July 22 Writer Birthdays

1632 – Luís de Meneses (3rd Count of Ericeira), Portuguese writer, poet, biographer, historian, politician, and military man.

1644 – Anne de La Roche-Guilhem, French writer, novelist, and translator who was a grand-niece of the poet Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant.

1733 – Mikhailo Mikhailovich Shcherbatov, Russian prince who was a statesman, historian, writer, and philosopher.

1807 – Karolina Pavlova, Russian poet, novelist, and translator known for her unusual use of rhyme and imagery; she was a friend of Tolstoy and translated his works into German.

1815 – Albert Monnier, French writer, biographer, and playwright

1818 – Betty (Katarina Elisabeth) Ehrenborg, Swedish writer, psalm writer, and pedagogue who is regarded as the founder of the Swedish Sunday school.

1847 – Troilokyanath Mukhopadhyay (also known as T.N. Mukharji), renowned Indian author, editor, travel writer, and museum curator and director; he wrote in both Bengali and English. He is best known for his role in organizing exhibits for the Calcutta International Exhibition of 1883, the Amsterdam Exhibition of 1883, the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886, and the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888.

1849 – Emma Lazarus, U.S. poet, novelist, and playwright, best known for her sonnet “The New Colossus,” which appears on the base of the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”)

1859 – Lok Okhna Suttantaprija Ind, Cambodian monk, writer, and poet; the title, Okhna (Lord in English), was bestowed upon him by the King of Cambodia due to his writings, his poetic skills, and his extensive work in helping to preserve Khmer literature.

1859 – Maria Janitschek (née Tölk), German author and poet of Austrian origin; she wrote under the pseudonym Marius Stein.

1873 – Luis Alberto de Herrera, Uruguayan writer, lawyer, politician, diplomat, and journalist who was an important political and diplomatic figure.

1881 – Margery Williams Bianco, Newbery Medal-winning English and U.S. author of children books who began writing professionally when she was still in her teens and is best known for the classic book The Velveteen Rabbit.

1882 – José Oiticica, Brazilian writer, poet, linguist, and university professor who founded and edited an anarchist journal.

1884 – Odell Shepard, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. professor, poet, and biographer who was also Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut.

1886 – Hella Wuolijoki, Estonian-born Finnish novelist and playwright, often known by her pen name Juhani Tervapää; she was imprisoned for allegedly being a Soviet spy but released after a year. Later she became a member of the Finnish Parliament.

1893 – Torvald Tu, Norwegian poet, playwright, novelist, and writer of humoresques; he wrote in the Nynorsk language, with strong hints of his own Jæren dialect.

1898 – Stephen Vincent Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, novelist, and short-story writer, best known for John Brown’s Body, a book-length poem about the Civil War.

1900 – Edward Dahlberg, U.S. novelist, biographer, and essayist who was nominated for a National Book Award.

1900 – Zdeněk Kalista, Czech poet, historian, translator, editor, and literary critic.

1902 – Daniel Mainwaring, U.S. mystery novelist and screenwriter who sometimes used the pen name Geoffrey Homes; before he became a writer, he worked as a journalist and a private detective.

1903 – Betty Roland, Australian writer, journalist, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, children’s author, and comics writer.

1907 – Baruch Kurzweil, Israeli writer, rabbi, and literary theorist who was a pioneer of Israeli literary criticism.

1908 – Amy Vanderbilt, bestselling U.S. author, journalist, and television host who was best known as an authority on etiquette.

1910 – Pauline Gower (full name Pauline Mary de Peauly Gower Fahie), award-winning British pilot and writer who established the women’s branch of the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War.

1910 – Alan McCrae Moorehead, Australian journalist, war correspondent, and author of popular histories, most notably two books on the nineteenth-century exploration of the Nile.

1915 – Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, Indian-born Pakistani author, translator, and politician who was ambassador to Morocco and the first female representative in the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan; she wrote a biography of her uncle, Pakistani Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, and other works dealing with Pakistani history, women in Islam, and literary criticism.

1924 – Patience Abbe, French author and editor who wrote her first bestselling book when she was 12 but stopped writing in her teens.

1925 – Jack Matthews, U.S. professor who was also a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and playwright.

1926 – Bryan Forbes, popular English film director, screenwriter, film producer, actor, and novelist; his books include such well-known novels as International Velvet and The Soldier’s Story.

1929 – Solomon Alexander Amu Djoleto, Ghanaian writer, poet, novelist, children’s author, nonfiction author, and educator.

1930 – John Jeremy Lloyd, English writer, screenwriter, author, poet, and actor who was best known as writer of several successful British television sitcoms, including Are You Being Served? and ‘Allo ‘Allo!.

1931 – Patricia Calvert, U.S. author of fiction and nonfiction books for children.

1931 – Riane Eisler, Austrian-born author, historian, sociologist, human-rights activist, anthropologist, and peace researcher; her work has impacted such diverse fields as history, literature, philosophy, art, economics, psychology, sociology, education, human rights, organizational development, political science, and healthcare. She is best known for her books The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, and Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body.

1936 – Tom Robbins, U.S. author, essayist, art reviewer, and journalist whose poetic, irreverent novels have been a counterculture favorite; Writer’s Digest named him one of the 100 Best Writers of the 20th Century. His novel-writing process has been described like this: “First he writes a sentence. Then he rewrites it again and again, examining each word, making sure of its perfection, finely honing each phrase until it reverberates with the subtle texture of the infinite. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes an entire day is devoted to one sentence, which gets marked on and expanded upon in every possible direction until he is satisfied. Then, and only then, does he add a period.”

1939 – Gila Almagor, Israeli writer, screenwriter, children’s author, actress, and film producer who has been called “queen of the Israeli cinema and theatre.”

1940 – Maria Tore Barbina, Italian poet, writer, translator, and university teacher.

1941 – David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and author.

