January 7 Writer Birthdays

1611 – James Harrington, English political author and theorist who wrote The Commonwealth of Oceana, utopian exposition of an ideal constitution.

1774 – Anna Petrovna Bunina, Russian poet who was the first female Russian writer to make a living solely from literary work; she is related to Noble Prize-winning writer Ivan Bunin.

1824 – Julia Kavanagh, popular Irish writer, biographer, novelist, and nonfiction writer; her nonfiction explored women’s moral and political contributions to society.

1840 – Céline Renooz, Belgian feminist writer, lecturer, and activist known for her works on evolution, epistemology, and historiography and her calls to erase patriarchal structures; her philosophy, known as “neosophism,” outlined an alternative, non-male-dominated approach to science, and championed matriarchy as a beneficial social system.

1873 – Charles Péguy, important socialist French poet, essayist, and editor.

1890 – Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson, U.S. writer, soldier, and entrepreneur who created DC Comics and pioneered the American comic book.

1891 – Zora Neale Hurston, U.S. author, anthropologist, and filmmaker of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1905 – Yahya Haqqi, Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, editor, literary critic, essayist, lawyer, translator, civil servant, and adviser to the National Library of Egypt.

1908 – Georgette Marie Philippart Travers, French writer and poet who was the wife of Peruvian poet César Vallejo.

1914 – Dorothy Lavinia Brown (also known as “Dr. D.”), U.S. African-American surgeon, legislator, and educator who wrote essays, an autobiography, and inspirational guides; she was the first female surgeon of African-American ancestry in the Southeastern United States and the first African-American woman to serve in the Tennessee General Assembly, where she fought for women’s rights, reproductive choice, and the rights of people of color.

1916 – Paul Keres, Estonian chess grandmaster and renowned chess writer.

1925 – Gerald Malcolm Durrell, influential Indian-born British zoologist and writer whose series of memoirs, beginning with My Family and Other Animals, recounts years of his childhood spent living on a Greek island with his eccentric family; his older brother is renowned novelist Lawrence Durrell; his sister Margaret (Margo) Durrell was also an author. The television series The Durrells in Corfu is based on Gerald’s books.

1928 – William Peter Blatty, U.S. writer most well known for the novel (and screenplay) The Exorcist.

1936 – Edward Hunter Davies, British author, journalist, biographer, and broadcaster who wrote the only authorized biography of the Beatles.

1938 – Aída Bortnik, Academy Award-nominated Argentine screenwriter, playwright, poet, journalist, writer, and lawyer.

1945 – Uma Ukpai, Nigerian writer, Christian leader, and preacher.

1946 – Michael Roizen, U.S. anesthesiologist and internist who is known for his Real Age books and the YOU series.

1948 – Shobhaa Dé, Indian novelist and columnist who depicts socialites and sex in her books; she has been called the “Jackie Collins of India.”

1951 – Minfong Ho, award-winning Burmese-born U.S. Chinese-American writer of novels for adults, teens, and children, and picture books; her fiction deals with the lives of people living in poverty in Southeast Asian, always set against the backdrop of real events, such as the 1970s student movement in Thailand and the collapse of the Khmer Rouge regime.

1954 – Abilio Estévez, Cuban novelist, playwright and poet who is now based in Spain.

1956 – Lü Gengsong, Chinese writer, politician, and civil rights activist who was imprisoned because of his book Corrupted Officials in China.

1957 – Nicholson Baker, U.S. author of fiction, nonfiction, essays, and erotica; he has also written about and edited Wikipedia.

1957 – Katie Couric (Katherine Anne Couric), U.S. writer, news presenter, television producer, journalist, voice actor, film producer, children’s writer, podcaster, and bestselling author.

1958 – Rosa Liksom, award-winning Finnish writer, photographer, playwright, translator, painter, cartoonist, and children’s writer.

1959 – Helena Corbellini (full name Gloria Helena Corbellini Troche), Uruguayan writer, poet, novelist, textbook author, cultural journalist, and professor.

1967 – Benjamin Kwakye, award-winning Ghanaian novelist and poet whose trilogy about an African immigrant’s experiences in the U.S. (The Other Crucifix, The Three Books of Shama and The Count’s False Banquet) takes the form of an impressive epic poem that spans more than 400 pages; it has been described by Kirkus Review as containing “cutting insights into human nature.”

1968 – Meltem Arikan, Turkish novelist, essayist, playwright, and short-story writer who has written women’s stories about abuse, incest, and sexual harassment; she was forced to leave Turkey because government officials there considered her work to be subversive.

1969 – Claudia Amengual, award-winning Uruguayan novelist, essayist, teacher, and translator.

