July 29 Writer Birthdays

1214 – Sturla Þórðarson, Icelandic chieftain, poet, historian, and writer of sagas and contemporary history.

1605 – Simon Dach, Prussian German lyrical poet and hymn writer.

1771 – Yun Zhu (or Wanglan Yun Zhu), Chinese poet, painter, and anthologist who gathered together and published thousands of poems written by hundreds of women; she was nicknamed “Adept of the Lotus Lake.”

1796 – Rasmus Villads Christian Ferdinand Winther, Danish lyric poet and writer of epic romance verse who has been called the “Singer of Zealand”; the king of Denmark appointed him to instruct German Princess Mariane, who was to marry the Crown Prince of Denmark, in the Danish language..

1805 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian, political thinker, and author, best known for his two-volume work Democracy in America.

1849 – Max Nordau, Hungarian-born author, physician, social critic, and Zionist leader.

1868 – Shahjahan Begum, Begum of Bhopal (the ruler of the Islamic principality of Bhopal, now part of Madhya Pradesh, India) who first became ruler at the age of six, with her mother acting as regent; in 1868 she became Begun with the death of her mother. As ruler, she is credited with improving the tax revenue system and increasing state intake, raising the salaries of her soldiers, modernizing military arms, building a dam and an artificial lake, improving the efficiency of the police force, initiating construction of one of the largest mosques in India,  and undertaking the first census after the state suffered two plagues. She was also an author and autobiographer.

1869 – Booth Tarkington, U.S. novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams.

1878 – Don Marquis, U.S. poet, humorist, journalist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.

1883 – Miguel Ángel Osorio Benítez (better known by his pseudonym, Porfirio Barba-Jacob, though he also used the pseudonyms Marín Jiménez and Ricardo Arenales), Colombian poet, writer, biographer, and literary magazine founder whose most famous work was “Canción de la vida profunda” (“Song of the deep life”); his novel Virginia was never published because the manuscript was confiscated by the mayor of Santa Rosa for alleged immorality.

1890 – Marjory Lydia Nicholls, New Zealand poet, teacher ,and drama producer who was a key figure in New Zealand poetry and theatre.

1900 – Eyvind Johnson, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author and short-story writer who is considered the most groundbreaking novelist in modern Swedish literature.

1900 – Teresa Noce, Italian journalist, labor leader, activist, and feminist who served as a parliamentary deputy and advocated broad social legislation benefiting mothers.

1900 – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (full name Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry), French aristocrat, writer, poet, and aviation pioneer who is best known for his children’s book, The Little Prince; the idea for the book came to him in dehydration-induced hallucinations after the plane he was piloting crashed in the Sahara Desert, stranding him and his navigator with no food and water except for the coffee and wine they had been carrying, until their rescue four days later.

1905 – Stanley Kunitz, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet who was twice named U.S. Poet Laureate.

1907 – Ille Toktash, Soviet Chuvash writer, poet, translator, and journalist.

1909 – Samm Sinclair Baker, U.S. author of many how-to and self-help books; notably The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet; he also wrote books on gardening.

1909 – Chester Himes, U.S. African-American writer who wrote a series of mystery novels with an African-American detective, a groundbreaking choice for the time; his books dealt with racism, and two of them have been made into movies.

1909 – Sujan Singh, Indian Punjabi short-story writer, bank clerk, and educator; he is associated with the Progressive literary movement.

1911 – Judah Waten, Ukrainian-born Australian Jewish writer whose best-known work is a collection of autobiographical short stories called Alien Son; he was involved in the Realist Writers Group.

1915 – Kay Dick (born Kathleen Elsie Dick), English journalist, writer, novelist, and autobiographer who sometimes wrote under the name Edward Lane.

1917 – George Campbell, Irish author, painter, flamenco guitarist, and stained-glass artist who wrote books about Ireland, especially Ulster, but also spent much of his career in Spain.

1918 – Edwin O’Connor, U.S. radio personality, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.

1918 – Mary Lee Settle, National Book Award-winning U.S. author and educator who was founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award; she is best remembered for her series of five books of historical fiction, the Beulah Quintet.

1920 – Philippe Ebly, Belgian writer, children’s author, fantasy writer, and science-fiction writer.

1927 – Jean Karl, U.S. author and editor, best known for science-fiction books for young adults.

1927 – Harry Kurt Victor Mulisch, Dutch writer of novels, essays, plays, and poems who often wrote about war, especially the Holocaust, and incorporated myths and legends into his work. Along with Willem Frederik Hermans and Gerard Reve, he is considered one of the “Great Three” (De Grote Drie) of Dutch postwar literature; in a 2007 poll, readers voted his book The Discovery of Heaven as the greatest Dutch book ever written.

1930 – Manuel Mantero, Spanish writer, poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, and professor.

1931 – George Carver Clerk, Ghanaian botanist, plant pathologist, writer, and professor whose research focused on West African mycology and ecology.

1932 – Katerina Taikon, Swedish Roma writer and activist who dedicated her life to improving conditions for Romani people in Sweden and throughout the world. Because Roma children had little access to education, she didn’t learn to read until she was in her teens, but through her tireless work, debating, writing, and advocating with authorities, she played a large part in seeing the Romani granted the same rights to housing and education as other Swedes.

1933 – Habib Boularès, Tunisian journalist, writer, diplomat, and politician.

1938 – Peter Jennings, Canadian/U.S. journalist, author, and television news anchor.

1940 – Ole Lund Kirkegaard, Danish children’s writer, young-adult writer, illustrator, and teacher; he died at the age of 38 when he drank too much one night and froze to death after he fell in the snow on his way home and could not get up.

1940 – Solita Garduno Collás-Monsod (better known as Mareng Winni), Filipina broadcaster, economist, writer, and professor who was Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority and Socio-economic Planning Secretary of the Philippines.

1941 – Goenawan Mohamad, Indonesian poet, columnist, and magazine editor.

1945 – Sharon Creech, U.S. author of children’s fiction who has won both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal.

1948 – Meir Shalev, Israeli writer, columnist, children’s author, television presenter, and journalist.

1951 – Susan Blackmore, British writer, lecturer, and broadcaster on topics dealing with psychology and the paranormal.

1952 – Kathleen Krull, U.S. author and editor of children’s books, best known for her biographies.

1957 – Aleksey Ivanovich Slapovsky, award-winning Russian novelist, journalist, and playwright.

1959 – Ruud Janssen, Dutch artist, writer, and interviewer who specializes in Mail Art.

1959 – Connie Porter, U.S. author of books for children and young adults; she wrote the “Addy” books in the American Girl series.

1960 – Didier van Cauwelaert, bestselling French author and libretto writer.

1960 – Mercedes Arriaga Flórez, Spanish writer, professor, and philologist with expertise in modern and contemporary Italian literature.

1960 – Salim Safurdeen Abdool Karim, award-winning South African epidemiologist, infectious diseases researcher, writer, professor, and public health specialist.

1963 – Caroline Paul, U.S. firefighter, journalist, and author of fiction and nonfiction; her identical twin sister is Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul; her brother Jonathan Paul is an activist who is considered a domestic terrorist by the U.S. government for his militant animal-rights activities.

1965 – Chang-Rae Lee, South Korean-born U.S. novelist and professor whose books often deal with the experiences of Asian immigrants in the United States; he won the PEN Award for his first novel, Native Speaker.

