November 13 Writer Birthdays

1715 – Dorothea Christiane Erxleben (née Leporin), German physician who was the first female medical doctor in Germany, and the first woman licensed by a regulating medical body to practice medicine in the world; she researched and wrote about why more women did not have an education.

1785 – Lady Caroline Lamb, Anglo-Irish aristocrat, novelist, poet, parodist, and songwriter, best known for her Gothic novel Glenarvon and her love affair with the poet Lord Byron, who described her as “the cleverest, most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous, fascinating little being that lives now…” She published three novels, two parodies of Byron’s poetry, several poems, and a number of songs.

1850 – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, children’s writer, and travel author known for such classic works as Treasure Island, Kidnappped, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

1869 – Helene Stöcker, German author, feminist, pacifist, and gender activist who successfully campaigned keep same-sex relationships between women legal, but she was unsuccessful in her campaign to legalize abortion; as war emerged she fled to Norway, and as that was invaded she moved to Japan and later emigrated to the United States.

1908 – C. Vann Woodward, U.S. Southern historian who often wrote about the history of race relations, as in his books The Strange Career of Jim Crow and The Origins of the New South, 1877-1913; he won a Pulitzer Prize for editing Mary Chesnut’s Civil War.

1914 – William Gibson, U.S. playwright and novelist whose most famous play is the Tony Award-winning The Miracle Worker, the story of the relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.

1917- Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, one of the most prominent Indian Hindi writers, poets, authors, journalists, and literary critics.

1922 – Makarand Dave, Gujarati language poet, author, and journalist from India

1925 – Gholamreza Ghodsi, Iranian essayist, poet, and university teacher who is a descendant of celebrated poet Mirza Mohammad Jan Ghodsi Mashhadi; Ghodsi began by writing sonnets, but he was interested in Indian style poetic forms, and in social and political poetic themes.

1930 – Nico Scheepmaker, award-winning Dutch poet, author, columnist, translator, and sports journalist.

1936 – Dacia Maraini, Italian screenwriter, writer, poet, playwright, and film director.

1937 – Malek Alloula, Algierian poet, writer, editor, and literary critic who is best remembered for his poetry and essays on philosophy.

1937 – Aurora Augusta Figueiredo de Carvalho Homem (generally known as Maria Aurora Carvalho Homem, or Maria Aurora), Portuguese journalist, poet, novelist, children’s writer, and television presenter.

1939 – George V. Higgins, U.S. author, lawyer, newspaper columnist, and college professor who wrote bestselling crime novels.

1940 – Cho Seon-jak, award-winning South Korean writer poet, and novelist; many of his works explored the injustice inherent in social structures, and his work often focused on social outcasts.

1940 – William Taubman, U.S. political scientist, author, and professor who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Nikita Khrushchev.

1946 – Stanisław Barańczak, Polish writer, poet, translator, university teacher, literary critic, and trade unionist; he is best known for his English-to-Polish translations of the dramas of William Shakespeare and the poetry of E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and others.

1946 – Han Soosan, award-winning South Korean novelist, poet, and short-story writer, known for his delicate and expressive writing style.

1948 – Humayun Ahmed, award-winning Bangladesh-born fiction and nonfiction author, dramatist, science-fiction writer, and film director.

1948 – Masuda Mizuko, Japanese award-winning writer, biochemist, and professor.

1952 – Ljubomir Ðurkovic, Montenegrin author, poet, and playwright.

1952 – Maria Mercè Marçal i Serra, Spanish Catalan poet, professor, writer, publisher, and translator.

1957 – Stephen Baxter, British author of hard science-fiction and alternate history novels and short stories; he is also an essayist, columnist, and engineer.

1969 – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali writer, feminist, and activist for the rights of Muslim women; in 2005 Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Art on the Avenue, at Last

Today was the day! Thousands of people gathered in my neighborhood for our yearly arts festival, Art on the Avenue. This outdoor street festival usually takes place in early October, but had to be postponed this year due to bad weather that day.

I was volunteering as a Block Captain, walking up and down my assigned block to stop in at the booths to see if the artists needed anything, and answering questions and giving directions to attendees. Some of the job consists of standing in an artist’s booth, watching over it while the artist leaves for a few minutes to find a snack or a bathroom. It also means I get to look oh-so-official (and oh-so-dorky) wearing a big green canvas apron with pockets, and a dayglo orange vest like security guards and construction workers wear. And I got to carry a walkie-talkie and a clipboard.

