August 19 Writer Birthdays

1631 – John Dryden, England’s first poet laureate; he was also a dramatist.

1689 – Samuel Richardson, English writer and printer whose three most important novels were written in epistolary style; he is best known for Pamela.

1740 – Alexandra Fedotovna Rzevskaya (née Kamenskaya), Russian writer, poet, novelist, and artist who published poetry and an epistolary novel.

1778 – Sophie Friederike Karoline Luise of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, German princess who was an aunt to Queen Victoria of England; Sophie was also a writer, best known for publishing a romantic collection of fairy tales.

1780 – Pierre-Jean de Béranger, French writer, poet, composer, songwriter, and cabaret singer; he was described as “the first superstar of French popular music,” and enjoyed great popularity during his lifetime, but he faded into obscurity in the decades following his death.

1807 – Jane Wells Webb Loudon, English novelist, botanist, and early pioneer of science fiction who wrote before the term was invented and was discussed for a century as a writer of Gothic fiction, fantasy, and horror; she also created the first gardening manuals intended for a mainstream audience rather than horticultural specialists.

1839 – Kume Kunitake, Japanaese writer, historian, painter, and university teacher.

1843 – Charles Montagu Doughty, English travel writer whose observations on Arabia and Arab life are the subject of his Travels in Arabia Deserta.

1844 – Minna Canth, Finnish novelist and dramatist.

1855 – Linda Malnati, Italian writer, educator, trade unionist, pacifist, and women’s rights activist; she is remembered for her efforts to improve working conditions for teachers, for her magazine articles calling for improved working conditions for women, and her activism for women’s suffrage.

1858 – Ellen Ann Willmott, influential award-winning English horticulturist and photographer who wrote books about gardening; more than 60 plants have been named after her or her home, Warley Place.

1900 – Gontran De Poncins (full name Jean-Pierre Gontran de Montaigne, Vicomte de Poncins), French writer, journalist, paratrooper, and adventurer.

1902 – Ogden Nash, U.S. writer of much-quoted humorous poems, including, “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.”

1903 – James Gould Cozzens, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist and short-story writer known for his penchant for privacy; a critic of modernism, he once said, “I can’t read ten pages of Steinbeck without throwing up.”

1905 – Pedro García Cabrera, Canarian Spanish writer and poet; a member of the Generation of ’27, he is considered one of the greatest poets of the Canary Islands.

1907 – Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, Indian Hindi novelist, literary historian, essayist, critic, and scholar.

1907 – Radovan Zogovic, Montenegrin poet, writer, and politician; his poetry at first was socially engaged and critical of society, while his later work is characterized by prominent motifs of his homeland and the landscape, fate, reflections on youth, and the passage of time.

1908 – Josephine Jacobsen, National Book Award-winning Canadian-born U.S. poet, short-story writer, essayist, and critic who was appointed U.S. Poet Laureate.

1909 – Jerzy Andrzejewski, prolific Polish novelist author whose writing confronts controversial moral issues; he is best known for his work about the Holocaust. One of his books, The Gates of Paradise, is notable for being written almost without punctuation, in only two sentences.

1911 – Anna A. A. Terruwe, Dutch psychiatrist and author; she discovered emotional deprivation disorder and developed treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder; she said her theories were based on Thomas Aquinas’s understanding of what he calls the “nature of man.” The Dutch Catholic Jesuit order was suspicious of her work and issued a ban: it was forbidden for priest students to see ‘female psychiatrists’ (Terruwe was the only one in the country at the time). Later the church recanted; even the Pope consulted her on occasion.

1915 – Ring Lardner Jr., U.S. screenwriter, publicist, and journalist who was blacklisted by the Hollywood film studios during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 1950s; he was the son of sports columnist, satirist, short-story writer, and critic Ring Lardner Sr.

1919 – Qin Mu, Hong Kong-born Chinese essayist, novelist, poet, critic, playwright, and educator; he was best known for his essays, particularly “Travels in Xinjiang,” which is included in high-school textbooks.

1921 – Gene Roddenberry, U.S. writer, television screenwriter and producer, novelist, science-fiction writer, and airline pilot; he is best known as the creator of Star Trek.

1925 – Hong Yun-Suk, Korean writer who was considered one of the leading Korean poets of her generation; she was also known by her pen name YeoSa, meaning Beautiful Story.

1927 – John Caselberg (full name Fitzclarence Anstey John Caselberg), New Zealand poet, playwright, essayist, and short-story writer.

1928 – Slobodan “Danko” Popovic, award-winning Serbian novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and screenwriter.

1929 – Raouf Salama Moussa, notable Egyptian bacteriologist, writer, biographer, science writer, lexicographer, editor, and publisher; he wrote in Arabic, English, German, and French.