1966 – Thórarinn Leifsson, award-winning Icelandic author, children’s and young-adult writer, autobiographical novelist, playwright, illustrator, and street artist; his debut novel, Father’s Big Secret, is a dark tale for children about a cannibal father and his complicated relationship with his children.

1969 – Nathalie Handal, Haitian-born French-U.S. writer, poet, and playwright.

1970 – Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award finalist U.S. author of young-adult fiction.

1970 – Lisi Harrison, Canadian author of young-adult novels.

1972 – Wil Wheaton, U.S. actor, writer, memoirist, blogger, web-series host, and general internet good guy; he is best known for the roles of Wesley Crusher in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Gordie in the Rob Reiner film, Stand By Me.

July 28 Writer Birthdays

1165 – Ibn ʿArabī (full name: أبو عبد الله محـمـد بن علي بن محمـد بن العربي الحاتمي الطائي الأندلسي المرسي الدمشقي, or Abū ʻAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ʻAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-ʻArabī al-Ḥātimī al-Ṭāʼī al-Andalusī al-Mursī al-Dimashqī), Arab Andalusian (modern-day Spain) Muslim scholar, mystic, poet, and philosopher who was extremely influential within Islamic thought. He is renowned among practitioners of Sufism by the honorific titles ash-Shaykh al-Akbar (the Greatest Shaykh) and Muḥyī ad-Dīn (Renewer of the Faith) and was considered a saint, while in medieval Europe, he was known as Doctor Maximus (Greatest Teacher).

1458 – Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian writer, poet, satirist, and humanist who wrote in Latin, Italian, and Neapolitan; he is best remembered for his humanist classic Arcadia, a masterwork that illustrated the possibilities of poetical prose in Italian, and instituted the theme of Arcadia, representing an idyllic land, in European literature. His elegant style inspired much courtly literature of the 16th century, including Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia.

1617 – Nicolás Antonio, Spanish writer, historian, librarian, and bibliographer.

1685 – Johann Bernhard Fischer, German doctor, author, poet, and autobiographer who served in Imperial Russia as medical adviser to the Empress Anna.

1750 – Fabre d’Églantine, French writer, poet, politician, playwright, and stage actor.

1804 – Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach, German philosopher and anthropologist best known for his book The Essence of Christianity, which provided a critique of Christianity that strongly influenced generations of later thinkers, including Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Engels, Richard Wagner, and Friedrich Nietzsche; many of his philosophical writings offered a critical analysis of religion.

1809 – John Stuart Blackie, Scottish professor, scholar, translator, and essayist.

1812 – Józef Ignacy Kraszewski, Polish writer, poet, historian, playwright, novelist, translator, journalist, art critic, and painter; with 200 novels and 150 novellas, short stories, and art reviews, he is considered the most prolific writer in the history of Polish literature and the seventh most prolific in the world.

1819 – Louise Amelia Knapp Clappe (née Smith), U.S. author and teacher who took on the pen name of Dame Shirley and wrote her widely known Dame Shirley letters, which have been described as being both witty and disturbing, while giving insight into California mining life.

1837 – Flóra Majthényi, Hungarian writer, travel writer, poet, and journalist; she began publishing poetry at the age of 13.

1844 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English Jesuit priest who was one of the leading Victorian poets.

1847 – Frances Campbell Sparhawk, U.S. book author writer of serialized stories; her most important contribution to serial fiction is entitled Elizabeth, is a romance of Colonial days, and describes New England and the siege of Louisburg.

1851 – Manuel Raimundo Querino, Brazilian writer, artist, and intellectual whose pioneering ethnographic works focused on the contributions of Africans to Brazilian history and culture; he was the first Black author to write Brazilian history.

1863 – Emily Underdown, English writer, novelist, and poet who is best known for popularizing Dante and for her children’s books; many of her works are written under the pseudonym Norley Chester.

1864 – Stephen Phillips, popular, award-winning English poet and playwright.

1866 – Beatrix Potter, beloved English children’s author and illustrator, famous for her children’s books, including the classic, The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

1868 – Thomas Krag, Norwegian writer, screenwriter, poet, author, and short-story writer; his works were bestsellers in his day, but are seldom read today.

1868 – André Spire, French poet, writer, and Zionist activist.

1873 – Louisa Garrett Anderson, British author, biographer, physician, feminist, and social reformer; she was the daughter of founding medical pioneer Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, about whom she wrote a biography.

1874 – Alice Duer Miller, U.S. poet whose work influenced political opinion, especially in the areas of women’s suffrage and the U.S.’s entry into World War II.

1874 – Colette Yver, prolific, award-winning French novelist and essayist whose works are representative of the anti-feminist fictions of the Third Republic; intended for a female audience, these types of novels depicted emancipated women confronted with multiple misfortunes that they would not have suffered had they chosen life at home.

1883 – Gustaf-Otto Adelborg, Swedish writer and essayist who wrote religious meditations and other works with primarily psychological content.

1887 – Heranush (Nargiz) Arshagian, Turkish-born Armenian lyric poet, novelist, memoirist, and short-story writer; she died at the age of 18, and her writing was published after her death.

1887 – Willard Price, Canadian-born U.S. author of adventure books for children.

1896 – Barbara La Marr (born Reatha Dale Watson), U.S. writer who was a successful Hollywood screenwriter until actress and producer Mary Pickford told her she was too beautiful and charismatic to be behind the camera and encouraged her to try acting; La Marr took her advice and became a major film star of the 1920s.

1900 – Edith Alice Unnerstad (née Tötterman), Swedish author who was particularly known for her children’s books.

1902 – Sir Karl Raimund Popper, Austrian-British philosopher and professor who was considered one of the greatest philosophers of science of the 20th century.

1909 – Aenne Burda (born Anna Magdalene Lemminger), German publisher; one of her fashion magazines, Burda Moden, became the first Western magazine published in Soviet Union.

1909 – Malcolm Lowry, English poet and novelist who was best known for his book Under the Volcano, voted number 11 on the Modern Library 100 Best Novels list.

1923 – Andrew Henry Martin Scholtz, South African novelist and carpenter who, though he was Black, passed for five years as White in order to feed his family as a soldier in a Whites-only battalion.

1925 – George Klein (born Klein György), prolific, award-winning Hungarian-Swedish microbiologist, cancer researcher, physician, science writer, author, and university teacher; in 1944, he escaped from being loaded onto a train in Budapest during the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz. In the 1960s, he and his wife, immunologist Eva Klein, laid the foundation for modern tumor immunology. In addition to writings on cancer and experimental cell research, he wrote books on a wide range of topics, including essays on the Holocaust in Hungary.

1927 – John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who was regarded as the most influential poet of his day; he tried to make his poems accessible to as many people as possible, but once joked that some critics still viewed him as “a harebrained, homegrown surrealist whose poetry defies even the rules and logic of Surrealism.”

1929 – Yemi Ajibade, Nigerian playwright, actor, and director who made significant contributions to the British theatre and the canon of Black drama.

1929 – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. writer, photographer, and book editor who was U.S. First Lady during her first husband John F. Kennedy’s term as President.

1932 – Natalie Babbitt, U.S. author of books for children and teens, best known for her novel Tuck Everlasting.

1935 – Taeko Tomioka, award-winning Japanese novelist, screenwriter, poet, feminist essayist, short-story writer, and critic.