1972 – Troy Parfitt, Canadian author, educator, and world traveler who focuses on critical travel commentary and cultural exposes; he is best known for his two books about China, Notes From The Other China and Why China Will Never Rule the World.

1977 – Sofi Oksanen, award-winning bestselling Finnish contemporary novelist and playwright.

Preparing for Snomicron, Round 2

One of our resident doves in the snow.

After weathering Monday’s storm and being spared the widespread power outages that persisted through Tuesday, we actually lost power Wednesday afternoon, after most people’s electricity had been restored. It was off for a few hours, and the house was beginning to get pretty darn cold. But it came back on that evening, and we were fine.

Today, the roads are clear, and I even ventured out to the grocery store. But now we’re expecting another storm tonight and tomorrow morning. We’re still out of firewood, but picked up a box of the fake logs, in case we need the fireplace for heat (or ambience) this time.

January 6 Writer Birthdays

1256 – Gertrude the Great (or Gertrude of Helfta), German Benedictine nun, mystic, and theologian who wrote numerous works grounded in the themes and rites of Catholic Liturgy; she is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.

1588 – Elizabeth Stanley (Countess of Huntingdon and Lady Hastings of Hungerford), English noblewoman, writer, and patron of the arts who was third in line of succession to the English throne; she wrote manuscripts, meditations, letters, and religious materials.

1835 – Maria Trubnikova, Russian writer, editor, feminist, and philanthropist who was one of the pioneer founders and leaders of the first organized Russian women’s movement; her work was instrumental in allowing Russian women to pursue a university education.

1878 – Carl Sandburg, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, author, biographer, journalist, and editor, best known for his poetry and his biography of Abraham Lincoln.

1883 – Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet and visual artist, remembered most for his 1923 book The Prophet.


1901 – Tómas Guðmundsson, Icelandic poet, author, and translator who was known as Reykjavík’s Poet.

1904 – John Holmes, U.S. poet, critic, and professor who also wrote the lyrics to several Unitarian Universalist hymns.

1905 – Idris Davies, Welsh poet whose early works are in Welsh, but who later wrote exclusively in English.

1906 – Benedict Wallet Vilakazi, South African Zulu poet, novelist, and educator.

1910 – Wright Morris, two-time National Book Award-winning U.S. author and photographer, best known for Love Among Cannibals.

1915 – Alan Watts, British-born author and philosopher, known for popularizing Eastern religions in the West.

1917 – Maeve Brennan, Irish short-story writer, author, journalist, literary critic, and novelist who was an important figure in both Irish diaspora writing and in Irish writing itself.

1931 – E.L. Doctorow, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, editor, playwright, and professor, known especially for his historical fiction and considered one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century.

1932 – Kamleshwar, important Indian Hindi writer and scriptwriter for cinema and television.

1938 – Vasyl Stus, Ukrainian poet, writer, translator, literary critic, journalist, human-rights activist, publicist, and dissident; because of his politics, his works were banned by the Soviet regime, and he spent 13 years in detention. He is widely regarded as one of Ukraine’s foremost poets.

1945 – Allen Appel, U.S. novelist best known for his stories about time traveler Alex Balfour.

1945 – Barry Lopez, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. nonfiction writer.

1949 – Carolyn D. Wright, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet who was also a Guggenheim and MacArthur fellow.

1951 – Yashodhara Mishra, Indian novelist, poet, and short-story writer who wrote in English and Hindi.

1954 – Anthony Minghella, Academy Award-winning English film director, playwright, and screenwriter.

1956 – Elizabeth Strout, bestselling Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of such literary novels as Olive Kitteridge and My Name Is Lucy Barton.

1960 – Nigella Lawson, British food writer, broadcaster, television personality, and cookbook author.

1969 – Ree Drummond, U.S. blogger and cookbook author known as the “Pioneer Woman.”

1971 – Karin Slaughter, bestselling U.S. crime writer whose fiction series are mostly based in the southern United States.


January 5 Writer Birthdays

1620 – Count Miklós Zrínyi, Hungarian poet, statesman, and military leader.

1762 – Constanze Mozart (full name Maria Constanze Cäcilia Josepha Johanna Aloysia Mozart, née Weber), Austrian singer who coauthored a biography of her first husband, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; she also worked to publish and popularize his work.

1780 – Madame de Rémusat (full name Claire Élisabeth Jeanne Gravier de Vergennes de Rémusat), French writer, lady-in-waiting, and salonnière.

1806 – Anna Richardson, British Quaker slavery abolitionist and peace campaigner who wrote and edited anti-slavery journals and texts

1846 – Rudolf Christoph Eucken, Nobel Prize-winning German philosopher.

