January 9 Writer Birthdays

1665 – Béat Louis de Muralt, Swiss author and travel writer whose principal work is Lettres sur les Anglois et les François et sur les voiages, translated into English as Letters Describing the Character and Customs of the English and French Nations.

1714 – Elisabeth Stierncrona, Swedish countess and writer who wrote about politics.

1728 – Thomas Warton, English critic and poet who became British Poet Laureate.

1745 – Gavriil Petrovich Gagarin, Russian writer, senator, politician, government minister, and prince who was a key figure in the Masonic movement in Russia.

1790 – Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish romantic poet, literary biographer, and professor.

1802 – Catharine Parr Traill, English-born Canadian author, naturalist, writer, botanist, children’s writer, scientific illustrator, and botanical artist who wrote about life in Canada and its natural history; she is considered important because she pioneered European investigations into Canada’s natural history and also, through her writing, related the colonial experience and the natural environment of Canada for English readers.

1810 – Ellen Henrietta Ranyard, English writer and missionary who worked with the poor of London.

1811 – Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, English writer and humorist whose family claimed descent from Thomas Becket.

1829 – Thomas William Robertson, English playwright and writer whose works were distinguished by their naturalistic style and treatment of contemporary social issues, in contrast to the melodramatic style of play that was popular at the time.

1831 – Agaton Giller, Polish politician, historian, author, and journalist who, along with his brother Stefan Giller, played keys role in the Polish independence movement and the January 1863 Uprising.

1832 – S. Anna Gordon, U.S. physician and author who is best known for her book Camping in Colorado with Suggestions to Gold Seekers, Tourists and Invalids.

1832 – Félix-Gabriel Marchand, Canadian journalist, author, and politician who was Premier of Quebec.

1837 – Anna Elizabeth Reuss of Köstritz, German poet and playwright who was a princess by birth and countess by marriage.

1839 – Sarah Jane Rees (also known by her bardic name, Cranogwen), Welsh teacher, poet, editor, and temperance campaigner.

1845 – Laure Conan (pen name of Marie-Louise-Félicité Angers), Canadian writer, journalist, religious writer, and biographer who is regarded as the first true French-Canadian female novelist.

1847 – O. Chandu Menon (full name Rao Bahadur Oyyarathu Chandu Menon), Indian Malayalam-language novelist who wrote Indulekha, the first major novel written in Malayalam published.

1849 – Laura Kieler (born Laura Anna Sophie Müller), Norwegian-Danish novelist who wrote in Danish; events from her life and marriage served as the inspiration for the character Nora Helmer in her friend Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, but she never forgave him for using her life as fodder for his controversial drama.

1851 – Luis Coloma, prolific Spanish author, biographer, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and children’s writer.

1854 – Jennie Spencer-Churchill (née Jerome, and known as Lady Randolph Churchill), U.S.-born British writer, autobiographer, and socialite who is most remembered as the mother of British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

1856 – Anton Aškerc, ethnic Slovene poet and Roman Catholic priest who worked in Austria and was best known for his epic poems.

1856 – Lizette Woodworth Reese, U.S. writer, poet, memoirist, autobiographical novelist, and teacher who was named Poet Laureate of Maryland; her sonnets were widely praised, and writer H. L. Mencken called her work, “one of the imperishable glories of American literature.”

1857 – Henry B Fuller, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt, U.S. writer, book author, and activist who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters.

1859 – Frederik Pijper, Dutch vicar, editor, critic, and church historian.

1871 – Eugène Marais, South African lawyer, naturalist, poet, writer, journalist, and entomologist.

1873 – Hayyim Nahman Bialik, influential Estonian-born Jewish poet who was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry and Israel’s national poet.

1875 – Julio Herrera y Reissig, Uruguayan writer, poet, playwright, and essayist who began his career as a Romanticist but became an early proponent of Modernism.

1876 – Hans Bethge, German poet and editor who also wrote diaries, travelogues, short stories, essays, and plays; he is best known for poetic translations of Chinese classics.

1879 – Georgy Ivanovich Chulkov, Russian Symbolist poet, editor, writer, and critic who created and popularized the theory of Mystical Anarchism.

1881 – Giovanni Papini, Italian journalist, essayist, literary critic, poet, and novelist.

1881 – Lascelles Abercrombie, English poet, professor, playwright, and literary critic; his poetry consists mostly of long poems in blank verse that treat the extremes of imagined rather than actual experience, from ecstasy to anguish and malice, with sharp, gem-like imagery, and rugged sound and meter.

1889 – Vrindavan Lal Verma, award-winning Indian writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in Hindi.

1890 – Karel Capek, Czech writer, playwright, dramatist, essayist, publisher, literary reviewer, photographer, and art critic, best known for his science fiction; he is credited with coining the word “robot.”

1890 – Barbara Euphan Todd, English writer who is widely remembered for her ten popular books for children about a scarecrow called Worzel Gummidge; they were adapted for radio and television.

1890 – Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist, satirist, writer, poet, songwriter, editor, and social critic who also wrote under the pseudonyms Kaspar Hauser, Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger, and Ignaz Wrobel; he is considered one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic.

1891 – August Gailit, Estonian writer of poetry and novels who co-founded a literary group whose erotic poems were considered scandalous; his novels sometimes dealt with political and social issues.

1893 – Elsa Herrmann Pick (also known as Dr. Elsa Pickova), Jewish German feminist writer and refugee advocate; she is best known for her book This is the New Woman (So ist die neue Frau in the original German).