1937 – Francis Veber, French playwright, screenwriter, and film director.

1938 – Robert Studley Forrest Hughes, Australian-born art critic, writer, and TV documentary producer.

1940 – Anne Mollegen Smith, U.S. writer and editor who is the former editor of such national magazines as Redbook and McCalls; she also writes fiction and blogs about business and finance.

1945 – Jim Davis, U.S. cartoonist; best known for writing and drawing the Garfield cartoon strips and books.

1946 – Robert Asprin, U.S. author of humorous science fiction and fantasy.

1946 – Fahmida Riaz, Indian-born Pakistani Urdu feminist author, poet, human-rights activist, and translator who was controversial because of the erotic themes in some of her poetry, which were considered inappropriate for a woman poet.

1948 – Mbulelo Vizikhungo Mzamane, South African author, poet, and academic; the late President Nelson Mandela described him as a “visionary leader and one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals.”

1950 – Li Xiao (born Li Xiaotang), Chinese writer whose novel Rules of a Clan was adapted into the film Shanghai Triad.

1956 – John Feinstein, U.S. sportswriter who writes about basketball and golf.

1959 – William T. Vollman, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist.

1960 – Jon J. Muth, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books and comics.

1962 – Kwame Dawes, Ghana-born poet, actor, editor, critic, professor, and musician who grew up in Jamaica.

1963 – Michael Ruhlman, U.S. cookbook author who writes about food and restaurants.

1964 – Igbekele Amos Ajibefun, Nigerian economist, author, researcher, professor, and university vice-chancellor.

1970 – Ezekiel Adebiyi, Nigerian computational biologist, bioinformatics professor, writer, and research scientist.

1973 – Aya Nakahara, award-winning Japanese manga artist and writer; she is best known for Love Com, a romance manga about a tall high school girl who falls in love with a short guy.

1980 – Zoë Foster, Australian author, columnist, magazine editor, and cosmetics entrepreneur.

1984 – Maria Popova, Bulgarian-born writer of literary and arts commentary and cultural criticism, best known for her blog, Brain Pickings.

July 27 Writer Birthdays

1777 – Thomas Campbell, Scottish poet known for his sentimental poetry and patriotic war songs; he helped create the initial plans for founding of the University of London.

1824 – Alexandre Dumas, son of the French author of the same name, his works have not attained the same acclaim as his father’s; yet, his novel La Dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias) was adapted by Verdi into the opera La Traviata.

1835 – Giosuè Carducci, Nobel Prize-winning Italian poet, teacher, essayist, translator, biographer, literary critic, and senator, influenced by the ancient Greeks and Romans; he is considered the unofficial national poet of modern Italy, despite the controversy he stirred up with his “Hymn to Satan,” which expressed his opposition to the power of the Catholic church and may have been meant metaphorically.

1849 – Vera Ivanovna Zasulich, Russian Menshevik writer, journalist, politician, and revolutionary.

1870 – Hilaire Belloc, Anglo-French poet, satirist, essayist, orator, soldier, sailor, and political activist who was one of the most important “men of letters” in the early twentieth century.

1876 – Kavimani Desigavinayagam Pillai, Indian Tamil poet, writer, and translator who has been commemorated on an Indian postage stamp.

1887 – Yūzō Yamamoto, Japanese novelist and playwright whose works were noted for their clarity of expression and dramatic composition.

1895 – Zoilo Galang, pioneering Filipino writer who was the author of the first Philippine novel written in the English language.

1901 – Henrietta Drake-Brockman, Australian writer, historian, journalist, novelist, travel writer, biographer, short-story writer, children’s author, and playwright.

1908 – Joseph Mitchell, U.S. writer best known for this work in the New Yorker magazine, which focused on eccentrics and people on the fringes of society. He once placed third in a clam-eating tournament after consuming 84 cherrystones and called it “one of the few worthwhile achievements” of his life.

1909 – Hilde Palm (née Löwenstein), German lyric poet who wrote under the pseudonym Hilde Domin; she was among the most important German-language poets of her time.

1910 – Rajzel Zychlinsky, Polish-born writer of poetry in Yiddish; she survived World War II by fleeing to the Soviet Union, but most of her family was murdered in the Holocaust; her postwar poetry, mostly written in the United States, was strongly influenced by these events. She is considered one of the greatest Yiddish poets of the 20th century and a master of the small poetic form.

1913 – Scott Corbett, U.S. teacher and author of novels for adults and children.

1913 – Vittorio Sereni, award-winning Italian poet, author, editor, publisher, and translator whose poetry frequently addressed themes of 20th-century Italian history, including Fascism, Italy’s military defeat in World War II, and its postwar resurgence.

1914 – August Sang, Estonian author, poet, literary critic, and literary translator.

1916 – Elizabeth Hardwick, U.S. literary critic, novelist, essayist, and short story writer; she was married to poet Robert Lowell.

1922 – Norman Lear, influential U.S. television writer and producer who was known for such 1970s sitcoms as All in the Family, Maude, and One Day At a Time.

1923 – Napoleon “Nap” Genson Rama, Filipino lawyer, journalist, nonfiction author, and political writer who wrote in English and Spanish.

1924 – Vincent Canby, powerful U.S. film reviewer who was chief critic of the New York Times; he has been named one of the 25 best film critics of all times.

1925 – Nileena Abraham (née Dutta), award-winning Indian writer, translator, and professor whose background is in Bengali language, political science, and history.

1925 – John Davies, award-winning Malaysian writer and archivist who was Executive Officer of the National Archives of Malaysia; in his time, he was considered the world’s leading authority on the conservation and preservation of documents.

1929 – Jack Higgins, pen name of bestselling British author Harry Patterson, who writes political thrillers and spy novels.

1937 – Irène Stecyk, award-winning Belgian novelist, poet, short-story writer, and librarian.

1940 – Miguel Francisco Gutiérrez Correa, Peruvian writer who wrote on the theme of disaffected youth.

1940 – Bharati Mukherjee, Indian-born novelist, essayist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, and professor whose writing explores themes of immigration and alienation.

1943 – So Aono, award-winning Japanese novelist and professor who is the son of the renowned literary critic Suekichi Aono.

1945 – Wisran Hadi, award-winning Indonesian writer, playwright, novelist, and short-story writer.

1947 – Kathleen Norris, U.S. poet, essayist, and nonfiction author. (Not to be confused with Kathleen Norris the novelist and columnist.)

1948 – Juliet Marillier, New Zealand writer of historical fantasy novels.

1949 – Robert Rankin, British author of humorous novels who refers to his genre as “far-fetched fiction.” His fan club is called The Order of the Golden Sprout.

1951- Bernardo Atxaga (pseudonym of Joseba Irazu Garmendia), Spanish Basque writer, children’s author, poet, screenwriter, and translator.

1951 – Iztok Osojnik, award-winning Slovenian writer, poet, translator, author, essayist, and linguist.

1952 – Eduardo Milán, Uruguayan author, poetry, critic, and anthologist.

1953 – Rodolfo Macías Fattoruso, Uruguayan literary critic, editor, and educator who specializes in the philosophic aspects of the works of Jorge Luis Borges.

1953 – Akshaykumar Malharrao Kale, Indian writer, professor, and critic of modern Marathi poetry.