1848 – Hristo Botev (born Hristo Botyov Petkov), Bulgarian revolutionary and poet who is widely considered by Bulgarians to be a symbolic historical figure and national hero.

1894 – Agnes Wright Spring, U.S. journalist, writer, and historian who wrote books focusing on the history of Wyoming and the American West.

1902 – Stella Gibbons, English novelist best known for her debut work, Cold Comfort Farm.

1902 – Véra Nabokov, Russian writer, editor, and translator who was married to author Vladimir Nabokov and inspired many of his works.

1906 – Kathleen Kenyon, British author, educator, and archaeologist of Neolithic culture in the Fertile Crescent; she led excavations of Tell es-Sultan, the site of ancient Jericho, from 1952 to 1958, and has been called one of the most influential archaeologists of the 20th century.

1917 – Malooru Krishnarao Indira, award-winning Indian novelist in the Kannada language.

1921 – Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Swiss playwright and novelist; he was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II.

1925 – P.A.K. Aboagye, Ghanaian poet, essayist, novelist, lexicographer, and historian of the Nzema language.

1926 – W.D. Snodgrass, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who is considered one of the founders of the “confessional” movement in American poetry, though he objected to the name; he sometimes used the pseudonym S.S. Gardons.

1927 – Vidadi Babanli, award-winning Azerbaijani writer, dramatist, and playwright.

1929 – Veronica Brady, Australian writer, academic, biographer, broadcaster, and nun.

1929 – Robert Kinloch Massie III, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer “who wrote gripping, tautly narrated, and immensely popular books on giants of Russian history”; his best known book is Nicholas and Alexandra, about the last Romanov tsar and his family.

1932 – Umberto Eco, Italian novelist and essayist best known for his first novel, The Name of the Rose.

1935 – Forough Farrokhzad, influential modernist Iranian poet, writer, filmmaker, and actor.

1936 – Florence King, U.S. novelist, essayist, and columnist whose works include Southern Ladies and Gentlemen, Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady, and With Charity Toward None: A Fond Look At Misanthropy.

1938 – Ngugi wa Thiong’o (also known as James T. Ngugi), Kenyan novelist, dramatist, and critic who is a significant East African writer.

1939 – Luisa Futoransky, Argentine writer, poet, and translator, living in France.

1940 – Jennifer Westwood, British author, broadcaster, philosopher, editor, broadcaster, and folklorist with special interests in the English Language, Anglo-Saxon, and Old Norse; she also wrote books under the name of Jennifer Chandler.

1941 – Hayao Miyazaki, Japanese author, manga writer, film animation artist, screenwriter, and film director.

1942 – Terenci Moix (real name Ramon Moix i Meseguer), Spanish Catalan writer who wrote in both Spanish and in Catalan; he is brother of poet and novelist Anna Maria Moix.

1942 – Michael Wilding, British-born Australian writer, novelist, critic, and professor.

1947 – Saskia Sassen, Dutch writer, sociologist, economist, urban planner, and professor noted for her analyses of globalization and international human migration; she coined the term global city.

1950 – Leda Nagle, Brazilian journalist, writer, actress, and television presenter.

1954 – László Krasznahorkai, Hungarian novelist and screenwriter who is known for critically difficult, demanding modernist novels with dystopian and melancholic themes.

1961 – Isabel Gemio Cardoso, Spanish journalist and radio and television presenter; she was married to Cuban sculptor Nilo Manrique.

1966 – Tananarive Due, American Book Award-winning U.S. African-American author, journalist, film historian, and educator who often writes about Black horror films.

1968 – Bonny Hicks, controversial Singaporean writer, philosopher, columnist, and model who gained recognition for her contributions to post-colonial literature; her first book, Excuse Me, Are You A Model?, is recognized as a significant milestone in the literary and cultural history of Singapore. At age 29, she was one of 104 passengers on SilkAir Flight 185, which crashed on Sumatra in 1997, killing everyone aboard.

1975 – Jude Dibia, award-winning Nigerian novelist and short-story writer whose first novel, Walking with Shadows, is counted as the first Nigerian novel with a gay man as its central character.

1978 – Seanan McGuire, U.S. urban fantasy author known for her October Daye series; winner of the Campbell Award, Nebula Award, and multiple Hugo Awards; she also writes science fiction under the name Mira Grant. She has described her interests as including “swamps, long walks, long walks in swamps, things that live in swamps, horror movies, strange noises, musical theater, reality TV, comic books, finding pennies on the street, and venomous reptiles.”

Snomicron Update

In honor of the Omicron coronavirus variant that’s blasting through the country right now, some have nicknamed yesterday’s snowstorm Snomicron.

