January 14 Writer Birthdays

1551 – Abu’l-Fazl ibn Mubarak, Indian-born writer, poet, historian, translator, politician, and Grand Vizier of the Mughal emperor Akbar; he is best remembered as the author of the Akbarnama, the official history of Akbar’s reign in three volumes, and for his Persian translation of the Bible. He was one of the “Nine Jewels” of Akbar’s royal court and was the brother of Faizi, Akbar’s Poet Laureate.

1651 – Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville (also known as Baroness d’Aulnoy, Countess d’Aulnoy, or Madame d’Aulnoy), French writer, salonnière, novelist, and collector of fairy tales; she is credited with coining the word fairy tales (contes de fées).

1690 – Chrysostomus Hanthaler, Austrian writer, librarian, historian, author, archivist, numismatist.

1700 – Christian Friedrich Henrici (pen name Picander), German poet, writer, librettist, and civil servant who wrote lyrics for many of Bach’s cantatas.

1720 – Polixénia Daniel, Hungarian writer philanthropist, and baroness; she was known for her great learning, for her charitable projects, and as a protector of artists and scientists.

1751 – Corona Elisabeth Wilhelmine Schröter, German musician, singer, composer, writer, autobiographer, and artist who collaborated with Friedrich Schiller and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

1791 – Joseph Kupelwieser, Austrian playwright, librettist, dramaturge, and theatre director who wrote the libretto for Schubert’s opera Fierrabras.

1801 – Jane Welsh Carlyle, Scottish writer whose work was not published in her lifetime, though she was widely seen as an extraordinary letter writer; Virginia Woolf called her one of the “great letter writers.”

1807 – Hilario Ascasubi, Argentine poet, politician, diplomat, newspaper founder, and baker who was born in the back of a horse-drawn cart while his mother was on her way to a wedding in Buenos Aires; he is noted for introducing the use of vernacular language in his poetry and often explored political themes in his work. He used the pseudonym Santo Vega.

1811 – Avrom Ber Gotlober, Ukrainian writer, poet, playwright, translator, author, memoirist, and historian who wrote most of his works in Hebrew; he was widely known by his initials, ABG.

1814 – Luigi Dottesio, Italian patriot who was active in the writing and distribution of anti-Austrian pamphlets, until intercepted while trying to cross the Swiss border; he was executed by Austrians in 1851.

1818 – Zacharius Topelius, influential Finnish author, poet, journalist, historian, storyteller, historical novelist, and rector of the University of Helsinki; he is best known for his novels related to Finnish history, written in Swedish.

1834 – Choe Ik-hyeon, Korean writer, poet, philosopher, politician, and general who was a vocal Korean nationalist and a strong supporter of Neo-Confucianism.

1850 – Pierre Loti, French novelist and naval officer, known for his exotic novels and short stories.

1863 – Toshiko Kishida (also konwn as Toshiko Nakajima), Japanese writer, calligrapher, royal tutor, lecturer, and social reformer who was part of Japan’s first wave of feminist writers; she wrote under the name Shoen. She was arrested for her so-called Daughters in Boxes speech, which criticized the family system in Japan and the problems caused by restrictions placed on young Japanese girls.

1870 – Ida Dehmel (born Ida Coblenz), German lyric poet and muse who was an outspoken feminist and a supporter of the arts; after 1933 she was persecuted on account of being Jewish and was no longer allowed to publish; in 1942, when large-scale deportations of Jews began from her city, she committed suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, rather than fall into the hands of the Nazis.

1871 – Pamela Adelaide Genevieve Wyndham Glenconner Grey (Lady Glenconner, Viscountess Grey of Fallodon), English writer, poet, children’s author, editor, and publisher who was a friend to many of the literary and artistic stars of the day, including Henry James, Oscar Wilde, and Ezra Pound; John Singer Sargent painted her and her sisters in the 1899 portrait, The Wyndham sisters, which was described by The Times as “the greatest picture of modern times.”

1874 – Thornton Waldo Burgess, prolific U.S. columnist, children’s writer, and conservationist who wrote about the beauty of nature and its living creatures in his books and his newspaper column, “Bedtime Stories”; he was sometimes known as the Bedtime Story Man.

1875 – Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Prize-winning French theologian, writer, organist, philosopher, and physician whose name has become synonymous with humanitarianism.

1877 – Hilja Haapala, (born Hilja Dagmar Janhonen), Finnish novelist and historical fiction writer; she wrote under both of her surnames.

1878 – Victor Segalen, French writer, poet, physician, naval doctor, ethnographer, archeologist, explorer, art-theorist, linguist, and literary critic; he traveled extensively and died in a forest in France under mysterious circumstances, reputedly with an open copy of Hamlet by his side.

1882 – Raghunath Dhondo Karve, Indian author, professor of mathematics, journal publisher, and social reformer; he was a pioneer in advocating for gender equality and initiating family planning and birth control for the masses in Mumbai.

1882 – Hendrik Willem Van Loon, Dutch and U.S. historian, journalist, and children’s book writer, known for his world history for children, The Story of Mankind, which in 1922 won the first Newbery Medal.

1885 – Zsófia Józsefné Szalatnyay Dénes, Hungarian writer, journalist, memoirist, peace activist, and advocate for women’s rights; her friends included psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and poet Rainer Maria Rilke. When she died at the age of 102, she was considered the oldest author in Hungary.

1886 – Clara Beranger (née Strouse), U.S. screenwriter of the silent-film era who was a member of the original faculty of the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She was also a journalist, book author, and magazine contributor; her guide for new screenwriters, Writing for the Screen, is a classic in the field. Some of her work appeared under the pseudonym Charles S. Beranger.

1886 – Hugh Lofting, English civil engineer and author who created the classic children’s character, Doctor Dolittle.

1893 – Kanstancyja Bujlo, Belarusian poet and playwright; the main themes of her poems, which often relied on folklore, were World War II heroism, and peasant life In Belarus before 1917.

1896 – John Dos Passos, U.S. novelist and artist, known for his “USA Trilogy,” together ranked by the Modern Library as number 23 on the list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

1897 – Wasif Jawhariyyeh, Jerusalem-born Arab writer, poet, historian, and composer best known for his memoirs, The Diaries of Wasif Jawhariyyeh, which span more than six decades, covering Jerusalem’s turbulent modern history, including four regimes and five wars.

1897 – Ivan Yulianovych Kulyk, Jewish Ukrainian poet, writer, translator, diplomat, and Communist Party activist; he also wrote under the names R. Rolinato and Vasyl Rolenko.

1900 – Abu Al-Asar Hafeez Jalandhari, Indian-born Pakistani Urdu-language poet who wrote the lyrics for the National Anthem of Pakistan.

1902 – Terence Lucy Greenidge, English-born Barbadian author, actor, and film director.

1902 – F.C. Terborgh, pseudonym of Reijnier Flaes, award-winning Dutch diplomat, prose writer, and poet.

1905 – Emily Hahn, prolific U.S. journalist and author; considered an early feminist and called “a forgotten American literary treasure” by The New Yorker magazine, she wrote 54 books and more than 200 articles and short stories.

1906 – Alejandro Galindo, Mexican screenwriter, actor, and film director.

1908 – Caridad Bravo Adams, prolific, award-winning Mexican novelist and actress who published her first book at the age of 16 and went on to become the most famous telenovela writer worldwide; many of her books have been adapted for film.