1958 – Kate Elliott, pen name of U.S. science-fiction and fantasy author Alis A. Rasmussen

1959 – Vahram Martirosyan, bestselling Armenian writer, screenwriter, and journalist; his first novel, Landslide, was one of the few modern Armenian novels translated abroad.

1959 – Lawrence M. Schoen, Nebula Award-nominated U.S. author, publisher, psychologist, hypnotist, and expert in the Klingon language; founder of the Klingon Language Institute; his best known works are the novel Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard and a series of novels, novellas, and short stories about a hypnotist, the Amazing Conroy.

1961 – V.M. Girija, Indian poet, author, essayist, and translator who writes in Malayalam.

1961 – Marjetka Jeršek, Slovenian novelist, fairy tale author, writer, and painter.

1962 – Carina Yvonne Dahl, Swedish novelist, screenwriter, and film director who has also written a column about horses; she and her family have lived on a large ship in the North Sea for twenty years.

1962 – Agus R. Sarjono, Indonesian poet, author, essayist, short-story writer, playwright, editor, and lecturer.

1970 – Ruchi Anand, Indian-born author and professor who writes on international relations and environmental politics; she currently lives in France.

1971 – Julieta Valero, award-winning Spanish poet, essayist, and short-story writer.

1973 – Cassandra Clare, bestselling U.S. author of young-adult fiction, best known for her series “The Mortal Instruments.”

1984 – Hao Jingfang, Hugo Award-winning Chinese writer, novelist, essayist, and science-fiction writer.

1990 – Gabrielle Tremblay, Canadian poet, writer, and actress who was the first transgender woman ever nominated for an acting award at the Canadian Screen Awards.

July 26 Writer Birthdays

1165 – Ibn Arabi (full name Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad ibn ʿAlī ibn Muḥammad ibn al-ʿArabī al-Ḥātimī al-Ṭāʾī al-Andalusī al-Mursī al-Dimashqī), prolific Spanish-born Arab Andalusian Muslim scholar, mystic, poet, and philosopher whose works have grown to be influential within the Muslim world and beyond.

1693 – Alexandre Jean Joseph Le Riche de La Poupelinière (sometimes called Popelinière ou Poupelinière), French writer, playwright, travel writer, art collector, and patron of the arts.

1819 – Panteleimon Kulish, Ukrainian historian, writer, folklorist, poet, editor, translator, publisher, literary critic, anthropologist, opinion journalist, and Bible translator.

1850 – Jnanadanandini Tagore (née Mukhopadhyay) Indian Bengali writer, poet, short-story writer, playwright, memoirist, children’s author, and social reformer who pioneered various cultural innovations and influenced the earliest phase of women’s empowerment in 19th century Bengal.

1856 – George Bernard Shaw, Nobel Prize-winning Irish playwright who was a co-founder of the London School of Economics; he also wrote music and literary criticism, essays, novels, and short stories.

1859 – Virginie Demont-Breton (full name Virginie Élodie Marie Thérèse Demont-Breton), award-winning French painter and writer; her work to secure equal opportunities for women in the arts resulted in female artists in France being admitted in academic settings and being allowed to use artistic tools previously not available to them, including nude models.

1872 – George Louis Beer, renowned U.S. historian of the Imperial school; he wrote about British colonialism.

1872 – Surendranath Tagore, Indian Bengali author, literary scholar, and translator.

1875 – Carl G. Jung, influential Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist who founded and wrote extensively about the field of analytic psychology, in some aspects a response to Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis.

1875 – Antonio Machado (full name Antonio Cipriano José María y Francisco de Santa Ana Machado y Ruiz), Spanish poet who was one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of ’98.

1875 – Milorad M. Petrovic-Seljancica, Serbian poet, playwright, writer, and soldier.

1885 – Andre Maurois (born Émile Salomon Wilhelm Herzog), prolific French author of novels, biographies, essays, histories, children’s books, and science-fiction stories.

1892 – Pearl Buck, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, and biographer who grew up in China, where her parents were missionaries, and also lived part of her adult life there; many of her books are based on her experiences and observations in Asia and on the clash between East and West.

1894 – Aldous Huxley, British-born author of the classic science-fiction novel Brave New World who also wrote other novels, nonfiction, poetry, satire, short stories, travel pieces, memoirs, and film scripts; he was nominated for the Nobel Prize seven times but never won.

1894 – Magdalena Samozwaniec (née Kossak), Polish short-story writer.

1895 – Cassiano Ricardo, Brazilian journalist, literary critic, and poet.

1899 – Muhammad Mahdi Al-Jawahiri, Iraqi poet who was nicknamed The Greatest Arabian Poet; many consider him to be one of the finest Arabian poets of the 20th century.

1901 – Nina Berberova, Russian novelist, short-story writer, poet, critic, and opinion journalist who chronicled the lives of Russian exiles in Paris in her short stories and novels.

1921 – Alicia Morel Chaigneau, Chilean writer, novelist, storyteller, poet, and essayist who was best known for her work in the field of children’s literature and in theater for children and puppets.

1921 – Jean Shepherd, U.S. short-story writer, book author, screenwriter, actor, storyteller, and radio and TV personality, best known as co-writer and narrator of the film, A Christmas Story.

1922 – Chairil Anwar, Indonesian poet and member of the “1945 generation” of writers; he is estimated to have written 96 works, including 70 individual poems, despite the fact that he died at the age of 26.

1922 – Blake Edwards, U.S. screenwriter, film director, and producer who was married to actress, singer, and novelist Julie Andrews.

1923 – Bernice Rubens, award-winning Welsh novelist, autobiographer, nonfiction author, documentary filmmaker, and teacher.

1924 – Ruth Weiss, Nobel Prize-nominated German-born fiction and nonfiction writer, editor, anti-apartheid journalist, young-adult historical novelist, autobiographer, and activist who focuses on anti-racism in all its forms. She was born in Germany but her family fled to South Africa to escape the Nazis; she was later exiled by South Africa and Rhodesia for her writings.

1925 – Ana María Matute Ausejo, internationally acclaimed Spanish writer and member of the Real Academia Española; she won the Cervantes Prize for her literary oeuvre.

1926 – Zíbia Alencastro Gasparetto, Brazilian spiritualist writer who claims that some of her books were dictated by a spirit named Lucius.

1927 – Lorenza Mazzetti, Italian film director, novelist, photographer, and painter.

1928 – Feng Zhongpu (pen name Zong Pu), award-winning Chinese novelist and children’s writer.

1928 – Netiva Ben Yehuda, Israeli author, editor, radio host, and media personality who was a commander in the pre-state Jewish underground army; she was also a discus thrower who considered competing in the Olympics.

1933 – Danuza Leão, Brazilian writer, journalist, columnist, socialite, and model.

1937 – Wilton Gbakolo Sengbe Sankawulo, Liberian novelist, short-story writer, biographer, and professor who was President of Liberia.

1939 – Jun Henmi (real name Mayumi Shimizu), Japanese writer and poet; she was best known for her works of fiction and nonfiction about people affected by World War II.

1939 – Samuel Ejikeme Okoye, award-winning Nigerian astrophysicist, physicist, author, and writer who was the first black African to obtain a doctorate in Radio Astronomy; he wrote on topics related to physics, but also on issues related to science and technology in developing countries.

1944 – Boaventura da Silva Cardoso, noted Angolan fiction author, essayist, ethnomusicologist, and politician who is Angolan Minister of Culture.