Mostly, my shift was uneventful. But we had some drama in my final ten minutes. I was near the last booth on the block, and a women who was there looking at the art suddenly started calling a boy’s name. Her four-year-old had wandered away. There was a police officer standing at the end of the block, so I ran over and told him we had a missing child. He did not seem alarmed (he later told me that missing children at such events almost always turn up safe within a few minutes). I connected him with the boy’s mother and used my handy-dandy walkie-talkie to contact my volunteer coordinator. I could hardly hear her, with musicians playing Eagles tunes right behind me, and a crowd of thousands enjoying the day. As it turns out, she couldn’t hear me either. But the little boy’s mother recovered him a few minutes later; he had just wandered away in the crowd, as four-year-olds will do.

As for art, yes, I bought some. If you know me at all, you probably knew that. I saw a small still life I loved, by an artist I’ve bought from before, and a surrealist piece from another artist I have several works from. I loved some decorative, bas-relief ceramic tiles that hang on the wall. But mostly, a large, vivid canvas of flowers and vegetation against a gorgeous watery blue background was calling to me. I was sure it would fit beautifully high on the wall in my family room. I’ve been looking for a bold piece of art for the space, without too much detail, since it will not be seen close up. I texted to my husband to get his opinion. He said it was too Impressionistic for him, but if I liked it and it wasn’t too expensive, he had no problem with it. He hardly notices art, anyway. It was rather expensive, or I probably would have just bought it on the spot. I decided to think about it a bit. But by the time I received Bob’s text, it was getting late, and I had to rush down the street to get to my assigned Block Captain block.

After my shift, I rushed back to buy that painting — and it had already sold. Oh well. So did the surrealist painting. But the little still life was still there, and would look perfect grouped with the other two painting s bythe same artist that brighten my dining room. I bought the ceramic tiles, too.

November 12 Writer Birthdays

1527 – Qi Jiguang, Chinese Ming Dynasty general and author who wrote military manuals and is considered a military hero in Chinese culture.

1648 – Juana Inés de la Cruz, scholar, poet, writer, composer, mathematician, playwright, philosopher, feminist, and nun in New Spain (now Mexico).

1666 – Mary Astell, English writer, philosopher, and rhetorician whose advocacy for equal educational opportunities for women has earned her the title “the first English feminist.”

1769 – Amelia Opie (née Alderson), English writer, novelist, abolitionist, poet, and biographer; hers was the first of 187,000 names presented to the British Parliament on a petition from women to stop slavery.

1815 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, U.S. writer and activist for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery; she was the primary author of the first three volumes of the History of Woman Suffrage and The Woman’s Bible, a critical examination of the Bible based on the premise that its attitude toward women reflects prejudice from a less civilized age.

1817 – Bahá’u’lláh (born Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri), Persian mystic and prolific writer who was founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

1817 – Emily Mary Barton (born Emily Mary Darvall), English-born Australian poet.

1826 – Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, Puerto Rican poet, playwright, essayist, and writer who is considered the father of Puerto Rican literature; in addition to his writing, he was also an abolitionist and a women’s rights advocate.

1851 – Rao Bahadur Vishnu Moreshwar Mahajani, Indian Marathi poet, writer, translator, and playwright.

1865 – Herbert Trench, Irish poet and theater director.

1886 – Ben Travers, British playwright known for his farces; he also wrote novels, screenplays, and memoirs.

1901 – Renée Méndez Capote y Chaple (also known by the pseudonyms Io-san, Berenguela, and Suzanne), Cuban writer, essayist, journalist, translator, suffragist, and feminist activist who wrote children’s literature, short stories, essays, and biographies.

1906 – George Dillon, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and editor who is best remembered today for a romantic relationship with poet and playwright Edna St. Vincent Millay; Dillon was the inspiration for her epic 52-sonnet sequence Fatal Interview and they later collaborated on translations from Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal.

1915 – Roland Barthes, French literary critic, literary and social theorist, philosopher, linguist, and semiotician whose ideas influenced the development of many schools of theory, including structuralism, semiotics, social theory, design theory, anthropology, and post-structuralism.

1917 – Leila Berg, award-winning English children’s author and journalist, who frequently wrote about education and children’s rights.

1923 – Rubén Bonifaz Nuño, Mexican writer, lawyer, poet, translator, linguist, and classical scholar.

1925 – Trisnojuwono, Indonesian author, journalist, and former revolutionary and military man; ,uch of his literary work is based on his experiences during the Indonesian National Revolution and includes unique eyewitness accounts of this chaotic and violent period.

1927 – David Butler, Emmy Award-winning Scottish screenwriter who was also nominated for an Oscar and a Golden Globe.

1928 – Marjorie Sharmat, U.S. author of children’s books, including her popular Nate the Great series.

