Overhead Compartment

This is one of the old bags we have around; like all the others, it is not at all suitable for this trip.

Why is it so hard to find a suitable carry-on suitcase? Every luggage company advertises carry-on suitcases that fit in an airline’s overhead bin. Much of that is false advertising. Almost every one of those suitcases exceeds the allowed size on most airlines.

We have suitcases at home. All of them are ancient. Each has broken wheels, a torn handle, or a zipper that doesn’t quite zip. The only ones that are intact are the enormous one that is way too big for this trip, and another one that is way too small. Where is my Goldilocks luggage?

I am hoping to make this trip with only a carry-on bag, but I acknowledge that it may be necessary to go up a size to a checked suitcase. Whatever I bring, I must be able to cart it around by myself, often on foot, over old cobblestone or brick pavement in Umbrian hill towns with no-car zones. So it must be relatively light. It must roll easily on good, strong wheels. I think I want a soft-sided case for a carry on, but might go for hard-sided for a checked bag.

So far, I have found very little — unless I want to pay $300 or more for a carry on. But even in that price range, bags that actually fit the airlines’ rules are few and far between. And now I must add the stipulation that I have to be able to get it quickly. I am running out of time.

United says a carry-on bag cannot be larger than 9 x 14 x 22 inches, and that includes wheels and handles. And overseas flights are much pickier about the size limits than domestic flights, so I don’t want to go bigger. If you have a suggestion for a bag that actually fits the size limits, I am open to suggestions.

May 23 Writer Birthdays

1606 – Juan Caramuel y Lobkowitz, Spanish writer, mathematician, and Catholic philosopher.

1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician who formalized binomial nomenclature, the modern system of naming organisms, and is known as the “father of modern taxonomy.”

1729 – Giuseppe Parini, Italian Neoclassical poet, writer, and satirist.

1802 – Mary Hennell, British reforming writer and encyclopedia contributor; two of her sisters, her brother, and her brother-in-law were also writers. She and her sisters are believed to be the basis for the fictional Meyrick family in George Eliot’s novel Daniel Deronda.

1810 – Margaret Fuller, U.S. journalist, poet, social reformer, feminist, critic, and foreign correspondent for the New York Tribune; she died in 1850 in a boat fire.

1818 – Louisa Annie Murray, English-born Canadian writer, poet, and novelist.

1819 – Louisa Morton Greene (née Willard), U.S. reformer, writer, public speaker, abolitionist, suffragist, women’s rights worker, temperance worker, and Civil War relief worker; she is regarded as the first American woman to publicly rebel against discrimination towards women in industry, refusing to accept a woman’s pay rate after doing a man’s job.

1821 – Felicia Mary Frances Skene (also known by the pseudonyms Erskine Moir and Francis Scougal), French-born Scottish writer, poet, biographer, memoirist, philanthropist, and prison reformer. As a child, she played with the children of the exiled King Charles X of France, and sat on the knee of her father’s close friend, Sir Walter Scott, telling him fairy tales; as an adult, she had many well-known friends, including Florence Nightingale.

1826 – Adile Sultan, Ottoman Turkish poet, princess, and philanthropist; she was the daughter of Sultan Mahmud II and the sister of the Sultans Abdulmejid I and Abdulaziz.

1841 – Karen Sundt, Norwegian journalist, editor, fairytale writer, and popular novelist who was Norway’s first female newspaper editor.

1842 – Maria Konopnicka, Polish poet, novelist, children’s writer, translator, journalist, critic, and activist for women’s rights and Polish independence.

1855 – Isabella Ormston Ford, English writer, suffragist, social reformer, and public speaker who wrote on issues related to socialism, feminism, and worker’s rights.

1891 – Pär Lagerkvist, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author of poems, plays, novels, stories, and essays, known “for the artistic vigour and true independence of mind with which he endeavours in his poetry to find answers to the eternal questions confronting mankind.”

1898 – Scott O’Dell, Newbery Award-winning U.S. author of historical novels, especially for the young-adult market; he is best known for Island of the Blue Dolphins.

1903 – Walter Reisch, Austrian screenwriter, film director, and lyricist.

1906 – Sheila Wingfield (Viscountess of Powerscourt, neé Sheila Claude Beddington), British and Irish poet and memoirist.

1908 – Annemarie Schwarzenbach, Swiss writer, journalist, poet, archeologist, philosopher, photographer, and explorer.

1910 – Margaret Wise Brown, U.S. author of classic children’s picture books; her most famous is the often-copied Goodnight Moon.

1914 – Barbara Mary Ward (Baroness Jackson of Lodsworth), British economist and writer who was interested in the problems of developing countries.

1918 – Walter Jackson Bate, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. biographer and literary critic.

1919 – Maurice Alfrédo Sixto, Haitian author, professor, translator, tour guide, social commentator, and ambassador.

1921 – James Blish, U.S. author of science-fiction and fantasy novels, including some Star Trek novelizations written with his wife, J. A. Lawrence. He is credited with creating the term “gas giant” for large planetary bodies.

1922 – Edith Ranum, award-winning Norwegian crime-fiction writer, novelist, and playwright.

1929 – Mya Than Tint, award-winning Burmese novelist, short-story writer, documentary scriptwriter, translator, and politician; he translated many classic works of Western literature into Burmese.

1930 – Friedrich Achleitner, Austrian poet, experimental writer, art historian, professor, architect, and architecture critic; his magnum opus is a multi-volume documentation of 20th-century Austrian architecture.

1930 – Miloš Mikeln, Slovenian writer, poet, dramatist, journalist, and playwright.

1933 – Joan Collins (Dame Joan Henrietta Collins), bestselling British author of novels and nonfiction books, columnist, and Golden Globe Award-winning movie and soap-opera actress.

1933 – Ceija Stojka, award-winning Austrian Romani writer, autobiographer, painter, and musician; during World War II, she survived the Holocaust and internment at the Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Bergen-Belsen camps. She later became the Austrian spokeswoman for recognition of the Roma and Sinti genocide, along being a voice in the struggle against discrimination that the Roma continue to suffer throughout Europe.

1935 – Susan Cooper, Newbery Medal-winning English-born U.S. author of children’s fantasy novels, best known for The Dark Is Rising series.

1936 – Peter Parnall, U.S. children’s author and illustrator whose works deal with the natural world.