1950 – Nicholas Evans, bestselling English novelist, journalist, screenwriter, and television and film producer; he is best known for his novel The Horse Whisperer, which was made into a film starring Robert Redford.

1954 – Lawrence Watt-Evans, Hugo Award-winning U.S. author of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.

1960 – Amanda (Mandy) Hager, award-winning New Zealand author of fiction and nonfiction for children, young adults, and adults.

1961 – Felix Dexter, Saint Kitts-born British writer, actor, and comedian.

1964 – Anne Provoost, award-winning Flemish Belgian author, young-adult novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and children’s writer who is known for remaking myths, folk tales, fairy tales, and bible stories; once a year, she writes a letter to Hans Christian Andersen, answering one of his stories.

1968 – Musharraf Ali Farooqi, award-winning Pakistani writer, translator, essayist, and publisher who is working to establish an Urdu-language publishing program for children’s literature and classics.

1971 – Kazuki Sakuraba, award-winning Japanese author of novels and “light novels,” including novelizations and mysteries; she also writes short stories and essays.

1981 – Elaine Eksvärd (née Bergqvist), Swedish author and consultant who writes books about rhetoric.

July 25 Writer Birthdays

1398 – Francesco Filelfo, Italian writer, teacher, poet, diplomat, translator, and university teacher who was a scholar of ancient Latin and Greek literature; he is thought to have been a third cousin of Leonardo da Vinci.

1517 – Jacques Peletier du Mans – French Renaissance poet, translator, mathematician, and humanist who tried to reform French spelling to correct its inconsistencies.

1626 – Geeraerdt Brandt, Dutch poet, playwright, preacher, biographer, church historian, and naval historian who was a well-known writer in his time.

1734 – Ueda Akinari (also known as Ueda Shusei) prominent Japanese author, scholar, waka poet, and physician who was a key literary figure in 18th-century Japan; he was an early writer in the yomihon genre, and his two masterpieces, Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Rain and the Moon) and Harusame Monogatari (Tales of Spring Rain), are central to the canon of Japanese literature.

1761 – Charlotte Von Kalb (Baroness Marshal of Ostheim), German writer and Friedrich Schiller biographer whose books were published only after her death; she associated with poets Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, and Jean Paul. Her contemporaries said Von Kalb was judged unfavorably by women, but fascinated nearly every man she knew.

1829 – Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall (commonly known as Lizzie), influential English artist, poet, and artists’ model who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Her poetry often had dark themes about lost love or the impossibility of true love. According to one critic: “Her verses were as simple and moving as ancient ballads; her drawings were as genuine in their medieval spirit as much more highly finished and competent works of Pre-Raphaelite art.”

1840 – Flora Adams Darling, U.S. author and short-story writer who is now known primarily for her part in founding the Daughters of the American Revolution.

1884 – Rafael Arévalo Martínez, Guatemalan poet, novelist, journalist, biographer, and short-story writer who was director of Guatemala’s national library for more than 20 years.

1886 – Bror von Blixen-Finecke, Swedish baron who was a writer, autobiographer, and big-game hunter but is best known for his marriage to Danish writer Karen Blixen (née Dinesen) and figures prominently in her memoir Out of Africa, written under her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen; in the movie based on the book, he was played by Klaus Maria Brandauer.

1887 – Kumaratunga Munidasa, pioneering Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) linguist, grammarian, commentator, writer, poet, and journalist; he founded the Hela Havula movement, which sought to remove Sanskrit influences in the Sinhala language and promote its correct usage.

1892 – Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyaya, Indian Bengali author who was best known for his biography of poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore.

1896 – Elizabeth Mackintosh, influential Scottish author who wrote mystery novels under the pen name Josephine Tey and history-themed plays under the pen name Gordon Daviot.

1900 – Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan novelist and writer best known for his story “Las quitanderas,” whose plot centres on rural prostitution; he was also known for his left-wing politics.

1901 – Ruth Krauss, U.S. author of children’s books and theatrical poems for adults; she is best known for her classic children’s book, The Carrot Seed.

1902 – Eric Hoffer, U.S. author and social philosopher.

1905 – Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize-winning Bulgarian-born Swiss, British, and Austrian modernist writer of novels, plays, memoirs, and nonfiction.

1905 – Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British naturalist, children’s writer, and illustrator who wrote under the pseudonym BB.

1906 – Irène Hamoir, Belgian novelist and poet, who was one of the leading members of the Belgian surrealist movement; her works have been described as “highly fantastical.”

1906 – Nhất Linh, Vietnamese writer, journalist, editor, politician, and publisher; he published many of the influential realism-influenced novels of the 1930s.

1912 – Myint Swe, award-winning Burmese physician and writer who is especially known for his bestselling memoir, The Japanese Era Rangoon General Hospital, which chronicles the events at the only hospital in Yangon (Rangoon) open to non-Japanese during the Japanese occupation of Burma.

1914 – Prem Nath Dar, Indian Urdu-language short-story writer whose work was influenced by socio-political movements.

1918 – José María Sánchez Borbón, Panamanian writer, poet, and politician.

1919 – Carl Keilhau, Norwegian journalist and poet who was widely known by his pen name, “Pirat.”

1920 – Rosalind Elsie Franklin, English chemist, X-ray crystallographer, and writer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite.; her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely unrecognized during her lifetime, for which she has been referred to as the “wronged heroine,” “the dark lady of DNA,” “the forgotten heroine,” a “feminist icon,” and “the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology.” After her death, a male team member received the Nobel Prize for work she began.

1922 – Antonio Alatorre, Mexican writer, novelist, philosopher, and translator; he was best known for his influential academic essays about Spanish literature, and for his book Los 1001 años de la lengua española (The 1001 Years of the Spanish Language).

1923 – Maria Gripe (born Maja Stina Walter), Swedish author of fantasy and folklore-based books for children and young adults; she was also a screenwriter, adapting many of her own books for television, radio, and film.

1924 – Síle Ní Chéileachair, Irish short-story writer and teacher who wrote in the Irish language; her work has been praised for its concise style and broad range of subject matter.

1928 – Joyce Mansour (nee Joyce Patricia Adès), English-born Egyptian-French author who became well known as an important surrealist poet; she was also a prose writer and playwright.

1932 – Esther Streit-Wurzel, Israeli writer, children’s author, and educator who wrote her first book at age 12, under the pen name Zvi Hadas.

1943 – Osvaldo Rodríguez (also called Gypsy Rodriguez), Argentine-born Chilean poet essayist, novelist, and short-story writer.

1947 – Clyde Watson, U.S. author of children’s books, many of them illustrated by her sister Wendy Watson; they are two of many authors and illustrators in their family.

1948 – Milan Richter, Slovak writer, playwright, translator, publisher, and diplomat.

1954 – Anetta Kahane, German journalist, author, and activist against antisemitism, racism, and right-wing extremism.

1955 – Miguel Vicente Esteves Cardoso, Portuguese writer, translator, critic, and journalist.

1955 – Carole David, award-winning Canadian poet, novelist, and editor who writes in French; one critic said of her work, “Carole David’s poems exude the smell of life in the raw. She excavates the human landscape. She goes for the jugular. Softly.”

1961 – Darren Bennett Star, U.S. screenwriter, producer, and director; best known as the creator of popular television series Sex & the City and Beverly Hills 90210.

1963 – Ian Usher, English author, traveler, travel writer, and speaker.