1929 – Michael Ende, German author of bestselling fantasy, children’s literature, and books for adults; he is best known for The Neverending Story. Many of his works have been adapted as motion pictures, stage plays, operas, and audio books.

1930 – Irma Chilton (born Mair Elizabeth Irma Evans), Welsh children’s author who wrote in both the English and Welsh languages.

1930 – Ivo Urbančič, influential Slovenian philosopher and writer, considered to be one of the fathers of the phenomenological school in Slovenia.

1930 – Antonia “Tonke” Johanna Willemina Dragt, Dutch writer and illustrator of children’s literature; her book De brief voor de Koning was chosen as the best Dutch youth book of the latter half of the twentieth century.

1934 – John McGahern, Irish author of novels and short stories, arguably the most important Irish writer since Samuel Beckett.

1939 – Alitet Nikolaevich Nemtushkin, Russian poet known for writing in and about his native Evenki language.

1941 – Madeleine St John, Australian novelist who was the first Australian woman to be shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction.

1942 – Janette Turner Hospital, Australian-born novelist and short-story writer.

1943 – Wallace Shawn, U.S. actor, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, and author; he is best known for his roles in the movies The Princess Bride and My Dinner With Andre (which he also co-wrote).

1945 – Michael Bishop, U.S. author of science fiction and fantasy.

1945 – Tracy Kidder, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of creative nonfiction, best known for his book, The Soul of a New Machine.

1945 – Hanan al-Shaykh, acclaimed Lebanese author of contemporary literature; her work provides social commentary on the status of women in the Muslim world, challenging notions of sexuality, obedience, and modesty.

1948 – Celestine Raalte, award-winning Surinanese writer, poet, playwright, and performance artist.

1950 – Svetozar Obradovic Toza, Serbian writer who is best known for his comic books; he has also written articles, essays, stories, books, and radio dramas.

1954 – Christopher Pike (pen name for Kevin Christopher McFadden), U.S. author of bestselling novels for children, young adults, and adults.

1955 – Katherine Weber, U.S. novelist, nonfiction author, memoirist, and Yale professor.

1959 – Espérance-François Bulayumi, Congolese author, writer, poet, and professor; his most emblematic work is Mosuni, which deals with Congolese identity and its link-up with European culture.

1961 – Tomas Espedal, award-winning Norwegian writer and novelist.

1961 – Judy Horacek, Australian cartoonist, artist, writer, and children’s book creator who is best known for her award winning children’s picture book Where is the Green Sheep? with Mem Fox, and for her weekly cartoons in The Age newspaper.

1961 – Philip Reid, Irish sports journalist whose articles on golf are widely quoted by other media outlets.

1962 – Alonso Guerrero Pérez, award-winning Spanish writer, professor, journalist, essayist, teacher, and literary critic.

1962 – Neal Shusterman, U.S. author of popular young-adult literature.

1962 – Eugeniusz Tkaczyszyn-Dycki, award-winning Polish poet who has written nine volumes of poems and some texts for the magazine Kresy.

1962 – Naomi Wolf, U.S. author, social critic, and political activist; after her first book, The Beauty Myth, she became a leading spokeswoman of what has been described as the third wave of the feminist movement.

1963 – Damon Galgut, award-winning South African playwright and novelist who is best known for writing The Good Doctor and In a Strange Room.

1976 – Richelle Mead, U.S. author of fantasy and young-adult novels, including the “Vampire Academy” series.

1981 – Vasay Chaudhry, Pakistani screenwriter, actor, director, producer, television host, and comedian who is best known for writing sitcoms and comedy-dramas for Pakistani television.

Art on the Avenue 2022

The best day of the year to be in Del Ray is the first Saturday in October. Usually. That’s the scheduled date for our neighborhood art festival, Art on the Avenue. This year, a hurricane forced a postponement. The new date is tomorrow, November 12. Coincidentally, the remnants of another hurricane came through today, but the rain should be mostly cleared up by tomorrow, and temperatures are expected to be in the 60s.

I’ll be volunteering as a block captain tomorrow afternoon, but also hope to arrive a few hours before my shift, so I can enjoy the artwork and see some neighbors. And I may just have to buy some art.

November 11 Writer Birthdays

1821 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and journalist best known for his later novels, including Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamozov; his literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.

1846 – Anna Katharine Green, U.S. novelist who was one of the country’s first writers of detective fiction; because of her well-plotted, legally accurate stories, she has been called “the mother of the detective novel.”

1888 – Abul Kalam Azad, Saudi Arabian-born Indian scholar, writer, politician, and journalist who was a senior leader of the Indian Independence movement; after independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government. His birthday is celebrated across India as “National Education Day.”