Monday’s snow was beautiful, but a foot of it was a lot more than anyone expected! In addition to losing at least one tree in our yard, we lost internet service for most of the day Tuesday. I’m not complaining; it could have been a lot worse. Thousands of households in our area lost electricity, and some power company customers are still in the dark.

Our internet service was out completely today, until this evening. After that it continued to be intermittent, but it now seems to be working.

Schools were closed today and yesterday, though Alexandria schools, unlike most others in the area, had online learning rather than declaring a snow day. With so many families in the city in a power outage or at least an internet outage, a lot of parents and students are not pleased. I am so glad my son already graduated!

My husband was off work Monday. Today he was supposed to be working from home, but with no internet access, he decided to go in to Capitol Hill after lunchtime to work at the office. Streets in our neighborhood are still bad today, with a lot of downed trees. But the worse traffic I’ve heard of this week involved a 48-mile backup on I-95. Hundreds of cars were stranded on the interstate for 24 hours, including all of Monday night and well into Tuesday.

I am so glad I can just stay home until the weather clears up! Stay warm and safe, everyone.

January 4 Writer Birthdays

1643 – Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician who was one of the great minds of the Scientific Revolution; he developed the principles of modern physics published his most acclaimed work, The Principia : Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, which has been called the single most influential book on physics.

1746 – Benjamin Rush, U.S. physician, writer, educator, and humanitarian who founded Dickinson College and was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

1785 – Jacob Grimm, German mythologist, who, along with his brother Wilhelm, was one of the authors of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

1812 – Evdokiya Rostopchina, Russian writer, poet, playwright, translator, and countess; much of her poetry was about unrequited love, but during her trip abroad in 1845 she poet wrote an allegorical ballad, “Forced Marriage,” in which she condemned Russia’s relationship with Poland, enraging Nicholas I, who banished her from St. Petersburg, forcing her to live in Moscow until the tsar’s death.

1839 – Casimiro de Abreu, Brazilian poet, novelist, and playwright of the Ultra-Romanticism movement.

1878 – Alfred Edgar Coppard, English poet and short-story writer.

1882 – Violet Van der Elst, British writer, businesswoman, and activist for ending the death penalty; she was best known for her book On the Gallows, about capital punishment; she also published a collection of ghost stories, The Torture Chamber and Other Stories.

1883 – Max Eastman, U.S. writer and poet whose work covered literature, philosophy, and society, and who was known for his radical politics.

1883 – Johanna Westerdijk, Dutch plant pathologist and author who was the first female professor in the Netherlands; she wrote extensively about a broad spectrum of plant diseases and mycology, but her main interest was in pathogenic diseases of trees and physiological diseases of plants and how to control them.

1889 – Yumeno Kyusaku (pen name of Sugiyama Taido), Japanese detective novelist whose pen name means “a person who always dreams”; he was known for his avant-gardism and his surrealistic, wildly imaginative narratives.

1900 – James Bond, U.S. ornithologist and author of Birds of the West Indies, from which volume spy novelist Ian Fleming took inspiration for his main character’s name.

1901 – Cyril Lionel Robert James, influential Afro-Trinidadian historian, journalist, socialist theorist, and essayist who sometimes wrote under the pen-name J.R. Johnson and is considered a pioneering voice in postcolonial literature.

1915 – Marie-Louise von Franz, German-born Swiss writer and social scientist who was a Jungian psychologist; she was renowned for her psychological interpretations of fairy tales and of alchemical manuscripts.

1922 – Doreen Edith Dominy Valiente, English author and poet who was responsible for writing much of the early religious liturgy within the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca; she also worked as a translator at Bletchley Park during World War II.

1924 – Gopaldas Saxena (pen name Neeraj), Indian writer who is one of the best-known poets and authors in Hindi literature.

1930 – Zahida Zaidi, award-winning Indian scholar, poet, playwright, literary critic, translator, and professor who wrote more than 30 books in Urdu and English.

1931 – Kim Yang-shik, award-winning Korean poet, writer, essayist, philosopher, translator, art museum director, and Indologist.

1933 – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author of children’s and young adult fiction, best known for her Shiloh trilogy.

1940 – Hossein Elahi Ghomshei, Iranian writer, translator, philosopher, lecturer, and mystic

1940 – Gao Xingjian, Nobel Prize-winning Chinese novelist and playwright.

1943 – Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and biographer, best known for her biography of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

1943 – Jean Kilbourne, U.S. feminist author, speaker, and filmmaker who is internationally recognized for her work on images of women in advertising and for her critical studies of alcohol and tobacco advertising; she is credited with introducing the idea of educating about media literacy.

1946 – Lisa Appignanesi (born Elzbieta Borensztejn), Polish-born writer, novelist, professor, and campaigner for free expression; she is best known for her award-winning book Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors.