1942 – Mazhar Kaleem, Pakistani novelist chiefly known for his Urdu spy fiction; he also wrote short stories for children and was a radio talk show host.

1943 – Masaru Emoto, Japanese author and pseudoscientist who said that human consciousness has an effect on the molecular structure of water; in particular, his early work revolved around the hypotheses that water could react to positive thoughts and words and that polluted water could be cleaned through prayer and positive visualization.

1946 – Ryoki Inoue (born José Carlos Ryoki de Alpoim Inoue), Brazilian writer and science-fiction author of both Japanese and Portuguese descent; the Guinness World Records calls him the world’s most prolific writer, with 1075 books published under his own name or 39 pseudonyms.

1947 – Albert Brooks, U.S. comedian, novelist, screenwriter, actor, and director.

1948 – Neil Hardwick, award-winning British-born Finnish screenwriter, essayist, and director for theater and television; he is acclaimed for depictions of the pathetically humorous daily life of ordinary people.

1948 – S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton, U.S. author and screenwriter whose work includes novels for children, adults, and teenagers; she is best known for her young-adult novel The Outsiders, written when she was still in her teens.

1948 – Cecilia Vicuña, Chilean writer, poet, artist, and filmmaker who is considered one of the most authentic and multifaceted voices in contemporary poetry; her work is noted for themes of language, memory, dissolution, extinction, ecological destruction, cultural homogenization, and exile.

1952 – Zakaria Ariffin, Malaysian playwright, theater director, author, theater critic, and educator.

1957 – David Abbasi (also known as Siyavash Awesta), Persian-French writer, journalist, and Islamologist.

1957 – Mairéad Byrne, Irish poet and professor who currently lives in the United States.

1957 – Pavel Shumil, Russian writer and science-fiction author; he is best known for his The Word About a Dragon series.

1961 – Lisa Robertson, Canadian poet, essayist, and translator who is based in France.

1965 – Anita Daher, Canadian author, children’s writer, screenwriter, and actress.

1966 – Gustavo Bolívar, Colombian novelist, screenwriter, politician, journalist, and film director.

1971 – Akhil Sharma, Indian-born U.S. professor, novelist, and short-story writer.

1972 – Enrique Laso, Spanish novelist and nonfiction writer.

1973 – Ece Temelkuran, Turkish poet, journalist, columnist, author, lawyer, and television presenter; she was twice named Turkey’s “most read political columnist” but has also been fired for writing articles critical of the government.

1985 – Kateryna Babkina, Ukrainian writer, translator, journalist, short-story writer, novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and children’s author.

Throwback Thursday: Papa and the Pony

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had come across a box of old photos I hadn’t been able to locate since I moved three years ago. Here is another treasure from that box, a picture I hadn’t seen in years.

The photo shows my maternal grandfather, Ralph DeRicci, probably around 1920, astride a rather cute and shaggy pony. My grandfather’s family was certainly not rich enough to own a pony, so I can only guess that this was taken at some kind of photo opp or other organized event where a pony was available.

My grandfather doesn’t look particularly happy to be riding a pony. I suspect this future mechanic would have preferred a truck.

July 21 Writer Birthdays

1522 – Lucrezia Gonzaga di Gazzuolo, Italian author and scholar; at the age of 14 she married Paolo Manfrone, and she is sometimes known as Lucrezia Gonzaga Manfrona.

1751 – Luigi Romanelli, Italian author, poet, professor, and opera librettist.

1811 – Dimitrios Dimitriou (sometimes spelled Dimitrija Demeter or Dimitrije Demeter), Greek and Croatian poet, dramatist, short-story writer, literary critic, pamphlet writer, and political activist who played a key role in the nationalist movement for the awakening of the Croatian nation (then under Austro-Hungarian rule).

1822 – Mary Elizabeth Herbert (Baroness Herbert of Lea; née Ashe à Court-Repington, but known simply as Elizabeth Herbert and nicknamed “Lady Lightning” for her quickness in bringing about change), influential English Roman Catholic author, biographer, travel writer, short-story writer, translator, philanthropist, and ally of Florence Nightingale.

1841 – Minna Kleeberg, German-born poet and writer who was first published at the age of 14 and emigrated to the United States as a young woman; her work shows an interest in public and patriotic questions (the Franco-Prussian War, the Fifteenth Amendment, women’s rights, and democracy) as well as inspiration from her Jewish background and from everyday domestic life.

1841 – Salvador de Menezes Drummond Furtado de Mendonça (known as Salvador de Mendonça), Brazilian writer, journalist, lawyer, and diplomat who was one of the founders of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and consul general of the Brazilian Empire in the United States.

1847 – Blanche Willis Howard (aka Blanche Willis Howard von Teuffel), bestselling U.S.-born novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, editor, and travel writer who spent much of her career Germany; she was also an accomplished pianist whose playing was praised by Franz Liszt.

1853 – Anna Adams Gordon, U.S. author, biographer, lecturer, songwriter, children’s author, and social reformer who was a strong and effective force in the American temperance movement.

1856 – Emilio Prud’Homme, Dominican Republic writer, composer, lyricist, lawyer, and politician, best known for writing the lyrics to the Dominican national anthem.

1862 – Camerina Pavón y Oviedo (born Camerina Luisa Pavón y Oviedo), Mexican poet and writer.

1870 – Florence Jaffray “Daisy” Harriman (born Florence Jaffray Hurst), U.S. author, memoirist, diplomat, social reformer, labor activist, suffragist, political organizer, voting rights activist, and salonnière who was often in the midst of historic events, including on the front lines of the Mexican Revolution and both world wars; as U.S. ambassador to Norway she organized the evacuation of Americans, members of the Norwegian royal family, and other refugees while hiding out in a forest from the Nazi invasion. President Kennedy honored her with the first Citation of Merit for Distinguished Service.

1875 – Arthur Mee, British journalist, writer, and children’s author; most of his works were patriotic in tone.