1896 – Shirley Graham DuBois (born Lola Shirley Graham), award-winning African-American U.S. author, playwright, composer, educator, and activist for African-American causes. She married author and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. In 1932 she composed the opera Tom-Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro which premiered in Cleveland, Ohio and featured an all-Black cast and orchestra, it was structured in three acts; Act One took place in an indigenous African tribe, Act Two portraying an American Slave plantation, and the final act was set in 1920s Harlem. The music features elements of blues and spirituals, as well as jazz with elements of opera. The score of this opera was considered lost, until it was rediscovered in 2001 at Harvard University.

1896 – Kostas Karyotakis, influential Greek poet, writer, translator, and civil servant whose poetry includes traces of expressionism and surrealism; he belongs to the Lost Generation literary movement.

1910 – Frida Stewart Knight (born Frideswide Frances Emma Stewart), English author, biographer, nonfiction writer, and communist activist; in 1940 she was arrested in France by the Gestapo and sent to a German internment camp, but escaped with the help of the French Resistance.

1914 – Howard Fast, U.S. novelist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, short-story writer, biographer, autobiographer, and nonfiction author who also wrote under the pen names E.V. Cunningham, Walter Ericson, and Behn Boruch.

1915 – Anna Jacobson Schwartz, U.S. economist and author who worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a writer for The New York Times; economist Paul Krugman has called her “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars.”

1919 – Kalle Päätalo, one of the most popular Finnish authors of the 20th century; his autobiographical series is 26 books long.

1922 – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., U.S. novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and nonfiction author known for his darkly satirical novels, including Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five.

1928 – Carlos Fuentes, award-winning Mexican novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist who is one of the most admired and influential in the Spanish-speaking world.

1933 – Claude Rolley, French archaeologist, writer, and professor who wrote about the art and archaeology of Greece and Gaule.

1933 – Miriam Tlali, South African novelist who was the first black woman in South Africa to publish a novel; she was also one of the first to write about Soweto, although most of her writing was originally banned by the South African apartheid regime.

1937 – Alicia Ostriker, U.S. poet and scholar who writes Jewish feminist poetry and has been called “America’s most fiercely honest poet”; she was also one of the first women poets in the U.S. to write and publish poems discussing the topic of motherhood.

1942 – Ali Babachahi, prolific Iranian poet, writer, literary critic, and Persian lexicographer who is one of Iran’s most prominent postmodern writers and poets.

1942 – Diane Wolkstein, U.S. children’s author who was New York City’s official storyteller.

1944 – Nanda Hangkhim, award-winning Nepalese poet and short-story writer.

1947 – Trevor Ferguson, bestselling Canadian literary writer, crime novelist, and playwright who has written under the pen name John Farrow; The Vancouver Sun called his detective novel City of Ice the book the best ever produced in Canada in genre fiction.

1948 – Marit Christensen, Norwegian journalist, author, and television presenter who has been called “Moskva-Marit” because of her time spent as a broadcast news correspondent in Moscow.

1948 – Vincent Schiavelli, U.S. writer, journalist, food writer, and cookbook author; he was also considered one of the best character actors in Hollywood.

1950 – Mircea Dinescu, Romanian poet, journalist, and editor.

1950 – Abel Prieto, Cuban politician and published fiction writer who serves as Cuba’s Minister of Culture.

1950 – Susana Sivestre, award-winning Argentine novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer whose work has been praised for its “fluid, clean, graceful prose,” and its “intelligent, complex and playful structure.”

1952 – Shamim Azad, award-winning Bangladeshi-born British poet, storyteller, essayist, short-story writer, folklorist, and writer.

1952 – Judith Ariana Fitzgerald, Canadian poet, journalist, and biographer who wrote more than twenty books of poetry, as well as biographies of musician Sarah McLachlan and writer Marshall McLuhan.

1952 – Kama Sywor Kamanda, award-winning Congolese poet, playwright, novelist, nonfiction writer, and storyteller

1954 – Mary Gaitskill, U.S. author of novels, short stories, and essays whose fiction is typically about female characters dealing with inner conflicts; her subject matter matter-of-factly includes controversial subjects such as prostitution, addiction, and sado-masochism.

1958 – Kathy Lette, Australian-British author of bestselling books and humor; she has also been a newspaper columnist and a television writer.

1959 – Kazumi Yumoto, award-winning Japanese screenwriter, novelist, and children’s author; several of her books have been adapted for film.

1968 – Douglas Rogers, Zimbabwean travel writer and memoirist.

1968 – Kim Young-ha, South Korean novelist and screenwriter noted for his skill in rendering 1990s urban sensibilities.