1930 – David G. Compton, British author of science-fiction, mystery, and crime novels who has also written short stories, radio plays, and a nonfiction book on stammering; his work displays an acute moral sense and traditional values. He has written under various names, including D.G. Compton, Guy Compton, and Frances Lynch.

1930 – Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize winning Irish-U.S. novelist, autobiographer, librettist, and teacher, best known for his bestselling memoir, Angela’s Ashes.

1936 – Abubakar Siddique, award-winning Bangladeshi poet, novelist, short-story writer, and critic.

1936 – Michael Wood, British author, biographer, reviewer, columnist, professor, and literary and cultural critic critical. He has written on topics including writers Vladimir Nabokov, Luis Buñuel, Franz Kafka, and Gabriel García Márquez; the trans-historical appeal of the oracle, from the Greeks to the cinema; and relations between contemporary fiction and storytelling.

1937 – Alexander Valentinovich Vampilov, Russian playwright, many of whose works have been adapted for television or film.

1939 – Luis de Lión (born José Luis de León Díaz), Guatemalan writer who was kidnapped in 1984 by Guatemalan Army intelligence agents, and “disappeared”; his posthumously published novel, El tiempo principia en Xibalbá (Time Commences in Xibalbá) is considered an important work in modern Central American literature.

1942 – Ajmer Singh Aulakh, renowned Indian playwright who wrote in the Punjabi language.

1943 – Luigi Zoja, Italian psychoanalyst, author, essayist, economist, educator, and sociologist; he has been called an “anthropological psychologist for his essays that interpret present-day predicaments (addiction, limitless consumption, the absence of the father, paranoid projections in politics, etc.) by placing them in the light of persistent ancient patterns, as expressed in myth and classical literature.

1944 – Jack Canfield, U.S. author and motivational speaker; he is best known as the co-creator of the popular “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books.

1944 – Bodil Malmsten, Swedish poet, novelist, children’s author, and journalist.

1944 – Jürg Weibel, acclaimed Swiss novelist, playwright, poet, short-story writer, journalist, and teacher, best known for his historical novels.

1948 – Nayden Apostolov, Bulgarian geographer, writer, and professor.

1948 – Eamonn Fingleton, Irish economist and financial journalist; his most popular book is In the Jaws of the Dragon: America’s Fate in the Coming Era of Chinese Dominance.

1948 – Petr Mikeš, influential Czech poet, translator, screenwriter, and editor; he is well known for translating into Czech the works of Ezra Pound and James Joyce.

1949 – Julio Carreras, Argentine author, journalist, magazine publisher, mural painter, and former guerrilla fighter.

1950 – Kari Bøge, award-winning Norwegian poet, novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, and illustrator.

1950 – Sudha Murthy (née Kulkarni), Indian novelist, engineering teacher, and social worker who writes in Kannada, Marathi, and English; she is also chairperson of the Infosys Foundation, has founded several orphanages, took part in rural development projects, and initiated a program to put computer and library facilities in all schools in Karnataka.

1950 – Mary Doria Russell, award-winning U.S. novelist and anthropologist who has written historical fiction and science fiction; her books are noted for excellent writing and meticulous research.

1951 – Ana Miranda, Brazilian poet and novelist, especially of historical fiction; much of her work concerns the conflicts of women trying to balance careers and families.

1953 – Noura Borsali, Tunisian academic, journalist, writer, columnist, literary and film critic, trade unionist, human-rights activist, and feminist.

1959 – Pierre Decock, Belgian-born Luxembourgian historian, writer, painter, illustrator, financial adviser, and screenwriter who writes in French.

1961 – Kátya Pujals Chamma, Brazilian author, poet, composer, songwriter, singer, and television producer.

1961 – Jonathan Coe, English author of political satires.

1963 – Klaus-Jürgen Wrede, German writer, game writer, music teacher, and board game creator, best known for creating the popular games Carcassonne and The Downfall of Pompeii.

1966 – Raeesh Maniar, Indian Gujarati-language poet, translator, playwright, columnist, lyricist, reference-book author, and scriptwriter.

1966 – Heloísa Perlingeiro Périssé, Brazilian writer, comedian, and actress.

1970 – Luc Bürgin, Swiss writer, publicist, journalist, editor, and science writer who is best known for his writings on fringe science and popular science.

1972 – Cheryl Rainfield, Canadian novelist, blogger, and children’s writer.

1976 – Ucu Agustin, Indonesian journalist, short-story writer, children’s author, and documentary filmmaker.

1988 – Veronica Roth, U.S. author who is best known for the blockbuster bestselling “Divergent” series of dystopian young-adult novels, which were made into popular films.

1989 – Ekaterina Karabasheva, award-winning Bulgarian author, poet, haiku poet, short-story writer, and children’s writer.

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