palestinian writer, linguist, and teacher who translated and interpreted many ancient Arabic documents, including works of pre-Islamic poetry and medieval Judeo-Arabic texts. His book The Accuracy of the Bible sparked a significant amount of international discussion.

1886 – Tsuruko Haraguchi, Japanese psychologist and translator who was the first Japanese woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy.

1889 – Julio J. Casal, Uruguayan poet, writer, anthology editor, and literary critic who founded the literary magazine Alfar; his daughter Selva Casal is also a renowned poet.

1896 – Philip Barry, U.S. dramatist who wrote the play The Philadelphia Story, which was adapted into the movie starring Katharine Hepburn.

1913 – Sylvia Porter, U.S. writer, columnist, economist, and financial expert who wrote a wildly popular financial advice column; she was considered a leading force in making it possible for women to enter the field of business and financial journalism.

1918 – Aída Cartagena Portalatín, Dominican Republic poet, essayist, and fiction writer who wrote in Spanish.

1919 – Shmuel Safrai, Polish-born Israeli writer, historian, and professor of Jewish history.

1920 – Rosemary de Brissac Dobson, influential award-winning Australian poet, writer, editor, anthologist, and illustrator; the judges of a literary contest described her significance as follows: “The level of originality and strength of Rosemary’s poetry cannot be underestimated, nor can the contribution she has made to Australian literature.”

1923 – Elizabeth Weber (pen-name of Elizabeth Marais, née Elizabeth Olivier), South African writer and translator.

1926 – Kandappu Murugesu, award-winning Sri Lankan Tamil-language writer, poet, and educationist.

1937 – Gail Godwin, bestselling U.S. novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, and librettist; many of her books are realistic fiction novels that follow a character’s psychological and intellectual development, often based on themes taken from Godwin’s own life. Three of her books were finalists for the National Book Award.

1941 – Úrsula Heinze, German and Spanish writer, poet, children’s author, short-story writer, translator, and broadcaster.

1942 – Roger Ebert, influential U.S. film critic, author, journalist, and television presenter.

1946 – Russell Ash, British author of art, humor, and reference titles such as “The Top Ten of Everything” series.

1946 – Lidia Jorge, Portuguese novelist of the Post Revolution Generation.

1947 – Anura C. Perera, award-winning Sri Lankan science writer, science magazine editor, and astronomer.

1949 – Chris Van Allsburg, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books; he is a two-time Caldecott Medal winner for The Polar Express and Jumanji.

1950 – Ann Marie Di Mambro, Scottish playwright and television screenwriter of Italian ancestry; her theatre plays have been performed widely and are part of the Scottish schools’ curriculum.

1950 – Eugen V. Witkowsky, Russian fiction and fantasy writer, poet, translator, literary historian, and literary scholar.

1951 – Vivian Vande Velde, award-winning U.S. author of children’s and young-adult fiction.

1956 – Harald Gutzelnig, Austrian nonfiction writer, editor, teacher, and computer programmer who has written books on such topics as computer languages and data processing.

1957 – Richard Powers, National Book Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-finalist U.S. novelist of literary fiction dealing with science and technology.

1959 – Viveca Sten, Swedish writer, lawyer, businessperson, and author of crime novels, many of whom are set at Sandhamn, a small settlement in the central-peripheral part of the Stockholm Archipelago where she has spent summers; she is perhaps best known for the book series Sandhamn Murders. She has also written nonfiction books about business.

1961 – Angela Johnson, U.S. poet and children’s book author; her stories explore the African-American experience.

1963 – Lidia Yuknavitch, U.S. writer, teacher, and editor who is the author of the memoir The Chronology of Water and the novels The Small Backs of Children and Dora: A Headcase.

1964 – Ogunbayo Ayanlola Ohu (known as Bayo Ohu), Nigerian journalist and editor who was shot and killed at his home in Lagos in 2009; at the time the killing was deemed part of a robbery, but it is now believed to have been related to his job covering Nigerian politics.

1964 – Yang Yi (pen name of Liu Qiao), award-winning Chinese-born novelist and professor who has lived in Japan for much of her life; she is the only Chinese national and one of only two non-native Japanese speakers ever to be awarded the Akutagawa Prize, which she won for her Japanese-language novel Tokiga nijimu asa (A Morning When Time Blurs).

1967 – Kim Dae-seung, South Korean screenwriter and film director.

1968 – Alda Teodorani, Italian writer and professor who was one of the founders of the “Gruppo 13,” a group of authors of thrillers and noir stories; she has been called the “queen of Italian dark,” and one critic said that “Alda Teodorani’s stories are like my deepest nightmares.”

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