1980 – Inés Gallo de Urioste (better known by her pseudonym Lola or Lolita Copacabana), Argentine writer, book author, novelist, blogger, translator, publisher, and editor.

1981 – Tânia Teresa Tomé, award-winning Mozambican author, poet, lyrist, economist, public speaker, and television personality.

1982 – Anne Pätzke, German author, illustrator, and children’s writer who has also created art for board games and video tutorials for comic artists.

November 10 Writer Birthdays

1483 – Martin Luther, German priest and theological scholar whose writings sparked the Protestant Reformation.

1577 – Jacob Cats, Dutch poet, humorist, autobiographer, and politician; in his time, he was enormously popular in his own country, where he is still referred to as Father Cats.

1730 – Oliver Goldsmith, Irish novelist and playwright, best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield and his comedic drama She Stoops To Conquer.

1759 – Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, German poet, philosopher, historian, lyricist, and playwright.

1835 – Amalia Domingo Soler, Spanish writer, poet, novelist, essayist, editor, short-story writer, and feminist who also wrote an autobiography, Memorias de una mujer (Memories of a Woman); her writings are characterized by a poetic and delicate style. She is also remembered for her involvement in the Spanish spiritist movement, and founded and edited a spiritualist weekly, La Luz del Porvenir, characterized by its radical views and feminist orientation.

1838 – Mkirtich Achemian, Turkish-born ethnic Armenian poet and translator; he was a poet of the romantic school, but kept traces of classicism in his work.

1861 – Amy Judith Levy, British essayist, poet, and novelist best remembered as the first Jewish woman at Cambridge University; her feminist positions; her friendships with others living what later came to be called a “New Woman” life, some of whom were lesbians; and her relationships with both women and men in literary and politically activist circles in London during the 1880s.

1828 – Wang Tao, Chinese scholar, writer, columnist, fiction author, newspaper publisher, politician, translator, author, journalist, and Bible translator.

1870 – Andrés Mata, Venezuelan poet, writer, and journalist of the modernist movement.

1871 – Winston Churchill (not THAT Winston Churchill, though the two actually did know each other), U.S. novelist, poet, essayist, and artist who was one of the bestselling authors of the early 20th century; he was also elected to the state legislature of New Hampshire and ran unsuccessfully for governor.

1879 – Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, U.S. poet who is considered the father of modern singing poetry.

1879 – Andrea Evangelina Rodríguez Perozo, Dominican writer and poet who was the first woman medical school graduate in the Dominican Republic; she published poetry and nonfiction, and also wrote a novel but destroyed the manuscript in a fit of anger.

1884 – Zofia Nałkowska, Polish poet, prose writer, dramatist, journalist, essayist, diarist, and politician.

1893 – John P. Marquand, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of spy stories, satirical fiction, and more serious novels that often explored the confining nature of life in America’s upper class and among those who aspired to join it.

1894 – Lisa Tetzner, German-born writer, poet, and children’s author who was best known for her work with fairy tales; she fled to Switzerland to escape the Nazis, but the Swiss censored her work, fearing it could antagonize the German government.

1899 – Greta Knutson, Swedish modernist artist, writer, poet, translator, short-story writer, painter, essayist, linguist, and art critic.

1899 – Kate Seredy, Hungarian-born writer and illustrator of children’s books who won the Newbery Medal once, the Newbery Honor twice, the Caldecott Honor once, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Most of her books were written in English, which was not her first language.

1901 – José Gorostiza Alcalá, Mexican poet, educator, and diplomat.

1910 – Bhashyam Iyengar (pen name Sandilyan or Chandilyan), Indian Tamil author who wrote historical romance and adventure novels.

1910 – Kothamangalam Subbu (born S.M. Subramanian), Indian poet, lyricist, author, actor, and film director who wrote the cult classic Tamil novel Thillana Mohanambal, which was adapted into a popular movie; he also wrote several novels using the pen name of Kalaimani, and penned Gandhi Mahan Kathai, which told of the life of Mahatma Gandhi in folklore form.

1913 – Karl Shapiro, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and national Poet Laureate who was also a novelist, editor, and professor; his early work, praised as “fresh and young and rash and live,” was traditional in form but with a modern sensibility that viewed such topics as automobiles, house flies, and drug stores as worthy of a poet’s attention, while his later work experimented with more open forms and with social criticism.

1918 – Marita Elisabeth Lindquist (née Gustafson), prolific, award-winning Finnish children’s author, songwriter, poet, editor, and translator.

1919 – J. Clifford Ashby (generally known as Cliff Ashby), British poet and novelist.

1929 – W.E.B. Griffin (pen name of William Edward Butterworth III), U.S. author of military and crime fiction.