1913 – Tillie Olsen, U.S. novelist and nonfiction writer associated with the political turmoil of the 1930s and part of an early generation of American feminists.

1914 – László Ladány, Hungarian journalist, author, Jesuit, and editor of China News Analysis, an influential periodical on Chinese affairs.

1914 – Dudley (Felker) Randall, U.S. African-American poet, editor, and publisher who was the first Poet Laureate of Detroit; his Broadside Press provided a forum for unknown Black writers.

1915 – André Frossard, French writer, journalist, author, essayist, philosopher, and resistance fighter; raised as an atheist and converted to Catholicism, his ancestry was Jewish. After being captured by the Gestapo, he was one of only seven survivors of a massacre that took the lives of 65 people. He survived the war and was awarded the Legion of Honor and the Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.

1916 – Toyo Suyemoto, U.S. Japanese-American poet, memoirist, and librarian who was incarcerated by the United States during World War II due to her Japanese ancestry; her memoir, I Call to Remembrance: Toyo Suyemoto’s Years of Internment, was published posthumously.

1916 – John Oliver Killens, U.S. African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, editor, and short-story writer who was a co-founder of the Harlem Writers Guild; his novels focused on African-American life.

1918 – Ilona Edelsheim-Gyulai de Marosnémethi et Nádaska, Hungarian countess and memoirist who worked as a nurse during World War II and helped Jews escape from the Nazis.

1919 – Sayyid Athar Hussein Rizvi (known as Kaifi Azmi), Indian Urdu poet, lyricist, and songwriter who brought Urdu literature to Indian motion pictures.

1919 – Andy Rooney, U.S. author, journalist, and television personality, best known for his “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney” segments on the CBS newsmagazine show 60 Minutes.

1920 – Jean Gwenaël Dutourd, award-winning French novelist, philosopher, and World War II resistance fighter who was arrested by the Nazis twice during the war and escaped both times.

1920 – Chế Lan Viên, prolific Vietnamese writer, poet, essayist, memoirist, and critic whose first collection of poems was published when he was only 17.

1921 – Kenneth Bulmer, prolific British author, best known for his science fiction, but who also wrote realistic fiction, military fiction, sea stories, and magazine articles; he wrote under many pseudonyms, including Alan Burt Akers, Ken Blake, Ernest Corley, Arthur Frazier, Adam Hardy, Philip Kent, Bruno Krauss, Neil Langholm, Manning Norvil, Charles R. Pike, Dray Prescot, Andrew Quiller, Richard Silver, Tully Zetford, and Rupert Clinton.

1925 – Yukio Mishima, pen name of Japanese author and poet Kimitake Hiraoka, who was known for his avant-garde writing as well as his ritual suicide.

1926 – Mahaswetah Devi, award-winning Indian Bengali novelist, short-story writer, educator, and human-rights activist who worked for the rights and empowerment of tribal people.

1926 – Thomas Tryon, U.S. actor and author of science-fiction, horror, and mystery novels and screenplays.

1928 – Lars Hans Carl Abraham Forssell, versatile Swedish writer, poet, playwright, songwriter, lyricist, librettist, children’s writer, and translator.

1928 – Enrique Osvaldo Sdrech, Argentine writer and journalist, best known for his true crime stories.

1929 – Zoya Alexandrovna Krakhmalnikova, award-winning Russian dissident writer and activist of Ukrainian origin; she was repeatedly arrested by Soviet authorities for her publications.

1937 – Yevhen Hutsalo, Ukrainian screenwriter, writer, poet, journalist, children’s writer, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and opinion journalist.

1945 – Liv Køltzow, award-winning Norwegian novelist, playwright, biographer, and essayist who is regarded as one of the key Norwegian feminist writers of the 1970s.

1947 – Taylor Branch, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, historian, and Martin Luther King Jr. biographer who wrote about the Civil Rights movement.

1947 – Marianne Viermyr, award-winning Norwegian writer and children’s author.

1948 – John Lescroart, U.S. author of legal and crime thriller novels.

1949- Oliviero Beha, award-winning Italian author, poet, journalist, sports journalist, writer, essayist, television presenter, and radio host.

1949 – Mary Robison, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1950 – Arthur Byron Cover, U.S. book author and short-story writer whose work is in the science-fiction, fantasy, and horror genres.

1950 – Elfie Donnelly, British and Austrian author, crime writer, poet, children’s writer, travel writer, autobiographer, and screenwriter who has written numerous books and radio dramas for children; her best known works are Bibi Blocksberg (a radio drama about a girl who is a witch) and Benjamin Blümchen (an animated television series about a talking elephant).

1951 – Martin Auer, award-winning Austrian writer, children’s author, journalist, singer-songwriter, and magician.

1952 – Maureen Dowd, U.S. author and New York Times columnist.

1957 – David Bergen, award-winning Canadian novelist and short-story writer.

1957 – Anchee Min, U.S. Chinese-American author of fiction and memoirs.

1960 – Edward St. Aubyn, award-winning British author and journalist; his semi-autobiographical novels, some of which have been made into a television series, have been hailed as a powerful exploration of how emotional health can be carved out of childhood adversity.

1967 – Glenda Goertzen, Canadian author of children’s and young adult fantasy, including the best-selling children’s novel The Prairie Dogs.

1968 – Kulpreet Yadav, award-winning Indian writer of thriller novels, including, among others, The Girl Who Loved a Pirate and The Girl Who Loved a Spy; he is also a retired naval officer.

1970 – Nuala Ní Chonchúir, award-winning Irish poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and translator.

1973 – Djenar Maesa Ayu (also known as Nay), Indonesian novelist, short-story writer, actress, screenwriter, and filmmaker whose controversial work has been described both as provocative and lurid, and as unique and brave.

Throwback Thursday: Steamship

I just found an image from an old postcard of the S.S. Chicago, the steamship that brought my great grandmother and three of her children to Ellis Island in 1909. Francesca Piccioli was from the Marche region of Italy, but she had been working as a wet nurse in France, which explains why she boarded a ship on the French Line of the Compagnie Générale Transatlantique company.

The S.S. Chicago left Le Havre, France, on April 14, 1909. My great-grandmother Francesca Piccioli was on board, along with her children Stefano, 10, Mario, 6, and Pierina, 2. My great-grandfather Fortunato had arrived in 1907 to work and save up enough money so his family could join him in northeastern Pennsylvania, where my grandmother and five more brothers were born.

January 13 Writer Birthdays

1674 – Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon, French dramatist whose licentious plays portrayed the depravity of high Parisian culture.

1802 – Eduard von Bauernfeld, Viennese comedic playwright, essayist, poet, and translator whose plays are known for their clever plots, witty situations, and elegant diction; he sometimes wrote under the pseudonyms Rusticocampus and Feld. He was a friend of composer Franz Schubert, who set some of his poems to music.

1832 – Horatio Alger Jr., U.S. author known for his “rags-to-riches” children’s books about impoverished boys who improve their situations through courage, honesty, and hard work.

1853 – Nicolina Maria “Marie” Sloot, Indonesian-born Dutch writer, novelist, and philanthropist who is best known by her pen name Melati van Java, but who also wrote under the pen names Max van Ravestein and Mathilde; she was one of the first women to become a member of Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde, the Dutch literary society.