1937 – Kaoru Nakamaru, Japanese journalist, television interviewer, and author with a background in international politics; Newsweek called her “the Edward R. Murrow of Japan.”

1949 – Márcia Denser, Brazilian journalist, novelist, columnist, short-story writer, and anthologist.

1951 – Chioma Opara, Nigerian author, activist, orator, and professor whose work primarily focuses on West African feminism; she is known for creating the theory of “femalism” and is a key African feminist theorist whose work has been influential in studies of gender in Africa.

1954 – Anja Snellman, award-winning Finnish author, screenwriter, writer, poet, critic, television presenter, and journalist.

1955 – Louise Anne Bouchard, award-winning Canadian-Swiss novelist, screenwriter, and photographer.

1958 – Mitch Albom, U.S. journalist and author whose books often have an inspirational theme.

1958 – Paul Street, U.S. journalist, policy researcher, nonfiction author, and political commentator.

1961 – Alanna Lockward, Dominican author, curator, and filmmaker based in Berlin and Santo Domingo; she was founding director of Art Labour Archives, a platform for theory, political activism, and art.

1964 – K.R. Tony, Indian poet, translator, professor, and botanist whose verses have established him as one of the prominent voices in contemporary Malayalam poetry.

1966 – Eliane Brum, award-winning Brazilian journalist, columnist, novelist, and documentary film director.

1967 – Sean Williams, bestselling Australian author of science-fiction novels and short stories; some of his books are Star Wars novelizations.

1976 – Sepideh Jodeyri, acclaimed Iranian poet, short-story writer, literary critic, linguist, translator and journalist, now living in exile in the U.S.

May 22 Writer Birthdays

1009 – Su Xun, Chinese Song dynasty poet and essayist.

1772 – Ram Mohan Roy, Indian writer, translator, philosopher, religious and social reformer, and humanitarian known for efforts to abolish child marriage and the practice of sati (the sacrifice of a widow on her deceased husband’s pyre); he is considered the “father of the Indian Renaissance.”

1782 – Hirose Tansō, Japanese poet, writer, teacher, and neo-Confucian scholar.

1790 – Bianca Milesi, Italian writer, painter, and educator who studied the philosophy of the Enlightenment.

1808 – Gérard de Nerval (pen name of Gérard Labrunie), French writer, translator, essayist, and Romantic poet.

1824 – Amélie Linz, German author who wrote books for children and adults; she wrote under the name Amélie Godin.

1846 – Rita Cetina Gutiérrez, influential Mexican poet, writer, educator, and feminist activist who promoted secular education in the nineteenth century.

1858 – Emmy Köhler, Swedish writer, teacher, hymnwriter, and children’s writer.

1859 –Arthur Conan Doyle, Scottish physician and writer, best known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

1859 – Tsubouchi Shōyō, Japanese novelist, playwright, critic, translator, university teacher, and theater director.

1863 – Josephine Cecilia Diebitsch Peary, U.S. author and Arctic explorer; she was married to Robert Peary, who claimed to be the first to have reached the geographic North Pole, and accompanied him on many of his expeditions.

1866 – Ilya Tolstoy, Russian writer, journalist, and teacher who was the third son of acclaimed writer Leo Tolstoy.

1870 – Eva Gore-Booth, Irish writer, poet, playwright, suffragist, labor unionist, social worker, and feminist activist.

1885 – Kansuke Naka, Japanese novelist, essayist, poet, and journalist who was unusual in his willingness to criticize Japanese nationalists.

1904 – Paul Viiding, Estonian writer, poet, translator, author, and literary critic who was part of the influential group of six Estonian poets known as Arbujad, or “Soothsayers.”

1907 – Hergé (pen name of Georges Prosper Remi), Belgian comic-book artist and writer best known as the creator of The Adventures of Tintin.

1908 – Cedric Firth, New Zealand writer, architect, and builder.

1913 – Dominique Rolin, award-winning Belgian writer, novelist, autobiographer who developed a unique, feminist voice in French novel-writing, blending autobiography and fiction.

1914 – Vance Packard, U.S. journalist, editor, and author who wrote a popular series on sociology.

1922 – Mirjana Gross, Yugoslav-Croatian Jewish historian and writer.

1922 – Elvira Orphée, award-winning Argentine novelist and short-story writer

1925 – Emilio Carballido, award-winning and prolific Mexican novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who was part of the group of writers known as the Generación de los 50; he was especially renowned for his plays.

1927 – Peter Matthiessen, National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, and CIA agent; he co-founded The Paris Review, which he started as a cover for his CIA activities.

1928 – Serge Doubrovsky, award-winning French writer, teacher, translator, and literary critic.

1930 – John Grant, Scottish author, children’s writer, illustrator, and broadcaster who was best known as the author of the Littlenose series of children’s stories.

1932 – Tavo Burat, Italian writer, poet, journalist, and ecologist who spent much of his career promoting the Piedmontese language.

1933 – Arnold Lobel, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and illustrator, known for the “Frog and Toad” picture books.

1934 – Gary Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, journalist, and historian who specializes in U.S. history, politics, and religion, especially the history of the Roman Catholic Church; he is best known for his book, Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America.

1942 – Souad Al-Sabah, Kuwaiti economist, writer and poet; in her work, she expresses the concerns of Arabic women in general and Kuwaiti women in particular, and presents the dualities of life and death, men and women, and treachery and loyalty.

1943 – Lisa Carducci (also known as Li Shasha), award-winning Canadian writer, short-story writer, poet, and translator of Italian descent, living in China.

1944 – Lynn Barber, British journalist, magazine writer, editor, and memoirist.

1944 – John Flanagan, Australian fantasy writer who is best known for his medieval fantasy series, the Ranger’s Apprentice.

1947 – Anthony Holden, British author, literary critic, translator, biographer, broadcaster, and poker player who was first president of the International Federation of Poker.

1950 – Irène Frain (née Le Pohon), French novelist, journalist, and historian.

1951 – Coral Bracho, award-winning Mexican poet, linguist, and translator.

1954 – Katalin Lévai, Hungarian writer, novelist, and liberal politician who is a Member of the European Parliament and one of Hungary’s most fervent supporters of same-sex marriage, gender equality, and full access for people with disabilities.