1931 – Evan Lloyd Jones, Australian poet, professor, and literary critic.

1933 – James D. Houston, award-winning U.S. novelist, poet, editor, and professor; one of his best known books is Farewell to Manzanar, coauthored with his wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, about her family’s forced internment at a camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, when she was a child; he also wrote Snow Mountain Passage, about the Donner Party.

1935 – Marilyn Duckworth, award-winning New Zealand novelist, poet, screenwriter, radio writer, and short-story writer.

1937 – Nikola Gigov, award-winning Bulgarian poet and writer.

1938 – Jiří Gruša, Czech writer, poet, novelist, politician, diplomat, translator, playwright, and children’s writer. He came under the scrutiny of the communist regime of then Czechoslovakia in 1969 because of his writings, and was banned from publishing, but arrested in 1974 for the crime of “initiating disorder” after distributing nineteen copies of his first novel, Dotazník (The Questionnaire) and voicing his intention to have it published in Switzerland; after worldwide protest, he was released after two months.

1944 – Mark E. Neely Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, professor, Civil War historian, and Lincoln biographer.

1944 – Sir Tim Rice, award-winning British lyricist and author, best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and other musicals; some of his most famous works are his collaborations with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

1954 – Joy Goswami, Indian poet who is widely considered as one of the most important Bengali poets of his generation.

1954 – Marlene van Niekerk, award-winning South African author, poet, and academic who is best known for her satirical novel Triomf.

1958 – Maria Galina, award-winning Soviet and Russian writer, novelist, poet, translator, columnist, literary critic, and marine biologist; some of her work was published under the name Maxim Golitsyn.

1960 – Neil Gaiman, prolific English-born author of award-winning science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, children’s books, short stories, TV scripts, and films; some of his more popular works include the comic book series “The Sandman” and novels Stardust, Good Omens, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won many awards, including the Newbery Medal and multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards.

1963 – Natalie Jane Prior, award-winning Australian author of children’s books, including picture books, fantasy, and crime fiction.

1966 – Aka Morchiladze (გიორგი ახვლედიანი), bestselling Georgian Republic author, columnist, soap writer, journalist, sports journalist, short-story writer, literary historian, and essayist.

1969 – Khalaf Ali Alkhalaf, Syrian-born Swedish poet and writer.

1971 – Holly Black (née Riggenbach), bestselling and award-winning U.S. fantasy novelist, poet, editor, young-adult novelist, children’s author, short-story writer, screenwriter, and video game writer.

1988 – Godspower Oboido, Nigerian poet and cultural activist who founded the Nigerian Council for Cultural Diplomacy and Research.

November 9 Writer Birthdays

1721 – Mark Akenside, English poet and physician; renowned poet Alexander Pope called him, “no ordinary writer.”

1731 – Benjamin Banneker, African-American U.S. author, almanac editor, mathematician, inventor, and astronomer who was the son of an ex-slave and a former indentured servant; he corresponded with Thomas Jefferson.

1732 – Jeanne Julie Éléonore de Lespinasse, French writer, artist, and prominent salon holder who is best known today for her letters, which offer compelling accounts of two tragic love affairs.

1745 – William Hayley, English author, poet, essayist, and biographer; he is most remembered as the best friend and biographer of poet William Cowper.

1818 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian Realist writer, poet, playwright, translator, novelist, short-story writer, and popularizer of Russian literature in the West; his first major publication, a short-story collection entitled A Sportsman’s Sketches, is regarded as a milestone of Russian realism, and his novel Fathers and Sons is considered one of the major works of 19th-century fiction.

1832 – Émile Gaboriau, French mystery writer and journalist who was a pioneer of modern detective fiction.

1854 – Maud Howe Elliott, U.S. writer who was the daughter of Julia Ward Howe (social activist, poet, and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic); Maud won a Pulitzer Prize for a biography of her mother.

1871- Florence Sabin, pioneering U.S. medical researcher, doctor, and professor who was the first woman to hold a full professorship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the first woman elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the first woman to head a department at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and the first female president of the American Association of Anatomists; her work to produce a three-dimensional model of a newborn baby’s brain stem became the focus of her textbook, An Atlas of the Medulla and Midbrain; other areas in which she focused her research and writing included the lymphatic system, the immune system, blood vessels and cells, tuberculosis, and public health.

1877 – Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistani poet, writer, children’s author, philosopher, and politician who was a leader in the Pakistan Movement; he wrote in Urdu, Persian, and English and was named the National Poet of Pakistan.

1880 – Yordan Yovkov, Bulgarian writer, teacher, poet, playwright, and editor.