1871 – Mihal Grameno, Albanian writer, journalist, freedom fighter for Albanian nationalism, and politician.

1894 – Ramnath Biswas, Bengali Indian travel writer, revolutionary, soldier, and explorer who was best known for circumnavigating the globe by bicycle.

1901 – A.B. Guthrie Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. writer best known for his novel The Way West.

1906 – Zhou Youguang, Chinese linguist, sinologist, writer, translator, and economist who is known as the “father of Pinyin,” a system for the writing of Mandarin Chinese in Roman script.

1913 – Jean Verdi Salomon Razakandrainy (commonly known as Dox), Malagasy writer, poet, playwright, painter, translator, and composer who is considered one of the most important figures in the literary history of Madagascar.

1921 – Dachine Rainer, U.S.-born British poet, writer, essayist, and novelist; she was buried in London, where her tombstone reads, “Poet and Anarchist.”

1926 – Michael Bond, English author most famous for his children’s books about Paddington Bear.

1926 – Carolyn Gold Heilbrun, U.S. professor and author of both feminist academic works and bestselling mystery novels (under the name Amanda Cross).

1931 – Flora Nwapa, Nigerian novelist, poet, publisher, and activist.

1933 – Shahnon Ahmad, Malaysian novelist and satirist.

1934 – Oyeleye Oyediran, noted Nigerian political scientist, author, editor, and professor.

1934 – Carolyn See, award-winning and popular U.S. novelist, memoirist, nonfiction author, professor, short-story writer, and literary critic; she also wrote under the name Monica Highland. Her work has been described as “brutally honest,” and author Jonathan Kirsch called her “the defining voice for a certain kind of California experience in the mid-’70s and 1980s.”

1938 – Nabaneeta Dev Sen (Nôbonita Deb Sen), prolific, award-winning Bengali Indian writer and academic who wrote poetry, novels, short stories, plays, literary criticism, personal essays, travelogues, humor, children’s literature, and translations.

1940 – Edmund White, U.S. novelist, essayist, and memoirs; his best-known books are his trio of autobiographic novels, A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony.

1947 – Jurgis Kuncinas, award-winning Lithuanian writer, poet, novelist, essayist, and translator.

1949 – Manuela Dviri Vitali Norsa, award-winning Israeli and Italian journalist, author, educator, poet, playwright, children’s writer, translator, short-story writer, and peace activist.

1950 – Miri Ben-Simhon, French-born Israeli writer, poet, translator, short-story writer, and literary editor whose work dealt with issues relating to gender, ethnicity, class, culture and politics; she wrote about being a Mizrahi woman in Israel, and about being a Mizrahi poet in an Ashkenazi literary world. Her poetry has been called “sensitive and brutal, personal and political.”

1950 – Sharon Robinson, U.S. African-American author, biographer, health writer, and nurse-midwife; her father was baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

1951 – Nigel Cox, New Zealand author, novelist, and museum director.

1951 – Frank Peretti, U.S. author of Christian fiction, screenplays, and children’s books; much of his work involves supernatural elements; he also plays bluegrass banjo.

1952 – Barry Chamish, Canadian-born Israeli writer and public speaker who was best known for promoting conspiracy theories about the death of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

1953 – Abul Ahsan Chowdhury, award-winning Bangladeshi poet, professor, editor, researcher, and folklorist.

1954 – Brian Caswell, award-winning Australian writer and teacher who is best known as the author of children’s and young-adult fiction but who also writes nonfiction books about education.

1955 – Jay McInerney, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, essayist, editor, and wine columnist who is best known for the novel Bright Lights, Big City.

1957 – Lorrie Moore, award-winning U.S. author known for her humorous and poignant novels and short stories.

1960 – Gundega Repše, award-winning Latvian writer.

1960 – Jorge García Usta, Colombian novelist, poet, essayist, and journalist.

1963 – Peredur I. Lynch, award-winning Welsh writer, editor, professor who specializes in Welsh literary history, especially Medieval and Early Modern Welsh poetry.

1966 – Maria de la Pau Janer, award-winning Spanish writer from Spain who works in both Spanish and Catalan.

1969 – Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, Mexican writer, journalist, and researcher who is the wife of the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

1969 – Yūichi Suzumoto, Japanese screenwriter, writer, novelist, and video-game developer.

1970 – Shonda Rhimes, U.S. screenwriter, director, producer, author and memoirist.

1972 – Arnhild Lauveng, award-winning Norwegian psychologist, writer, and memoirist.

1972 – Miroslav Žamboch, Czech writer, physicist, nuclear physicist, novelist, short-story writer, science-fiction writer, and amateur boxer.

1984 – Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabian writer, blogger, and human-rights activist who is creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals.

January 12 Writer Birthdays

1492 – Andreas Alciato (known as Alciati), Italian author and jurist who founded the French school of legal humanists and was one of the first to interpret civil law by the history, languages and literature of antiquity, and to substitute original research for the servile interpretations of the legal establishment.

1628 – Charles Perrault, French author, lawyer, and member of the Académie Française who collected folk tales to lay the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.

1724 – Frances Brooke (née Moore), English novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, and translator who was the author of the first English novel to be written in Canada.

1729 – Edmund Burke, Irish politician, orator, philosopher, and prolific author of political pamphlets and essays; some sources give his birth year as 1730.

1797 – Annette von Droste-Hülshoff (full name Anna Elisabeth Franziska Adolphine Wilhelmine Louise Maria, Freiin von Droste zu Hülshoff), important German writer, poet, novelist, and composer whose fame rests chiefly on her lyric poems, her pastorals, and her ballads; according to an article in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, “In the poetic representation of nature, few can equal her.” She was known as “Germany’s greatest poetess.”

1829 – Rosanna Eleanor Leprohon (born Rosanna Eleanor Mullins), Canadian writer and poet who was one of the first English-Canadian writers to depict French Canada in a way that earned praise from both anglophone and francophone Canadians.

1869 – Constance Lytton (Lady Constance Bulwer-Lytton; though she sometimes went by Jane Warton), influential Austrian writer, pamphleteer, memoirist, social reformer, lecturer, and suffragist who was an activist for prison reform, birth control, and women’s rights; she was imprisoned four times for suffrage work. While in prison, she used a piece of broken enamel from a hairpin to carve the letter “V” (for “Votes for Women”) into her breast, over her heart. Her death at age 54 were attributed in part to the trauma of her hunger strike and force feeding by prison authorities. (Her grandfather was writer and politician Edward Bulwer-Lytton, best known for opening a book with the phrase, “It was a dark and stormy night”; her father was Robert Bulwer-Lytton, poet, statesman, and Viceroy of India.)

1874 – Laura Adams Armer, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. artist, author, and photographer.

1875 – Marika Stiernstedt, Swedish novelist, short-story writer, young-adult author, travel writer, journalist, artist, and philanthropist; her full name is Maria (Marika) Sofia Alexandra Stiernstedt.

1876 – Jack London, U.S. journalist, activist, and author of adventure fiction, best known for his Alaskan gold-rush novels The Call of the Wild and White Fang.

1878 – Ferenc Molnár (born Ferenc Neumann), Hungarian novelist and playwright.

1894 – Dorothy Wall, New Zealand writer and illustrator of children’s books; she is best known for creating Blinky Bill, an anthropomorphic koala.

