May 11 Writer Birthdays

1645 – William Scott (2nd Baronet of Thirlestane), Scottish lawyer, lyricist, and neo-Latin poet.

1763 – János Batsányi, Hungarian poet, writer, translator, editor, and literary critic.

1771 – José Mamerto Gómez Hermosilla, Spanish writer, journalist, and literary critic.

1817 – Isabella Letitia Woulfe, British writer known for a popular and acclaimed debut novel, Guy Vernon, which included gypsies, scandals, and two cases of bigamy; she died before she could complete a second book.

1828 – Eleanor Anne Ormerod, pioneering English entomologist, writer, and autobiographer; based on her studies in agriculture, she became one of the first to define the field of agricultural entomology, publishing an influential series of articles on useful insects and pests in the Gardeners’ Chronicle and the Agricultural Gazette along with annual reports from 1877 to 1900 and two books. Virginia Woolf wrote a story, “Miss Ormerod” that was based on her life.

1888 – Elisabeth Erdmann-Macke (nee Gerhardt), German memoir writer whose work focused on her marriage to the expressionist painter August Macke.

1889 – Burhan Felek, Turkish journalist, columnist, sportsperson, writer, teacher, and lawyer.

1894 – Ōmi Komaki, Japanese writer, translator, and university teacher.

1897 – Shuddhananda Bharati, award-winning Indian writer, composer, poet, essayist, novelist, autobiographer, playwright, librettist, translator, yogi, and philosopher whose teachings are focused mainly on the search for God in Self, through the Sama Yoga practice he created. He wrote more than 250 published works in five different languages: Tamil, English, French, Hindi, and Telugu. “Shuddhananda” is a title he adopted; it means “pure bliss.”

1901 – Rose Ausländer, German Jewish poet who spent part of World War II in the Czernowitz ghetto; she wrote in English and German and eventually became an American citizen.

1902 – Enrique Labrador Ruiz, award-winning Cuban journalist, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and poet.

1904 – Gladys May Casely-Hayford (pen name Aquah Laluah), Gold Coast-born Sierra Leonean writer and teacher; she is credited as the first author to write in the Krio language. She celebrated her blackness in poems such as “Rejoice” and “Nativity”; writers of the Harlem Renaissance in the U.S. cited her work as an influence.

1905 – Ida Gerhardt, award-winning Dutch writer, classicist, translator, and Post-Symbolist poet whose poems are characterized by a special focus on nature and landscape; she also received recognition for her careful translation of the Psalms.

1905 – Mikhail Sholokhov, Nobel Prize-winning Russian Soviet writer, screenwriter, poet, politician, journalist, and novelist; he is known for writing about the lives of Cossacks during the Russian Revolution, the civil war and the period of collectivization, primarily in his most famous novel, And Quiet Flows the Don.

1908 – Kim Kirim (born Kim In-son), North Korean poet, literary critic, journalist, essayist, teacher, and university lecturer who wrote mostly intellectualist and imagist poetry. In 1946 he fled Soviet-occupied North Korea for the South, but during the Korean War he was kidnapped and returned to North Korea.

1909 – Aneirin Talfan Davies, Welsh poet, literary critic, broadcaster, translator, and publisher; he was also known by the bardic name of Aneurin ap Talfan. Religious themes characterize much of his writing.

1916 – Camilo José Cela, Nobel Prize-winning Spanish novelist, renowned for “rich and intensive prose, which with restrained compassion forms a challenging vision of man’s vulnerability.”

1918 – Sheila Burnford, British-Canadian novelist who was best known for her book The Incredible Journey, which was not originally intended as a children’s book, but was later adapted into the popular animated Disney move, Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.

1918 – Richard Feynman, U.S. theoretical physicist, lecturer, and semi-autobiographical writer.

1920 – Fatma Nezihe Araz, bestselling Turkish author, poet, playwright, biographer, screenwriter, and journalist.

1925 – Rubem Fonseca, Brazilian novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and scriptwriter.

1926 – Mark Sergeev, prolific Ukrainian-born Russian poet and children’s writer.

1927 – Gene Savoy, U.S. explorer and author who is especially associated with discoveries in Peru.

1927 – Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor-winning U.S. children’s author.

1928 – Mo Yun-tuan (pen name Luo Fu, or Luòfū), Taiwanese writer, poet, essayist, and translator; in 2001 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1929 – Gane Todorovski, award-winning Macedonian writer, poet, translator, author, editor, essayist, historian, professor, screenwriter, journalist, and literary critic

1930 – Kamau Brathwaite (born Lawson Edward Brathwaite), Barbadian poet, historian, and essayist.

1934 – Ofelia Giudicissi Curci, Italian poet, writer, and archeologist; her archeological work focused on Calabria, in southern Italy.

1934 – Wakako Hironaka, Japanese writer, translator, and politician; she served four terms in the Japanese House of Councillors.

1936 – Olga Xirinacs Díaz, award-winning Spanish writer, poet, playwright, pianist, essayist, translator, short-story writer, university teacher, and children’s author who usually writes in Catalan and whose work is influenced by the writing of Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust.

1938 – Aline Pettersson, Mexican novelist and poet whose work deals with themes of loneliness, heartbreak, isolation, and the passage of time that razes all.

1939 – Yves-Emmanuel Dogbé, Togolese novelist, essayist, poet, philosopher, educator, and sociologist who holds a prominent position among French-speaking Togolese writers and was regarded in his lifetime as Togo’s greatest living writer.

1939 – Samih al-Qasim al Kaissy, Jordanian-born Israeli Palestinian poet, writer, journalist, author, and newspaper editor whose work is well known throughout the Arab-speaking world.

1942 – Clive Algar, South African novelist and short-story writer.

1942 – Rachel Billington, British author of fiction and nonfiction books for both adults and children; she is also a screenwriter, journalist, and columnist.

1947 – Latif Nazemi, award-winning Afghani-born Persian poet, author, literary critic, and university teacher who now lives in exile in Germany.

1949 – Peter Sís, award-winning Czech-born U.S. children’s author and illustrator, filmmaker, and editorial cartoonist.

1952 – Mike Lupica, U.S. sports columnist, children’s author, and mystery writer whose stories tend to revolve around sports.

1952 – Reza de Wet, award-winning South African dramatist who is considered one of South Africa’s greatest playwrights; in addition to chipping away at the societal mores of Apartheid and racism, her stories masterfully weave Biblical myths, tribal and Afrikaner folktales, magical realism, and stream-of-consciousness storytelling in a poignant and original way, to completely reinvent the psychological-thriller format.

1953 – David Garrow, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, and biographer.

1955 – Fang Fang (pen name of Wang Fang), award-winning Chinese novelist and poet.

1962 – Mirela Ivanova, Bulgarian poet, essayist, literary critic, theater critic, translator, and literary historian who is one of the most famous modern Bulgarian poets.

1962 – Joko Pinurbo, award-winning Indonesian poet, editor, and university teacher whose poetry is a mixture of narrative, irony, and self-reflection.

1965 – Marie Koizumi, Japanese novelist, manga writer, and screenwriter.

1965 – Dante Lam, Hong Kong Chinese screenwriter, film director, and actor.

1979 – Mohammad Tolouei, Iranian poet, writer, screenwriter, playwright, translator, and novelist.

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