1879 – Carlos Pezoa Véliz, Chilean writer, poet, author, journalist, and educator whose literary work remained largely unpublished at the time of his death at the age of 28; he was posthumously recognized as a major figure in the history of Chilean poetry.

1880 – Raphael Abramovitch, Latvian writer, author, journalist, and opinion journalist who co-founded the long-running Menshevik journal Sotsialisticheskii vestnik (The Socialist Courier).

1885 – Frances Parkinson Keyes, U.S. author who wrote novels set in New England, Louisiana, and Europe, as well as books about her life as the wife of a U.S. Senator; her later works frequently featured Roman Catholic themes and beliefs. Her last name rhymes with “skies,” not “keys.”

1890 – Erik Heinrichs, Finnish military general and book author.

1899 – Hart Crane, influential U.S. modernist poet who was known for his difficult, highly stylized, and ambitious work and is considered one of the key literary figures of his generation.

1892 – Renée Jeanne Falconetti, French writer, biographer, and actress.

1893 – Hans Fallada (pseudonym for Rudolf Wilhelm Friedrich Ditzen), German writer, journalist, children’s writer, novelist, and autobiographer who was part of the New Objectivity literary movement, which emphasizes precise detail and emotionless reporting of events; his pseudonym is a combination of two characters found in Grimm’s Fairy Tales: The protagonist of “Hans in Luck,” and Falada the magical talking horse in “The Goose Girl.”

1899 – Ernest Hemingway, Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and journalist whose work is known for his sparse prose and gripping narratives; many of his novels, including The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell To Arms, are considered literary classics.

1903 – Yrjö Jylhä, Finnish poet and translator whose poems reflected the horrors he witnessed as an officer on the front lines of the Winter War (1939-40). His work, Kiirastuli, is generally considered the best lyrical poetry from this period in Finnish history.

1906 – Olena Ivanivna Teliha, Moscow-born Ukrainian and Belarusian poet, writer, literary critic, and activist for Ukrainian nationalism, in defiance of Nazi authorities; she was arrested by the Gestapo and executed at age 35.

1907 – Alec Derwent Hope, Australian poet, essayist, critic, and teacher known for his satirical slant; he was once called, “the 20th century’s greatest 18th-century poet.”

1911 – Umashankar Jethalal Joshi, Indian poet, scholar, writer, and politician known for his contributions to Gujarati literature.

1911 – Marshall McLuhan, Canadian founder of the study of media theory; he is especially ja,meremembered for his expressions “the global village” and “the media is the message.”

1913 – Mari Gwendoline Ellis (born Mary Gwendoline Headley), Welsh writer and women’s rights activist.

1914 – Suso Cecchi d’Amico, influential, award-winning Italian screenwriter and librettist.

1917 – Margarita Michelena, Mexican poet, literary critic, translator, and journalist.

1920 – Mohammed Dib, Algerian novelist and poet.

1921 – James Cooke Brown, U.S. sociologist, science-fiction author, civil-rights activist, and board-game creator; he also invented the artificial language Loglan.

1921 – Erik Egeland, Norwegian writer, illustration, journalist, and art critic.

1921 – Vusamazulu Credo Mutwa, South African Zulu sangoma (traditional healer) and author whose books draw upon African mythology, traditional Zulu folklore, stories of extraterrestrial encounters, and his personal experiences; his most recent work is a graphic novel called the Tree of Life Trilogy, based on his most famous book, Indaba My Children.

1924 – Alojz Rebula, Italian-born Slovenian writer, poet, playwright, translator, essayist, philologist, linguist, and biblical scholar.

1925 – Vida Brest (real name Majda Peterlin), award-winning Yugoslav Slovene-language poet, writer, journalist, children’s writer, teacher, and resistance fighter; she is best known for her juvenile fiction, which was often based on her experiences as a young Partisan during World War II.

1930 – Ramchandra Chintaman Dhere, prolific, award-winning Indian Marathi writer, poet, translator, and playwright who is best known for scholarly books on Marathi literature, culture, folklore, and religion.

1933 – John Gardner, U.S. novelist, essayist, literary critic, and professor, known for his nurturing of beginning writers and for his book Grendel, a retelling of Beowulf from the monster’s point of view. (Not to be confused with the British John Gardner, author of spy and mystery stories.)

1943 – Tess Gallagher, U.S. poet, essayist, and short-story writer.

1944 – Buchi Emecheta, pioneering Nigerian novelist, playwright, children’s author, and sociologist who divorced her husband after he read and burned her first novel; her work often drew on her own life to champion the rights of girls and women.

1945 – Wendy Cope, English poet and editor; her debut poetry collection, Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis, has sold over 180,000 copies.

1947 – Thierno Saïdou Diallo (better known as Tierno Monénembo), award-winning Guinean novelist and biochemist.

1955 – Véronique Tadjo, Ivory Coast poet, novelist, children’s author, and artist whose work reflects a pan-African outlook.

1956 – Michael Connelly, U.S. author of detective novels and crime fiction.

1957 – Yū Asagiri, award-winning Japanese novelist, manga writer, and artist; her real name was Takano Yuriko.

1958 – Liliana Bodoc, Argentinian writer of fantasy and children’s books.

1959 – Kazumi Saeki, award-winning Japanese novelist, essayist, and travel writer who adopted the pen Kazumi (meaning one wheat), because of his fondness for Van Gogh’s paintings of wheat fields; he is best known in the U.S. for an op-ed piece in the New York Times recounting his experiences in the 2011 Great Tohoku Kanto earthquake.

1965 – Ahmad Zeidabadi , Iranian journalist, academic, writer, and political analyst who is one of the notable figures of the Iranian reform movement

1966 – Sarah Waters, Welsh novelist whose Victorian novels usually feature lesbian protagonists.

1966 – Tsering Woeser, Tibetan-Chinese writer, blogger, poet, essayist, and activist.