1885 – Viktor Vladimirovich Khlebnikov, influential Russian poet and playwright who played a central part of the Russian Futurist movement.

1903 – Josefina Pla, Spanish-born Paraguayan poet and author who was also known for her artwork and her human-rights activism.

1909 – Kay Thompson, U.S. author, composer, musician, actress, and singer who is best known as creator of the Eloise children’s books.

1911 – Diná Silveira de Queirós, award-winning Brazilian writer, biographer, journalist, children’s author, short-story writer, and novelist who was only the second woman elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

1914 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian and U.S. actress, autobiographer, and inventor; at age 18, already a movie and stage star in Austria, she met and married a wealthy arms dealer who she eventually learned had ties to Hitler. He kept her a virtual prisoner in his castle until she managed to sneak out and escape the country. In the U.S., she became a major movie star, but she desperately wanted to help the war effort against the Nazis, and recruited composer George Antheil to help her develop a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes that could defeat the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. The principles of her work were later incorporated into Bluetooth and GPS technology. She was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

1918 – Su Beng (born Lin Chao-hui), Taiwanese writer, historian, dissident, historian, and political activist of the Taiwan independence movement; she was also known as Shih Chao-hui.

1920 – Shafiq-ur-Rahman, influential Pakistani writer, short-story author, humorist, and physician who is considered a key figure in Urdu literature.

1922 – Maja Boškovic-Stulli, Croatian slavicist and folklorist, literary historian, writer, publisher, and academic, noted for her extensive research into Croatian oral literature.

1923 – James Schuyler, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet of the New York School.

1928 – Jyotish Jagannath Jani, Indian Gujarati novelist, poet, editor, literary critic, and short-story writer.

1928 – Lojze Kovacic, award-winning Slovene and Swiss writer and children’s author whose novel Prišleki (The Newcomers) is considered one of the most important Slovene novels of the 20th century; many of his novels are autobiographical.

1928 – Anne Sexton, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who was known for her highly personal confessional verse.

1929 – Imre Kertész, Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian author whose writing is said to uphold “the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history”; he is best known for his semi-autobiographical accounts of the Holocaust.

1933 – Villanueva Cosse, award-winning Uruguayan author, actor, writer, playwright, translator, and theater director who is now based in Argentina.

1934 – Lois Ehlert, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and illustrator.

1934 – Ronald Harwood, Oscar-winning South African novelist, playwright, screenwriter, writer, actor, and film producer.

1934 – Shulamit Lapid, award-winning Israeli novelist, playwright, short-story writer, mystery writer, and children’s writer; her best known book Valley of Strength tells the story of the first immigrants to the modern land of Israel. She is also the creator of the character Lizzy Badihi, a journalist-turned-detective in Lapid’s thriller novels who is described as “tottering in her oversized shoes and wearing oversized earrings” as she investigates crimes.

1934 – Carl Sagan, U.S. astronomer, astrophysicist, science writer, television personality, and science-fiction novelist who helped popularize scientific topics.

1935 – Antonio Porta (pen name of Leo Paolazzi), Italian writer, poet, editor, translator, literary critic, children’s writer, and science-fiction author who was one of the founders of the Italian literary movement Gruppo 63.

1937 – Roger Joseph McGough, British poet, children’s author, playwright, and broadcaster.

1942 – Karin Kiwus, German poet, writer, editor, author, and university teacher.

1944 – Torquato Pereira de Araújo Neto, Brazilian journalist, poet, and songwriter who is perhaps best known as a lyricist for the Tropicália counterculture movement.

1946 – Marina Sarah Warner, English novelist, short-story writer, historian, mythographer, and professor; she is known for her many nonfiction books relating to feminism and myth.

1947 – Dermot Healy, award-winning Irish novelist, playwright, poet, screenwriter, and short story writer; though he is not widely known outside of his country, in Ireland he is considered by many to be Ireland’s finest living novelist and has been called the “Celtic Hemingway.”

1947 – Oh Jung-Hee, award-winning South Korean writer and children’s author, some of whose work is non-imagistic and centered on family life as something like a trap for women.

1949 – Manilal Haridas Patel, award-winning Indian Gujarati poet, essayist, novelist, and literary critic who has made significant contributions to Gujarati literature.

1955 – Janet Fitch, U.S. author and professor who is best known for her novel White Oleander.

1957 – Bryan Gruley, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist, nonfiction author, and novelist who is well known for his coverage of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for his award-winning mystery novels.

1957 – Gorg Mallia, Maltese author, cartoonist, children’s book writer and illustrator, communications specialist, and professor.