1957 – Katrin Ottarsdóttir, award-winning Faroese poet, novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, film director, and actress whose work prominently features her native Faroe Islands, which make up an autonomous territory within the Kingdom of Denmark.

1959 – Andy Andrews, U.S. novelist, self-help author, and motivational speaker.

1959 – Tosca Reno, Canadian nutrition expert, wellness advocate, and author of bestselling health-related books.

1961 – Anique Poitras, award-winning Canadian writer, poet, and lecturer whose work was aimed mostly at adolescent readers.

1962 – José Manuel Prieto, award-winning Cuban writer, novelist, translator, and scholar.

1972 – Max Brooks, U.S. horror author, screenwriter, and actor; he is the son of comedy filmmaker Mel Brooks and actress Anne Bancroft.

1975 – Inés Bortagaray Sabarrós, award-winning Uruguayan author, short-story writer, and screenwriter.

1976 – Shane Koyczan, Canadian poet and “talk rock” artist.

1976 – Ingrid Storholmen, Norwegian poet, novelist, and literary critic.

1978 – Tansy Rayner Roberts, award-winning Australian fantasy writer who has published short stories, novels, and children’s fiction; she also writes crime fiction under the name Livia Day.

52 Ancestors, Week 21: Brick Wall

In genealogy, a brick wall is a point at which one ancestor brings you to an abrupt halt in your effort to trace your family tree. Further information on this person is elusive, or you know who it was, but cannot seem to find the records you need in order to determine who the ancestor’s parents were. Everyone who tries to research a family tree hits a brick wall at some point. And that is why Brick Wall is the theme of this week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge.

My most frustrating brick walls occur when female ancestors’ lineage has been erased by history. Like many Western cultures, Italy has a history of patriarchy. Until recently, women routinely changed their names when they married. This is no longer true. It is now illegal for a woman to change her name upon marriage; in fact, almost all name changes of any kind are prohibited in Italy. The name on the birth certificate is final, for life. I wish that rule had been in place before my ancestors immigrated.

Here is a gravestone for some of my ancestors. Notice that Biagio Manganiello’s name is given in full. His wife is listed on the stone only “Carmela His Wife.” The stone prioritizes his history over hers. Their daughter is given both her birth name and her married name — but if she had been buried with her husband instead of her parents, that would likely not have been the case.

In so many cases, my female ancestors appear to have no surname of their own, and therefore, no history. Many Italian records are not digitized, indexed, and posted online. And almost none are available in English, though I’ve had some success translating the ones I have found, using my scant Italian-language skills and online tools such as Google Translate. That means it is difficult to find a record for a female ancestor — a birth certificate or marriage certificate, for example — that would provide the name of her parents.

Have you ever walked through a cemetery and paid attention to the differences between the inscriptions on women’s gravestones, as opposed to men’s? So often, the man’s name is given in full, as in “John Smith,” while his spouse’s name is listed only as, “Beloved Wife Mary.” Her life before her marriage, and her family before her marriage, is erased from the record. I have never once seen a stone that lists her full name at birth, and gives her husband’s name as “Beloved Husband John.”

Until it is commonly accepted that a woman’s history is just as important as a man’s, these walls will impede genealogical research in the future, as well.

May 21 Writer Birthdays

1546 – Madeleine de l’Aubespine, French writer, poet, literary patron, and lady in waiting to Catherine de Medici; l’Aubespine was one of the earliest female erotic poets and was one of the few female poets whose work was praised by “the prince of poets,” Pierre de Ronsard.

1688 – Alexander Pope, English poet and translator best known for his use of satirical verse; he is considered one of the foremost poets of his time.

1811 – Julia Griffiths, British writer, editor, and prominent abolitionist who worked with the American freed slave Frederick Douglass and was one of six founding members of the influential Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society; she is most noted for publishing Autographs for Freedom, an anthology of anti-slavery literature.

1864 – Stéphanie Clotilde Louise Herminie Marie Charlotte (Princess Stéphanie of Belgium), Belgian writer, memoirist, diarist, and inventor who was a Belgian princess by birth and Crown Princess of Austria through marriage to heir-apparent Archduke Rudolf. She was famously widowed when Rudolf and his mistress, Mary Vetsera, died in an apparent murder-suicide pact. When she later published her memoir, including Rudolf’s last letter to her — evidence of the suicide pact — a scandal ensued and police visited every bookshop in Vienna and seized all copies; it was later published overseas. She also invented a combined chafing dish and spirit lamp, for which she held a U.S. patent.

1880 – Tudor Arghezi (pen name for Ion N. Theodorescu), Romanian writer, poet, journalist, and children’s author who is best known for his unique contributions to poetry and to children’s literature.

1901 – Suzanne Lilar, Flemish Belgian novelist, playwright, journalist, essayist, literary critic, philosopher, and lawyer who wrote in French.

1906 – Profira Sadoveanu, Romanian writer, poet, journalist, children’s author, memoirist, interviewer, and translator who sometimes used the pseudonym Valer Donea; she was strongly influenced by the literary style of her father, novelist Mihail Sadoveanu, and adopted his florid descriptions, but she infused her writing with a feminine sensibility.

1912 – Siddhi Charan Shrestha, Nepalese writer, poet, journalist, and linguistic rights activist who was one of the most prominent writers in Nepal; his revolutionary poetry contributed to the struggle against the autocratic Rana regime, leading to his imprisonment for sedition because of one of his poems, which contained the now-famous line, “Without revolution, there can be no proper peace.”

1913 – Oloori Kofoworola “Kofo” Aina Ademola (Lady Ademola, née Moore), Nigerian children’s book author and educator who was the first black African woman to earn a degree from Oxford University and the first president of the National Council of Women Societies in Nigeria.

1916 – Harold Robbins, bestselling U.S. author of popular novels, known for his deftness at blending his own life experiences, history, melodrama, sex, and high society into a fast-moving story.

1917 – Enid Elizabeth Backhouse, Australian novelist, scriptwriter, and playwright, best known for her family history Against Time and Place.

1922 – Surendra Mohanty, Indian writer, author, autobiographer, and politician who wrote in Oriya.

1923 – Dorothy Hewett, award-winning Australian novelist, poet, playwright, and feminist writer who has been called “one of Australia’s best-loved and most respected writers.”

1932 – Gabriele Wohmann, German novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and film director.