1975 – Ðorde Bajic, Serbian writer, literary and film critic; his novels are in the genres of horror, crime writing, and mysteries.

1975 – Christopher Barzak, U.S. novelist and short-story writer whose novel The Love We Share Without Knowing was a 2009 Nebula nominee.

1976 – Isobel Veronica Marie Hadley-Kamptz, Swedish journalist, columnist, novelist, essayist, and television personality.

July 20 Writer Birthdays

1304 – Petrarch (born Francesco Petrarca), Italian poet and scholar who is considered one of the earliest humanists.

1822 – Gregor Mendel, German-speaking Austrian scientist and monk who is considered the founder of modern genetics; he coined the terms “dominant” and “recessive” genes in his writings about his experiments with pea plants, such as his groundbreaking monograph, Experiments With Plant Hybrids.

1882 – Olga Hahn Neurath, Austrian mathematician, author, and philosopher who was a member of the Vienna Circle of philosophers and scientists.

1901 – Elizabeth Dilys Powell, British journalist, author, and film critic.

1910 – Cicely Veronica Wedgwood, English historian, author, and biographer who published under the name C.V. Wedgwood; she specialized in the history of 17th-century England and continental Europe.

1914 – Hana Zelinová, Slovak novelist, short-story writer, and playwright; she wrote several novels influenced by the Slovak social novel and the Scandinavian saga, and three Ibsenesque plays that dealt with the role of women in urban society.

1951 – Paulette Bourgeois, Canadian author and illustrator of children’s books, best known as creator of Franklin the Turtle.

1864 – Eric Axel Karlfeldt, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish symbolist poet, teacher, and journalist.

1920 – Mohammed Dib, Algerian novelist, children’s author, poet, and short-story writer who is probably Algeria’s most prolific and well-known writer.

1924 – Thomas Berger, U.S. author of darkly comic novels, best known for his book Little Big Man.

1927 – Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Russian author, historian, politician, and human-rights activist.

1927 – Simin Beh’bahāni (Persian: سیمین بهبهانی), Iranian poet who is one of the most prominent figures in modern Persian literature; she was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize.

1930 – William H. Goetzmann, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian known for his research into exploration and settlement of the American West.

1930 – Lotte Ingrisch (born Charlotte Gruber), well known Austrian novelist, playwright, and librettist who wrote some of her work under the pseudonym Tessa Tüvari.

1931 – Marina Lavrentievna Popovich (née Vasiliyeva), Soviet Russian Air Force colonel, engineer, writer, and decorated test pilot who was the third woman and the first Soviet woman to break the sound barrier; she was known as “Madame MiG” for her work in the Soviet fighter and set more than 100 aviation world records. She also wrote a book about UFOs, claiming that the Soviet pilots had confirmed 3,000 UFO sightings and that the Air Force and KGB had recovered fragments of five crashed UFOs.

1933 – Cormac McCarthy, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist and playwright, known for his books The Road, All the Pretty Horses, and No Country for Old Men.

1934 – Henry Dumas, U.S. African-American poet, short-story writer, science-fiction writer, and educator who was called “an absolute genius” by author Toni Morrison. Some of his work was about the violent killings of Black people by white police officers; ironically, he himself was shot and killed at the age of 33 by a white New York City transit cop.

1936 – Alistair MacLeod, Canadian novelist, short-story writer, and academician.

1939 – May Menassa, Lebanese novelist, translator, editor, journalist, and art critic.

1942 – Bang Young-ung, South Korean novelist whose works focus on affectionately portraying the lives of ordinary people in contemporary South Korea.

1946 – Htin Kyaw, Burmese politician, writer, economist, and scholar who served as the President of Myanmar.

1953 – Thomas Friedman, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist and author who is known for his books on globalization, climate change, and the Middle East.

1962 – Brian L. Falkner, New Zealand author, children’s writer, and science-fiction writer.

1963 – Federico Moccia, Italian author, screenwriter, filmmaker, and politician.

1965 – Abdourahman A. Waberi, award-winning Djiboutian novelist, essayist, poet, academic, and short-story writer.

1965 – Jess Walter, U.S. author of novels, short stories, and nonfiction; he was a finalist for the National Book Award.

1973 – Anni Milja Maaria Sinnemäki, Finnish writer, poet, and politician who was a member of the Finnish Parliament.

1977 – Timothy Ferriss, U.S. author, public speaker, and entrepreneur.

1981 – Hanna Hryhorivna Mashutina, Ukrainian playwright and poet who was also known by her pseudonyms Anna Yablonskaya and Hanna Yablonskat; she was killed at the age of 29 in the 2011 Domodedovo Airport bombing.

1990 – Galina Rymbu, Russian poet, author, translator, and curator.

July 19 Writer Birthdays

0810 – Muhammad al-Bukhari (full name Muḥammad ibn Ismā‘īl al-Bukhārī), Uzbeki-born Persian Islamic scholar, writer, theologian, and philosopher.

1663 – Manuel Martí, Spanish writer, archaeologist, and anthropologist.

1698 – Johann Jakob Bodmer, Swiss-German author, academic, historian, translator, poet, and literary critic.

1727 – Ditlevine Feddersen (née Collett), Norwegian poet and translator; she was a central figure in the artistic and literary culture of Oslo.

1818 – Mary Anne Everett Green, British writer, biographer, historian, and editor.

1863 – Hermann Bahr, Austrian writer, playwright, journalist, publicist, literary critic, theater critic, and theater director.

1871 – André Raponda Walker, Gabonese author, ethnographer, fairy tale collector, Catholic priest, and missionary; he wrote extensively about the Gabonese language and culture.

1875 – Alice Dunbar Nelson, U.S. African-American writer, poet, educator, journalist, columnist, short-story writer, playwright, suffragist, and civil-rights activist who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.

1893 – Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet, playwright, artist, and actor who was a key figure in the Russian Futurist movement.

