December 12 Writer Birthdays

1742 – Anna Seward, English Romantic poet who is often called the Swan of Lichfield; she also wrote novels and a biography.

1746 – José de la Cruz (more popularly known as Huseng Sisiw), key Filipino writer during the Spanish colonization of the Philippines; he is known as “Hari ng makatang Tagalog” (King of Tagalog poetry).

1821 – Gustave Flaubert, influential French author of literary realism best known for the classic novel Madame Bovary.

1897 – Lillian Smith, U.S. writer and social critic who was most remembered for her bestselling novel Strange Fruit.

1903 – Enid Balint (or Enid Flora Balint-Edmonds), British psychoanalyst and welfare worker who wrote extensively on psychoanalysis and patient-centered medicine.

1905 – Mulk Raj Anand, Indian writer who wrote in English about the lives of the poorer castes in traditional Indian society; a pioneer of Indo-Anglian fiction, he was one of the first Indian-based writers in English to gain an international readership.

1912 – Thorbjørn Egner, Norwegian writer, children’s author, screenwriter, playwright, composer, artist, and translator who is best known for his work for children.

1912 – Bilquis Sheikh, Pakistani author, autobiographer, and Christian missionary who made a high-profile conversion from Islam to Christianity after a series of visions and prophetic dreams; her autobiography was a bestselling book.

1914 – Patrick O’Brian, English novelist, famous for writing his series of books about the sea, set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars.

1920 – Elena Garro, Mexican screenwriter, journalist, playwright, short-story writer, and novelist, commonly affiliated with the Magical Realism movement (though she rejected that affiliation). She was married to poet Octavio Paz.

1925 – Ahmad Shamlou (also known by his pen name, A. Bamdad), Iranian poet, writer, journalist, playwright, screenwriter, children’s author, editor, translator, literary critic, linguist, and lexicographer; arguably the most influential poet of modern Iran, he was known for poetry that is complex, but with simple, everyday imagery familiar to his Iranian audience.

1929 – John Osborne, English playwright, screenwriter, and actor who is known for his scathing prose and intense criticism of established social and political norms ; his most famous work is the play Look Back in Anger.

1946 – Josepha Sherman, U.S. author, folklorist, and anthologist, known for her own fantasy novels as well as her work within the Star Trek universe.

1950 – Donato Francisco Ndongo-Bidyogo Makina, Equatorial Guinean and Spanish writer, journalist, and politician who is a prominent member of the Hispanic African movement.

1952 – Helen Dunmore, award-winning British poet, novelist, and children’s writer.

1954 – Tuija Lehtinen, Finnish novelist, children’s writer, screenwriter, and journalist, best known for her work on the animated series The Dibidogs, based on canine characters created by children.

1957 – Robert Lepage, award-winning Canadian playwright, actor, and director.

1962 – Leila Salikha Chudori, award-winning Indonesian journalist, short-story writer, and screenwriter whose first stories were published when she was only 12.

1967 – Sokhna Benga (Mbengue), Senegalese novelist and poet who writes in French.

1969 – Madeleine Wickham (born Madeleine Townley), English author of “chick lit” who is best known for work written under the pen name Sophie Kinsella.

1977 – Nadia Hashimi, U.S. pediatrician, children’s book author, and bestselling novelist; in 2018, she became the first Afghan-American woman to run for Congress but was defeated in her run as the Democratic candidate from Maryland’s 6th congressional district.

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