1935 – Hisako Matsubara, award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, playwright, nonfiction author, editor, columnist, and critic who has published works in Japanese, English, and German; her novels are set in recent Japanese history and address cultural changes and western influences, and her nonfiction books highlight contrasts between Japanese history and European history.

1938 – Ana Diosdado, Argentine-born Argentinian-Spanish author, screenwriter, playwright, theater director, and actress.

1943 – Beverley Naidoo, award-winning South African author, children’s writer, novelist, and biographer.

1944 – Janet Dailey (full name Janet Anne Haradon Dailey), bestselling U.S. author of romance novels, with many different series and stand-alone novels.

1948 – Elizabeth Buchan, British writer of novels, short stories, nonfiction, and biography; she is best known for her romantic novels.

1951 – Al Franken (Alan Stuart Franken), U.S. comedian, screenwriter, author, actor, journalist, radio personality, and U.S. Senator.

1951 – Victoria (Torey) Lynn Hayden, U.S. special-education teacher, university lecturer, and writer of fiction and nonfiction books based on her experiences teaching and counseling children with special needs.

1952 – Arezki Metref, Algerian journalist, writer, and poet.

1962 – Hege Storhaug, Norwegian writer, women’s rights activist, and journalist who has been particularly critical of Islam’s treatment of women; she is also a former player on the Norway women’s national volleyball team.

1964 – Miriam Toews, Canadian writer and actress, best known for her novels set in the Mennonite community.

1967 – Lemn Sissay, award-winning British author, poet, playwright, broadcaster, and university chancellor who was the official poet of the 2012 London Olympics.

1983 – P.V. Shajikumar, award-winning Malayalam author, screenplay writer, and software engineer.

May 20 Writer Birthdays

1470 – Pietro Bembo, Venetian Italian writer, poet, librarian, historian, essayist, translator, and Catholic cardinal; he influential in the development of the Italian language, specifically Tuscan, as a literary medium, codifying the language for standard modern usage.

1505 – Levinus Lemnius, Dutch writer, physician, astrologer, and Catholic priest.

1754 – Elisabeth “Elisa” Charlotte Constanzia von der Recke (née von Medem), German writer, memoirist, biographer, and poet.

1787 – Ema Saikō, Japanese writer, poet, artist, painter, and calligrapher who was one of the most acclaimed Japanese artists of her age; her kanshi poetry is known for being self-reflective and autobiographical.

1799 – Honore de Balzac, French novelist and playwright who is considered one of the founders of European realism.

1806 – John Stuart Mill, British writer, philosopher, economist, autobiographer, suffragist, and feminist; he is considered one of the most influential thinkers in the history of classical liberalism and contributed widely to social theory, political theory, and political economy.

1811 – Alfred Domett, New Zealand writer, poet, barrister, and politician who was Prime Minister of New Zealand.

1824 – Sofia Dmitriyevna Khvoshchinskaya, Russian writer of literary fiction and social commentary; she was also a painter and translator.

1830 – Hector Malot, French novelist, memoirist, literary critic, and theatre critic.

1850 – Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Indian Marathi writer, whose writings have had a decisive influence on modern Marathi prose style.

1858 – Emma Adler (née Braun), Austrian journalist and writer who also wrote under the pen names Marion Lorm and Helene Erdmann.

1870 – Sarah Winifred Parry, acclaimed Welsh short-story writer and novelist who is credited with developing the modern Welsh short story.

1882 – Sigrid Undset, Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist, known for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages.

1884 – Salman Mumtaz, renowned Azerbaijani poet, writer, literary scholar, and literary historian; in his efforts to collect, publish, and promote his country’s classical literary legacy, he discovered unknown manuscripts of several Azerbaijani poets.

1885 – Dorita Fairlie Bruce, popular British novelist and children’s writer; she was a pioneer in creating series of books that followed a group of girls throughout their school years and beyond.

1886 – Chieko Takamura, Japanese writer, poet, painter, illustrator, and papercut artist; she was an early member of the Japanese feminist movement Seitōsha.

1890 – Allan Nevins, U.S. historian and biographer, winner of the 1933 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Grover Cleveland.

1893 – Vincas Mykolaitis-Putinas, Lithuanian writer, poet, literary critic, and literary historian.

1897 – Diego Abad de Santillán (born Sinesio Vaudilio García Fernández), Spanish author, economist, editor, writer, politician, and journalist who was a leading figure in the Spanish and Argentine anarchist movements.

1900 – Lydia Cabrera, Afro-Cuban writer, poet, and anthropologist who was an expert on Santería and other Afro-Cuban religions; her most important book is El Monte (The Wilderness), which was the first major ethnographic study of Afro-Cuban traditions, herbalism, and religion.

1900 – Sumitranandan Pant, Indian poet who was one of the most celebrated 20th century poets of the Hindi language; he was known for romanticism in his poems, which were inspired by nature, people, and the beauty within.

1902 – Horacio Hidrovo Velásquez, award-winning Ecuadorian novelist, poet, and short-story writer; his son was the poet Horacio Hidrovo Peñaherrera.

1904 – Margery Louise Allingham, English writer of detective fiction, best remembered for her “golden age” stories featuring gentleman sleuth Albert Campion.

1904 – Tatsuo Nagai, Japanese writer of short stories, novels, and essays who was best known for his portrayals of city life; he also wrote haiku poetry under the pen name Tomonkyo.

1904 – Hemi Potatau, New Zealand Maori writer, soldier, and Presbyterian minister.

1905 – Hedda Zinner, German political writer, journalist, translator, actress, and radio broadcaster.

1911 – Annie M.G. Schmidt, Dutch writer, poet, librarian, playwright, author, and children’s writer; she is considered one of the greatest Dutch writers and has been called “the Queen of Dutch children’s literature.”

1919 – Gustaw Herling-Grudziński, Polish writer, poet, journalist, literary critic, political dissident, and World War II resistance fighter; his is best known for A World Apart, his personal account of life in a Soviet Gulag.

1919 – Berry Morgan (born Betty Berry Taylor Brumfield), U.S. novelist, short-story writer, professor, and civil-rights activist who wrote about the South; her work has been compared to that of Flannery O’Connor.

1921 – Kulwant Singh Virk, award-winning Indian short-story writer who wrote mostly in Punjabi but also in English.

