December 18 Writer Birthdays

1567 – Cornelius à Lapide, Belgian writer, theologian, university teacher, and priest.

1626 – Christina, Queen of Sweden, Swedish queen who was a writer, autobiographer, mathematician, philosopher, patron of the arts, newspaper founder, and one of the most learned women of the 17th century; she was controversial for her masculine style of dressing, her refusal to marry, and her lavish spending habits. She abdicated the throne in 1654.

1760 – Knud Lyne Rahbek, Danish writer, poet, professor, critic, literary historian, and magazine editor.

1805 – Adolphe Dumas, French author and poet who was one of the group of poets who made 1830 an epoch in French literature.

1814 – Marie Colban, Norwegian novelist, journalist, memoirist, short-story writer, and translator.

1819 – Yakov Petrovich Polonsky, leading Russian Pushkinist poet who tried to uphold the waning traditions of Russian Romantic poetry during the heyday of realistic prose.

1824 – Lal Behari Dey, Bengali Indian author and journalist who converted to Christianity and became a Christian missionary himself.

1828 – Abraham Viktor Rydberg, important Swedish novelist categorized as a classical idealist; he has been called “Sweden’s last Romantic.”

1856 – Graciano López Jaena, Filipino journalist, orator, propagandist, and revolutionary, best known for his written work, La Solidaridad.

1857 – Rosa Harriet Newmarch, English poet and influential writer about music; beginning in 1897 she did extensive research on Russian music, visiting Russia often and working at the Imperial Public Library of Saint Petersburg; she became one of the first English critics to champion Russian music, and then did the same for Slovak music.

1858 – Kata Dalström (full name Anna Maria Katarina Dalström, née Carlberg), Swedish socialist, writer, and politician who has been called, “the mother of the Swedish socialist working class movement.”

1870 – Saki, pen name of British writer Hector Hugh Munro, known for his witty short stories.

1873 – Edith Joan Lyttleton, Australasian and New Zealand author who wrote as G.B.
Lancaster; she produced 13 novels, two serialized novels, a collection of short stories, and more than 250 other short stories, often writing about the formation of colonial identity and the legacy of imperialism in the lives of settlers and their descendants. She was New Zealand’s most widely read writer of the first half of the twentieth century.

1881 – Emilio Carrere, Spanish writer who is best known for his 1920 gothic historical novel La torre de los siete jorobados (The Tower of the Seven Hunchbacks).

1888 – Sofía Sara Hübner Bezanill, Chilean feminist writer, journalist, and editor who was also known as Sara Hübner de Fresno and by her literary pseudonym Magda Sudermann).

1889 – Elsie Edith Bowerman, British lawyer, writer, suffragist, and RMS Titanic survivor.

1892 – María Esperanza Barrios, Uruguayan journalist, writer, and magazine co-founder who has often been cited as a precursor to the black feminist movement.

1899 – Vi Huyền Đắc, Vietnamese writer and playwright whose work denounced greed and poked fun at the Francophile Hanoi bourgeoisie.

1903 – Rokhl Auerbakh (also spelled Rokhl Oyerbakh and Rachel Auerbach), Israeli writer, essayist, historian, Holocaust scholar, and Holocaust survivor who wrote prolifically in both Polish and Yiddish, focusing on prewar Jewish cultural life and postwar Holocaust documentation and witness testimonies.

1905 – Banine (pen name for Umm-El-Banine Assadoulaeff), Azerbaijani and French writer who dedicated much of her writing to introducing the history and culture of Azerbaijan to France and Europe.

1907 – Christopher Fry, English poet and playwright whose dramas written in verse made him a key dramatist of the 1940s and 50s.

1908 – Bobojon Ghafurov (or Babadzan Gafurovich Gafurov), Tajik historian and academician who was the author of several books published in Russian and Tajik, including History of Tajikistan and The Tajiks.

1911 – Helen Vlachos, Greek writer, editor, author, activist, and newspaper publisher who was a legend of Greek journalism; for her refusal to acquiesce to the Greek junta’s demands that she censor her publications, for her resistance against the dictatorship, and for her contributions to freedom of the press, she was posthumously recognized as one of the World Press Freedom Heroes by the International Press Institute.