1948 – Natalie Goldberg, U.S. author whose most popular books explore writing as Zen practice; her best known work is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.

1952 – Ana Romero Masiá, Spanish writer, educator, historian, and archaeologist who excavated the Iron Age Castro de Borneiro archeological site in Galicia, Spain.

1956 – Sarojini Sahoo, Indian feminist writer, journalist, editor, philosopher, columnist, and essayist who has been listed as one of 25 Exceptional Women of India.

1957 – Soti Triantafyllou, Greek writer, poet, columnist, translator, and journalist.

1958 – Andy Borowitz, U.S. comedian and New York Times bestselling author who won the first National Press Club award for humor; he is best known for his satirical website, the Borowitz Report, which has an audience in the millions. CBS News Sunday Morning has called him “one of the funniest people in America.”

1961 – Simon Tay, Singaporean author, lawyer, law academic, and politician.

1962 – Harlan Coben, U.S. author of mysteries and thrillers set in New York and New Jersey.

1962 – Simon Njami, Swiss-born Cameroonian writer, essayist, novelist, biographer, art critic, art curator, screenwriter, and professor who co-founded Revue Noire, a journal of contemporary African and extra-occidental art, and the Ethnicolor Festival in Paris; he is known for showcasing the work of African contemporary artists on international stages.

1963 – Fernando Contreras Castro, award-winning Costa Rican novelist, poet, educator, and short-story writer who is part of the Generation of Disenchantment literary movement.

1963 – Denny Januar Ali (known as Denny JA ), bestselling Indonesian author, poet, journalist, and social activist; in 2015, Time magazine named him one of thirty most influential people on the Internet.

1964 – Christina Baker Kline, bestselling U.S. novelist best known for her work of historical fiction, Orphan Train.

1969 – Asher Kravitz, Israeli writer, novelist, and university lecturer on physics and mathematics; he is also a wildlife photographer and animal-rights activist; his novels include humorous whodunits, a story about a soldier fighting in an anti-terrorist unit in the Israeli army, and an autobiography of a dog born into the household of a German Jewish family during the pre-Holocaust period.

1970 – Carl Frode Tiller, award-winning Norwegian writer, historian, author, musician, and novelist who write in the Nynorsk (New Norwegian) language.

.1975 – León Krauze (full name León Rodrigo Krauze Turrent), award-winning Mexican journalist, author, sports journalist, sports historian, news anchor, and television host.

1976 – Seth Grahame-Smith, U.S. bestselling author, screenwriter, and film and television producer; he is best known as the author of bestselling novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.

1981 – Sarah Crossan, award-winning Irish author of young-adult fiction; in 2018, she was appointed Laureate na nÓg, or Irish Children’s Laureate.

1988 – Nabila Jamshed, Indian writer, translator, public speaker, and children’s author whose debut novel is the fantasy Wish Upon A Time – The Legendary Scimitar.

Snow Crash

Yesterday the temperature reached 65 degrees and I was outside without a jacket. This morning we woke up to this. We’ve been in this house almost three years, and so far today we have received way more snow than the cumulative total from all that time.

I’d gone to the back door and taken some photos of the backyard. Back inside a while later, I heard a thud, and ran to the window to see that we’d lost one of our big holly trees. I wonder how many more trees will fall before the day is over. The snow shows no sign of letting up.

The two photos were taken a half-hour apart. The second shows noticeably more snow, and a fallen tree. One of our big holly trees snapped and broke. Most of it is out of the picture, but the tree top can be spotted on the ground in the second photo, behind the bird library.

January 3 Writer Birthdays

106 BC – Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, author, and statesman who was a key figure in the politics of the late Roman Republic and one of Rome’s greatest orators and prose stylists; his extensive writings include treatises on rhetoric, philosophy, and politics.

1518 – Hermann Weinsberg, German writer, autobiographer, diarist, and Cologne city councilor whose autobiographical writings, long obscure, are now considered to be of historical importance.

1533 – Jerónimo Bautista Lanuza, Spanish Dominican friar, bishop, and writer who wrote many religious works.

1698 – Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym, Metastasio, Italian poet and librettist, he is considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.

1765 – Nguyễn Du (阮攸), celebrated Vietnamese poet who wrote in chữ nôm, the ancient script of Vietnam, and used the pen names Tố Như and Thanh Hiên; his best known work is the epic poem The Tale of Kiều.

1778 – Anna Barbara van Meerten-Schilperoort, Dutch novelist, writer, translator, educational reformer, newspaper editor, and women’s rights activist who is considered by many to be the founder of the women’s rights movement in the Netherlands.

