May 10 Writer Birthdays

0893 – Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Hamdani, Yemeni Arab writer, poet, historian, linguist, grammarian, geographer, chemist, astronomer, and astrologer.

1843 – Benito Pérez Galdós, prolific Spanish novelist, short-story writer, poet, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, painter, and politician who was the leading literary figure in 19th century Spain.

1863 – Kaarle Krohn, Finnish folklorist, writer, and professor who developed the geographic-historic method of folklore research and devoted much of his career to the study of the epic poetry that forms the basis for the Finnish national epic, the Kalevala.

1866 – Constance Piers, Canadian journalist, poet, and newspaper editor.

1876 – Ivan Cankar, Slovenian writer, playwright, essayist, novelist, poet, and political activist whose work marks the beginning of modernism in Slovene literature; he is regarded as the greatest writer in the Slovene language, and has been compared to Franz Kafka and James Joyce.

1898 – Ariel Durant (born Chaya Kaufman), Pulitzer Prize-winning Russian-born U.S. author, historian, and researcher who coauthored the 11-volume Story of Civilization with her husband, writer Will Durant.

1898 – Younghill Kang, Korean-born novelist, memoirist, and playwright who has been called “the father of Korean American literature.”

1900 – Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, British-born U.S. astronomer, astrophysicist, and author who proposed in her doctoral thesis that stars were composed primarily of hydrogen and helium, a conclusion that was initially rejected but eventually proven correct; her work on the nature of variable stars, carried out with her husband, Sergei Gaposchkin, was foundational to modern astrophysics.

1903 – Kathleen Coad “Kay” Petre (née Defries), Canadian racecar driver who turned to writing and became a journalist and food writer after a 1937 racing accident resulted in serious injuries and the end of her racing career.

1906 – Eisuke Yoshiyuki, Japanese author who was part of the Japanese Dada movement.

1910 – Nguyễn Tuân, Vietnamese writer who is ranked as one of the top authors of contemporary Vietnamese literature; he is especially known for his essays, and for his clever and creative use of language.

1911 – Bel Kaufman, U.S. teacher and author best known for her 1965 bestseller Up the Down Staircase.

1915 – Monica Dickens, English author who wrote both adult and children’s books and was the great-granddaughter of Charles Dickens.

1919 – T. Berry Brazleton, U.S. pediatrician and author of parenting books.

1919 – Antônio Olinto Marques da Rocha, Brazilian writer, essayist, poet, novelist, literary critic, political analyst, children’s author, dictionary editor, and translator.

1922 – Rosihan Anwar, renowned Indonesian journalist, editor, critic, translator, and author who founded a newspaper and a magazine.

1924 – Yulia Vladimirovna Drunina, Soviet poet and lyricist who wrote in Russian and whose works are characterized by moral clarity and real-life experience; some of the life experience she drew on came from working as a nurse and combat medic during World War II.

1924 – Zareh Yaldizciyan (better known by his pen name Zahrad), Turkish poet who wrote in the Western Armenian language.

1927 – Kunjunni, award-winning Indian poet of Malayalam literature who was known for short poems with philosophical overtones and for works that were popular among children as well as adults; he was commonly known as Kunjunni Mash (Mash is the Malayalam equivalent of teacher.)

1927 – Nayantara Sahgal, Indian novelist who writes in English; her best-known book is Rich Like Us. She also served as ambassador to Italy.

1933 – Barbara Taylor Bradford, bestselling English novelist who says she writes about “ordinary women who go on to achieve the extraordinary.”

1934 – Jayne Cortez, U.S. African-American jazz and performance poet whose poetry is concerned with racial injustice and political oppression.

1934 – Richard Peck, prolific Newbery Medal-winning U.S. young-adult novelist.

1937 – Manik Godghate (popularly known by his pen name Grace), award-winning Indian Marathi prose writer, poet, and lyricist.

1940 – Wayne Dyer, U.S. self-help author and motivational speaker whose first book, Your Erroneous Zones, is one of the bestselling books of all time.

1942 – Legson Didimu Kayira, Malawian novelist whose early works focused on Malawi’s rural life, while his later writings satirized the Hastings Banda regime.

1945 – Koos du Plessis, South African author, poet, journalist, editor, songwriter, and musician.

1947 – May Lenna Balisidya Matteru, Tanzanian novelist, playwright, children’s author, and university teacher who wrote in Swahili.

1947 – Caroline B. Cooney, U.S. author of books for children, teens, and adults, best known for her young-adult suspense, romance, horror, and mystery novels.

1948 – Zacarías Reyán (pseudonym of Reinaldo Antonio Plazas Peralta, also known as Z), Colombian novelist, poet, and epic writer.

1949 – Mana Al Otaiba, Emirati writer, poet, economist, businessperson, and politician.

1952 – Meta Kušar, award-winning Slovenian poet and essayist.

1953 – Christopher Paul Curtis, Newbery Award-winning U.S. author of children’s books, best known for his novel, Bud, Not Buddy.

1953 – Ahdri Zhina Mandiela, award-winning Jamaican-born, Canadian-based poet, author, theatre producer, and artistic director.

1954 – Arjun Deo Charan, award-winning Indian Rajasthani poet, critic, playwright, theatre director, and translator who is prominent figure in Indian theatre.

1955 – Rick Steves, U.S. travel writer, author, activist, and television personality.

1955 – Janine Louise Zwicky, Canadian philosopher, poet, essayist, university teacher, and musician.

1960 – Gong Byeong-Ho, South Korean libertarian scholar, economist, and nonfiction author who writes about leadership, creativity, business, and religion.

1964 – Kristine Næss, Norwegian novelist, poet, short-story writer, and editor.

1967 – Jon Ronson, Welsh journalist and nonfiction author who is best known for his book The Men Who Stare at Goats, which explored the work of U.S. army officers who experimented with military applications of paranormal phenomenon; a movie based loosely on the book starred George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, and Kevin Spacey.

1967 – John Scalzi, Hugo Award-winning U.S. science-fiction author, nonfiction author, columnist, critic, and short-story writer who is best known for his Old Man’s War series and was also a creative consultant on science-fiction television show Stargate Universe.

1976 – Elizabeth Bachinsky, award-winning Canadian poet and educator.

1977 – Oliver Jeffers, Australian-born, Northern Ireland-raised, children’s book author and illustrator, now based in the U.S.

1981 – Roja Chamankar, Iranian-born Persian poet, writer, playwright, and film director.

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