August 3 Writer Birthdays

1189 – Yelü Chucai, Chinese-born ethnic Khitan writer, poet, politician, and Confucian who was an adviser to Mongolian Emperor Genghis Khan.

1542 – Willem Canter, Dutch writer, editor, translator, philologist, and classical scholar.

1548 – Pari Khan Khanum (also spelled Parikhan Khanum) Safavid poet, writer, and princess who was the daughter of the Safavid king (shah) Tahmasp I and an influential figure in the Safavid state, even becoming de facto ruler for a short period; eventually she was strangled to death because her influence and power were perceived as dangerous. (Safavid was an Iranian empire.)

1640 – Daniel Sinapius-Horcicka, Slovak baroque writer, poet, dramatist, composer of hymns, and evangelical Protestant preacher.

1657 – Domenico Bernini, Italian writer, historian, and biographer who is best known for his published works about the history of the Catholic Church; he was the son of the famed artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, and wrote a biography that is one of the most important primary sources of material on the life of the painter.

1695 – Antonio Cocchi, Italian physician, naturalist, and writer who was best known for his work on anatomy.

1780 – Elizabeth Penrose (nee Cartwright, but better known by her pseudonym Mrs. Markham), English writer, historian, and children’s author; her best known book was A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the End of the Reign of George III. Her father, Edmund Cartwright, was the inventor of the power loom.

1787 – Nikolay Ivanovich Gretsch, Russian writer, journalist, literary critic, linguist, memoirist, and grammarian.

1795 – Anne Bignan, award-winning French poet, writer, linguist, and translator.

1832 – Edward Wilmot Blyden, Saint Thomas-born Liberian writer, journalist, politician, diplomat, and classical scholar. When he was refused admission to three theological seminaries because he was Black, he instead emigrated to Liberia and made his career and his life there.

1841 – Juliana Horatia Ewing, British author of children’s stories whose work has been called “the first outstanding child-novels in English literature.” Her writings display a sympathetic insight into children’s lives, an admiration for the military, and a strong religious faith.

1861 – Michel Jean Pierre Verne, French writer and editor who was the son of author Jules Verne; he wrote in a similar genre to his father, who considered him to be a good writer, but his works never became the classics that his father’s did. He was known for his wayward behavior; when he was in his teens, his father sent him to a penal colony for six months to straighten him out. At 19, he caused a scandal by eloping with an actress, and then left her a few years later to run away with a 16-year-old.

1871 – Vernon Louis Parrington, influential U.S. historian and football coach who won the Pulitzer Prize for History for his three-volume history, Main Currents in American Thought.

1882 – Alojz Gradnik, Slovenian poet, writer, translator, linguist, lawyer, and judge.

1882 – Vilém Mathesius, Czech linguist, literature historian, science writer, and professor; he is considered one of the founders of structural functionalism in linguistics.

1887 – Rupert Brooke, English poet known for his idealistic sonnets about World War I.

1898 – Marie Henriette Steil, Luxembourg writer, journalist, short-story writer, and feminist.

1899 – Marjorie Pollard, British writer, sports journalist, filmmaker, and professional field hockey player. She was the first woman to commentate on sport for the BBC; her first BBC commentary was on a men’s cricket match in 1935.

1902 – Regina Jonas, German Jewish sermon writer, theologian, educator, and activist for women’s roles in Judaism; she was the first woman to be ordained as a rabbi. She was killed in Auschwitz in 1944.

1904 – Clifford D. Simak, U.S. science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who won three Hugo awards and one Nebula award in his career and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America.

1907 – Margaret Jepson, English writer and artist who was also known by her married name Margaret Birkinshaw and her pen name Pearl Bellairs; her daughter, Fay Weldon, and father, Edgar Jepson, were both novelists.

1909 – Walter Van Tilburg Clark, U.S. novelist who wrote about northern Nevada in books including The Ox-Bow Incident and The City of Trembling Leaves.

1910 – Étienne Léro, French writer, poet, and literary journal founder who is regarded as the first person of African descent to publicly identify himself as a surrealist.

1918 – James MacGregor Burns, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, biographer, and political scientist.

1918 – Maria Aurelia Capmany i Farnés, Spanish Catalan novelist, playwright, screenwriter, translator, essayist, and politician who was also a prominent feminist cultural and anti-Franco activist.

1920 – P.D. James (Phyllis Dorothy James), English crime writer primarily known for the Adam Dalgliesh series of mysteries.

1921 – Hayden Carruth, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, and anthologist, lauded for his poetry collection Scrambled Eggs and Whiskey.

1922 – Mariano Lebrón Saviñón, Dominican poet, writer, historian, essayist, physician, and university teacher.

1923 – Roger Foulon, influential, prolific, and award-winning Belgian writer.

1924 – Anatoly Georgievich Aleksin, Russian novelist, poet, and children’s writer.

1924 – Amin Kamil, influential Indian poet, novelist, short-story writer, editor, literary critic, and playwright who was a major voice in Kashmiri poetry; he also helped create the modified alphabet now used for the Kashmiri language.

1924 – Leon Uris, U.S. historical novelist whose books, especially the bestselling Exodus, were known for in-depth research.

1928 – Cécile Aubry, French author, screenwriter, actress, dancer, and film director.

1928 – Yashwant Vithoba Chittal, Indian Kannada novelist, poet, critic, and short-story writer, of whom one critic said, “The kind of experimentation he did with language, style and narrative is unparalleled.”

1929 – Muhamed Filipovic, Bosnian politician, author, historian, and professor who was one of the most prominent Bosniak philosophers.

1929 – Annette Sanford, U.S. romance novelist whose pen names include Mary Carroll, Meg Dominique, Lisa St. John, and others.

1937 – Diane Wakoski, award-winning U.S. poet primarily associated with the deep image poets, as well as the confessional and Beat poets of the 1960s; she received considerable attention in the 1980s for controversial comments linking New Formalism with Reaganism.

1938 – Amy Myers, British mystery writer best known for her “Marsh and Daughter” mystery series, featuring a writing team consisting of a wheelchair bound ex-policeman and his daughter, and for another series featuring a Victorian era chef.

1941 – Martha Stewart, U.S. business magnate, author, editor, publisher, and television personality whose books include titles on cooking, entertaining, crafts, and gardening; after a stock-trading scandal, she spent five months in a federal prison.

1942 – Chen Zhongshi, award-winning Chinese author, screenwriter, and politician.

1943 – Steven Millhauser, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1962 – Abdo Khal, award-winning Saudi Arabian author and editor whose novels criticize the corruption of the very wealthy in the Arab world and are not available in his own country.

1965 – Christiaan Mathys Bakkes, South African writer and game ranger who works on education and advocacy projects on issues related to wildlife crime, environmental damage and social justice.

1968 – Ornela Vorpsi, Albanian writer and photographer who was named one of the 35 Best Writers of European Fiction.

1972 – Lauren Liebenberg, award-winning Zimbabwe-born South African novelist known for The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam.

1972 – Hoa Pham, award-winning Australian novelist, poet, children’s writer, playwright, and short-story writer of Vietnamese descent.

1976 – Bassey Ikpi, Nigerian-born U.S. spoken-word poet, writer, and mental health advocate; she is also the author of a bestselling book of essays, I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying.

1986 – Charlotte Casiraghi, Monaco journalist, writer, politician, equestrian, and royalty; her maternal grandparents were Prince Rainier III and American actress Grace Kelly; Casiraghi is eleventh in line for the throne of Monaco.

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