1896 – Nobuko Yoshiya, Japanese novelist who was one of modern Japan’s most successful and prolific writers; she specialized in serialized romance novels and adolescent girls’ fiction and was a pioneer in Japanese lesbian literature, with several of her stories made into films.

1914 – Mieko Kamiya, prolific Japanese writer, translator, physician, and psychiatrist; one of her most popular books, Ikigai Ni Tsuite (On the Meaning of Life), was based on her experiences treating leprosy patients.

1915 – Margaret Esse Danner, U.S. African-American poet, many of whose poems focus on Africa, where she visited in 1966.

1916 – Mary Wilson (Baroness Wilson of Rievaulx), bestselling British poet who was married to Prime Minister Harold Wilson; she lived to be 102 years old.

1923 – Alice Miller (born Alicija Englard), Polish-born Swiss writer, psychologist, sociologist, painter, and philosopher who is noted for her books on parental child abuse, translated into several languages; her book The Drama of the Gifted Child became an international bestseller.

1930 – Jennifer Johnston, award-winning Irish novelist and playwright whose book The Old Jest, about the Irish War of Independence, was made into a film called The Dawning, starring Anthony Hopkins.

1931 – Leyla Erbil, Turkish novelist, short-story writer, and essayist who was the first female Turkish writer to be nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature by PEN International.

1945 – Nancy Pearl, U.S. author and Seattle-based librarian who was the model for the Librarian Action Figure.

1948 – William Nicholson, Oscar-nominated British screenwriter, playwright, and author of fiction and science fiction.

1948 – Carme Riera, award-winning Spanish novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer, essayist, radio scriptwriter, and professor who writes in Catalan and Spanish and often translates her own work.

1949 – Haruki Murakami, bestselling Japanese writer of fiction and nonfiction, and translator of English works into Japanese.

1952 – Walter Mosley, award-winning U.S. writer of crime fiction, known for the “Easy Rawlins” series set in Los Angeles; he also writers plays, young-adult novels, graphic novels, erotica, nonfiction books, and screenplays. He was the first Black man to win the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

1955 – Arif Yunusov, Azerbaijani writer, historian, and human rights activist.

1957 – Celia S. Friedman, U.S. speculative-fiction author and former costume designer.

1962 – Khadija Besikri, Libyan poet, writer, and human rights activist; she started a campaign to promote reading among young people and has worked for the rights of women and refugees.

1963 – Kyung-sook Shin, South Korean writer who was the first South Korean and the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize.

1969 – Abhijat Joshi, Indian screenwriter and professor.

1969 – David Mitchell, English novelist, recently well known for his 2004 novel Cloud Atlas.

1970 – Julia Quinn, bestselling U.S. historical romance author who was the 13th author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame; her novels include the Bridgerton series, which has been made into a popular television series.

1972 – Lê Thị Diễm Thúy, Vietnamese poet, novelist, and performer.

1973 – A. Lee Martinez, U.S. fantasy and science-fiction novelist and short-story writer.

1978 – Vania Vargas, Guatemalan poet, novelist, writer, editor, and cultural journalist whose works focus on Guatemalan culture.

Still Negative

I’ve felt kind of lousy the last few days, with coughing, congestion, a sore throat, and an earache. Yesterday the fatigue overwhelmed me, and I fell asleep in the middle of the day, something I never do. More than anything else, that made me wonder if I might have covid.

Getting tested has been near impossible lately, even as covid case numbers skyrocket around the country. My city was giving away home test kits at the library branches, but they had all been taken. A few days ago, the tests were restocked, and my husband tried to pick one up. He got there two hours after the announcement was made saying they were available, but all of the test kits were already gone. I tried to sign up to be tested at one of the city’s testing kiosks, and no appointments were available for a week. I stopped by one of the kiosks today, but a big sign said no walk-ins were being taken.

The drugstores had all been out of home test kits for weeks, but I had to stop at Walgreens for N95 masks, which my husband just found out his agency is now requiring employees to wear. I waited in line at the pharmacy, not seeing them on the shelves. As it turned out, the store had none. But as long as I was there, I asked if the store had any home test kits, fully expecting to be laughed at. And the pharmacist replied, “How many would you like?”

So I picked up a couple of home test kits (now I’m wishing I’d asked for three, since there are three of us, but I was trying not to be greedy, since so many people need them). I tested myself this afternoon, and it was negative.

So I do not have covid. I still feel pretty lousy, but I guess it’s just a bad cold.

January 11 Writer Birthdays

1653 – Paolo Alessandro Maffei, Italian writer, antiquarian, archeologist, author, biographer, and humanist.

1657 – Elisabeth van der Woude, Dutch author, diarist, and traveler who left the Netherlands at age 19 with her family and hundreds of others bound for Guyana (now French Guiana) with the goal of starting a colony with her father as appointed governor; many of the group, including her father and sister, died en route or shortly after arriving, and she embarked on a voyage home, but was kidnapped by privateers and held prisoner for some time. Eventually she returned home with her diary, which described her adventures and her father’s experiences in the Anglo-Dutch Wars.

1732 – Peter Forsskål, Swedish explorer, writer, orientalist, naturalist, botanist, ichthyologist, theologist, and philosopher who was one of the Apostles of Carl Linnaeus, a group of scholars who carried out scientific explorations throughout the world, under the tutelage of the famous botanist.

1793 – Charles Alexander Bruce, British soldier, explorer, and author who is considered the father of the tea industry in India.

1801 – Caroline Mathilda Stansbury Kirkland, U.S. author, editor, essayist, and educator who was best known for her books about the American frontier and her friendships with famous writers of the day including Edgar Allan Poe, William Cullen Bryant, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Robert Browning; some of her work was published under the pseudonym Mary Clavers.

1805 – Lelio Della Torre, Italian Jewish author, poet, translator, and scholar who wrote in Italian, German, French, and Hebrew and was best known for his critical translation of the Book of Psalms.

1808 – Annie Tinsley (born Annie Turner), British novelist and poet who wrote under the name Mrs. Charles Tinsley; much of her work dealt with the low status of women in her society and the need for women to be able to rely on their own abilities rather than depending on men.

1839 – Vladimir Meshchersky, Russian tsarist writer, journalist, novelist, memoirist, newspaper editor, and opinion journalist.

1842 – Salvador Brau y Asencio, Puerto Rican writer, journalist, poet, dramatist, novelist, historian, and sociologist who was designated the official historian of Puerto Rico by the first American-appointed governor of the island.

1853 – Susan Margaret St. Maur (Duchess of Somerset, née Richards Mackinnon), Scottish writer and philanthropist who also published as Mrs. Algernon St Maur.

1855 – Emília Freitas, Brazilian writer, poet, science-fiction author, fantasy author, and teacher; she wrote what is considered the first Brazilian fantasy novel, A Rainha do Ignoto, about an utopian society inhabited by women.

1859 – John Tengo Jabavu, South African Xhosa-language newspaper editor, writer, journalist, activist, and politician; his writings tended to focus on the threat of growing Afrikaner nationalism, his demands for equal rights for South Africa’s black population as well as women, and his advocacy for public education.

1870 – Evelyn Byng (full name, Marie Evelyn Byng, Viscountess Byng of Vimy, also known as Lady Byng), London-born English and Canadian writer, memoirist, and hockey fan who was the wife of Lord Byng, the 12th Governor General of Canada; she is best known today for donating the Lady Byng Trophy to the NHL in 1925.