1964 – Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. journalist, columnist, and author who has written extensively about Communism and Central and Eastern Europe.

1965 – Ina Müller, German author and television presenter who is also an actress, singer, comedian, film score composer, and cabaret artist.

1965 – Olivier Py, French actor, playwright, and theater and film director who is known for his emphasis on Catholic and homoerotic themes.

1966 – Rachel Vail, award-winning U.S. short-story writer and author of books for children and teens.

1967 – Karen Lynch, bestselling Canadian author of young-adult urban-fantasy novels.

1967 – Annette Pehnt, award-winning German author, university teacher, and literary critic.

1968 – Shi Tao, award-winning Chinese journalist, writer and poet who in 2005 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for releasing a document of the Communist Party to an overseas Chinese democracy site.

1971 – Elizabeth Haynes, British writer of bestselling crime fiction.

1973 – Mur Lafferty, U.S. podcaster and author of speculative fiction, known for her comic travel fantasies.

1980 – Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Swedish journalist, writer, columnist, and women’s rights activist who is the author of books about the financial crisis, women’s rights, and critiques of capitalism.

July 24 Writer Birthdays

1802 – Alexandre Dumas, French adventure novelist whose famous works include The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo his son, also named Alexandre Dumas, was also a historical novelist and playwright.

1842 – Ambrose Bierce, U.S. editorialist, journalist, short-story writer, fabulist, and satirist, best known for his short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”; he also wrote a satirical reference book called The Devil’s Dictionary.

1857 – Henrik Pontoppidan, Nobel Prize-winning Danish realist writer of novels and short stories that depicted social evils and the miserable situation of the peasant proletariat; German novelist Thomas Mann called him, “a full-blooded storyteller.”

1862 – James Percy FitzPatrick, South African author, politician, and mining financier who wrote the classic children’s book, Jock of the Bushveld.

1878 – Edward Plunkett (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany), Irish novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and playwright who sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Lord Dunsany; many of his works are fantasies, set in a land called Pegāna; he was also the chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland.

1886 – Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, popular Japanese novelist who was a major figure in modern Japanese literature; he was best known for his book, Makioka Sisters, an account of a traditional, pre-World War II Osaka family.

1895 – Robert Graves, English poet, novelist, mythographer, critic, historican, and classical translator, best known for his historical novel I, Claudius, which has been adapted to film, radio, and theater.

1897 – Amelia Earhart, U.S. airplane pilot and aviation pioneer who was also an author, journalist, travel writer, memoirist, and feminist who set many flight records and was the first woman aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean; during a 1937 attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe, Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

1899 – Chief Dan George, chief of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, British Columbia, Canada, who was also an author, poet, spokesman for native rights, and Oscar-nominated actor; as a writer, he is best known for the book My Heart Soars.

1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald, best known as the wife of U.S. novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, she also published a novel of her own, Save Me the Waltz, and has been called the Muse of the Jazz Age.

1911 – Elisa Lispector (full Leah Pinkhasovna Lispector), Ukrainian-born Brazilian novelist, short-story writer, and teacher; her sister Clarice Lispector was also a well-known writer.

1912 – Essie Summers (born Ethel Snelson Summers), bestselling New Zealand author of romance novels who was considered New Zealand’s “Queen of Romance.”

1916 – John D. McDonald, U.S. crime and suspense novelist whose best known works include the Travis McGee series and The Executioners (which was adapted into the film Cape Fear); he also wrote under various pen names, including John Wade Farrel, Robert Henry, John Lane, Scott O’Hara, Peter Reed, and Henry Reiser.

1918 – Vi Hilbert (née Anderson; Lushootseed name: taqʷšəblu), U.S. Native American tribal elder, writer, and cultural and linguistic preservationist of the Upper Skagit, a tribe of the greater Puget Salish in Washington State; she was the last fully fluent heritage speaker of the Lushootseed language and wrote Lushootseed grammars, dictionaries, and books of stories, teachings, and place names. She was named a Washington State Living Treasure, and received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts from President Bill Clinton.

1921 – Trần Văn Khê, Vietnamese writer, educator, musician, musicologist, and ethnomusicologist; his book La musique viêtnamienne traditionnelle was for many years a standard text of Vietnamese musicology.

1924 – Thích Thanh Từ, influential Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk who has written many books about Buddhism and is credited with increasing traditional Vietnamese Buddhism practices in Vietnam.

1928 – Griselda Gambaro, Argentine novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and young-adult novelist whose work often concerns political violence in Argentina.

1928 – Rosemarie Schuder (also known as Rosemarie Hirsch), award-winning German journalist, writer, and historical novelist whose books deal with German history or with the lives of prominent people.

1931 – Oscar Ichazo, Bolivian-born human behavioral scientist, writer, and educator who created the Enneagram of Personality theories.

1932 – Madhukar Toradmal, Indian Marathi actor, writer, translator, and professor who was best known as an actor and as a translator of plays.

1933 – Jerzy Harasymowicz-Broniuszyc, Polish poet and prose writer of Ukrainian and Polish-German roots who founded the poetic groups Muszyna and Barbarus and belonged to the “Wspólczesnosc” (Present Day) literary movement. He often explored the Lemkos and Slav-Christian cultures in his works, and also wrote poems about sports and in praise of socialism.

1935 – Aaron Elkins, U.S. author of mysteries featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver; he is married to romance novelist Charlotte Elkins, who writes under the pen name Emily Spenser.

1935 – Patrick Bruce (Pat) Oliphant, Pulitzer Prize-winning Australian editorial cartoonist.

1936 – Albert Marrin, National Book Award-winning U.S. historian and prolific author of children’s nonfiction books.

1937 – Saleha binti Abdul Rashid (better known by her pen name Salmi Manja), Singaporean-born Malaysian novelist, poet, and journalist who was among the first Malaysian professional women writers and who has frequently written about Islam and women; she is best known for her novel Hari Mana Bulan Mana (What Day What Month).

1939 – Tamar Adar, award-winning Israeli writer, poet, children’s book author, playwright, and screenwriter.

1939 – Christian Peter Georg Kampmann, Danish writer and journalist whose novels are mainly about middle- and upper-classes people trying to find their place in the world, and frequently deal with the subject of homosexuality.

1939 – Claude Kayat, Tunisian-born French and Swedish novelist, writer, dramatist, teacher, and painter.

1939 – Barry N. Malzberg, U.S. science-fiction author who published in other genres under various pseudonyms, including Nathan Herbert and K.M. O’Donnell.

1943 – Eduardo Parra, Chilean poet and musician who is a member of the Chilean rock fusion band Los Jaivas.

1946 – Rivka Keren, Israeli writer, children’s author, and painter.

1946 – Rosemary Dorothy Moravec (born Rosemary Dorothy Hill), Austrian-British musicologist, author, and composer.

1947 – Marie-Noëlle Drouet (known as Minou Drouet, French writer, poet, musician, and actress.

1950 – Arliss Ryan, U.S. historical novelist, short-story writer, satirist, and essayist. In 2017, she and her husband, naval architect Eric Sponberg, left the U.S. to sail around the world in their 35-foot sailboat; her website blog, “The Old Woman and the Sea,” chronicles their ongoing voyage.

1951 – Carlos Baca, Mexican writer, cartoonist, visual artist, ecologist, yogi, and rock music critic who is a key figure of the counterculture movement known as La Onda and has gained fame as the creator of the comic strip character Avandarito.