1896 – A.J. Cronin, Scottish novelist and physician who wrote many books that were later adapted to film; his novel The Citadel is credited with laying the groundwork for the introduction of the National Health System in Britain.

1902 – Ada Verdun Howell, Australian author and poet; her best known work is the controversial prose/poem cycle Exit Strategies, which was praised by poet E. E. Cummings as “poetry as pure energy…just in time for atomic age.”

1906 – Susana Soca, Uruguayan poet, writer, and literary journal founder who was especially known for her support for fellow writers; she died in a plane crash in 1959 near Rio de Janeiro.

1909 – Nalapat Balamani Amma, prolific, award-winning Indian poet who wrote in Malayalam and was known as the “poetess of motherhood”; she was the mother of the renowned writer Kamala Surayya.

1913 – Manouchehr Sotoudeh, prolific Iranian writer, historian, geographer, lexicographer, and professor; he published Iran’s first dialectal dictionary.

1916 – Eve Merriam, U.S. poet, playwright, children’s writer, director, and lecturer.

1919 – Gu Changsheng, Chinese writer and scholar who researched and wrote on the history of Christianity in China.

1919 – Miltos Sachtouris, Greek poet who adopted the pen name Miltos Chrysanthis.

1921 – Elizabeth Spencer, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, and screenwriter whose novella The Light in the Piazza was adapted for the screen and transformed into a Broadway musical. She is a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction.

1923 – Marjan Amalietti, award-winning Slovenian writer, architect, caricaturist, comics artist, and children’s book illustrator

1923 – Joseph Hansen, U.S. crime writer best known for his series featuring openly gay private eye Dave Brandstetter.

1925 – Minn Latt Yekhaun, Burmese writer and linguist who studied and published in Czechoslovakia and used the pen name U Gtun Kyi.

1935 – Tarsicio Herrera Zapién, Mexican writer, researcher, composer, musicologist, and academic.

1936 – Norman Manea, U.S.-based Romanian novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and essayist who writes about the Holocaust, daily life under communism, and exile.

1938 – Dominic Francis Moraes, Indian writer and poet who wrote in the English language and is widely seen as a foundational figure in Indian English literature.

1938 – Jayant Narlikar, Indian physicist, astronomer, astrophysicist, writer, university teacher, and science-fiction author.

1940 – Patricia Ann Tudor Sandahl (née Howard), Swedish psychotherapist and author.

1945 – Anna Enquist, pen name of Dutch novelist and poet Christa Widlund-Broer, one of the most popular writers in the Netherlands.

1946 – Stephen Coonts, U.S. thriller and suspense novelist who is especially known for his Jake Grafton books.

1946 – Lucas Cornelis Malan, South African poet, academic writer, playwright, editor, and literary critic.

1949 – Thulani Davis, Grammy Award-winning U.S. African-American playwright, journalist, librettist, novelist, poet, and screenwriter.

1953 – Zinovia Dushkova, Moldovan writer of fiction and nonfiction, poet, philosopher, and historian; her work is part of the Theosophical tradition and deals with mysticism and the occult.

1958 – Maria Mercè Roca (full name Maria Mercè Roca i Perich), Spanish Catalan author, screenwriter, and politician.

1958 – Angharad Tomos, award-winning Welsh author and prominent language activist.

1959 – Vigdis Hjorth, Norwegian novelist, children’s author, screenwriter, and radio personality.

1962 – Ava Kitō, Japanese diarist who wrote about her experiences suffering from spinocerebellar ataxia; her book Ichi rittoro no namida (One Litre of Tears) was published two years before her death in 1988.

1963 – Garth Nix, bestselling Australian author of young-adult fantasy novels, including the “Keys to the Kingdom” series.

1966 – Alexis Leon, Indian software consultant and bestselling author of 50 books about information technology, the Internet, and management topics; he began writing after being paralyzed in a vehicle accident.

1966 – Lucien Moussa Shukri Soulban, Saudi Arabian game designer and writer who works primarily on role-playing games.

1967 – Rageh Omaar, Somali-born British journalist, writer, and television news presenter.

1968 – Lisa Jewell, bestselling British author of popular fiction; she began writing her first novel when a friend challenged her to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at her favorite restaurant.

1978 – Ketty Nivyabandi, Belgian-born Burundian poet writer, and human rights activist who writes in French.

July 18 Writer Birthdays

1013 – Hermann of Reichenau, German Benedictine monk, writer, historian, astronomer, mathematician, poet, musicologist, and musical composer.

1635 – Robert Hooke, English author, astronomer, professor, physicist, surveyor, and scientist who often argued with Isaac Newton over scientific theories.

1811 – William Makepeace Thackeray, Indian-born English journalist, illustrator, editor, and author, best known for his satirical novel Vanity Fair; as a journalist, he often wrote under such absurd pen names as George Savage Fitz-Boodle, Michael Angelo Titmarsh, Theacuteophile Wagstaff, and C.J. Yellowplush, Esq.; his daughter Anne Thackeray Ritchie, step-aunt to Virginia Woolf, was also a prominent writer.

1864 – Ricarda Huch, German writer, poet, novelist, librarian, historian, playwright, philosopher, and seven-time Nobel Prize nominee; she was a pioneering German intellectual who wrote many works of European history. Asteroid 879 Ricarda is named in her honor.

1865 – Dowell Philip O’Reilly, Australian poet, short-story writer, teacher, and politician; he was known as a feminist and was praised for his ability to write with a feminine viewpoint.

1870 – Darío Herrera, Panamanian writer, modernist poet, journalist, and diplomat who was greatly influenced by contemporary French writing.

1880 – Esmeralda Zenteno Urizar (better known by her pseudonym Vera Zouroff), Chilean feminist writer, editor, novelist, poet, lecturer, and correspondent.

1892 – Gabriel Jönsson, Swedish author and poet who is best known for his works inspired by farming.

