March 9 Writer Birthdays

1291 – Cangrande (born Can Francesco della Scala), Italian writer, warrior, politician, and patron of the arts who ruled Verona and was regarded as the leader of the Ghibelline faction in northern Italy, but who is now best known as the leading patron of the poet Dante Alighieri.

1695 – Martín Sarmiento (born Pedro José García Balboa), Spanish writer, botanist, scholar, and Benedictine monk who wrote on a wide variety of subjects, including literature, medicine, botany, ethnography, history, theology, and linguistics.

1697 – Friederike Caroline Neuber (née Friederike Caroline Weissenborn), German actress, writer, theatre director, and theatrical reformer who is one of the most influential figures in the development of modern German theatre. Her collaborations with playwright Johann Christoph Gottsched are regarded as the turning point in the history of German theatre and the start of modern German acting. She was also known as Friedericke Karoline Neuber, Frederika Neuber, Karoline Neuber, Carolina Neuber, Frau Neuber, and Die Neuberin.

1763 – William Cobbett, English writer, reformer, and publisher who, under the pen name Peter Porcupine, wrote political pamphlets and gazettes with strong radical viewpoints in both America and England.

1814 – Taras Shevchenko, Ukrainian national poet, writer, painter, and politician whose writing is regarded as the foundation of modern Ukrainian literature and language.

1817 – Rahmatullah Kairanawi (also known as Rahmat Allâh Kairânawî, Rahamatullah ibn Halil al-Utmani al-Kairanawi, or Al-Hindi), Indian Sunni Muslim scholar and author who is best known for his work, Izhar ul-Haqq, which he wrote in response to allegations made by Christian missionaries against Islam.

1841 – Zadel Barnes Gustafson, U.S. author, poet, journalist, and newspaper editor who contributed articles and fictional pieces to leading publications of the day; she was also the political editor of the Springfield Republican in Springfield, Massachusetts. She wrote a tribute to the poet William Cullen Bryant of which John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “I can only compare it with Milton’s Lycidas; it is worthy of any living poet at least.” She was especially known in her day for her poem “Little Martin Craghan,” based on the true story of a twelve-year-old boy whose heroism cost him his life in the mines of Pittston, Pennsylvania. She also wrote under the names Zadel Turner Barnes, Z.B. Budington, and Z.B. Gustafson.

1841 – Henry Suter, Swiss-born New Zealand writer, zoologist, naturalist, paleontologist, and malacologist.

1865 – Margaret Murray Washington, U.S. African-American educator, author, orator, social reformer, and anti-lynching activist who was the principal of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, which later became Tuskegee University; she was the third wife of educator and orator Booker T. Washington. There is some doubt about the year of her birth; some records give it as 1861.

1892 – David “Bunny” Garnett, English novelist and editor whose lifelong nickname came from the rabbit-fur cloak he wore as a child.

1892 – Vita Sackville-West (full name Victoria Mary Sackville-West), prolific British novelist, nonfiction author, newspaper columnist, letter-writer, diarist, and poet who published her first book at the age of 17; she was the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist of Orlando: A Biography, by her famous friend and lover, author Virginia Woolf.

1899 – Francisca Reyes-Aquino, award-winning Filipina folk dancer, author, educator, and academic noted for her research and writing on folk dances of the Philippines.

1905 – Peter Quennell, English biographer, literary historian, editor, essayist, poet, and critic who wrote extensively on social history and was well known as a Byron scholar.

1913 – Gerda Brautigam, Dutch political journalist and politician who was a member of her country’s legislature.

1918 – Mickey Spillane (real name Frank Morrison Spillane), U.S. comic book writer and pulp detective novelist who created the character Mike Hammer; he was also an actor who once played Hammer in a movie, and also worked as a trampoline artist for the circus.

1928 – Lore Segal, Austrian-born U.S. novelist, translator, linguist, professor, and children’s author who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

1944 – Virgilio Senadrin Almario (better known by pen name Rio Alma), Filipino poet, author, critic, translator, editor, teacher, artist, and cultural manager.

1947 – Keri Hulme, Man Booker Prize-winning New Zealand novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose work explores themes of isolation; postcolonial and multicultural identity; and Maori, Celtic, and Norse mythology; she has also written under the pen name Kai Tainui.

1953 – Yusuf Hassan Abdi, Kenyan journalist, social activist, diplomat, and politician of Somali descent.

1955 – Patrice Ann “Pat” Murphy, U.S. science writer and columnist, educator, martial-arts specialist, and author of science-fiction and fantasy novels.

1958 – Elinor Sisulu, Zimbabwe-born South African writer, biographer, economist, and human-rights activist.

1960 – Elsa Cayat, Tunisian-born French journalist, columnist, nonfiction writer, and psychoanalyst who was killed in 2015 when terrorists broke into the offices of a Parisian satirical weekly newspaper and murdered 12 people.

1982 – Lindy West, U.S. writer, editor, essayist, comedian, activist, and opinion writer for the New York Times; best known for the author of an essay collection, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, she often writes about feminism, popular culture, and the fat acceptance movement.

1985 – Gloria Álvarez, Guatemalan journalist, author, political scientist, radio host, and political commentator.

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