January 2 Writer Birthdays

1338 – Jean d’Outremeuse (also called Jean des Preis), Belgian writer and historian who wrote two romanticized historical works and a book about coloring glass to make fake gemstones; his book La Geste de Liége is an account of the mythical history of his native city, Liège, written partly in prose and partly in verse.

1403 – Basilios Bessarion, Turkish-born Greek scholar, writer, diplomat, and priest who was a Roman Catholic cardinal bishop and the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, as well as one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century.

1671 – Diana Astry, English diarist and writer who compiled a recipe book containing 375 recipes; the book is important in that it reflects the lifestyle of the upper middle classes in England and the housekeeping knowledge required to run a country house.

1752 – Philip Morin Freneau, U.S. poet and political gazette editor who was one of the first poets to use themes from U.S. nature, anticipating the English Romantics.

1814 – Luise Mühlbach, pen name of Clara Mundt, German writer best known for her popular works of historical fiction.

1815 – Isidoro de María, Uruguayan author, journalist, historian, diplomat, and politician.

1828 – Elizabeth Rundle Charles, prolific English writer of poems, stories, biography, and religious books, and translator of hymns.

1852 – Abdülhak Hâmid Tarhan, Turkish Romantic poet and playwright.

1856 – Alice Abadam, Welsh writer, public speaker, artist, and suffragette.

1859 – Constance Lloyd, English author, poet, journalist, literary critic, and children’s writer who married Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.

1873 – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, French Roman Catholic nun, writer, and autobiographer best known for The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

1896 – Khagendranath Mitra, prolific, award-winning Bengali Indian writer of novels and short stories for children and young adults.

1897 – Hansi Bochow-Blüthgen (real name Hanna Dora Margarethe, née Blüthgen, pen name: Lore Wiesner), well-known German author, editor, and translator.

1911 – Akimoto Matsuyo, Japanese realist playwright and screenwriter; she was one of the leading playwrights of post war Japan, and was known primarily for her shingeki plays, though she also wrote classical puppet bunraku and kabuki dramas. As a realist playwright, she used her work to make political statements in order to warn the greater Japanese community that the government was trying to continue the pre-war imperial system of capitalism, militarism, and patriarchy.

1915 – John Hope Franklin, U.S. African-American writer and historian who specialized in American history; he is best known for his bestselling book From Slavery to Freedom, and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

1920 – Isaac Asimov, Russian-born U.S. biochemistry professor and author, known for his science fiction but also prolific in mystery, fantasy, and popular science writing; he first coined the word robot. He also enjoyed writing off-color poetry and once published a volume called Lecherous Limericks.

1920 – Anna Langfus (born Anna-Regina Szternfinkiel), award-winning Polish and French Jewish author who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto and was also a concentration camp survivor.

1921 – Jan Slepian, U.S. author of poetry, as well as books for children and young adults; she was also a psychologist.

1931 – Zakaria Tamer (زكريا تامر‎, also transliterated Zakariya Tamir or Zakariyyā Tāmir), Syrian short-story writer, children’s author, journalist, satirist, newspaper columnist, and editor who is one of the most important and widely read and translated short-story writers in the Arab world.

1933 – Seiichi Morimura (森村 誠), Japanese novelist and author, best known for the controversial The Devil’s Gluttony, which revealed atrocities committed by a unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

1934 – Myrna Casas, Puerto Rican experimental playwright, writer, director, actress, and theatre scholar.

1935 – Francesca Duranti, Italian writer and lawyer whose award-winning novels explore the interactions between life and art, including some works based on her own life experiences.

1937 – Chandrashekhara Kambara, prominent Indian poet, playwright, folklorist, and film director, known for effective adaptation of the North Karnataka dialect of the Kannada language in his plays and poems, and for his use of folklore and mythology interlinked with contemporary issues.

1940 – Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling U.S. author of mystery, historical fiction, and memoir.

1940 – Louise Smit (née Louise Sophia Bekker), South African writer of children’s books and of children’s television programs.

1945 – Diane Mary Fahey, award-winning Australian poet and literary mystery novelist; much of her work focuses on nature writing, Greek myths, visual art, and fairy tales.

1949 – Christopher Ferdinand Durang, U.S. playwright known for works of outrageous and often absurd comedy.

1951 – André Aciman, Egyptian-born novelist, memoirist, and professor of literature.

1951 – Kim Byeong-eon, Korean novelist and short-story writer whose works can be classified as realism, with colorful and careful portrayals of diverse communal scenes from everyday life; his writing is known for its solid, smooth prose, elaborate and well-crafted plots, vivid descriptions, and open-endedness, which encourages readers to draw their own conclusions.

1954 – Amaka Igwe, Nigerian writer, filmmaker, film producer, broadcasting executive, and teacher; she is remembered for raising the standards in movie and TV production in Nigeria.

1954 – Évelyne Trouillot, award-winning Haitian novelist, children’s author, and university teacher who writes in both French and Creole.

1955 – Yusuf Abu Rayya, Egyptian author, journalist, short-story writer, and children’s writer.

1956 – Lynda Barry, U.S. cartoonist, writer, memoirist, and professor; in recognition of her contributions to the comic art form, Comics Alliance listed Barry as one of twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition.

1957 – Kate (Kathryn) Holmquist, award-winning U.S.-born Irish journalist, novelist, editor, and memoirist who had “a wonderful writing talent and a deep, compassionate understanding of the complexities of human nature.” She died of drowning in 2019.

1958 – Ahmed Hasan Ali Al-Gubbanchi, Iraqi writer and intellectual who focuses on developing a “Civil Islam” which is consistent with human rights, justice, and modern circumstances.

1969 – Sarita Skagnes, (born Satwant Kaur), Indian-born Norwegian author and speaker whose work focuses on helping women and girls in India.

1979 – Tobias S. Buckell, Grenadian-born author and science-fiction writer.

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