1893 – Anna Vasilyevna Timiryova (born Anna Safonova), Russian poet, writer, translator, and painter. When her lover was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks for his opposition to the Revolution, she approached them and declared: “Arrest me. I cannot live without him.” As a result, she was imprisoned but was released after his execution; this was the beginning of a long string of her arrests, prison and labor camp sentences, and years of internal exile. She dedicated many of her poems to his memory.

1898 – Beata Obertyńska, Polish writer and poet who was the daughter of the “Young Poland” poet Maryla Wolska and the granddaughter of the sculptor Wanda Młodnicka. She used the pen name Marta Rudzka.

1900 – Nathalie Sarraute, Russian-born French lawyer, author, and dramatist.

1902 – Jessamyn West, U.S. Quaker novelist and short-story writer, best known for her first novel, The Friendly Persuasion; she was second cousin to U.S. President Richard Nixon.

1906 – Clifford Odets, U.S. screenwriter, playwright, stage actor, and theatrical director.

1909 – Bishnu Dey, prominent Indian Bengali poet, prose writer, translator, academic, literary critic, and art critic whose work is classified as symbolist, modernist, and post-modernism; his poetry is known for its musical quality and is seen as marking the advent of “New Poetry” in Bengali literature.

1914 – Adalcinda Magno Camarão Luxardo, award-winning Brazilian writer, poet, linguist, professor, and composer.

1918 – Nelson Mandela, Nobel Prize-winning South African president, civil-rights activist, and writer.

1920 – Zheng Min, Chinese modernist poet, scholar, and lecturer; together with eight other poets, she is considered one of the “Nine Leaves” of Chinese poetry.

1921 – Jón Óskar Ásmundsson, Icelandic poet, novelist, short-story writer, biographer, translator, and linguist who is typically categorized as one of the Icelandic Atom Poets.

1926 – Margaret Laurance, influential Canadian novelist and short-story writer who often wrote about Africa, where she once lived.

1930 – Vilborg Dagbjartsdóttir, Icelandic poet, writer, nonfiction author, children’s author, and translator who is one of the few women in Iceland to have been writing modernist poetry in the mid-twentieth century; her work combines lyrical realism with romantic imagery, and is concerned with social inequality, especially the status of women in society.

1933 – Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Soviet and Russian poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, actor, editor, and film director.

1934 – Ciril Bergles, award-winning Slovene poet, essayist, translator, and teacher who was especially known for his translations of poetry by Spanish and South American writers.

1937 – Roald Hoffmann (born Roald Safran) Ukrainian-born Polish and U.S. theoretical chemist who won the 1981 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; he is also a poet, playwright, and professor. As a small child, he escaped from a Nazi labor camp with relatives and lived in hiding for more than a year, because of his family’s Jewish background; most of his family was killed in the Holocaust, including his father.

1937 – Hunter S. Thompson, U.S. journalist and author who is credited with creating the genre of “Gonzo Journalism”; his topics ranged from sports to politics to cultural commentary.

1938 – Jan Stanislaw Skorupski, Polish-born Swiss writer, poet, essayist, and Esperantist.

1943 – Joseph J. Ellis, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning bestselling U.S. historian and biographer.

1944 – Wayne Vincent Brown, Trinidad and Tobagoan novelist, poet, columnist, and writing teacher who mentored many Caribbean writers.

1948 – Ólafur Gunnarsson, award-winning Icelandic novelist, short-story writer, children’s author, travel writer, poet, and translator.

1951 – Steven Hahn, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian whose work often focuses on the U.S. South, African-American history, and the international history of slavery, emancipation, and race.

1969 – Elizabeth Gilbert, U.S. journalist, novelist, and nonfiction writer best known for her travel memoir, Eat, Pray, Love.

1975 – Dima Ghawi, award-winning Turkish-born Jordanian and U.S. author, leadership speaker, and executive coach; she is best known as the author of Breaking Vases: Shattering Limitations & Daring to Thrive – A Middle Eastern Woman’s Story.

1976 – Hardwar Goswami, Indian poet, writer, and playwright who writes in the Gujarati language.

1976 – Svitlana Pyrkalo, London-based Ukrainian writer, journalist, translator, and blogger who writes in Ukrainian, English and Russian.

1977 – Kristiina Ehin, Estonian writer, poet, translator, singer, and songwriter who specializes in folklore.

1977 – Alfian Sa’at, Singaporean writer, playwright, and poet who is known for his provocative works.

1985 – Zynnell Zuh, award-winning Ghanaian writer, actress, and television personality.

1990 – Xu Lizhi, Chinese poet and factory worker who attracted media attention after his suicide at the age of 24.

Follow the Damn Rules

Is this so hard to understand?

The sign on the door said, Mask Required … Regardless of Vaccination Status. Yet, inside the gift shop at a major national park, I estimated that fewer than 10 percent of customers wore masks.

And the employees were not even trying to enforce the rule.

What is wrong with people? I’ll give a pass to anyone who doesn’t read English (though I wonder why U.S. tourist attractions seldom have multilingual signs). For everyone else, what is the problem? Did you miss the sign that was so prominently displayed on every door? Did you fail to understand its simple message? Or do you really believe that you are above the rules and can ignore the ones you dislike? Either you are too stupid to understand the sign, or too selfish to care about anyone but yourself.

The pandemic is ongoing. Wearing a mask protects yourself, your family, and every person around you.

The pandemic has destroyed my faith in humanity.

July 17 Writer Birthdays

1862 – Oscar Ivar Levertin, Swedish poet, critic, professor, and literary historian who was a dominant voice of the Swedish cultural scene.

1888 – Shmuel Yosef Agnon (published in Hebrew under the acronym Shai Agnon and in English as S.Y. Agnon), Nobel Prize-winning Ukrainian-born author whose work explores conflicts between the modern world and traditional Jewish life and language; he is considered a central figure in modern Hebrew literature and has been called “one of the great storytellers of our time.”