1870 – Alice Hegan Rice, also known as Alice Caldwell Hegan, bestselling U.S. novelist.

1873 – Aleixo Clemente Messias Gomes (better known as Professor Messias Gomes), Indian-born Portuguese-Goan writer, journalist, and teacher who was the author of several works on historical themes and the co-founder of the first daily newspaper published in Portuguese India.

1876 – Hans Ormund Bringolf, Swiss adventurer, soldier, writer, and autobiographer who was jailed for fraud in both Germany and Peru; he is best known for his book, I Have No Regrets; The Strange Life of a Diplomat-Vagrant, Being the Memoirs of Lieutenant Bringolf.

1880 – Victoria Eleanor Louise Doorly, Jamaican-born British writer, biographer, historian, and children’s book author whose biography of Marie Curie, The Radium Woman, won the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognizing the year’s best children’s book by a British subject.

1885 – Alice Paul, U.S. women’s rights activist, speaker, and writer who was head of the National Women’s Party, a leader in the women’s suffrage movement, and the author of the Equal Rights Amendment; she often suffered abuse and imprisonment for her outspokenness.

1886 – Johannes Lid, Norwegian botanist and author whose most important contributions were in the field of Scandinavian flora; he also wrote a widely used handbook on plants, Norsk flora, with illustrations by his wife, the illustraator Dagny Tande Lid. He also co-founded and chaired the Norwegian Botanical Association.

1887 – Aldo Leopold, U.S. author, ecologist, philosopher, and environmentalist, best known for his bestselling book A Sand County Almanac.

1890 – Oswald de Andrade, Brazilian writer, poet, playwright, journalist, novelist, non-fiction writer, and pamphleteer who was one of the founder of the Brazilian Modernist literary movement.

1897 – Henri Chabrol, French writer and editor who edited texts of classical antiquity, novels and plays (in French), and poems and collections of stories (in French and Provençal).

1897 – Bernard DeVoto, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and author who specialized in the American West.

1901 – Sulamith Wülfing, German artist, illustrator, and author who at the age of four began drawing angels, fairies, gnomes, and nature spirits that she said she saw in visions, giving her paintings a fairy tale feel and an air of mystery; she continued exploring the same types of subject matter throughout her career, and described her work as “a visual representation of my deepest feelings—pleasure, fear, sorrow, happiness, humor.”

1903 – Alan Paton, South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

1903 – Ilse Weber (née Herlinger), Polish Jewish writer, composer, poet, playwright, songwriter, and children’s writer who wrote in German; she died in Auschwitz in 1944; her most popular book was Mendel Rosenbusch: Tales for Jewish Children.

1905 – Manfred Bennington Lee, U.S. mystery writer who — along with his cousin Frederic Dannay — created the character Ellery Queen, a mystery writer who helped the police solve crimes; Ellery Queen was also the pseudonym that the cousins (and, later, other writers) wrote the books under.

1908 – Gim Yu-jeong (or Kim Yu-jong), well known, award-winning Korean novelist and short-story writer whose work has been described as, “rich and earthy.”

1910 – Ahmad Shawqi Daif, Egyptian writer, literary critic, and historian who is considered one of the most influential Arab intellectuals of the 20th century.

1915 – Asunta Limpias de Parada, Bolivian composer, writer, and musician who contributed a wide and diverse body of content in folk music.

1917 – Marie Illarionovna Vassiltchikov, Russian princess who wrote Berlin Diaries, 1940-1945, which describe the bombing of Berlin and events leading to the attempted assassination of Adolf Hitler.

1919 – Robert C. O’Brien, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author, children’s writer, and journalist who was best known for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

1924 – Shahrokh Meskoob, Iranian writer, translator, scholar, and university professor.

1924 – Xelîlê Çaçan Mûradov, Kurdish Yazidi writer, journalist, broadcaster, author, and folklorist.

1930 – Selva Casal, award-winning Uruguayan poet, writer, and literary magazine founder.

1931 – Mary Rodgers, U.S. author of children’s books, notably Freaky Friday; she was the daughter of the composer Richard Rodgers and also wrote musicals.

1934 – Claire Etcherelli, award-winning French novelist who is best known for her debut novel, Elise, or the Real Life, which was also adapted into a film; her fiction is set in real-life cities such as Paris, with working-class women as her main characters She was influenced by writer Honoré de Balzac.

1943 – Jill Churchill, Agatha Award-winning U.S. mystery author.

1943 – Eduardo Mendoza Garriga, award-winning Spanish writer, novelist, science-fiction author, parodist, screenwriter, lawyer, playwright, translator, poet, and linguist who is considered one of the most important living Spanish writers.

1946 – Janet Campbell Hale, U.S. Native-American writer whose work explores Native American identity, poverty, and abuse, as well as the condition of women in society.

1952 – Diana Gabaldon, bestselling U.S. n author whose Outlander series contains elements of romance, historical fiction, mystery, adventure and fantasy and has been adapted into a hit television series.

1954 – Tahar Djaout, Algerian journalist, poet, and fiction writer who was assassinated in 1993 because of his support of secularism and opposition to what he considered fanaticism.

1961 – Jasper Fforde, award-winning British novelist known for his Thursday Next mystery series; he also writes alternate history and comic fantasy, and most of his books contain literary allusions, wordplay, and elements of metafiction, parody, and fantasy.

January 10 Writer Birthdays

1814 – Aubrey Thomas Hunt de Vere, Irish poet, critic, and essayist.

1835 – Fukuzawa Yukichi, Japanese author, writer, professor, translator, political scientist, entrepreneur, journalist, critic, politician, and reformer who founded Keio University and is considered one of the founders of modern Japan.

1860 – Sir Charles George Douglas Roberts, Canadian poet and prose writer who is known as the Father of Canadian Poetry and also published works on Canadian exploration and natural history; one of the first Canadian authors to be recognized worldwide, he was also a tireless promoter of Canadian literature.

1867 – Ozaki Kōyō, (real name Tokutaro Ozaki), Japanese novelist, essayist, and haiku poet; some sources list different dates for his birth.

1883 – Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (nicknamed the Comrade Count), Russian writer who wrote in many genres but specialized in science fiction and historical novels and who also investigated atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during the German occupation of the Stavropol region; he was related on his father’s side to the better known writer Leo Tolstoy, and on his mother’s side to writer Ivan Turgenev.

1887 – Jesús Balmori , Filipino journalist, playwright, and poet who wrote in Spanish.

1887 – Robinson Jeffers, U.S. poet known for his work about the California coast; he is considered an icon of the environmental movement.

1892 – Dumas Malone, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, best known for his six-volume biography of Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson and His Time.

1893 – Vicente Huidobro (born Vicente García-Huidobro Fernández), Chilean poet known for promoting the avant-garde movement in Chile and for creating a new style in Chilean literature thatfused many of the contemporary movements of the early 20th century with neo-platonism and the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson.

1903 – Jocelyn Barbara Hepworth, English artist, sculptor, and autobiographer whose work exemplifies Modernism, especially modern sculpture; she was a leading figure in the colony of artists who resided in St Ives during World War II.

1915 – Cynthia Freeman, pseudonym of U.S. author Bea Feinberg, who wrote multigenerational sagas about Jewish families.

