September 28 Writer Birthdays

0551 BCE – Confucius, Chinese philosopher and politician who was traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages and one of the most important and influential individuals in human history; his teachings and philosophy formed the basis of East Asian culture and society, and continue to remain influential.

1493 – Agnolo Firenzuola, Italian Florentine poet, writer, fabulist, short-story writer, translator, and abbot.

1565 – Alessandro Tassoni, Italian poet, writer, and literary critic.

1788 – Charlotte Anne Eaton (née Waldie), English novelist, travel writer, memoirist, and banker.

1797 – Sophie von Knorring, Swedish novelist who is regarded as a pioneer of the realistic novel in Sweden; most of her novels are love stories set in an aristocratic environment.

1800 – Sibella Elizabeth Miles (née Hatfield), English novelist, writer, poet, and schoolteacher.

1803 – Prosper Mérimée, French dramatist and short-story writer who is best known for his novella Carmen, on which Bizet based the opera Carmen.

1810 – Inocêncio Francisco da Silva (often referred simply as Innocencio), Portuguese writer and bibliographer who compiled seven centuries’ worth of information about Portuguese-language authors up to the mid-19th century into one mammoth reference book.

1824 – Francis Turner Palgrave, British critic, anthologist, biographer, and poet who was best known for his literary criticism, which was seen as demonstrating sensitivity, tact, intuitive perception, and sound judgment.

1839 – Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard, U.S. writer, educator, temperance reformer, labor activist, and women’s suffragist who laid the groundwork that resulted in the passing of the Eighteenth (on Prohibition) and Nineteenth (on women’s suffrage) Amendments to the United States Constitution; during her lifetime, she succeeded in raising the age of consent in many states as well as passing labor reforms including the eight-hour workday.

1840 – Rudolf Baumbach, German poet and writer of the informal vagabond school; he also wrote many drinking songs, which endeared him to German students.

1840 – Ben Davies, Welsh author, minister, and sermon writer, best remembered for his four volumes of sermons.

1855 – John Muirhead Macfarlane, Scottish botanist, writer, and professor; he wrote and illustrated many books about botany, but is best known for his first book, The Causes and Course of Organic Evolution: A study in Bioenergics.

1857 – Matthias Johann Eisen, Estonian writer, folklorist, ethnologist, and professor who is most known for his very thorough collection and a systematic typology of Estonian folk tales, totaling more than 90,000 pages.

1856 – Kate Douglas Wiggin, U.S. educator and author of children’s stories, including the classic novel, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

1858 – Gustaf Kossinna, German writer, professor, archaeologist, anthropologist, and librarian who was one of the most prominent prehistorians of his day.

1861 – Alice de Chambrier, Swiss poet and writer whose masterpiece is Au-delà, an anthology of poems; she died at age 21.

1862 – Violet Hunt, British novelist and feminist writer who founded the Women Writers’ Suffrage League in 1908 and participated in the founding of International PEN.

1863 – Vladimir Obruchev, Russian writer, geologist, geographer, university teacher, paleontologist, children’s writer, and explorer who was one of the first Russian science-fiction writers; as a geologist, he specialized in the study of Siberia and Central Asia.

1867 – James Edwin Campbell, U.S. African-American educator, school administrator, newspaper editor, poet, and essayist who was the first principal of the West Virginia Colored Institute (present-day West Virginia State University) and is considered by the university to be its first president.

1868 – Evelyn Beatrice Hall, English writer and biographer best known for the biography, The Life of Voltaire; she often wrote under the pseudonym S.G. Tallentyre. She also wrote the book, The Friends of Voltaire, including her phrase: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs; that quotation – sometimes misattributed to Voltaire himself – is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.

1872 – David Unaipon, Indigenous Australian writer, preacher, and inventor; he is featured on the Australian $50 note in commemoration of his work.

1892 – Elmer Rice (born Elmer Leopold Reizenstein), U.S. playwright who is best known for his plays The Adding Machine and his Pulitzer Prize-winning drama of New York tenement life, Street Scene.

1935 – Simon Leys (pen name of Pierre Ryckmans), Belgian writer, sinologist, essayist, and literary critic who writes in French and English; he has written books on the Chinese Cultural Revolution and has translated important works of Chinese literature.

1938 – Rosario Ferré, Puerto Rican novelist, short-story writer, poet, biographer, essayist, professor, and translator who has written in both Spanish and English. Her father, Luis A. Ferré, was the third elected Governor of Puerto Rico; when her mother died, she took on the duties of First Lady for her father.

1944 – Marcia Muller, U.S. mystery and thriller novelist, best known for her Sharon McCone series.

1944 – Simon Winchester, British-born nonfiction author, journalist, travel writer, and novelist who lives mostly in the United States; he has covered numerous significant events including Bloody Sunday and the Watergate scandal; his books include The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary, which has been made into a film.

1945 – Alioune Badara Bèye, Senegalese civil servant, novelist, playwright, poet, and publisher.

1948 – Kim Yong Taik, modern South Korean poet and teacher whose work celebrates the simple images and experiences of rural life and criticizes city politicians and policymakers, using dialect, proverbs, colloquialisms, and traditional rhythms to strengthen the sense of rural community in his poetry.

1950 – Brian Keenan, Northern Irish writer whose work includes the book An Evil Cradling, an account of the four-and-a-half years he spent as a hostage in Beirut, Lebanon.

1952 – Hallgerður Gísladóttir, Icelandic ethnologist, anthropologist, writer, poet, and television presenter who specialized in Icelandic food traditions and gastronomy, as well as Icelandic man-made caves.

1955 – Lila Prap, Slovenian writer, children’s author, illustrator, and architect who is best known for her children’s picture books.

1956 – Antonio Soler, award-winning Spanish novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and journalist.

1959 – Michael Scott, Irish author, children’s writer, screenwriter, science-fiction and fantasy author, horror writer, and collector and editor of folklore; he also writes romance novels under the name Anna Dillon.

1960 – Andrew Brel, South African-born author, short-story writer, songwriter, and musician.

1960 – Marina Gershenovich, Russian writer, poet, translator, author, and linguist.

1961 – Tatiana de Rosnay, French novelist, journalist, screenwriter, and short-story writer who is best known for her bestselling novel Sarah’s Key, which was made into a film.

1965 – Antoine Rault, award-winning French dramatist and novelist whose works deal with both contemporary and historical themes.

1965 – Kenneth T. Williams, award-winning Canadian Cree playwright, journalist, and art and literature reviewer who also worked as an encyclopedia salesman, bartender, and drummer.

1967 – Fang Shimin (pen name Fang Zhouzi), Chinese popular scientific writer who is primarily known for his campaign against pseudoscience and fraud in China.

1969 – Piper Kerman, U.S. author of the memoir, Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison; the book has been adapted into an Emmy Award-winning television series for Netflix.

1972 – Heli Pauliina Laaksonen, Finnish poet, writer, and translator.

1974 – Martyna Wojciechowska (born Marta Eliza Wojciechowska), Polish writer, journalist, television presenter, mountaineer, and editor-in-chief of National Geographic Poland.

1978 – Rovshan Abdullaoglu, Azerbaijani writer, publicist, Oriental philosopher, psychologist, and theologian.

1985 – Helen Mort, award-winning British poet and novelist who was the Derbyshire Poet Laureate.

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