1793 – Lucretia Mott (née Coffin) U.S. public speaker, writer, women’s rights activist, abolitionist, and social reformer who was part of the first major public gathering about women’s rights, the Seneca Falls Convention, for which she co-wrote the Declaration of Sentiments.

1803 – Douglas William Jerrold, English author, playwright, and magazine writer and editor, known for his liberal politics and satiric wit; at his funeral, author Charles Dickens was a pall bearer.

1805 – Melchor José Ramos, Chilean political figure and journalist who founded the El Cometa political newspaper.

1827 – Michel Rodange, Luxembourgish writer, poet, and teacher who is best known for writing Luxembourg’s national epic, Renert, a satirical work that is known for its insightful analysis of the unique characteristics of the people of Luxembourg, using regional and sub regional dialects.

1831 – Savitribai Phule, Indian poet, teacher, and educator who was married at the age of 9; at 17, she co-founded (with her husband) Pune’s first school for girls.

1850 – Sofya Vasilyevna Kovalevskaya, Russian mathematician, writer, novelist, physicist, and university teacher; as a mathematician, she made noteworthy contributions to analysis, partial differential equations, and mechanics, and was a pioneer for women in mathematics around the world.

1862 – Safi Lakhnavi (born Syed Ali Naqi Zaidi), prominent Indian Urdu poet whose work is characterized by the use of simple and sweet language.

1867 – Elsa Asenijeff (born Elsa Maria Packeny), Austrian writer and poet whose work often touched on themes of women’s lack of autonomy, drawing on her own experiences with men.

1870 – Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson (better known by her pen name, Henry Handel Richardson), Australian novelist, writer, and screenwriter.

1871 – Mina Thiis, Norwegian cook, cookbook writer, and educator.

1884 – Omar Racim, Algerian writer, painter, announcer, journalist, calligrapher, and art educator who wrote on art, politics, and religion; he founded several journals and co-founded the Algerian school of miniature painting.

1885 – Anna Lesznai (pen name for Amália J. Moskowitz, familiarly known as Máli), Hungarian-born writer, painter, designer, memoirist, and autobiographical novelist who was a key figure in the Hungarian avant-garde.

1886 – Geneviève Fauconnier, award-winning French novelist who was one of the most sensitive members of the so-called Groupe de Barbezieux.

1886 – John Gould Fletcher, U.S. Imagist poet who was the first Southern U.S. poet to win the Pulitzer Prize.1888 – James Bridie (pseudonym of Osborne Henry Mavor), Scottish playwright, screenwriter, and physician.

1887 – Harriet Ellen Siderowna von Rathlef-Keilmann, Latvian-born sculptor and writer of children’s books whose family fled Russian Latvia after the Revolution and settled in Germany; in 1925 she became a major proponent of Anna Anderson’s claim to be Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, befriending the claimant and writing a series of articles about her.

1892 – Cruz María Salmerón Acosta, Venezuelan poet whose sonnets were influenced by the movement of Modernismo.

1892 – J.R.R. Tolkien, English philologist, writer, linguist, and professor popularly considered the father of modern fantasy for his creation of Middle Earth in such books as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit.

1893 – Nahum Benari, Israeli writer, historian, playwright, philosopher, translator, and children’s author.

1893 – Pierre Drieu La Rochelle, French novelist and essayist.

1894 – Sarina Cassvan, Romanian writer, translator, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, magazine editor, and founder of the European Thought Association; during World War II, her works were banned because she was Jewish.

1898 – Carolyn Haywood, U.S. children’s author and illustrator, best known for her Eddie and Betsy books.

1915 – Genoveva Dizon Edroza-Matute, award-winning Filipina author, essayist, short-story writer, radio and television writer, and teacher.

1920 – Sonia Wild Bicanic, English academic, author, travel writer, political educator, and translator whose numerous publications cover topics in the literature, history, and culture of both Great Britain and Croatia.

1922 – Sunwoo Hwi, award-winning South Korean writer, poet, novelist, politician, journalist, soldier, and philosopher.

1922 – Morten Nielsen, Danish poet and resistance fighter who became the symbol of his generation’s desire for freedom; he was killed at the age of 22 for his work with the Danish resistance to the German occupation during World War II.

1931 – Plantagenet Somerset Fry (born Peter George Robin Fry), British historian and author of more than 50 books; Plantagenet was a nickname he adopted at university, relating to his advocacy of Richard III.

1933 – Süleyman Ates, Turkish theologian, philosopher, writer, and educator who was Turkey’s Director of Religious Affairs.

1933 – Grace Edwards, U.S. mystery writer and former director of the Harlem Writers Guild.

1934 – Sugathakumari, award-winning Indian poet, writer, children’s author, environmental activist, and human-rights activist.

1935 – Kutlu Adali, Cypriot journalist, poet, socio-political researcher, and peace advocate who was assassinated in 1996.