1951 – Robert Maxwell Hood, Australian writer and editor recognized as one of Australia’s leading writers of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and crime; he also writes short stories, young-adult novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and academic articles and has co-edited anthologies of horror and crime fiction.

1952 – Moniro Ravanipor, Iranian novelist and short-story writer whose stories and books are praised for their innovation and described as “reminiscent in their fantastic blend of realism, myth, and superstition”; she frequently sets her fiction in the small, remote village in southern Iran where she was born. Ravanipour was among 17 activists to face trial in Iran for their participation in the 2000 Berlin Conference, accused of taking part in anti-Iran propaganda, leading to her work being stripped from bookstore shelves in a countrywide police action.

1953 – A.N. Prahlada Rao, Indian author, editor, journalist, and Kannada-language crossword puzzle creator.

1957 – Chrysa Dimoulidou, Greek novelist, poet, reporter, children’s writer, and collage artist.

1955 – Brad Watson, U.S. novelist and short-story writer who was a finalist for the National Book Award.

1959 – Zdravka Evtimova, Bulgarian novelist, short-story writer, and translator.

1959 – Kjetil Try, Norwegian crime fiction writer, advertising executive, and ice hockey player.

1964 – Vishnu Wagh, Indian writer, poet, playwright, journalist, and politician.

1964 – Banana Yoshimoto (pen name of Mahoko Yoshimoto), bestselling Japanese novelist and essayist whose fiction is known for unusual characters and for themes of love, friendship, the power of home and family, and the effect of loss on the human spirit.

1965 – Merete Morken Andersen, award-winning Norwegian novelist, children’s writer, journalist, literary critic, and magazine editor.

1966 – Hilarion Alfeyev (born Grigoriy Valerievich Alfeyev), Russian bishop, theologian, writer, church historian, composer, and university teacher who has published books on dogmatic theology, patristics, and church history, as well as numerous compositions for choir and orchestra.

1967 – Fuat Deniz, Turkish-born Swedish sociologist and writer of Assyrian descent who was internationally known for his research on the Assyrian Genocide; he was murdered in 2007.

1968 – Alaa Mashzoub, Iraqi journalist, novelist, writer, and historian whose work focused on the history of Iraq, the city of Karbala, and the history of the Jews in Iraq.

1975 – Shane McCarthy, Australian comic-book writer who has written in the Batman, Transformers, and X-Men series; when he isn’t writing, he runs a swing-dancing school.

1975 – Alejandro Zambra, Chilean poet, novelist, short-story writer, and literary critic.

1978 – Madeline Miller, award-winning U.S. novelist, essayist, and Classical scholar whose books, The Song of Achilles and Circe, are based on themes from mythology.

1980 – Hanna Hellquist, Swedish author, journalist, and television presenter.

1986 – Suffian Hakim bin Supoano, Singaporean author and screenwriter who is known for his novels, the parody Harris bin Potter and The Stoned Philosopher and his book, The Minorities, which takes on such issues as ethnicity, immigration, and assimilation; his humorous, satirical writing is characterized by popular-culture references, word play, offbeat characters, and absurd situations.

It’s a Wonderful Museum

Six years ago this week, we met Zuzu! Bob and I visited Seneca Falls, New York, that week. After touring the women’s rights museum that had brought us to town, we came across an unexpected attraction: the It’s a Wonderful Life Museum. Seneca Falls seems to have been film director Frank Capra’s inspiration for the town of Bedford Falls, the setting of the beloved holiday film, It’s a Wonderful Life. The town embraces that connection and started a museum to commemorate the film.

And the day we stopped by the museum happened to be the day that Karolyn Grimes, who played little Zuzu in the film, was there! She was chatting with visitors and signing autographs! How cool is that?

Me, Karolyn Grimes, and Bob. You might notice Jimmy Stewart behind us, walking the streets of Bedford Falls.

Karolyn Grimes as Zuzu, showing her flower to her dad George Bailey, played, of course, by Jimmy Stewart.

July 23 Writer Birthdays

1823 – Coventry Kersey Dighton Patmore, English poet and critic who was the son of novelist and editor Peter George Patmore.

1863 – Zabel Asadour (better known by her literary pseudonym Sibil, Armenian poet, short-story writer, playwright, publisher, educator, and philanthropist.

1867 – Koda Shigeyuki (pen name Koda Rohan), award-winning Japanese writer, novelist, and literary critic.

1879 – Simeon Strunsky, U.S. essayist, encyclopedia editor, editorial writer, and columnist who was born in Vitebsk, Russia (present-day Belarus).

1888 – Raymond Chandler, U.S. author of detective fiction who helped develop the genre of the hard-boiled detective story; he created the character Philip Marlowe, who was played on screen by such actors as Humphrey Bogart, James Garner, Elliott Gould, and Robert Mitchum.

1890 – Joan Amades i Gelats, Spanish Catalan writer, ethnologist, folklorist, and Esperantist.

1896 – Katharine Burdekin (born Katharine Penelope Cade), British science-fiction and feminist utopian/dystopian novelist whose fiction often concerned social and spiritual matters; she wrote under the names Kay Burdekin and Murray Constantine. She was the sister of Rowena Cade, creator of the Minack Theatre in Cornwall.

1897 – Edward Fairly Stuart Graham Cloete, South African novelist, essayist, biographer, autobiographer, and short-story writer.

1900 – Inger Margrethe Boberg, award-winning Danish folklore researcher, writer, editor, and archivist who was the first Danish woman to earn a PhD in folklore.

1907 – Elspeth Huxley, English writer, memoirist, journalist, broadcaster, magistrate, environmentalist, farmer, and government advisor; she wrote 30 books but is best known for The Flame Trees of Thika, a memoir about her experiences growing up on a coffee farm in Colonial Kenya; her husband, Gervas Huxley, was a grandson of biologist Thomas Huxley and a cousin of writer Aldous Huxley.

1912 – M.H. Abrams, U.S. literary critic and author; editor of the Norton Anthology of English Literature, the standard text for undergraduate literature courses.

1921 – Malachi Brendan Martin (pseudonym Michael Serafian), Irish Catholic priest, Professor of Palaeography, and religious author who wrote on subjects concerning the Catholic Church; among his most significant works were The Scribal Character of The Dead Sea Scrolls and Hostage To The Devil, which dealt with Satanism, demonic possession, and exorcism.

1923 – Thea Beckman, award-winning Dutch author, children’s writer, and science-fiction writer, best known for her children’s time-travel novel, Crusade in Jeans.

1925 – Magdalen Goffin, English writer, biographer, book reviewer, and editor.

1926 – Sidilla Editha “Cedella” Booker (née Malcolm and previously Marley, Jamaican singer, writer, and biographer who was the mother of reggae musician Bob Marley; she was the organizer of the 9 Mile Music Festival, an annual music event to help keep alive Marley’s message of peace, love and unity.

1928 – Vera Rubin (Vera Florence Cooper Rubin), U.S. astronomer, author, and professor who pioneered work on galaxy rotation rates; The New York Times described her work as “ushering in a Copernican-scale change” in cosmological theory. An observatory, a satellite, an asteroid, and an area on Mars have been named after her, as is a fictitious Verubin Nebula in Season Three of the television show Star Trek: Discovery.