1923 – Samuel “Sam” Selvon, Trinidadian writer, journalist, and novelist; his novel The Lonely Londoners is groundbreaking in its use of creolized English for narrative as well as dialogue.

1924 – Mitsuo Aida, Japanese poet and calligrapher who was known as The Poet of Zen; his work was influenced by Zen Buddhism.

1929 – Marcelino dos Santos, Mozambican poet, writer, revolutionary, and politician; he has also written under the pseudonyms Kalungano and Lilinho Micaia.

1935 – Hanna Krall, Polish writer and journalist who specializes in writing about the history of the Holocaust in occupied Poland.

1936 – Glenn R. Swetman, U.S. poet, professor, short-story writer, and playwright.

1937 – Maria Teresa Mascarenhas Horta, Portuguese feminist poet, journalist, novelist, and activist.

1940 – Claude Dagens, French writer and Catholic bishop who specializes in Catholic doctrine; he has written much about the role of the Church in French society and its relationship with secularism.

1941 – Betty Louise Turtle (née Webster, which she also used in her published works), Australian astronomer, physicist, and writer who, along with her colleague Paul Murdin, identified the powerful X-ray source Cygnus X-1 as the first clear candidate for a black hole.

1944 – Clyde Edgerton, U.S. author and professor whose books are known for endearing characters, small-town Southern dialogue, and realistic fire-and-brimstone religious sermons.

1945 – Lutfi Lepaja, Kosovo Albanian novelist, essayist, poet, teacher, playwright, and literary critic.

1949 – Mary Pope Osborne, award-winning U.S. children’s book author best known for her popular “Magic Tree House” series and for her efforts to promote literacy.

1949 – Michèle Brigitte Roberts, British writer, novelist, and poet.

1949 – David William Thomas, Canadian actor, screenwriter, comedian, and director.

1950 – Wei Jingsheng, Chinese writer, essayist, and human rights activist known for his involvement in the Chinese democracy movement; his essay, “The Fifth Modernization,” posted on the Democracy Wall in Beijing in 1978, resulted in his arrest and conviction for “counterrevolutionary” activities; he spent a total of 18 years in prison.

1951 – Stanley Bing (pen name for Gil Schwartz), U.S. business humorist, novelist, and columnist.

1952 – Walter Isaacson, U.S. writer and journalist.

1955 – Sirivennela (pen name for Chembolu SeethaRama Sastry) – Indian poet and film lyricist who writes in the Telugu language; his work shows great versatility but is best known for its optimism and humor.

1956 – Douglas Jerome Preston, U.S. author of thriller novels, often with collaborator Lincoln Child.

1959 – Marianne Curley, Australian author best known for her “Guardians of Time” trilogy and her “Old Magic” books.

1963 – Christopher Sorrentino, U.S. novelist of Puerto Rican descent.

1964 – Marcela Iacub, Argentine writer, novelist, poet, and lawyer who is now based in France, where she specializes in bioethics research.

1966 – Dan Abrams, U.S. journalist, author, television host, legal commentator, former anchor of “Nightline,” and Chief Legal Affairs Anchor for ABC News.

1969 – Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, editor, and biographer.

1970 – Dorthe Nors, Danish novelist, short-story writer, and translator.

1974 – Chékéba Hachemi, Afghan writer, diplomat, activist, and feminist.

May 19 Writer Birthdays

1771 – Rahel Antonie Friederike Varnhagen, German author, essayist, and letter writer who hosted one of the most prominent salons in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries; in addition to her own writings, she is the subject of a celebrated biography, Rahel Varnhagen: The Life of a Jewess, written by Hannah Arendt, who cherished Varnhagen as her “closest friend, though…dead for some hundred years.” The asteroid 100029 Varnhagen is named in her honor.

1794 – Anna Brownell Jameson, Irish-born English writer, author, and art historian who also wrote on such diverse topics as feminism, travel, Shakespeare, poets, and German culture.

1812 – Charlotte Guest (born Charlotte Elizabeth Bertie; later known as Lady Charlotte Schreiber), Welsh writer, linguist, translator, art collector, publisher, and businesswoman who is known as the first publisher in modern print format of The Mabinogion, which is the earliest prose literature of Britain; she was a leading figure in the study of literature and the wider Welsh Renaissance of the 19th century, and was renowned as an international industrialist, pioneering liberal educator, philanthropist, and society hostess.

1855 – Marie Musaeus Higgins, German writer and educationist, best known as the founder and principal of Musaeus College in Sri Lanka; she also authored publications based on Buddhist and Sinhala cultural themes and was an important figure in the pre-independence Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka and a pioneer in female education.

1870 – Kitaro Nishida, Japanese writer, professor, and philosopher who founded the Kyoto School of philosophy.

1886 – Bernadotte Everly Schmitt, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and professor of European history.

1889 – Tản Đà (pen name for Nguyễn Khắc Hiếu), Vietnamese poet who used both traditional Sino-Vietnamese forms and European influences and was a transitional figure between the turn of the 1890s and the “New Poetry” movement of the 1930s.

1894 – Gudipati Venkata Chalam (popularly known as Chalam), Indian writer, novelist, and philosopher who was one of the most influential personalities in modern Telugu literature; most of his writings centered on women, especially the kind of difficulties women face—physical as well as psychological—in society.

1903 – Ernest Samuels, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer and lawyer.

1908 – Manik Bandopadhyay, prolific Indian Bengali novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter who is widely regarded as one of the key figures of 20th century Bengali literature.

1909 – T. Harry Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and Huey P. Long biographer.

1914 – Sharif Hussain (pseudonym Nasim Hijazi), Indian Urdu novelist who used historic settings as the background for his novels and based most of his work on Islamic history.

1918 – Edward Wilmot Blyden III, Sierra Leonean diplomat, writer, political scientist, and educator who contributed to the post-colonial discourse on African self-government.

1926 – Nancy Adams (full name Jacqueline Nancy Mary Adams), New Zealand botanist, author, science writer, botanical artist, and museum curator.

1928 – Ana Daniel (pseudonym of Maria de Lourdes d’Oliveira Canellas da Assunção Sousa), Portuguese poet and writer.

1930 – Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, U.S. African-American playwright best known for Raisin in the Sun.

1932 – Elena Poniatowska, Polish-Mexican novelist and journalist who specializes in social and political issues focused on women and the poor.