1916 – Bernard Binlin Dadié, Ivorian (Ivory Coast) writer, poet, novelist, playwright, and politician; among other positions, he held the post of national Minister of Culture.

1924 – Aila Meriluoto, Finnish poet, writer, and translator who was one of the most celebrated and widely read poets of post-war Finland; she also wrote novels and children’s books.

1928 – Philip Levine, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet whose work centers on the Detroit area.

1931 – Peter Barnes, award-winning English playwright and screenwriter; his most famous work is the play The Ruling Class, which was made into a film starring Peter O’Toole.

1933 – Gurdial Singh Rahi, award-winning Indian Punjabi-language writer, novelist, short-story writer, football coach, and immigration agent.

1936 – Stephen Ambrose, U.S. historian, biographer, and professor whose most popular work was the bestselling Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West.

1937 – Daniel Walker Howe, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian.

1940 – Algimantas Žižiunas, award-winning Lithuanian writer, poet, journalist, short-story writer, children’s writer, and photographer who works in the fields of portraiture, ethnography, documentary, and photojournalism.

1944 – Elva Macias Grajales, award-winning Mexican poet, writer, essayist, educator, and museum director.

1944 – Azizur Rahman Aziz, Bangladeshi poet, novelist, playwright, short-story writer, museum trustee, lyricist, and song composer who has been given the title, “Living Poet in the City.”

1945 – Geneviève Amyot, Canadian poet, novelist, and educator.

1947 – George Alec Effinger, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning U.S. author of science fiction novels, short stories, and comics.

1950 – Suchitra Bhattacharya, Indian novelist whose work explored contemporary social issues and the changing urban milieu of the Bengali middle class.

1950 – Thirayuth Boonmee, Thai writer, activist, politician, and political scientist who has been named one of Thailand’s ten most influential public intellectuals.

1950 – Raúl Zurita Canessa, award-winning Chilean poet, writer, and engineer.

1951 – Kang Sok-kyong, award-winning South Korean fiction author whose works explore the inhumanity in Korean society.

1952 – Dorianne Laux, award-winning U.S. poet and editor.

1954 – Baba Vaziroglu, award-winning Azerbaijani prosaist, poet, writer, and translator.

1955 – James Alan Gardner, award-winning Canadian science-fiction author of novels and short stories who is also a technical writer and an educator.

1955 – Yasmina Khadra (Green Jasmine), pen name for successful Algerian novelist Mohammed Moulessehoul; an officer in the Algerian army, he adopted a woman’s pseudonym to avoid military censorship.

1958 – Paola Calvetti, Italian novelist, journalist, screenwriter, short-story writer, and nonfiction author who has written extensively about dance and music.

1959 – Fran Walsh, New Zealand screenwriter best known for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and The Lovely Bones.

1960 – Ku Seman Ku Hussein, Malaysian writer, journalist, film critic, and popular blogger.

1960 – Ioana Pârvulescu, award-winning Romanian writer, professor, and translator.

1961 – Steve Hamilton, U.S. writer of detective fiction, notably the Alex McKnight series.

1968 – Mohammad Kazem Kazemi, notable Afghan poet, author, literary critic, and book editor; among other works, he was written a poetry textbook and many books on Persian literature and Afghan poetry.

1975 – Luis Felipe Gómez Lomelí, Mexican writer and poet who is best known for his flash fiction work “El emigrante” (“The Migrant”) and for the award-winning short-story collection Todos santos de California (All Saints of California).

1977 – Élise Gravel, Canadian children’s book author and illustrator who writes in both English and French; her books and graphic novels focus on wacky and often gross content.

1988 – Widi Dwinanda, Indonesian actress, writer, and sportscaster.

January 9 Writer Birthdays

1665 – Béat Louis de Muralt, Swiss author and travel writer whose principal work is Lettres sur les Anglois et les François et sur les voiages, translated into English as Letters Describing the Character and Customs of the English and French Nations.

1714 – Elisabeth Stierncrona, Swedish countess and writer who wrote about politics.

1728 – Thomas Warton, English critic and poet who became British Poet Laureate.

1745 – Gavriil Petrovich Gagarin, Russian writer, senator, politician, government minister, and prince who was a key figure in the Masonic movement in Russia.

1790 – Per Daniel Amadeus Atterbom, Swedish romantic poet, literary biographer, and professor.

1802 – Catharine Parr Traill, English-born Canadian author, naturalist, writer, botanist, children’s writer, scientific illustrator, and botanical artist who wrote about life in Canada and its natural history; she is considered important because she pioneered European investigations into Canada’s natural history and also, through her writing, related the colonial experience and the natural environment of Canada for English readers.

1810 – Ellen Henrietta Ranyard, English writer and missionary who worked with the poor of London.

1811 – Gilbert Abbott à Beckett, English writer and humorist whose family claimed descent from Thomas Becket.

1829 – Thomas William Robertson, English playwright and writer whose works were distinguished by their naturalistic style and treatment of contemporary social issues, in contrast to the melodramatic style of play that was popular at the time.

1831 – Agaton Giller, Polish politician, historian, author, and journalist who, along with his brother Stefan Giller, played keys role in the Polish independence movement and the January 1863 Uprising.

1832 – S. Anna Gordon, physician and author who is best known for her book Camping in Colorado with Suggestions to Gold Seekers, Tourists and Invalids.

1832 – Félix-Gabriel Marchand, Canadian journalist, author, and politician who was Premier of Quebec.

1837 – Anna Elizabeth Reuss of Köstritz, German poet and playwright who was a princess by birth and countess by marriage.

1839 – Sarah Jane Rees (also known by her bardic name, Cranogwen), Welsh teacher, poet, editor, and temperance campaigner.

1845 – Laure Conan (pen name of Marie-Louise-Félicité Angers), Canadian writer, journalist, religious writer, and biographer who is regarded as the first true French-Canadian female novelist.

1847 – O. Chandu Menon (full name Rao Bahadur Oyyarathu Chandu Menon), Indian Malayalam-language novelist who wrote Indulekha, the first major novel written in Malayalam published.

1849 – Laura Kieler (born Laura Anna Sophie Müller), Norwegian-Danish novelist who wrote in Danish; events from her life and marriage served as the inspiration for the character Nora Helmer in her friend Henrik Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House, but she never forgave him for using her life as fodder for his controversial drama.

1851 – Luis Coloma, prolific Spanish author, biographer, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, and children’s writer.

1854 – Jennie Spencer-Churchill (née Jerome, and known as Lady Randolph Churchill), American-born British writer, autobiographer, and socialite who is most remembered as the mother of British prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

1856 – Anton Aškerc, ethnic Slovene poet and Roman Catholic priest who worked in Austria and was best known for his epic poems.

1856 – Lizette Woodworth Reese, U.S. writer, poet, memoirist, autobiographical novelist, and teacher who was named Poet Laureate of Maryland; her sonnets were widely praised, and writer H. L. Mencken called her work, “one of the imperishable glories of American literature.”

1857 – Henry B Fuller, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.

1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt, U.S. writer, book author, and activist who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement and founder of the League of Women Voters.

1859 – Frederik Pijper, Dutch vicar, editor, critic, and church historian.

1871 – Eugène Marais, South African lawyer, naturalist, poet, writer, journalist, and entomologist.

