June 23 Writer Birthdays

1563 – Elizabeth Jane Weston (known in Czech as Alžbeta Johana Vestonie), English and Czech poet who was mostly known for her Neo-Latin poetry and was unusual for a woman of her day in that her poetry was published; she was fluent in at least five languages. Her birthdate has also been given as 1582.

1807 – Théophile Thoré-Bürger, French journalist, art critic, writer, art historian, journalist, and art collector.

1889 – Anna Akhmatova (pen name for Anna Andreyevna Gorenko), Russian poet, literary critic, and translator who was one of the most important Russian poets of the 20th century.

1898 – Winifred Holtby, British novelist, journalist, Virginia Woolf biographer, and suffragist; her best known work, the novel South Riding, was published posthumously.

1894 – Alfred Kinsey, U.S. biologist and sexologist who was one of the authors of the controversial Kinsey Reports.

1901 – Ahmet Hamdi Tanpinar, Turkish poet, novelist, literary scholar, and essayist who is widely regarded as one of the most important representatives of modernism in Turkish literature, and who was also a member of Turkish Parliament.

1905 – Kosaraju Raghavaiah, Indian Telugu poet, writer, songwriter, and lyricist whose work was steeped in Telugu folklore and rural idiom.

1922 – Wil Huygen, Dutch writer, children’s author, and physician, best known for his picture books about gnomes.

1924 – Kamala Markandaya (pseudonym for Kamala Purnaiya Taylor), bestselling Indian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who was known for writing about the culture clash between Indian urban and rural societies.

1928 – Michael Shaara, U.S. author of science fiction, sports fiction, and historical fiction who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his historical novel about the American Civil War, The Killer Angels, which was the basis for the film Gettysburg.

1936 – Richard Bach, U.S. author best known for his 1970 bestselling novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a fable whose main character is a seagull trying to learn about life and flight. Bach named the seagull after John H. Livingston, a test pilot who died of a heart attack after test flying an acrobatic home-built Pitts Special. The book met with mixed reviews from critics, being called both one of fifty “timeless spiritual classics,” and “so banal that it had to be sold to adults; kids would have seen through it.”

1948 – Nabarun Bhattacharya, award-winning Indian Bengali novelist and poet who was committed to revolutionary and radical aesthetics.

1948 – Merryl Wyn Davies, Welsh Muslim scholar, writer, journalist, author, and anthropologist who specializes in Islam.

1953 – Manjula Padmanabhan, award-winning Indian playwright, journalist, short-story writer, columnist, comic-strip artist, and children’s book author and illustrator.

1956 – Mai Yamani (Arabic: مي يماني‎), Egyptian-born author, scholar, and anthropologist; much of her work explores the tension between perceptions of tradition and modernity in Saudi Arabia.

1958 – Steven Dietz, U.S. dramatist and theater director who has been called “the most ubiquitous American playwright whose name you may never have heard.”

1961 – David Leavitt, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, editor, and professor.

1961 – Vikas Swarup, Indian diplomat and novelist whose best known novel is Q&A, which was adapted in film as the award-winning Slumdog Millionaire.

1964 – Joss Whedon, Oscar-nominated U.S. film and television director and producer, novelist, screenwriter, composer, animator, comic-book writer, and science-fiction writer who is best known for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly television series and the Avengers superhero films, while at the same time reviled for alleged abusive behavior against young actresses.

1971 – Nona Fernández (real name Patricia Paola Fernández Silanes), award-winning Chilean writer, screenwriter, writer, and playwright.

1975 – Markus Zusak, bestselling, award-winning Australian novelist for adults and teens, best known for his World War II novel, The Book Thief.

1978 – Sue Nyathi, Zimbabwean novelist who now lives in South Africa; a critic has called her a “powerful literary force” whose work “exquisitely captures the complexities of family, culture and the societal constructs that surround women.”

1980 – Becky Cloonan, Italian-born U.S. comic book writer, artist, and creator who was the first female artist to draw the main Batman title for DC Comics.

1980 – Farhat Ishtiaq, is Pakistani novelist and screenwriter whose work focuses on Pakistani society.

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