1933 – Tom Feelings, U.S. children’s author and illustrator, cartoonist, teacher, and activist who focused on the African-American experience in his work; his most famous book is The Middle Passage: White Ships/Black Cargo.

1934 – Ruskin Bond, award-winning Indian author of British descent who writes for both children and adults.

1934 – Jim Lehrer, U.S. journalist and novelist best known as long-time host of the PBS News Hour.

1938 – Girish Karnad, Indian playwright, screenwriter, author, translator, film director, linguist, and actor.

1939 – Hasnat Abdul Hye, award-winning, prolific Bangladeshi writer and novelist who wrote in both Bengali and English.

1941 – Nora Ephron, acclaimed U.S. screenwriter, playwright, novelist, memoirist, journalist, columnist, essayist, and filmmaker; as a screenwriter and playwright, she was nominated for three Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Tony Award; some of her most famous scripts were for Silkwood, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, and Sleepless in Seattle; her book Heartburn was based on her marriage to Washington Post Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein; she also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation.

1941 – Furio Jesi, Italian writer, historian, archaeologist, mythographer, and university teacher.

1945 – Wera Sæther, Norwegian psychologist, poet, novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, and author of books for teens.

1947 – Mercè Company i González, Spanish author and journalist who writes in Spanish, Catalan, and French.

1952 – Sarah Ellis, Canadian children’s writer, literary reviewer, librarian, and university teacher.

1958 – Maria Idolina Landolfi, Italian novelist, poet, journalist, translator, and literary critic.

1960 – Francesca Archibugi, Italian screenwriter, actor, writer, and film director.

1963 – Kristin Dimitrova, award-winning Bulgarian poet, writer, editor, essayist, and translator.

1964 – Tabassum Akhlaq (also known as Tabassum Afridi and Tabassum Akhlaq Malihabadi) Pakistani poet, writer, columnist, and event organizer; her poetry touches on themes of romance, religion, solitude, and peace.

1965 – Jacek Piekara, Polish fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and game writer who is best known for his stories about inquisitor Mordimer Madderdin; underthe pen name Jack de Craft he wrote also a novel about Conan the Barbarian.

1966 – Jodi Picoult, bestselling award-winning U.S. author, some of whose works have been made into films or TV movies; she also wrote for the DC Comics Wonder Woman series. Her books often center on families and relationships but also take inspiration from current events.

1967 – Muriel Diallo, award-winning Ivory Coast writer, children’s author and illustrator, painter, and teacher who writes in French.

1971 – Uwem Akpan, award-winning Nigerian novelist and short-story writer.

1972 – Süreyyya Evren, Turkish novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, and cultural theorist.

1973 – Tuuve Aro, Finnish novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, film critic, and film producer.

1973 – Alice Roberts, British author, physician, biologist, paleontologist, physical anthropologist, archaeologist, professor, and television presenter.

1974 – Ahmed Reda Benchemsi, Moroccan journalist, publisher, and editor.

1975 – Eva Polna, Russian writer, poet, librarian, composer, musician, and bibliographer.

Throwback Thursday: Genealogical Breakthroughs

Finding a 12th great-grandparent is gratifying, but it is just the tip of the iceberg. As you can see in the chart, the number of direct ancestors doubles with each generation, and quickly reaches dauntingly high numbers. (I added a few more generations at the bottom.)

It’s throwback Thursday, the perfect day for learning about new ancestors! I had some huge breakthroughs today and yesterday, all of them in my father’s maternal family. Basically, working in two different parts of that line, I discovered new 10th, 11th, and even 12th great-grandparents!

The chart at right illuminates just how difficult it can be to get a complete picture of your ancestors. The number of direct ancestors doubles with each generation, and quickly reaches dauntingly high numbers. We each have more than 16,000 12th great-grandparents! This is why family history research never really ends. (Disclaimer: The chart does not account for the fact that the further you go back, the more likely it is that relatives have intermarried, so the real numbers of separate individuals will be lower.)

I am most excited about the 12th great-grandfather. It’s the first line I’ve managed to extend beyond the 11th great-grandparent level. I began with my already-known 10th great-grandfather, Pierfrancesco Pocconi, born about 1575. And I finally discovered the names of his parents, my 11th great-grandparents. They were Andrea Pocconi and Bartolomea (her surname is still unknown). I don’t have dates of birth, but I do know that he died in 1620 and she died in 1602. Pierfrancesco was one of their younger children; he had a brother born in 1560. So their parents were probably born around 1540 or a bit earlier, though of course that is a wild guess. (Despite commonly held modern-day beliefs that people in Medieval times began having children while still in their teens, I am not finding that in Marche, Italy, in this time period, at least not in my family. Almost all first-time parents I’ve found were in their twenties.)

After discovering my 11th great-grandparents, I was able to take a step further, and found a name for Andrea’s father, my 12th great-grandfather. He was Pierpaolo Pocconi. He would probably have been born in the early 1500s, though I am still searching for documents with dates.

Moving back to my 10th great-grandfather, Pierfrancesco, I also made a breakthrough there. I’d had his wife listed as Giovanna, surname unknown. As it turned out, that was wrong. Giovanna was Pierfrancesco’s second wife, and I am not descended from her. I did not even know he’d been married before. His first wife, Antonia Trinella (1575-1600) was my 10th great-grandmother. They married 10 June 1596, and she died 4 Aug 1600, at the age of 25, after giving birth to two sons. The second son, Filippo Pocconi, was my 9th great-grandfather. He married Giovanna, whose surname seems to have been Vedovi, in 1602, and they went on to have four more sons and a daughter.

In addition, I have discovered a previously elusive surname for a different 10th great-grandmother, and that discovery led to the names of her parents. I’d known that Bastiano Tarini (born 1580) married a woman also named Antonia, but I did not have a surname for her. I have now discovered that her name was Antonia Del Monte, and her parents were Baldo Del Monte and yet another Antonia, though I don’t know the elder Antonia’s last name. So my family tree now includes another set of 11th great-grandparents!

Lest I get too excited, a glance at the chart above reminds me that I still have 16,383 12th great-grandparents and 8,182 11th great-grandparents to find. This could take a while.

May 18 Writer Birthdays

1048 – Omar Khayyám, Persian poet, philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician; known for his collection of poetry that translator Edward FitzGerald titled The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyám.