1938 – Alma Flor Ada, Cuban-born author of children’s books, poetry, and novels; also a professor, she is recognized for her work promoting bilingual and multicultural education in the United States.

1946 – Rio Kishida, Japanese writer, playwright, translator, novelist, and theatrical director; several of her plays explored the problems women face in a patriarchal society.

1948 – Marjan Mancek, Slovene author, children’s book writer, illustrator, cartoonist, animator, and filmmaker.

1955 – Simone Bitton, award-winning Morrocan documentary filmmaker, writer, and producer.

1956 – Jegaatha, Indian Tamil author of more than 500 short stories, 40 novels, 100 poems, and more than 300 books other books; he also writes for periodicals and radio broadcasts.

1960 – Jeong Do-sang, South Korean novelist, short-story writer, and children’s author.

1963 – Alex Wheatle, Jamaican-British novelist, memoirist, lyricist, and DJ whose works tend to deal with the Brixton riots and the music scene.

1964 – Toshiyuki Horie (堀江 敏幸), Japanese author and translator.

1969 – Marie Darrieussecq, French Basque novelist who writes on themes of disappearance and absence, identity, and belonging.

1973 – Roderick ‘Rory’ James Nugent Stewart, Hong Kong-born British academic, author, and Conservative politician.

1975 – Jun Maeda (麻枝 准), Japanese scenario writer, lyricist, screenwriter, and musical composer for visual novels.

1975 – Danica McKellar, U.S. actress, author, and mathematician; best known for her role on The Wonder Years television show, she has also written several books aimed at popularizing mathematics, including Math Doesn’t Suck and Kiss My Math.

1993 – Troy Onyango, award-winning Kenyan writer, short-story author, lawyer, and magazine founder and editor.

Shower Scene

We finished a house project today! We found a solution for our weird bathroom window, and finally completed the work. First of all, this window is in the shower of our main-floor lavender-and-pink-tiled 50s bathroom, across the hall from my son’s room. This was once an exterior window, but an addition was built behind it years ago, and this window now looks INSIDE THE WALL.

When we bought the house, a wooden shutter sat in the window; lights had been installed in the wall to look like sunlight filtering through the shutter. A shower is a terrible place for a wooden window frame and shutter! Someday we will remodel the bathroom. For now, we needed a stopgap measure so our son can shower in his bathroom without further damaging the window.

We got rid of the mildewed shutter and repainted and glossed the window frame and sill with the most waterproof stuff we could find. We replaced the fluorescent lights inside with LED. We covered the window panes with stained-glass film. We frosted a sheet of plexiglass and hung it inside the wall because the the lights inside were still too clearly visible. Then we added a thick piece of clear plexiglass over the window on the shower side, to protect as much of the window as possible.

I’m really happy with the way this turned out.

Before we added the stained-glass film, repainted and sealed the trim, and covered it all with plexiglass, this mildewy shutter sat on the window but was not actually installed. The window trim and sill were badly water damaged. And the window was no longer on an exterior wall, after an addition to the back of the house, but looked inside the wall. In the final photo, you can even see the purple-splotched wallpaper that was there when we first moved in. We switched that out right away and painted the walls lavender.

January 2 Writer Birthdays

1338 – Jean d’Outremeuse (also called Jean des Preis), Belgian writer and historian who wrote two romanticized historical works and a book about coloring glass to make fake gemstones; his book La Geste de Liége is an account of the mythical history of his native city, Liège, written partly in prose and partly in verse.

1403 – Basilios Bessarion, Turkish-born Greek scholar, writer, diplomat, and priest who was a Roman Catholic cardinal bishop and the titular Latin Patriarch of Constantinople, as well as one of the illustrious Greek scholars who contributed to the great revival of letters in the 15th century.

1671 – Diana Astry, English diarist and writer who compiled a recipe book containing 375 recipes; the book is important in that it reflects the lifestyle of the upper middle classes in England and the housekeeping knowledge required to run a country house.

1752 – Philip Morin Freneau, American poet and political gazette editor who was the first poet to use themes from American nature, anticipating the English Romantics.

1814 – Luise Mühlbach, pen name of Clara Mundt, German writer best known for her popular works of historical fiction.

1815 – Isidoro de María, Uruguayan author, journalist, historian, diplomat, and politician.

1828 – Elizabeth Rundle Charles, prolific English writer of poems, stories, biography, and religious books, and translator of hymns.

1852 – Abdülhak Hâmid Tarhan, Turkish Romantic poet and playwright.

1856 – Alice Abadam, Welsh writer, public speaker, artist, and suffragette.