1896 – Elli Lambridi (also spelled Helle Lampride or Helle Lambridis), Greek writer, philosopher, translator, fiction writer, and educator who wrote extensively in the fields of ancient and modern philosophy, as well as archaeology, and was active in feminism and Greek left-wing politics.

1897 – Karl Löwith, prolific, Nobel Prize-nominated German philosopher and author whose works describe the decline of German classical philosophy, and challenge the modern, secular, and progressive narrative of history.

1905 – Zinken Hopp, Norwegian writer, poet, playwright, translator, theatre critic, travel writer, and children’s writer; she is best known for her children’s books.

1908 – Simone de Beauvoir (Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir), influential French feminist author, essayist, existentialist philosopher, political activist, and social theorist.

1920 – João Cabral de Melo Neto (also known as Joãozinho Cabral), award-winning Brazilian poet, writer, playwright, and diplomat who was one of the most influential writers in late Brazilian modernism.

1920 – Hakim Mohammed Said, Pakistani scholar, medical researcher, author, and governor of Sindh Province.

1921 – Lister Sinclair, Canadian broadcaster and playwright.

1925 – Abdelhamid Benhadugah (or ben Hadouga), Arab Algerian writer who wrote more than fifteen novels in Arabic, as well as short stories and plays; he has been described as one of the most important Algerian writers in Arabic of his time.

1925 – Santosh Gupta, award-winning Bangladeshi writer and journalist who sometimes used the pen name Aniruddha.

1927 – Thorkild Hansen, award-winning Danish novelist most noted for his historical fiction, especially his trilogy about the Danish slave trade.

1928 – Judith Krantz, bestselling U.S. author of romance novels who began her career as a magazine writer and fashion editor; she is credited with fundamentally changed the publishing industry by becoming one of the first celebrity authors through her extensive touring and promotion.

1929 – Heiner Müller, German dramatist, poet, writer, essayist, and theatre director.

1929 – Brian Friel, Irish dramatist often called the “Irish Chekhov.”

1931 – Algirdas Jonas Budrys, Prussian author of science fiction.

1932 – Djibril Tamsir Niane, Guinean historian, playwright, professor, editor, translator, and short-story writer.

1931 – Barrington Watson, Jamaican writer, author, and painter.

1933 – Sonia Garmers, Antillean author of novels, stories, children’s books, and cookbooks.

1933 – Kavignar Meenavan (born R.K. Narayanasamy), Indian Tamil poet, writer, scholar, researcher, and activist.

1933 – Wilbur Smith, Zambian-born novelist specializing in historical fiction about Southern Africa, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families.

1936 – Farouk Shousha, Egyptian poet, writer, and radio and television host who was known for his concerns about what he considered to be a decline in the quality of Arabic in Egypt.

1936 – Anne Rivers Siddons, U.S. journalist, editor, nonfiction author, screenwriter, and writer of bestselling fiction, mostly set in the southern United States; author Stephen King called her book The House Next Door one of the finest horror novels of the 20th century.

1937 – Klaus Schlesinger, German novelist and journalist.

1938 – Marianna Yablonskaya, Soviet Russian writer, playwright, actress, short-story writer, and theater director.

1939 – Böðvar Guðmundsson, Icelandic writer, poet, novelist, playwright, translator, and children’s writer.

1941 – Tone Schwarzott, Norwegian poet, writer, and actress.

1942 – Laureano Albán Rivas, award-winning Costa Rican writer and diplomat.

1943 – Robert Drewe, Australian novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction writer.

1944 – Wang Tuoh (born Wang Hung-chiu), Chinese Taiwanese writer, public intellectual, literary critic, and politician.

1945 – Malgorzata Musierowicz, popular Polish writer, author of many stories and novels for children, teenagers, and adults; the poet and translator Stanislaw Baranczak is her brother.

1947 – Iraj Janatie Ataie, Iranian writer, poet, playwright, author, songwriter, lyricist, and theatre director.

1954 – Thorvald Steen, Norwegian novelist, playwright, poet, children’s author, essayist, and short-story writer.

1955 – Jutta Bauer, German writer and illustrator of children’s books; she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her “lasting contribution” to children’s literature.

1959 – Ridvan Dibra, award-winning Albanian writer, poet, journalist, and teacher who is a leading figure in contemporary Albanian literature.

1959 – Jhet van Ruyven (born Juliet Torcelino), award-winning Filipina-Canadian author who wrote the auto-biographical book The Tale of Juliet in 2005, which tells her life story from being a poor child vendor in the Philippines to succeeding as an immigrant in Canada; she was recognized by People Asia magazine as one of the 2005 People of the Year in the Philippines.

1959 – Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Prize-winning Indigenous Guatemalan author, autobiographer, feminist, politician, and human rights activist who has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s Indigenous peoples and to promoting Indigenous rights internationally; she has twice run for president of Guatemala, having founded the country’s first Indigenous political party, Winaq.

1962 – Renata Salecl, Slovene writer, sociologist, philosopher, professor, and legal theorist.

1965 – Farah Khan, award-winning Indian screenwriter, film director, writer, producer, choreographer, dancer, and television presenter.

1966 – Sousa Jamba, Angolan author, translator, autobiographical novelist, columnist, and journalist whose fiction has been called “brilliant and terrifying (and often very funny).”

1975 – Gunnhild Øyehaug, award-winning Norwegian poet, writer, editor, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer, and lecturer.

1980 – Fumie Mizusawa, Japanese novelist, writer, actress, and anime voice actress.

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