1452 – Henry the Younger of Poděbrady, Czech poet, writer, and translator who was Prince of Bohemia and Duke of Münsterberg.

1711 – Roger Joseph Boscovich, Croat-Italian writer, poet, physicist, astronomer, priest, mathematician, diplomat, historian, polymath, geographer, theologian, university teacher, and philosopher; he is best known for his many contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet and computing a planet’s orbit from three observations of a surface feature, and the discovery of the absence of atmosphere on the Moon.

1787 – Konstantin Batyushkov, Russian writer, poet, essayist, and translator.

1809 – Harriett Low Hillard, U.S. writer and diarist who lived for several years in the Portuguese colony of Macau on the South China coast. She and her sickly aunt became the first American women to go to China; while there, she wrote a journal in the form of letters to her sister Molly.

1814 – Mikhail Bakunin, influential Russian revolutionary, writer, activist, philosopher, politician, and theorist of collectivist anarchism who is considered one of the most influential figures of anarchism and one of the principal founders of the social anarchist tradition; his book God and the State has been widely translated and remains in print.

1852 – I.L. Peretz, Polish author and playwright who wrote in Yiddish and is considered one of the three great classical Yiddish writers.

1853 – Behramji Malabari, Indian writer, poet, journalist, and social reformer who was best known for his ardent advocacy for women’s rights and for his activities against child marriage.

1858 – Inoue Enryo, Japanese philosopher, Buddhist reformer, university founder, and educator, who was a key figure in the reception of Western philosophy, the emergence of modern Buddhism, and the permeation of the imperial ideology; he was sometimes called Ghost Doc or Doctor Specter, because of his opposition to superstition.

1871 – Fanny “Franziska” zu Reventlow (real name Fanny Liane Wilhelmine Sophie Auguste Adrienne), German writer, artist, translator, and countess; she became famous as the “Bohemian Countess of Schwabing” in the years leading up to World War I.

1872 – Bertrand Russell, Nobel Prize-winning British writer, historian, essayist, philosopher, logician, social critic, mathematician, and political activist, famed for his “varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought.”

1874 – Madeleine Pelletier, French writer, essayist, autobiographer, anthropologist, physician, psychiatrist, politician, activist, socialist, and suffragist.

1877 – Elena Genrikhovna Guro, Russian Futurist painter, playwright, poet, and fiction writer.

1879 – Henry James III, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer who was the nephew of acclaimed novelist Henry James.

1889 – Gunnar Gunnarsson, prolific Icelandic novelist, dramatist, essayist, and poet who wrote mainly in Danish (to gain a wider audience) and whose work celebrated the courage and dignity of the common people of the North; his five-volume fictionalized autobiography Kirken paa bjerget (The Church on the Mountain) is considered his best work and a masterpiece of modern Icelandic literature.

1890 – Zora Cross, Australian writer, poet, novelist, journalist, children’s writer, teacher, and actress; one of her books of poetry, Songs of Love and Life, attracted widespread attention because of its erotic content and sold out in three days.

1895 – Zhang Henshui (pen name of Zhang Xinyuan), popular and prolific Chinese novelist.

1901 – Rafael Larco Hoyle, Peruvian writer, archaeologist, and anthropologist.

1904 – Margaret Pansy Felicia Lamb (known as Lady Pansy Lamb), English writer, novelist, translator, and biographer under her maiden name, Pansy Pakenham.

1904 – Shunryū Suzuki, Japanese writer, philosopher, and Buddhist missionary.

1907 – Irene Hunt, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author of books for children and teens, best known for her historical and coming-of-age novels; her most famous works are Across Five Aprils and Up a Road Slowly. According to one critic, “Brilliant characterization, a telling sense of story, an uncanny ability to balance fact and fiction, and compassionate, graceful writing mark Hunt’s small but distinguished body of work.”

1909 – Diosdado G. Alesna, award-winning Filipino writer and poet in the Cebuano language; he wrote under many pen names, including Diody Mangloy, Rigor Tancredo, Reynaldo Lap, Buntia, La Roca, Melendres, and Flordeliz Makaluluoy.

1910 – Ester Boserup, influential Danish writer and economist who wrote seminal books on agrarian change and the role of women in development; she is known for her theory of agricultural intensification, also known as Boserup’s theory, which posits that population change drives the intensity of agricultural production.

1913 – Nicolás Gómez Dávila, Colombian writer, philosopher, and radical critic of modernity.

1915 – Seo Jeong-ju, five-time Nobel Prize-nominated Korean poet and professor who wrote under the pen name Midang (“not yet fully grown”); he is widely regarded as one of the best poets in 20th-century Korean literature.

1915 – Isobel Lennart, U.S. screenwriter and playwright.

1925 – Lillian Hoban, U.S. children’s writer and illustrator who often collaborated with her husband, writer Russell Hoban.

1928 – José Gabriel Lopes da Silva (also known as Gabriel Mariano), Cape Verdean poet, novelist, and essayist.

1930 – Fred Saberhagen, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy author of novels and short stories.

1935 – Ahmed Baba Miské, Mauritanian writer, politician, and diplomat who is best known as the author of Lettre ouverte aux elites du Tiers-monde (Open Letters to the Elite of the Third World).

1936 – Alena Wagnerová, Czech fiction author, nonfiction writer, and journalist who writes in both Czech and German.

1943 – So Young-en, award-winning South Korean novelist and short-story writer; her works feature a deep-seated nihilism and a sense of alienation, and are often about ordinary people who long for a spiritually elevated existence while struggling with the meaninglessness of their lives.

1948 – Yi Mun-yol, bestselling, award-winning South Korean writer; his works include novels, short stories, Korean adaptations of classic Chinese novels, and political and social commentaries.

1952 – Diane Duane, U.S. and Irish science-fiction and fantasy author who writes in the Star Trek universe, as well as in her own settings.

1954 – Min Lu (real name Nyan Paw), Burmese novelist and screenwriter who adapted several of his own novels into films.

1956 – Gisèle Pineau, French/Guadeloupean novelist, writer, and psychiatric nurse who has written books on the difficulties of her childhood as a person of color growing up in Parisian society; in particular, she focuses on racism and the effects it can have on a young girl trying to discover her own cultural identity.

