January 5 Writer Birthdays

1620 – Count Miklós Zrínyi, Hungarian poet, statesman, and military leader.

1762 – Constanze Mozart (full name Maria Constanze Cäcilia Josepha Johanna Aloysia Mozart, née Weber), Austrian singer who coauthored a biography of her first husband, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; she also worked to publish and popularize his work.

1780 – Madame de Rémusat (full name Claire Élisabeth Jeanne Gravier de Vergennes de Rémusat), French writer, lady-in-waiting, and salonnière.

1806 – Anna Richardson, British Quaker slavery abolitionist and peace campaigner who wrote and edited anti-slavery journals and texts

1846 – Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Nobel Prize-winning German philosopher.

1848 – Hristo Botev (born Hristo Botyov Petkov), Bulgarian revolutionary and poet who is widely considered by Bulgarians to be a symbolic historical figure and national hero.

1894 – Agnes Wright Spring, U.S. journalist, writer, and historian who wrote books focusing on the history of Wyoming and the American West.

1902 – Stella Gibbons, English novelist best known for her debut work, Cold Comfort Farm.

1902 – Véra Nabokov, Russian writer, editor, and translator who was married to author Vladimir Nabokov and inspired many of his works.

1906 – Kathleen Kenyon, British author, educator, and archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent; she led excavations of Tell es-Sultan, the site of ancient Jericho, from 1952 to 1958, and has been called one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century.

1917 – Malooru Krishnarao Indira, award-winning Indian novelist in the Kannada language.

1921 – Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Swiss playwright and novelist; he was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II.

1925 – P.A.K. Aboagye, Ghanaian poet, essayist, novelist, lexicographer, and historian of the Nzema language.

1926 – W.D. Snodgrass, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who is considered one of the founders of the “confessional” movement in American poetry, though he objected to the name; he sometimes used the pseudonym S.S. Gardons.

1927 – Vidadi Babanli, award-winning Azerbaijani writer, dramatist, and playwright.

1929 – Veronica Brady, Australian writer, academic, biographer, broadcaster, and nun.

1929 – Robert Kinloch Massie III, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer “who wrote gripping, tautly narrated, and immensely popular books on giants of Russian history”; his best known book is Nicholas and Alexandra, about the last Romanov tsar and his family.

1932 – Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and essayist best known for his first novel, The Name of the Rose.

1935 – Forough Farrokhzad, influential modernist Iranian poet, writer, filmmaker, and actor.

1936 – Florence King, U.S. novelist, essayist, and columnist whose works include Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, and With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look At Misanthropy.

1938 – Ngugi wa Thiong’o (also known as James T. Ngugi), Kenyan novelist, dramatist, and critic who is a significant East African writer.

1939 – Luisa Futoransky, Argentine writer, poet, and translator, living in France.

1940 – Jennifer Westwood, British author, broadcaster, philosopher, editor, broadcaster, and folklorist with special interests in the English Language, Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse; she also wrote books under the name of Jennifer Chandler.

1941 – Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese author, manga writer, film animation artist, screenwriter, and film director.

1942 – Terenci Moix (real name Ramon Moix i Meseguer), Spanish Catalan writer who wrote in both Spanish and in Catalan; he is brother of poet and novelist Anna Maria Moix.

1942 – Michael Wilding, British-born Australian writer, novelist, critic, and professor.

1947 – Saskia Sassen, Dutch writer, sociologist, economist, urban planner, and professor noted for her analyses of globalization and international human migration; she coined the term global city.

1950 – Leda Nagle, Brazilian journalist, writer, actress, and television presenter.

1954 – László Krasznahorkai, Hungarian novelist and screenwriter who is known for critically difficult, demanding modernist novels with dystopian and melancholic themes.

1961 – Isabel Gemio Cardoso, Spanish journalist and radio and television presenter; she was married to Cuban sculptor Nilo Manrique.

1966 – Tananarive Due, American Book Award-winning U.S. African-American author, journalist, film historian, and educator who often writes about Black horror films.

1968 – Bonny Hicks, controversial Singaporean writer, philosopher, columnist, and model who gained recognition for her contributions to post-colonial literature; her first book, Excuse Me, Are You A Model?, is recognized as a significant milestone in the literary and cultural history of Singapore. At age 29, she was one of 104 passengers on SilkAir Flight 185, which crashed on Sumatra in 1997, killing everyone aboard.

1975 – Jude Dibia, award-winning Nigerian novelist and short-story writer whose first novel, Walking with Shadows, is counted as the first Nigerian novel with a gay man as its central character.

1978 – Seanan McGuire, U.S. urban fantasy author known for her October Daye series; winner of the Campbell Award, Nebula Award, and multiple Hugo Awards; she also writes science fiction under the name Mira Grant. She has described her interests as including “swamps, long walks, long walks in swamps, things that live in swamps, horror movies, strange noises, musical theater, reality TV, comic books, finding pennies on the street, and venomous reptiles.”

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