1889 – Erle Stanley Gardner, U.S. lawyer and author of mysteries and pulp fiction, best known for creating the world’s most famous fictional lawyer, Perry Mason.

1896 – Yrjö Vilho Soini, Finnish journalist, novelist, and playwright, who used the pen name Agapetus; his humorous works enjoyed wide popularity in Finland, and several have been adapted into films.

1901 – Bruno Jasieński, Polish writer, poet, playwright, and science-fiction writer who was the leader of the Polish Futurist movement.

1902 – Matilde Rodríguez Cabo Guzmán, Mexican writer, surgeon, feminist activist, and suffragist who was also the first female psychiatrist; she also founded Mexico’s first school for people with learning disabilities.

1902 – Christina Ellen Stead, Australian author, short-story writer, screenwriter, and writing teacher who was noted for her satirical wit and penetrating psychological characterizations. Time magazine named her best-known novel, the loosely autobiographical The Man Who Loved Children, as one of the 100 Best Novels from 1923-2005, and American author and critic Jonathan Franzen hailed it as a masterpiece. Her book Letty Fox: Her Luck, though considered an equally fine novel, was banned in Australia for several years because it was considered amoral and salacious.

1903 – Michio Takeyama, Japanese screenwriter, writer, translator, literary critic, children’s writer, critic, novelist, linguist, and scholar of German literature.

1911 – Yang Jiang, Chinese playwright, author, and translator who is best known for her successful comedies; she was also the first Chinese person to produce a complete Chinese version of Miguel de Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote.

1912 – Michael Gilbert, British author of mysteries, thrillers, and short stories; he was also a lawyer who had writer Raymond Chandler as a client.

1917 – Christiane Rochefort, French novelist, short-story writer, essayist, feminist, and social critic.

1921 – Robert V. Remini, National Book Award-winning U.S. historian, author, and professor who wrote a multi-volume biography of U.S. President Andrew Jackson.

1924 – Olive Ann Burns, American writer best known for her novel Cold Sassy Tree; as a journalist, she wrote under the pseudonym Amy Larkin.

1930 – Baburao Bagul, Indian Marathi writer who was a pioneer of modern literature in Marathi and an important figure in the Indian short story.

1932 – Karla Kuskin, U.S. poet who writes, illustrates, and reviews children’s books; she was nominated for a National Book Award.

1935 – Anupurath Krishnankutty (popularly known as Mundur Krishnankutty), award-winning Indian Malayalam novelist and short-story writer whose work is renowned for the realistic portrayal of life in Palakkad villages, focusing on the transformational crisis of an agrarian society.

1937 – Oladele Awobuluyi, Nigerian linguist, professor, and author whose research focuses on African languages, in particular Yoruba, but also Kanuri and Edo.

1940 – Clive William Nicol, Welsh-born Japanese and Canadian novelist, nonfiction writer, children’s author, singer, songwriter, and actor who was also a game warden in Ethiopia; he wrote in English and Japanese.

1943 – LaVyrle Spencer, bestselling, prolific U.S. author of modern and historical romance novels.

1944 – Shi-Kuo Chang, Chinese Taiwanese writer, science-fiction author, and computer scientist.

1944 – Thomas N. Huffman, South African archeologist, anthropologist, author, and professor who specializes in pre-colonial farming societies in southern Africa. He is best known for his book, A Handbook to the Iron Age: The Archaeology of Pre-Colonial Farming Societies in Southern Africa.

1946 – Chris Crutcher, U.S. family therapist and author of young-adult novels, many of which focus on teenage boys who are athletes and face personal problems; his books are controversial and are often banned because of their honest depictions of subjects such as religion, homosexuality, poverty, and child abuse.

1951 – Mark Bowden, U.S. journalist, magazine editor, and author; his book Black Hawk Down was made into a popular movie.

1951 – Alain Suied, award-winning Tunisian-born French poet and translator.

1954 – J. Michael Straczynski, U.S. journalist, screenwriter, playwright, horror novelist, and comic-book writer who is best known for creating and writing the science-fiction television series Babylon 5.

1954 – Lourdes Urrea, Mexican author, children’s writer, artist, and speaker.

1955 – Francesca Marciano, award-winning Italian writer, screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor.

1956 – Angelo Cannavacciuolo, award-winning Italian novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker, and actor.

1957 – Maria Arbatova, award-winning Russian and Soviet writer, novelist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, translator, journalist, opinion journalist, politician, broadcaster, and feminist’ some of her works were censored for their controversial content.

1964 – Hajime Kanzaka, Japanese novelist and manga story writer; he is best known for writing the Slayers novels, which were adapted into a hit anime series.

1971 – Cory Doctorow, Canadian-British science-fiction author, journalist, activist, and blogger at Boing Boing; he is a Fellow of the Electronic Freedom Foundation and has released many of his books with Creative Commons licensing.

1990 – Mattie Stepanek, bestselling U.S. poet, essayist, and peace activist who died at the age of 13.

July 16 Writer Birthdays

0239 – Ennius, influential Roman writer, poet, historian, and playwright who has been called the Father of Roman Poetry.

1194 – Saint Clare of Assisi (Chiara Offreduccio), Italian nun, mystic, and the founder of the Order of Poor Clares; she wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. She was one of the first followers of Francis of Assisi.

1313 – Giovanni Boccaccio, Italian author, poet, lyricist, biographer, translator, short-story writer, and diplomat who was an important Renaissance humanist who wrote his imaginative literature mostly in the Tuscan vernacular and his other works in Latin; he was noted for his realistic dialogue, in a time when writers tended to follow formulaic models for character and plot.

1677 – Angharad James, Welsh writer, poet, and farmer; she was also a skilled harpist who commanded workers to dance to her playing as they returned from the milking.

