August 21 Writer Birthdays

1784 – Christina Charlotta Ulrika Berger (née Cronhielm af Hakunge), Swedish writer, translator, poet, novelist, playwright, and songwriter.

1798 – Jules Michelet, French historian, professor, and author credited with coining the word “Renaissance.”

1841 – Maria Alinda Bonacci Brunamonti, Italian poet and scholar whose poetry was first published when she was just 14; her poetry dealt with contemporary issues — especially conflicts such as the 1859 Perugia uprising, the Battle of Magenta, and the Battle of Solferino — and used classical meter and verse structures. She was also the first woman in Italy to vote.

1886 – Ruth Manning-Sanders, British poet and author whose children’s books collected and retold fairy tales from around the world.

1897 – Constance McLaughlin Green, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. urban historian and author.

1906 – Friz Freleng, U.S. cartoonist, animator, screenwriter, and producer for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons under the Warner Bros. banner.

1908 – M.M. Kaye, Indian-born British author, illustrator, screenwriter, and children’s writer who who was best known for her bestselling novel, The Far Pavilions, set in British-controlled India; her real name was May Margaret (Mollie) Kaye.

1910 – Dmytro Blazejowskyj, Ukrainian Catholic priest, church historian, museum founder, artist, and writer of scholarly articles on the history of the Ukrainian church; he was also well known in the Ukraine for his sketches of traditional Ukrainian embroidery.

1915 – Ismat Chughtai, Indian Urdu novelist, short-story writer, and filmmaker who wrote in a realistic style on themes including female sexuality and femininity, middle-class gentility, and class conflict, often from a Marxist perspective, establishing herself as a significant voice in 20th century Urdu literature.

1920 – Don E. Fehrenbacher, Pulitzer Prize winning U.S. historian and author best known for his writings on politics, slavery, and Abraham Lincoln.

1921 – T.K. Doraiswamy (also known by his pen names Nakulan and S. Nayar), Indian poet, novelist, short-story writer, translator, and professor who wrote both in Tamil and English; he is known for his surrealism and experimentation as well as his free verse.

1921 – Babbis Friis-Baastad (née Blauenfeld), award-winning Norwegian children’s author.

1921 – Devarakonda Balagangadhara Tilak, influential Indian Telugu poet, novelist, and short-story writer who wrote his first published story at age 11; his poetry collection Amrutham Kurisina Ratri was called a “milestone in modern Telugu.”

1925 – Margit Frenk Freund (full name Margarita Ana María Frenk y Freund), German-born Mexican philologist, folklorist and translator; she is sometimes known by her married name, Margit Frenk Alatorre.

1926 – Sonia de Borodesky, award-winning Vietnamese-born novelist and autobiographer who fought as a French Resistance member during the Second World War and was the first woman in France to become a professional mariner.

1926 – Can Yücel, Turkish poet, writer, linguist, and translator who was noted for his use of colloquial language.

1929 – X.J. Kennedy, U.S. poet, translator, editor, and author of children’s literature and writing guides; he added the “X” as a first initial to distinguish himself from dynasty founder and political mastermind Joseph P. Kennedy.

1932 – José Antonio del Busto Duthurburu, Peruvian writer, historian, professor, and chronicler of the First Peruvian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica.

1934 – Gennady Nikolaevich Aygi, Russian Chuvash poet and translator.

1935 – Mart Crowley, U.S. playwright and television writer, best known for his play Boys in the Band, which was considered groundbreaking for its portrayal of gay life.

1936 – Luisa Isabel Alvarez de Toledo y Maura (21st Duchess of Medina Sidonia), Spanish historian and book author who was the holder of the Dukedom of Medina Sidonia; her left-wing, pro-democracy activism and her imprisonment for anti-Francoist activities led to her nickname La Duquesa Roja or The Red Duchess.

1937 – Robert Stone, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist who has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Time magazine included his novel Dog Soldiers on its list of the 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.

1938 – Mudrooroo, pen name for Australian novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright Colin Thomas Johnson, who has been described as one of the most enigmatic literary figures of Australia; his many works are centered on Australian aboriginal characters and themes. He was also known as Mudrooroo Narogin and Mudrooroo Nyoongah; “Narogin” is the Indigenous spelling for his place of birth, and Nyoongah is the culture of his ancestors.

1941 – Carmen Ibis Novoa, award-winning Uruguayan and Australian artist, painter, author, short-story writer, and poet.

1943 – Jonathan Schell, U.S. author and professor whose work argued against the proliferation of nuclear weapons; he was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award.

1943 – Lucius Shepard, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist and short-story writer whose work often leaned into other genres, such as magical realism.

1943 – Samara Wijesinghe, Sri Lankan, author, poet, short-story writer, blogger, and engineer.

1944 – Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo (born Cristina Pantoja), award-winning Filipina fiction writer, autobiographer, travel writer, essayist, critic, and professor who is best known as a pioneering writer of creative nonfiction.

1945 – Lev Osipovich Alburt, Russian-born Ukrainian chess Grandmaster who defected to the United States and has written a series of bestselling chess books; he was a three-time national chess champion in both the Ukraine and the U.S.

1947 – Abul Hasan, award-winning Bangladeshi poet and journalist whose poems reflect feelings of grief, self-abnegation, and loneliness, and are preoccupied with visions of death and ideas of separation.

1948 – Sharon Draper, U.S. novelist, children’s writer, and teacher who is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for books about the adolescent African-American experience.

1949 – Daniel Sivan, Moroccan-born Israeli linguist, lexicographer, professor, musician, publisher, and radio broadcaster, much of whose academic work focuses on the ancient Hebrew language, northwestern Semitic tongues, and Jewish grammarians of the Middle Ages.

1951 – Cecilie Løveid, Norwegian novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, and writer of children’s books.

1953 – Daniel Shabetai Milo (born Daniel Milwitzky), Israeli-French philosopher, novelist, writer, historian, and film and theater director.

1953 – Arthur Yorinks, U.S. children’s author who is also a writer and director for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio; he is considered one of the leading figures in the reinvention of audio theater.

1954 – Claudia Mills, U.S. librarian, professor, and children’s book author; early in her career, as a secretary at a publishing firm, she submitted manuscripts to the company under an assumed name and had to write rejection letters to herself.

1958 – Mansoureh Shojaee, Iranian author, memoirist, and women’s rights activist.

1966 – Denise Mina, Scottish crime writer, poet, novelist, comic writer, playwright, and lawyer who has written novels featuring the character Patricia “Paddy” Meehan, a Glasgow journalist; some of her books have been adapted for television.

1978 – Therese Bohman, Swedish novelist, editor, art critic, and journalist; one critic said her fiction “strikes the right balance between lavish prose and simple storytelling—allowing her books to be both beautiful literary objects and vehicles which engage readers through larger ideas.”

1987 – Marianne Clementine Håheim, award-winning Norwegian poet and novelist.

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