January 26 Writer Birthdays

1541 – Florent Chrestien, French writer, satirist, translator, and Latin poet; he was appointed tutor to Henry of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV, who made him his librarian.

1783 – Helmina von Chézy, German writer, poet, journalist, art critic, literary critic, and librettist who wrote the libretto for Carl Maria von Weber’s opera Euryanthe and the play Rosamunde, for which Franz Schubert composed incidental music.

1791 – Katharina Sibylla Schücking (née Busch), German writer and poet; she had asked for the poems to be published anonymously, but the publisher did not respect her wishes and published them under her name, resulting in her being scorned and ridiculed because women were not supposed to publish, though the work itself was well received.

1797 – Therese Albertine Luise von Jakob Robinson, German and U.S. author, linguist, and translator who published under the pseudonym Talvj, an acronym formed of the initials of her birth name.

1804 – Marie-Joseph “Eugène” Sue, French novelist and politician who helped popularize the genre of the serial novel in France, with his very popular and widely imitated The Mysteries of Paris, which was published in editions of a newspaper; much of his work consisted of gothic and historical novels with violent scenes and a socialist subtext.

1831 – Mary Elizabeth Mapes Dodge, influential U,S, writer, children’s author, and children’s magazine editor. Best known for her novel Hans Brinker, she was the recognized leader in juvenile literature in the 19th century and persuaded many of the world’s top writers of the world to contribute to her children’s magazine — including Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tennyson, and Longfellow. When Kipling told her a story of the Indian jungle, she asked him to write it down; the result was The Jungle Book.

1848 – Justo Sierra Méndez, prominent liberal Mexican writer, historian, journalist, poet, judge, teacher, politician, historian, journalist, and political figure who was a leading voice of the Científicos, “the scientists” who were the intellectual leaders during the regime of Porfirio Díaz.

1867 – Emily Flora Klickmann, English journalist, author, and editor who was best known for her Flower-Patch series of books of anecdotes, autobiography, and nature description.

1883 – Julie Braun-Vogelstein, German-born art historian, author, editor, and journalist.

1884 – Kathryn E. Colquhoun (born Evelyn Kate Colquhoun), Canadian author, poet, playwright, radio writer, and illustrator.

1900 – Altaf Husain, Pakistani writer, editor, journalist, government minister, and Pakistan Movement activist who was one of the pioneers of print journalism in Pakistan.

1901 – Mariano Federico Picón Salas, influential, award-winning Venezuelan diplomatic, cultural critic, historian, writer, and professor.

1903 – N.E. Cameron, versatile Guyanese writer and educator who wrote on a wide variety of topics, including history, mathematics, and politics.

1905 – Maria von Trapp (née Kutschera), Austrian singer, songwriter, musician, autobiographer, screenwriter, and author who wrote the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, based on her family’s experiences; her book inspired the West German film The Trapp Family, which in turn inspired the Broadway musical The Sound of Music and its beloved film version, starring Julie Andrews as Maria.

1915 – K.S. Narasimhaswamy, Indian poet in the Kannada language; his most popular collection of poems, Mysooru Mallige, is often given to newly married couples in Karnataka.

1918 – Philip José Farmer, inventive and prolific award-winning U.S. author of science-fiction novels and short stories, best known for his Riverworld series of novels and for his designation as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

1918 – Amy Witting, pen name of an Australian novelist and poet Joan Austral Fraser, who has been widely acknowledged as one of Australia’s “finest fiction writers, whose work was full of the atmosphere and color or times past.”

1922 – Kristján Karlsson, award-winning Icelandic poet, writer, and editor.

1925 – Miep Diekmann, award-winning Dutch novelist and children’s author who traveled to both Aruba and Czechoslovakia to coach writers in those countries and expand opportunities for them to publish. Several of her books were inspired by her early life in Curaçao.

1929 – Jules Feiffer, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. cartoonist, author, screenwriter, playwright, children’s book author, illustrator, and educator who was considered the most widely read satirist in the country; in 2004 he was inducted into the Comic Book Hall of Fame.

1930 – Srifa Mahawan (full name Mom Luang Srifa Mahawan), award-winning Thai novelist, short-story writer, and teacher who saw 11 of her novels win the Thai National Book Award and was named National Artist for Thailand in 1996; she also wrote under the names Srifa Ladavalaya, Sifa, and Jullada Pakdeephumin.

1934 – Ruby Langford Ginibi, indigenous Australian author, historian, and autobiographer who was a historian and lecturer on Aboriginal history, culture, and politics.

1937 – Marliese Echner-Klingmann, award-winning German poet, fiction writer, and playwright.

1938 – Henry Jaglom, British and U.S. film director and playwright.

1943 – Susan Griffin, award-winning U.S. poet, writer, essayist, and playwright whose book A Chorus of Stones was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

1943 – Luiz Carlos Prates, Brazilian writer, journalist, psychologist, radio personality, and sports announcer who is controversial for his right-wing political views.

1944 – Angela Yvonne Davis, U.S. left-wing political activist, academic, essayist, autobiographer, philosopher, and author of books on class, feminism, and the U.S. prison system; in 2020, she was included on Time‘s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

1945 – Mark Mikhaylovich Deutch, Russian journalist, author, and columnist who became widely known while working with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and who also authored books on politics.

1945 – Nguyen Ngoc Ngan, Vietnamese writer and essayist, now based in Canada; he was imprisoned after the fall of Saigon and did forced labor in a re-education camp, an experience described in his autobiography, The Will Of Heaven; after his release he escaped by boat to Malaysia, but the boat capsized in a storm and his wife and child drowned, but he was pulled unconscious from the water.

1946 – Christopher James Hampton, Azores-born Portuguese and British playwright, screenwriter, translator, and film director who has received two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay; he is best known for his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses, based on the novel of the same name, and for Dangerous Liaisons, his film adaptation of it.

1948 – Alda Facio Montejo, Costa Rican feminist jurist, writer, teacher, and international expert in gender and human rights in Latin America; she is one of the founding members of the Women’s Caucus for Gender Justice at the International Criminal Court.

1949 – Jonathan Carroll, World Fantasy Award-winning U.S.-born Australian-based author of novels and short stories, most of them in the genres of magical realism, slipstream, and fantasy; he has also written a nonfiction book.

1949 – Marie Maamar Seurat (née Bachi), Syrian novelist, biographer, and nonfiction writer whose husband, sociologist Michel Seurat, was kidnapped and killed by the Islamic Jihad Organization, prompting her to write the book The Crows of Aleppo, in which she denounced the hypocrisy of politics.

1951 – Laurence Shames, U.S. author of Florida-based fiction and mystery novels.

1954 – María Teresa Andruetto, award-winning Argentine writer, poet, playwright, and children’s author.

1965 – Chibamba Kanyama, Zambian writer, columnist, and business leader who specializes in communication strategy and economics; he was appointed UNICEF Ambassador for the Brothers for Life Campaign, targeting youth behaviors related to alcohol and substance abuse and violence.

1966 – Anita Nair, Indian novelist, poet, screenwriter, children’s author, and essayist who writes in English.

1973 – Shinjo Mayu, Japanese Manga author and illustrator who is especially noted for the series Sensual Phrase, which has been collected in 18 bound volumes and adapted as a 44-episode anime television series. She wrote for the Shogakukan publishing firm until 2007, but left the company to go freelance, citing a dispute over working conditions and alleged abusive treatment by her editor.

1974 – Shannon Hale, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. author of young-adult fantasy.

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