1873 – Hayyim Nahman Bialik, influential Estonian-born Jewish poet who was one of the pioneers of modern Hebrew poetry and Israel’s national poet.

1875 – Julio Herrera y Reissig, Uruguayan writer, poet, playwright, and essayist who began his career as a Romanticist but became an early proponent of Modernism.

1876 – Hans Bethge, German poet and editor who also wrote diaries, travelogues, short stories, essays, and plays; he is best known for poetic translations of Chinese classics.

1879 – Georgy Ivanovich Chulkov, Russian Symbolist poet, editor, writer, and critic who created and popularized the theory of Mystical Anarchism.

1881 – Giovanni Papini, Italian journalist, essayist, literary critic, poet, and novelist.

1881 – Lascelles Abercrombie, English poet, professor, playwright, and literary critic; his poetry consists mostly of long poems in blank verse that treat the extremes of imagined rather than actual experience, from ecstasy to anguish and malice, with sharp, gem-like imagery, and rugged sound and meter.

1889 – Vrindavan Lal Verma, award-winning Indian writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote in Hindi.

1890 – Karel Capek, Czech writer, playwright, dramatist, essayist, publisher, literary reviewer, photographer, and art critic, best known for his science fiction; he is credited with coining the word “robot.”

1890 – Barbara Euphan Todd, English writer who is widely remembered for her ten popular books for children about a scarecrow called Worzel Gummidge; they were adapted for radio and television.

1890 – Kurt Tucholsky, German journalist, satirist, writer, poet, songwriter, editor, and social critic who also wrote under the pseudonyms Kaspar Hauser, Peter Panter, Theobald Tiger, and Ignaz Wrobel; he is considered one of the most important journalists of the Weimar Republic.

1891 – August Gailit, Estonian writer of poetry and novels who co-founded a literary group whose erotic poems were considered scandalous; his novels sometimes dealt with political and social issues.

1893 – Elsa Herrmann Pick (also known as Dr. Elsa Pickova), Jewish German feminist writer and refugee advocate; she is best known for her book This is the New Woman (So ist die neue Frau in the original German).

1896 – Elli Lambridi (also spelled Helle Lampride or Helle Lambridis), Greek writer, philosopher, translator, fiction writer, and educator who wrote extensively in the fields of ancient and modern philosophy, as well as archaeology, and was active in feminism and Greek left-wing politics.

1897 – Karl Löwith, prolific, Nobel Prize-nominated German philosopher and author whose works describe the decline of German classical philosophy, and challenge the modern, secular, and progressive narrative of history.

1905 – Zinken Hopp, Norwegian writer, poet, playwright, translator, theatre critic, travel writer, and children’s writer; she is best known for her children’s books.

1908 – Simone de Beauvoir (Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir), influential French feminist author, essayist, existentialist philosopher, political activist, and social theorist.

1920 – João Cabral de Melo Neto (also known as Joãozinho Cabral), award-winning Brazilian poet, writer, playwright, and diplomat who was one of the most influential writers in late Brazilian modernism.

1920 – Hakim Mohammed Said, Pakistani scholar, medical researcher, author, and governor of Sindh Province.

1921 – Lister Sinclair, Canadian broadcaster and playwright.

1925 – Abdelhamid Benhadugah (or ben Hadouga), Arab Algerian writer who wrote more than fifteen novels in Arabic, as well as short stories and plays; he has been described as one of the most important Algerian writers in Arabic of his time.

1925 – Santosh Gupta, award-winning Bangladeshi writer and journalist who sometimes used the pen name Aniruddha.

1927 – Thorkild Hansen, award-winning Danish novelist most noted for his historical fiction, especially his trilogy about the Danish slave trade.

1928 – Judith Krantz, bestselling American author of romance novels who began her career as a magazine writer and fashion editor; she is credited with fundamentally changed the publishing industry by becoming one of the first celebrity authors through her extensive touring and promotion.

1929 – Heiner Müller, German dramatist, poet, writer, essayist, and theatre director.

1929 – Brian Friel, Irish dramatist often called the “Irish Chekhov.”

1931 – Algirdas Jonas Budrys, Prussian author of science fiction.

1932 – Djibril Tamsir Niane, Guinean historian, playwright, professor, editor, translator, and short-story writer.

1931 – Barrington Watson, Jamaican writer, author, and painter.

1933 – Sonia Garmers, Antillean author of novels, stories, children’s books, and cookbooks.

1933 – Kavignar Meenavan (born R.K. Narayanasamy), Indian Tamil poet, writer, scholar, researcher, and activist.

1933 – Wilbur Smith, Zambian-born novelist specializing in historical fiction about Southern Africa, seen from the viewpoints of both black and white families.

1936 – Farouk Shousha, Egyptian poet, writer, and radio and television host who was known for his concerns about what he considered to be a decline in the quality of Arabic in Egypt.

1936 – Anne Rivers Siddons, U.S. journalist, editor, nonfiction author, screenwriter, and writer of bestselling fiction, mostly set in the southern United States; author Stephen King called her book The House Next Door one of the finest horror novels of the 20th century.

1937 – Klaus Schlesinger, German novelist and journalist.

1938 – Marianna Yablonskaya, Soviet Russian writer, playwright, actress, short-story writer, and theater director.

1939 – Böðvar Guðmundsson, Icelandic writer, poet, novelist, playwright, translator, and children’s writer.

1941 – Tone Schwarzott, Norwegian poet, writer, and actress.

1942 – Laureano Albán Rivas, award-winning Costa Rican writer and diplomat.

1943 – Robert Drewe, Australian novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction writer.

1944 – Wang Tuoh (born Wang Hung-chiu), Chinese Taiwanese writer, public intellectual, literary critic, and politician.

1945 – Malgorzata Musierowicz, popular Polish writer, author of many stories and novels for children, teenagers, and adults; the poet and translator Stanislaw Baranczak is her brother.

1947 – Iraj Janatie Ataie, Iranian writer, poet, playwright, author, songwriter, lyricist, and theatre director.

1954 – Thorvald Steen, Norwegian novelist, playwright, poet, children’s author, essayist, and short-story writer.

1955 – Jutta Bauer, German writer and illustrator of children’s books; she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her “lasting contribution” to children’s literature.

1959 – Ridvan Dibra, award-winning Albanian writer, poet, journalist, and teacher who is a leading figure in contemporary Albanian literature.

1959 – Jhet van Ruyven (born Juliet Torcelino), award-winning Filipina-Canadian author who wrote the auto-biographical book The Tale of Juliet in 2005, which tells her life story from being a poor child vendor in the Philippines to succeeding as an immigrant in Canada; she was recognized by People Asia magazine as one of the 2005 People of the Year in the Philippines.

1959 – Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Prize-winning Indigenous Guatemalan author, autobiographer, feminist, politician, and human rights activist who has dedicated her life to publicizing the rights of Guatemala’s Indigenous peoples and to promoting Indigenous rights internationally; she has twice run for president of Guatemala, having founded the country’s first Indigenous political party, Winaq.

1962 – Renata Salecl, Slovene writer, sociologist, philosopher, professor, and legal theorist.

1965 – Farah Khan, award-winning Indian screenwriter, film director, writer, producer, choreographer, dancer, and television presenter.

1966 – Sousa Jamba, Angolan author, translator, autobiographical novelist, columnist, and journalist whose fiction has been called “brilliant and terrifying (and often very funny).”