1928 – Hubert Selby Jr., controversial U.S. novelist, best known for his books Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream; the latter was the subject of obscenity charges in Britain; a highly publicized court trial resulted in a guilty verdict, which was overturned on appeal, paving the way for the end of censorship in Britain.

1929 – Robert Quackenbush, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books.

1930 – Vivienne Rae-Ellis, Australian writer and biographer who also wrote under the pseudonym Antonia Bell.

1932 – Gibson Mthuthuzeli Kente, South African playwright, composer, director, television writer, and producer who was known as the Father of Black Theatre in South Africa; he was one of the first writers to deal with life in South Africa’s black townships.

1933 – Myfanwy Horne (born Myfanwy Gollan), Australian journalist, writer, essayist, reviewer, book editor, and social commentator; she was the organizer of a historical exhibition in Sydney, “Struggle for Democracy in Australia 1788-1977,” which focused on the human-rights struggles of Aboriginal people, women’s rights, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion.

1936 – Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Indian poet, writer, and playwright of the Punjabi language; he was best known for his romantic poetry, noted for its heightened passion, pathos, separation, and lover’s agony.

1939 – Fanny Puyesky Mitnik, Uruguayan lawyer, writer, journalist, columnist, and dramatist who is known as “the first feminist” of Uruguay.

1940 – Danielle Collobert, French author, poet and journalist whose work explored travel, the ambiguity of gender, and an obsession with death as the destination of humankind.

1941 – Kim Jong-hae, award-winning Korean author, lyric poet, sailor, and publisher.

1942 – Dimitris Liantinis, Greek author, philosopher, writer, poet, translator, and professor who wrote on philosophical issues including education, morality, and death, and emphasized the need to incorporate Ancient Greek ideas and morals into the modern Greek education system; he has achieved notoriety in Greece because of his strange and unexplained final disappearance in 1998, leaving behind a letter to his family: “I go away by my own will. I disappear standing, strong, and proud.”

1944 – Alexander Buzo, prolific Australian playwright, travel writer, children’s author, sports writer, and reviewer who was known for his witty and insightful books.

1947 – Gardner Dozois, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning U.S. science-fiction author and editor.

1952 – Laxman Maruti Gaikwad, Indian Marathi novelist best known for his award-winning autobiographical novel, Uchalaya, and its translation, The Branded; Considered a masterpiece in Marathi literature, it brings to the world of literature for the first time the trials and tribulations of his tribe, Uchalya, literally “the pilferers,” a term coined by the British.

1954 – Kelley Aitken, Canadian short-story writer, visual artist, editor, and art instructor.

1960 – Mario Bellatin, Peruvian-Mexican novelist, science-fiction writer, and educator who is considered a leading voice in Spanish fiction for his experimental and fragmented writing, which artfully intertwines reality and creation.

1961 – Vikram Chandra, award-winning Indian-born novelist and short-story writer.

1961 – Alojz Ihan, award-winning Slovenian poet, writer, editor, essayist, doctor, microbiologist, and immunologist.

1961 – Florence Noiville, French author, journalist, children’s writer, and biographer who is a long time staff writer for Le Monde and editor of foreign fiction for its literary supplement.

1962 – Stanislav Tsalyk, prolific Ukrainian writer, essayist, television writer, historian, essayist, nonfiction writer, and journalist.

1970 – Sindri Freysson, award-winning Icelandic novelist, poet, and children’s writer.

1971 – Rabelani Dagada, South African author and politician.

1971 – Mohsin Hamid, award-winning, bestselling Pakistani-born novelist, essayist, journalist, and short-story writer.

1973 – Nandini Sahu, award-winning Indian poet, writer, literary critic, editor, and professor who has written about Indian-English literature, American literature, English Language Teaching (ELT), folklore and culture studies, and children’s literature.

.1978 – Lauren Groff, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1978 – Milisav Popović, Montenegrin essayist, fantasy novelist, and politician; he was elected director of the National Library of Montenegro.

Flag-Flying Foolishness

Why do so many people feel that their own opinions and preferences should govern everyone else’s choices????

A man named Matthew posted before-and-after pictures of his house on a Facebook page devoted to home renovation, restoration, and decoration. The “after” picture showed a cute, modest one-story yellow house with a red door. It also happened to have a “Black Lives Matter” sign and a rainbow flag. (My commentary below is italicized and in parentheses. Responders’ grammatical and spelling errors are their own.)

Someone named Emily looked at the picture of Matthew’s house and responded, “Where is the American flag?”

Matthew responded, “Glad you like the house!” with a winking emoji. (Kudos to Matthew! Emily, of course, had said nothing about liking the house.) He added, “I’m sorry you’re the only angry-react on this post. I hope your day gets better.”

Irene stepped up to say, “I love the flag and the sign too. Bravo!”

Karen defended Emily: “I didn’t think it was an angry react post. I think you should have an American flag also on the other corner of your garage.”

I got into it next, asking Karen: “Why? He knows what country he lives in. Everyone who goes by the house knows what country it is in. There is no reason why every house should fly an American flag. It’s up to the owners to decide how to decorate their property.”

Then came the most scary-crazy person, Sue, responding to me: “You’re right we know what country we live in. And because of her choosen flag, everyone pretty much knows she sleeps with someone of the same sex or supports those that do.” (I have no idea why Sue thinks Matthew is a woman or why she thinks his sexual preferences are relevant here.)

As if that was not enough, Sue went on: “It wasnt a angry comment but a question. Considering that there was a time that most homes would have a American flag on display, to show their American pride, that they were grateful to be living in a America and as respect for the thousands of men that fought and died for us to be a Free Nation! Of course long before folks started Adding a POW/MIA or a Thin Blue Line or Black Lives Matter, or Gay Pride flags. And many accepted it.” (Her grammar leaves a lot to be desired, but as she shows next, so does her understanding of the principles on which this country was founded.)

“But to have any Flag flying and Not have a USA FLAG flying, does seem disrespectful IMO. Because how can any of these other flags be anywhere near as important as a USA flag? Because anyone wouldn’t have the freedom to fly any kind of flag at their homes, IF IT WERE NOT FOR THE WISE& BRAVE MEAN THAT PUT AMERICA FIRST, FOUGHT AND MANY DIED FOR US TO LIVE IN A FREE NATION WITH A CONSTITUTION AND BILL OF RIGHTS TO MAKE US THE BEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD!!! SO IF ANYONE WANTS TO FLY ANY TYPE OF FLAG, JUST MAKE SURE ITS IN ADDITION TO THE MOST IMPORTANT 1, THAT WITHOUT IT, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!!”

(Yes, the all-caps were Sue’s, not mine.)

There is a lot I would like to say in response to this diatribe. I would like to ask her by which measure the U.S. is the best country in the world: Access to education and health care? Equal rights for women and minorities? Transportation infrastructure? Income equity? I would like to ask her about the “wise& brave mean” who fought for this country, though I’m not completely sure where to start with that one. I would like to ask her if she understands the contradiction in her calling it a free nation and then mandating that Americans who fly any flag at all also fly an American flag. I would like to correct her spelling and grammar.

But doing any of those, except the last, would be seen as making a political statement. And making political statements on the particular page results in being immediately kicked out of the group. So instead of responding to her, I reported her to the administrators.

UPDATE: I am vindicated. Sue’s rant was removed by the page administrators, and she does not appear to be on the site any longer.