May 24 Writer Birthdays

1670 – Vitus Pichler, controversial Austrian writer, professor, philosopher, Jesuit priest, and scholar of canon law who is regarded as the first writer to lay down, clearly and separately, the distinction between fundamental theology and science.

1788 – Susan Anne Livingston Ridley Sedgwick, U.S. writer who specialized in children’s novels; she is also well known for painting a watercolor-on-ivory portrait of a former slave, Elizabeth Freeman, who came to work for her family as a paid employee after Sedgwick’s father-in-law represented Freeman in a successful court case to win her freedom.

1813 – Krishna Mohan Banerjee, Indian Bengali scholar, writer, linguist, ethicist, teacher, and philosopher.

1819 – Charles Edward Augustus de Boos, English-born Australian writer, editor, and journalist.

1841 – Sergey Nikolayevich Terpigorev (Серге́й Никола́евич Терпиго́рев), Russian writer novelist and essayist, best known for his essays denouncing fraud and embezzlement, and exploring the difficult lives of the common people.

1850 – Mary Christian Dundas Hamilton, Scottish writer and poet who is best known for writing the lyrics to popular hymns, especially “A Hymn for Aviators.”

1854 – Mona Caird, Scottish novelist, essayist, writer, and feminist who was a controversial activist for women’s suffrage, animal rights, and civil liberties.

1855 – Florence Caroline Dixie (née Douglas), British writer, journalist, novelist, travel writer, novelist, science-fiction writer, children’s author, and feminist. Her travel chronicle Across Patagonia; her children’s books The Young Castaways and Aniwee, or, The Warrior Queen, and her feminist utopia Gloriana, or The Revolution of 1900 all deal with feminist themes related to girls, women, and their positions in society.

1855 – Arthur Wing Pinero, English playwright and actor who specialized in farces and drawing-room comedies but also wrote an opera libretto and “problem plays” that addressed “the double standard of morality, applied unequally to men and women.”

1859 – Sophia Morrison, Manx cultural activist, folklore collector, journal editor, and author who is considered a key figure of the Manx cultural revival; she is best remembered today for writing Manx Fairy Tales, although her greatest influence was as an activist for the revitalization of Manx culture, particularly through her work with the Manx Language Society and its journal. (Manx refers to the Isle of Man, a self-governing British Crown Dependency.)

1878 – Mary Grant Bruce, popular Australian novelist, children’s writer, and journalist who was most famous for her Billabong series, focusing on the adventures of the Linton family on Billabong Station in Victoria and in England and Ireland during World War I; her writing was considered influential in forming concepts of Australian national identity.

1878 – Lillian Moller Gilbreth, U.S. psychologist, writer, industrial and mechanical engineer, teacher, inventor, and businessperson; one of the first female engineers to earn a Ph.D., she is considered the first industrial and organizational psychologist. She and her husband, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, were efficiency experts who contributed to the study of industrial engineering, especially in the areas of motion study and human factors. She is best known through two books written by two of their twelve children, Cheaper by the Dozen and Belles on Their Toes, which tell the story of their family life and describe how the parents applied time-and-motion studies to the organization and daily activities of their large family.

1878 – Helena Mniszek-Tchorznicka, prolific Polish novelist; three of her novels were adapted into movies, including her first book, Trędowata, which was made into three films and a television series. She was also known by her first husband’s surname, Chyzynska, and her second husband’s surname, Rawicz Radomyska.

1881 – Eberhard Frowein, German writer, screenwriter, and film director

1883 – Elsa Maxwell, U.S. gossip columnist, author, journalist, screenwriter, pianist, radio personality, actor, and songwriter; she is credited with the introduction of the scavenger hunt and treasure hunt as party games in the modern era.

1885 – Pandit Karuppan, Indian poet, playwright, activist, and Sanskrit scholar who was called the “Lincoln of Kerala” for steering socioeconomically and educationally backward communities to the forefront.

1887 – Jean de La Varende, French writer, novelist, biographer, painter, short-story writer, and literary critic; his novel Leather-Nose was the basis for a film.

1892 – Elizabeth Foreman Lewis, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and Methodist missionary in China.

1898 – Kathleen Hale, British children’s author and illustrator known for the the Orlando the Marmalade Cat books.

1899 – Kazi Nazrul Islam (best known as simply Nazrul), influential Bengali poet, writer, singer, translator, journalist, musician, composer, and anti-colonial revolutionary who was the national poet of Bangladesh and was sometimes called the “Rebel Poet”; he wrote on themes including freedom, religious devotion, opposition to bigotry and gender-based and caste-based discrimination, rebellion against oppression, and nationalist activism in the Indian independence movement.

1899 – Henri Michaux, Belgian-born French poet, journalist, and painter.

1905 – Mikhail Shokolov, Nobel Prize-winning Soviet Russian novelist, short-story writer, and war journalist; he is known especially for his novel And Quiet Flows the Don.

1928 – William Trevor (born William Trevor Cox), Irish novelist, playwright, screenwriter, short-story writer, and sculptor who was a three-time Whitbread Prize winner.

1940 – Joseph Brodsky, Nobel Prize-winning Russian poet and essayist whose work was denounced as “pornographic and anti-Soviet” and who was arrested for social parasitism and sentenced to hard labor until his sentence was commuted; eventually he was vindicated, and lauded “for an all-embracing authorship, imbued with clarity of thought and poetic intensity.”

1941 – Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman), Nobel Prize-winning U.S. singer-songwriter, author, and visual artist who has been described as one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, musically and culturally. He was included in “The Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century,” where he was called “master poet, caustic social critic and intrepid, guiding spirit of the counterculture generation.”

1954 – Barbro Karlén, prolific Swedish author, poet, autobiographer equestrian, and mounted police officer; her first book of poetry was published when she was 12 years old, and she had published eleven books of poetry and prose by the time she was 16. She claimed that as a young child, she had memories of being Anne Frank in a past life.

1963 – Michael Chabon, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, screenwriter, short-story writer, children’s writer, and columnist; he also won the Nebula and Hugo Awards. Many of his works take place in the same fictional universe, with certain characters mentioned in more than one book.

1984 – Devapriya Roy, Indian novelist, memoirist, and biographer.

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