1975 – Gunnhild Øyehaug, award-winning Norwegian poet, writer, editor, essayist, novelist, screenwriter, short-story writer, and lecturer.

1980 – Fumie Mizusawa, Japanese novelist, writer, actress, and anime voice actress.

January 8 Writer Birthdays

1037 – Su Tung Po (also called Su Shi), Chinese poet, essayist, calligrapher, gastronome, painter, pharmacologist, and politician.

1589 – Ivan (Dživo) Franov Gundulić (nickname Mačica), the most celebrated Croatian Baroque poet from the Republic of Ragusa (now southern Croatia).

1601 – Baltasar Gracián y Morales, Spanish Baroque Jesuit writer, philosopher, and scholar who is the most representative writer of the Spanish baroque literary style known as Conceptismo (Conceptism), characterized by the use of terse and subtle displays of exaggerated wit to illustrate ideas; his proto-existentialist writings were lauded by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.

1618 – Marie-Jacqueline Bouette de Blémur (also known as Mère Saint-Benoît), French Benedictine nun, historian, and mystical writer.

1796 – Eliza Constantia Campbell, Welsh author and short-story writer; she published Stories from the History of Wales under the pseudonym A Lady of the Principality. The classical scholar Lewis Campbell was her son.

1824 – Francisco González Bocanegra, Mexican poet who wrote the lyrics for the Mexican National Anthem.

1824 – Wilkie Collins, Victorian-era English novelist and lifelong friend of Charles Dickens.

1854 – Yan Fu, Chinese writer, translator, sociologist, and scholar who was most famous for introducing western ideas, including Darwin’s “natural selection,” to China in the late 19th century.

1859 – Fanny Bullock Workman, U.S. travel writer, explorer, cartographer, geographer, and author who was one of the first female professional mountaineers and set several women’s altitude records; she not only explored, but also wrote about her adventures and championed women’s rights, including suffrage.

1867 – Emily Greene Balch, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. writer, economist, pedagogue, university teacher, journalist, sociologist, trade unionist, and peace activist who combined an academic career at Wellesley College with an interest in social issues such as poverty, child labor, and immigration and was a central leader of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, based in Switzerland.

1880 – Guðrún Lárusdóttir, Icelandic writer, novelist, young-adult author, short-story writer, translator, and politician who was the second woman to be elected to the Althing, the national parliament of Iceland, where she served two terms.

1881 – Linnie Marsh Wolfe, U.S. librarian and author who won the Pulitzer Prize for her biography of John Muir.

1886 – Hrand Nazariantz, Turkish-born Ottoman Armenian journalist, poet, and writer who lived most of his life in Italy.

1891 – Margaret Ethel Storm Jameson, English journalist, author, science-fiction novelist, theater reviewer, autobiographer, biographer, and women’s suffragist.

1897 – Dennis Wheatley, English author of thrillers and occult fiction, whose Gregory Sallust series was an inspiration for Ian Fleming’s James Bond.

1908 – Eufrosinia Antonovna Kersnovskaya, Russian writer and illustrator who spent 12 years in Gulag camps and wrote her memoirs there, illustrating them with 680 of her drawings of life in the Gulag.

1909 – Ashapoorna Devi (also known as Ashapurna Debi or Asha Purna Devi), prominent Bengali Indian novelist and poet.

1912 – Amador Daguio, award-winning Filipina poet and writer.

1917 – Peter Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of literary fiction set in the southern United States.

1927 – Alfred Charles Tomlinson, award-winning British poet, translator, artist, and educator whose poetry is known for its attention to both visual and aural perception, its painterly effects, and its cosmopolitan style and subject matter.

1928 – Gaston Miron, important, award-winning French-Canadian poet, writer, and editor who was a key figure in the Quebec separatist movement; his masterpiece, L’homme rapaillé (partly translated as The March to Love: Selected Poems of Gaston Miron) is one of the most widely read texts of the Quebecois literary canon.

1931 – Suzanne Massie (née Rohrbach), U.S. writer, memoirist, and scholar of Russian history who played an important role in the relations between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the final years of the Cold War.

1933 – Ko Un, prolific South Korean poet, writer, and activist who became a Buddhist monk after witnessing the devastation of the Korean War and was detained, tortured, and imprisoned repeatedly for his opposition to the military regime.

1934 – Alexandra Ripley, U.S. writer best known as the author of Scarlett, a sequel to Gone With The Wind.

1938 – Simone Schwarz-Bart (born Simone Brumant), award-winning French novelist, historical novelist, playwright, and encyclopedia writerof Guadeloupean origin.; her book Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle is considered one of the masterpieces of Caribbean literature. She is deeply committed to political issues, and the issues women of color; she has explored the languages and locations of her ancestry in her works, and examines male domination over women in the Caribbean, as well as themes of alienation in exile.

1941 – Dai Qing, Chinese writer, book author, journalist, and activist for China-related issues; most significantly, against the Three Gorges Dam Project.

1941 – Boris Vallejo, Peruvian-U.S. painter known for his fantasy cover artwork.

1942 – Stephen Hawking, British theoretical physicist, cosmologist, professor, and author whose popular works included the bestseller A Brief History of Time.

1944 – Terry Brooks, popular U.S. writer of epic fantasy novels, film novelizations, and short stories who is one of the best selling living fantasy writers today.

1945 – Nancy Bond, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. children’s author.

1947 – Himanshi Indulal Shelat, award-winning Indian Gujarati short-story writer, editor, literary critic, translator, and professor.

1951 – Karen Tei Yamashita, Japanese-U.S. writer and professor who has won the American Book Award.

1952 – Hamma Hammami, Tunisian writer, editor, politician, and labor activist.

1956 – Thomas Rosenboom, award-winning Dutch author of novels and short stories.

1962 – John Rualo Castriciones, Filipino lawyer, public servant, and writer who serves as a government cabinet minister.

1971 – Tanya Levin, social worker, writer, and feminist best known for her book People in Glass Houses: An Insider’s Story of a Life in and out of Hillsong, an exposé of the controversial Hillsong Church, which Levin formerly belonged to, though she now describes herself as an atheist.

1973 – Madhulika Liddle, Indian novelist, short-story writer, travel writer, and movie critic who writes in English and is best known for her books featuring the 17th century Mughal detective Muzaffar Jang.

1974 – Rieke Diah Pitaloka Intan Purnamasari (popularly known as Rieke Diah Pitaloka), Indonesian author, television personality, and politician.

1977 – Amber Benson, U.S. screenwriter, actor, writer, singer, film director, film producer, novelist, and comics writer; she is best known for her role as Tara in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

1986 – K. Vijayakarthikeyan, award-winning Indian book author, bureaucrat, and civil servant.

Snow Coda

As much as I don’t like cold and ice, I was a little let down by last night’s and this morning’s snowstorm. We got an additional inch or two over what we already had from earlier in the week. So, unlike Monday’s storm, it was really no big deal. I even went out this afternoon to take my son to a doctor’s appointment. The roads were fine.

I’m not saying I wanted icy roads and more power outages, but we’d steeled ourselves for another round of Snomicron, and what we got was barely worthy of mention — though it looked magical, at 2 a.m., softly falling on the quiet streets and lacy trees.

But I think that’s enough winter for now. Can we get some spring temperatures back? The daffodils that poked through the soil last month are so confused.