1957 – Lionel Shriver, U.S. and British journalist and author who was born Margaret Ann Shriver.

1959 – Debbie Dadey, U.S. author of more than 125 children’s books, including the bestselling series, The Adventure of the Bailey School Kids.

1959 – Sophie Masson, Indonesian-born French-Australian fantasy and children’s author.

1967 – Nina Björk, Swedish feminist, author, journalist, and columnist.

1970 – Tina Fey, U.S. comedy writer, comedian, playwright, actress, and television personality.

1976 – Mamizu Arisawa, award-winning Japanese author of light novels.

1985 – Azalia Suhaimi, Malaysian poet, photographer, blogger, and creative writer; she is famous for combining photography and poetry.

1988 – Lưu Quang Minh, popular Vietnamese musician and book author.

May 17 Writer Birthdays

1155 – Jien, Japanese historian, poet, and Buddhist monk.

1723 – Bianca Laura Saibante, Italian poet and playwright who was one of the founders of the cultural institution, the Accademia Roveretana degli Agiati.

1792 – Isabella Noel Byron (11th Baroness Wentworth and Baroness Byron, née Milbanke), English writer, poet, memoirist, and mathematician who was married to the poet Lord Byron; her memoirs were published after her death by writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.

1807 – Sophie Amelia Prosser (born Sophia Amelia Dibdin, but often called by her pseudonym, Mrs. Prosser), British author who was known for her sentimental morality tales and fables.

1813 – Eliza Rennie (also known as Mrs. Eliza Walker), Scottish author who is best known for her Gothic and Romantic short stories, her two-volume autobiography, and her writing about her friendships with writer Mary Shelley, the Duke of Wellington, and other notables.

1836 – Virginie (Marie) Loveling, Flemish Belgian author of realistic and romantic poetry, novels, essays, and children’s stories; she also wrote under the pseudonym W.E.C. Walter. Some of her work was co-authored with her sister Rosalie Loveling and her nephew Cyriel Buysse.

1853 – Amy Clarke (pen name Mrs. Henry Clarke), English writer of historical fiction and children’s books.

1857 – Pascual H. Poblete, Filipino writer, journalist, translator, and feminist; he is best remembered as the first translator of José Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere into the Tagalog language.

1860 – Nataly von Eschstruth (pen name of Nataly von Knobelsdorff-Brenkenhoff), German novelist, poet, and short-story writer.

1873 – Dorothy Miller Richardson, British novelist who was a pioneer of the stream-of-consciousness style.

1877 – Juana Borrero, Cuban writer, poet, and artist who began painting when she was five, wrote her first poem at seven, spoke multiple languages by the age of ten, and had her work published in magazines from age 14. She died of tuberculosis at only 18 years old.

1887 – Violet May Cottrell, New Zealand writer, poet, and spiritualist.

1889 – Alfonso Reyes, influential Mexican poet, essayist, literary critic, and diplomat.

1893 – Winifred May de Kok, South Africa writer, television presenter, and physician who wrote about issues surrounding parenting and family health; she married Alfred Edgar Coppard, a British short-story writer who was a leading light of a literary group, the New Elizabethans.

1904 – Marie-Anne Desmarest (born Anne-Marie During), award-winning French romance novelist.

1906 – Dorothy Crisp, British writer, publisher, and political figure who was known for her right-wing views.

1906 – Frederic Prokosch, award-winning U.S. novelist, poet, and memoirist who is primarily remembered for his literary career but who also had a brief career as a forger.

1908 – Muhammad Ahmad Mahgoub, Sudanese writer, poet, author, politician, and diplomat who was Prime Minister of Sudan.

1908 – Alicia Porro (full name Alicia Porro Freire de Maciel), Uruguayan poet, artist, musician, and composer who used the pseudonym Tacón de Fierro for her musical compositions and Margarita Irigoyen for her artwork.

1914 – Chang Ch’ung-ho, Chinese writer, poet, calligrapher, professor, and opera singer.

1922 – Toek Blignaut, South African author, short-story writer, journalist, editor, and advice columnist; she wrote more than 80 books and 200 short stories.

1927 – Francesca Forrellad and Lluïsa Forrellad, Spanish Catalan novelists and playwrights who were twins.

1927 – Jacqueline Sturm, New Zealand writer, poet, librarian, and short-story writer; she is thought to be the first Maori woman writer to have her work published in the English language.

1928 – Francesca Sanvitale, Italian novelist and journalist who was called “one of Italy’s most renowned contemporary authors.”

1929 – Eloise Greenfield, U.S. African-American poet, biographer, and children’s author known for her descriptive, rhythmic style and positive portrayal of the African-American experience.

1934 – Leela Sarkar, award-winning Indian and Singaporean writer and translator who works in the Malayalam language.

1935 – Dennis Potter (full name Dennis Christopher George Potter, British dramatist, novelist, screenwriter, and nonfiction author.

1936 – Lars Gustafsson, Swedish playwright, novelist, and poet.

1939 – Gary Paulsen, U.S. author of popular young-adult coming-of-age novels set in the wilderness; he is particularly known for the Brian’s Saga series, beginning with the book Hatchet. He also wrote short stories, articles, and plays.

1944 – Priti Sengupta, Indian Gujarati poet, travel author, and writer.

1946 – Joan Barfoot, award-winning Canadian novelist and journalist.

1946 – F. Paul Wilson, U.S. author of science fiction, horror, and medical thrillers.

1947 – Janet Holmes, New Zealand sociolinguist, writer, and academic who studies language and gender, language in the workplace, and New Zealand English.

1947 – Halima Xudoyberdiyeva, Uzbek poet, writer, and journalist who wrote about Uzbek nationhood and history, liberation movements, and feminism; she was awarded the title People’s Poet of Uzbekistan.

1948 – Esmeralda Santiago, Puerto Rican author and actress known for her novels and memoirs.

1950 – Valeriya Novodvorskaya, Belarussian and Russian writer, teacher, poet, politician, librarian, translator, pedagogue, journalist, and liberal political activist who was the founder and chairwoman of the Democratic Union party and a member of the editorial board of The New Times.

1950 – Dian Curtis Regan, U.S. author of children’s and young-adult books.

1957 – Peter Høeg, Danish novelist and short-story writer, best known for the novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, which was made into the film Smilla’s Sense of Snow.