1859 – Constance Lloyd, English author, poet, journalist, literary critic, and children’s writer who married Irish playwright Oscar Wilde.

1873 – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux – French Roman Catholic nun, writer, and autobiographer best known for The Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

1896 – Khagendranath Mitra, prolific, award-winning Bengali Indian writer of novels and short stories for children and young adults.

1897 – Hansi Bochow-Blüthgen (real name Hanna Dora Margarethe, née Blüthgen, pen name: Lore Wiesner), well-known German author, editor, and translator.

1911 – Akimoto Matsuyo, Japanese realist playwright and screenwriter; she was one of the leading playwrights of post war Japan, and was known primarily for her shingeki plays, though she also wrote classical puppet bunraku and kabuki dramas. As a realist playwright, she used her work to make political statements in order to warn the greater Japanese community that the government was trying to continue the pre-war imperial system of capitalism, militarism, and patriarchy.

1915 – John Hope Franklin, U.S. African-American writer and historian who specialized in American history; he is best known for his bestselling book From Slavery to Freedom, and has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

1920 – Isaac Asimov, Russian-born U.S. biochemistry professor and author, known for his science fiction but also prolific in mystery, fantasy, and popular science writing; he first coined the word robot. He also enjoyed writing off-color poetry and once published a volume called Lecherous Limericks.

1920 – Anna Langfus (born Anna-Regina Szternfinkiel), award-winning Polish and French Jewish author who escaped the Warsaw Ghetto and was also a concentration camp survivor.

1921 – Jan Slepian, U.S. author of poetry, as well as books for children and young adults; she was also a psychologist.

1931 – Zakaria Tamer (زكريا تامر‎, also transliterated Zakariya Tamir or Zakariyyā Tāmir), Syrian short-story writer, children’s author, journalist, satirist, newspaper columnist, and editor who is one of the most important and widely read and translated short-story writers in the Arab world.

1933 – Seiichi Morimura (森村 誠), Japanese novelist and author, best known for the controversial The Devil’s Gluttony, which revealed atrocities committed by a unit of the Imperial Japanese Army during the Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

1934 – Myrna Casas, Puerto Rican experimental playwright, writer, director, actress, and theatre scholar.

1935 – Francesca Duranti, Italian writer and lawyer whose award-winning novels explore the interactions between life and art, including some works based on her own life experiences.

1937 – Chandrashekhara Kambara, prominent Indian poet, playwright, folklorist, and film director, known for effective adaptation of the North Karnataka dialect of the Kannada language in his plays and poems, and for his use of folklore and mythology interlinked with contemporary issues.

1940 – Susan Wittig Albert, bestselling U.S. author of mystery, historical fiction, and memoir.

1940 – Louise Smit (née Louise Sophia Bekker), South African writer of children’s books and of children’s television programs.

1945 – Diane Mary Fahey, award-winning Australian poet and literary mystery novelist; much of her work focuses on nature writing, Greek myths, visual art, and fairy tales.

1949 – Christopher Ferdinand Durang, U.S. playwright known for works of outrageous and often absurd comedy.

1951 – André Aciman, Egyptian-born novelist, memoirist, and professor of literature.

1951 – Kim Byeong-eon, Korean novelist and short-story writer whose works can be classified as realism, with colorful and careful portrayals of diverse communal scenes from everyday life; his writing is known for its solid, smooth prose, elaborate and well-crafted plots, vivid descriptions, and open-endedness, which encourages readers to draw their own conclusions.

1954 – Amaka Igwe, Nigerian writer, filmmaker, film producer, broadcasting executive, and teacher; she is remembered for raising the standards in movie and TV production in Nigeria.

1954 – Évelyne Trouillot, award-winning Haitian novelist, children’s author, and university teacher who writes in both French and Creole.

1955 – Yusuf Abu Rayya, Egyptian author, journalist, short-story writer, and children’s writer.

1956 – Lynda Barry, U.S. cartoonist, writer, memoirist, and professor; in recognition of her contributions to the comic art form, Comics Alliance listed Barry as one of twelve women cartoonists deserving of lifetime achievement recognition.

1957 – Kate (Kathryn) Holmquist, award-winning U.S.-born Irish journalist, novelist, editor, and memoirist who had “a wonderful writing talent and a deep, compassionate understanding of the complexities of human nature.” She died of drowning in 2019.

1958 – Ahmed Hasan Ali Al-Gubbanchi, Iraqi writer and intellectual who focuses on developing a “Civil Islam” which is consistent with human rights, justice, and modern circumstances.

1969 – Sarita Skagnes, (born Satwant Kaur), Indian-born Norwegian author and speaker whose work focuses on helping women and girls in India.

1979 – Tobias S. Buckell, Grenadian-born author and science-fiction writer.