1913 – Alfred Bester, U.S. science-fiction author, screenwriter, comic-book writer, and magazine editor who won the first-ever Hugo award; he is credited with helping to invent modern science fiction.

1913 – Camil Sijaric, Yugoslavian novelist and short-story writer.

1915 – Vintilă Horia, award-winning Romanian writer and diplomat.

1917 – Ossie Davis, U.S. African-American dramatist, screenwriter, novelist, and actor who wrote the play Purlie Victorious and its musical adaptation Purlie, about a Southern Black preacher who hopes to establish a racially integrated church; he was married to actress and civil rights activist Ruby Dee.

1917 – Jose Maria Rivarola Matto, Paraguayan writer, essayist, narrator, playwright, and short-story writer; one literary critic said of him, “Rivarola Matto knows how to create the characters and the ambient, and combines skillfully the serious and the hilarious. He’s maybe the only outstanding Paraguayan writer with a fine sense of humor.”

1918 – Hal Kanter, U.S. screenwriter and comedy writer who penned movies and television shows and created the pioneering sitcom Julia, starring Diahann Carroll as Julia Baker, a widowed nurse bringing up a young son alone; it was the first show to feature a Black female lead.

1923 – T.S. Satyan, Indian photographer, writer, and photojournalist.

1925 – Geulah Cohen, award-winning Israeli writer, journalist, publisher, and politician who founded the Tehiya party.

1927 – Sterling Lanier, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy writer, editor, and sculptor; as an editor, his greatest contribution was championing the publication of the manuscript for what became Frank Herbert’s bestselling novel Dune.

1927 – Marilyn Sachs, award-winning U.S. children’s and young-adult novelist who has written more than 30 books.

1932 – Na. Parthasarathy, award-winning Indian journalist, magazine editor, and writer of Tamil-language historical novels; his many pen names include Theeran, Aravindan, Manivannan, Ponmudi, Valavan, Kadalazhagan, Ilampooranan, and Sengulam Veerasinga Kavirayar.

1935 – Jacques Pépin, French chef, author, and television personality who has written many cookbooks.

1939 – Michael Moorcock, English author of science-fiction, fantasy, and literary novels.

1943 – Violet Barungi, Ugandan writer, novelist, children’s author, and editor.

1946 – Steve Biko, South African writer, political organizer, and anti-apartheid activist who published articles under the pseudonym Frank Talk, and whose best known work is the book I Write What I Like: Selected Writings and The Testimony Of Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa. After being tortured and beaten by state security officers, he died of a massive brain hemorrhage in 1977.

1948 – Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, German fantasy author, children’s novelist, screenwriter, and poet whose most famous contribution to children’s fantasy is the bestselling Little Vampire series; Sommer-Bodenburg says her vampire “is not a bloodthirsty monster, however, but an affectionate little vampire with fears and foibles who will perhaps help free children of their own fears.” The books have been adapted to theatre, radio, cinema, and television.

1949 – Koigi wa Wamwere, Kenyan writer, politician, human-rights activist, and journalist and writer, famous for opposing both the Jomo Kenyatta and the Daniel arap Moi regimes, both of which sent him to detention.

1950 – Leonard Maltin, U.S. film critic, film historian, and author.

1961 – A.M. Homes, controversial, award-winning U.S. writer; her novel The End Of Alice raised hackles for its subject matter, a convicted child molester and murderer.

1971 – Barkha Dutt, award-winning Indian television journalist, editor, and columnist.

1973 – Lucy Worsley, English historian, young-adult novelist, nonfiction author, Jane Austen biographer, curator, and television presenter. She is best known as a BBC presenter on historical topics, especially about the English aristocracy.

1974 – Mazarine Marie Pingeot, French writer, journalist, essayist, philosopher, and professor.

1981 – Nives Celzijus Drpić (born Nives Zeljković), Croatian columnist, writer, model, and singer; her husband is Greek football player Dino Drpić.

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