1821 – Mary Baker Eddy, U.S. writer, theologian, magazine and newspaper editor, and religious leader who founded the Christian Science movement (not associated with Scientology) and authored its main textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; in her writings, she argued that the material world does not exist and, in particular, that sickness is a mental error that can be corrected by Christian Science prayer; she also founded The Christian Science Monitor, a newspaper that has won seven Pulitzer Prizes.

1860 – Otto Jespersen, Danish writer, autobiographer, philosopher, Esperantist, university teacher, and linguist who specialized in the grammar of the English language.

1862 – Ida B. Wells, U.S.African-American investigative journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and early leader in the civil rights movement who was born a slave; she was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

1863 – Dwijendralal Ray (also known as D.L. Ray), Indian writer, poet, playwright, musician, composer, teacher, and civil servant who is known for his Hindu mythological and Nationalist historical plays and songs; he is regarded as one of the most important figures in early modern Bengali literature.

1872 – Roald Amundsen (full name Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen), Norwegian writer and polar explorer who was a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration; he led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage by sea and the first expedition to the South Pole, but disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission in the Arctic in 1928. He wrote an autobiography and several books about his expeditions.

1880 – Kathleen Norris, U.S. novelist and newspaper columnist whose writings capture upper-class life in the San Francisco area. (Not to be confused with modern poet Kathleen Norris).

1880 – Volodymyr Vynnychenko, Ukrainian Modernist writer, playwright, science-fiction author, artist, political activist, revolutionary, politician, and statesman who was the first Prime Minister of Ukraine; his works reflect his time spent among impoverished and working-class people, and among Russian emigres living in Western Europe.

1884 – Anna Alexandrovna Vyrubova (née Taneyeva), Russian lady-in-waiting, best friend of Tsarina Alexandra Fyodorovna, and memoir writer; she was imprisoned during the revolution but escaped with the help of family friends. Writer Maxim Gorky urged her to write her memoirs, and she followed his advice, recording her memories of life at court, which provided a rare glimpse of the home life of the Tsar and his family. She became a Russian Orthodox nun and spent the last years of her life in exile in Finland.

1889 – Arthur Bowie Chrisman, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and short-story writer.

1889 – Lauri Pohjanpää (also known as Lauri Nordqvist), Finnish poet, theologian, memoirist, and novelist.

1896 – Katia Granoff, Russian-born French writer, poet, and art dealer.

1896 – Esther Popel, U.S. African-American poet, writer, and editor of the Harlem Renaissance; she was also an activist and educator.

1897 – Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, Paraguayan lyricist, poet, and musician who was a poet in both the Modernist and Romantic traditions and who wrote in both Spanish and Guarani. Sometimes he typed his poems and sold them door-to-door. He was exiled from his country and died in Argentina of leprosy.

1902 – Ho Jong-suk, South Korean writer, poet, journalist, autobiographer, philosopher, women’s rights activist, and politician.

1912 – Amelia Cabeza de Pelayo Patterson (also known as Amy Patterson), Argentine writer, poet, composer, singer, and teacher who wrote the anthem of the Province of Salta.

1913 – Carmen Acevedo Vega, Ecuadorian poet, writer, and journalist who is known for writing on social themes and protest through sensitive, rhythmic, and lyrical verses.

1919 – Mari Evans, U.S. African-American poet, playwright, nonfiction author, and editor whose poetry is known for its lyrical simplicity and the directness of its themes; she is associated with the Black Arts Movement.

1922 – Gnanananda Kavi (full name Suragali Timothy Gnanananda Kavi), award-winning Indian poet who is credited with forty anthologies.

1927 – Shirley Hughes, award-winning bestselling English children’s writer and illustrator.

1927 – Inge Israel, German and Canadian writer, poet, and essayist who writes in French and English.

1928 – Anita Brookner, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, professor, and art historian, her novels explore themes of emotional loss and typically depict intellectual, middle-class women who suffer isolation and disappointments in love.

1928 – Robert Sheckley, U.S. science-fiction author who has been nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

1929 – Sheri Tepper, U.S. author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels. Many of her books have an ecofeminist slant.

1941 – Dag Solstad, award-winning Norwegian writer, novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and short-story writer, some of whose works are considered controversial because of their Marxist-leaning political emphasis.

1943 – Reinaldo Arenas, Cuban poet, novelist, playwright, and librarian who was an early sympathizer and later critic of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution.

1948 – Ratna Sarumpaet, Indonesian playwright, novelist, theatrical producer, film director, actress, and human-rights activist who is especially known for her politically charged plays.

1950 – Frances Spalding, British art historian, writer, biographer, professor, critic, essayist, and editor; she is especially known as the author of Virginia Woolf: Art, Life and Vision.

1951 – Esther Friesner (full name Esther Mona Friesner-Stutzman), award-winning U.S. science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, poet, essayist, and anthologist who is known for her humorous style of writing and her themes of gender equality and social justice.

1951 – Suki Lahav (real name Tzruya Lahav), Israeli violinist, vocalist, lyricist, poet, screenwriter, novelist, and actress who played with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band in 1974 and 1975.

1952 – Richard Egielski, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. illustrator and writer.

1955 – Susan Wheeler, National Book Award finalist and Pushcart Prize-winning U.S. poet, essayist, and professor.

1956 – Tony Kushner, Pulitzer Prize-winning and Academy Award-winning U.S. playwright and screenwriter; he is best known for his play Angels in America.

1958 – Laura Freixas, Spanish novelist, short-story writer, translator, columnist, editor, journalist, art critic, and literary critic.

1961 – Mongsen Ching Monsin, award-winning Bangladeshi journalist, researcher, and writer.

1962 – Ross King, Canadian scholar, historian, historical novelist, and nonfiction writer best known for his books about art and architecture, including Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence, and
The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism.

1962 – Ahmed Mansour, Egyptian writer, journalist, television presenter, and interviewer who is one of Arabic news channel Al Jazeera’s most prominent journalists.