February 19 Writer Birthdays

1717 – David Garrick, English playwright, poet, actor, and theatrical producer.

1833 – Élie Ducommun, Nobel Prize-winning Swiss writer, teacher, journalist, editor, translator, poet, lecturer, and pacifist.

1869 – Hovhannes Tumanyan, Armenian poet, writer, translator, literary critic, journalist, and public activist who is considered the national poet of Armenia; his work was mostly realistic, focusing on everyday life.

1888 – José Eustasio Rivera Salas, Colombian lawyer and author primarily known for his national epic, the novel, The Vortex, about the plight of rubber workers in the Amazon basin.

1896 – André Robert Breton, French writer, poet, and anti-fascist who was one of the founders of the Surrealist movement.

1902 – Kay Boyle, O. Henry Award-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, poet, educator, and political activist.

1903 – Louis Slobodkin, U.S. sculptor and children’s author and illustrator who also wrote nonfiction books about art and an autobiographical novel about his brief career as a sailor.

1904 – Maurice O’Sullivan (Muiris Ó Súilleabháin), Irish-language author, noted for his memoir Twenty Years a’Growing.

1905 – Helmut Krausnick, German writer, author, and historian of the modern age.

1917 – Carson McCullers, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and playwright best known for her novel The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, which explores the spiritual isolation of misfits and outcasts in a small town of the Southern United States; much of her work is set in the deep South.

1917- Sankichi Tōge (峠 三吉), Japanese poet, activist, and survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

1920 – Jaan Kross, Estonian novelist and short-story writer who was nominated for the Nobel Prize multiple times.

1920 – Eileen Jackson Southern, U.S. author, musicologist, and professor who was an expert in the history of Black music in America; she is best known for her book The Music of Black Americans: A History.

1926 – Ross Thomas, Edgar Award-winning U.S. author of witty crime fiction.

1928 – Joseph Onuora Nzekwu, Nigerian professor, writer, novelist, nonfiction author, and editor of the Igbo people.

1937 – Terry Carr, U.S. science-fiction author and editor.

1939 – Beatrice Faust, Australian author, journalist, film critic, and women’s rights activist.

1940 – Jill Krementz, well-known U.S. photographer, author, and children’s writer.

1943 – Homer Hickham, U.S. author whose autobiographical novel Rocket Boys was the basis for the film October Sky; he was a NASA engineer and trained the first Japanese astronauts.

1949 – Patricia O’Conner, U.S. writer and columnist who was editor at the New York Times Book Review; she has authored several books about the English language, including Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English.

1952 – Ryu Murakami, Japanese novelist, short story writer, essayist, screenwriter, film director, and science-fiction writer whose novels explore human nature through themes of disillusion, drug use, surrealism, murder, and war.

1952 – Amy Tan, award-winning U.S. writer of novels, nonfiction, children’s books, and memoirs whose works explore mother-daughter relationships and the Chinese-American experience; her work has been adapted for stage, film, opera, and children’s television. She also sang vocals and played tambourine for the all-writer rock group, Rock Bottom Remainders.

1954 – Messaouda Boubaker, Tunisian novelist, short-story writer, and political activist who writes in Arabic.

1955 – Siri Hustvedt, bestselling U.S. novelist, poet, essayist, and nonfiction author.

1957 – Daína Chaviano, Cuban writer, poet, and novelist who is considered one of the most important fantasy and science-fiction writers in the Spanish language, as well as the most renowned and bestselling fantasy and science-fiction author in Cuban literature; her work incorporates historical elements, contemporary issues, and mythology.

1957 – Roberto Ventura, Uruguayan neuropsychologist, neurologist, writer, professor, psychiatrist, musician, and activist who has written on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

1958 – Helen Fielding, bestselling English novelist best known for creating the character Bridget Jones.

1958 – Theresa Rebeck, influential Edgar Award-winning U.S. playwright, television writer, and novelist.

1960 – Q.S. Serafijn, Dutch writer, photographer, artist, sculptor, and installation artist.

1963 – Laurell K. Hamilton, bestselling U.S. fantasy and romance writer; she is author of the “Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter” series, which includes novels, short stories, and comic books, and is considered a major influence in the fields of paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

1964 – Helen Edmundson, award-winning British playwright and screenwriter who is notable not only for her original writing, but also for her adaptations of various literary classics for the stage and screen.

1964 – Jonathan Lethem, U.S. essayist, and author of genre-bending literary novels and short stories.

1964 – Dmitri Mikhailovich Lipskerov (Дми́трий Миха́йлович Ли́пскеров), award-winning Russian novelist, dramatist, short-story writer, and television writer.

1965 – Azubuike Ishiekwene, Nigerian journalist and columnist who has also written under the name Azu.

1966 – Nina Sedano, German travel writer who has visited every country on Earth and has written books about her travels.

1969 – Uzma Aslam Khan, award-winning Pakistani novelist, essayist, and short-story writer who has been called a literary “voice to watch out for.”

1970 – K.R. Meera, award-winning Indian novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, and journalist; she writes in Malayalam.

1971 – Jeff Kinney, U.S. children’s author and cartoonist best known for the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books.

1975 – Lucifer Chu (also Zhu Xuéhéng or Chu Hsueh-heng), Taiwanese writer, translator, literary critic, and electrical engineer who translated the works of Tolkien into Chinese and has spent much of his career promoting fantasy literature.

1979 – Tom Rob Smith, award-winning English novelist and screenwriter; his first novel, Child 44, was listed among the Book Club “100 Books of the Decade,” and was made into a film.

1980 – Carina Bergfeldt, award-winning Swedish author, journalist, and columnist.

1984 – Marissa Meyer, U.S. writer of children’s and young-adult science fiction.

1988 – Nitya Prakash, Indian writer and screenwriter who is the author of general fiction, romantic fiction, and paranormal fiction, as well as a nonfiction book about banking.

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