1958 – C.J. Box, bestselling U.S. short-story writer and author of 18 novels, including Stone Cold and Shots Fired, both part of his Joe Pickett series.

1959 – Deborah Ascher Barnstone, Australian author, historian, architect, architectural historian, and professor.

1960 – Taoufik Ben Brik, Tunisian author and journalist who has been a prominent critic of the former Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and of censorship in the Middle East.

1960 – So Hajin (pen name of Seo Deoksun), award-winning South Korean novelist and short-story writer; her work explores feminine desire and challenges the patriarchal nature of Korean society and its customs.

1960 – Michael Robotham, bestselling Australian author of crime fiction who began his career as a ghost writer.

1961 – Jackie Kay, Scottish poet and novelist who is the national Poet Laureate of Scotland and the chancellor of the University of Salford.

1965 – Bjarni Bjarnason, award-winning Icelandic poet, novelist, and playwright; one critic said of his books, “Time is an important element in all his novels; their imagery is influenced by ancient myths and invested with a fairy tale atmosphere while simultaneously referring to modern phenomena.”

1965 – Park Jeong-dae, South Korean writer and poet who is a member of the International Radical Poetry group and the April 19 Generation; according to one critic: “Absurdities in life, frightful experiences, and situations that defy logic and empathy—these things have compelled the poet to dream of a distant, alternative realm where possibilities of endless love still exist.”

1972 – Lars “Lasse” Erik Oliver Lindroth, Iranian-born Swedish comedian, writer, and actor who became famous as a comedian, using the stage name Ali Hussein; he went on to write books and to play parts in films and television programs.

1978 – Matt Gibson, Canadian writer, world traveler, photographer, blogger, and social anthropologist.

1987 – Kristin Fridtun, Norwegian writer, author and former Olympic ski jumper.

1988 – Tahereh Mafi, U.S. novelist, science-fiction writer, and young-adult fiction writer whose parents emigrated from Iran; some of her best known work is dystopian.

November 8 Writer Birthdays

1342 – Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich, (also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian), influential British Catholic nun, theologian, and mystic who wrote the earliest surviving English-language book to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.

1491 – Teofilo Folengo, Italian poet who also used the name Merlino Coccajo (or Cocajo); he was one of the principal Italian macaronic poets (macaronic literature uses a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns); his most famous work, the epic poem Baldo, blends Latin with various Italian dialects, in hexameter verse.

1626 – César-Pierre Richelet, French writer, translator, romanist, linguist, lexicographer, and grammarian who edited the first dictionary of the French language.

1710 – Sarah Fielding, British author who was responsible for the first English language novel written specifically for children (The Governess); she was the sister of novelist Henry Fielding.

1711 – Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian polymath who was a writer, poet, linguist, philosopher, astronomer, politician, physicist, mathematician, historian, inventor, mosaicist, artist, geologist, chemist, geographer, painter, and university teacher.

1755 – Dorothea Viehmann, German writer, storyteller, children’s author, and collector of fairy tales. Her stories were an important source for the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm; most of her tales were published in the second volume of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

1806 – Roger de Beauvoir (pen name for Eugène Auguste Roger de Bully), French Romantic novelist, poet, playwright, and journalist.

1824 – Annie Chambers Ketchum (religious name, Sister Amabilis), U.S. poet, writer, lecturer, educator, high-school principal, and magazine editor.

1835 – Concepción Lombardo Gil de Partearroyo, Mexican writer who was First Lady of Mexico. She was born Maria de la Concepcion Josefa Ramona Ignacia Severa Lombardo, but was better known as Concepción or Concha Lombardo Miramon. She began writing her 1,000-page memoir at the age of 80; the book is regarded as one of the best primary sources on some of the most tragic episodes in the history of Mexico.

1837 – Martha Gay Masterson, U.S. writer who kept a diary throughout her life, beginning with her family’s journey west on the Oregon Trail when she was 13; published after her death, it offers a firsthand account of life for girls and women in the Pacific Northwest during the second half of the 19th century.

1838 – Herculine Barbin, French memoirist who was an intersex person assigned female at birth and raised in a convent, but later reclassified as male by a court of law.

1847 – Bram Stoker, Irish novelist and short-story writer who wrote the Gothic horror vampire novel Dracula; in his day, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned.

1852 – Lin Shu (also known as Qinnan), Chinese writer, poet, painter, and intellectual who was most famous for introducing Western literature to a generation of Chinese readers.

1854 – Teófilo Dias, Brazilian poet, writer, journalist, lawyer, and politician.

1869 – Zinaida Gippius, Russian poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, literary critic, editor, and religious thinker who was a major figure in Russian Symbolism; after openly criticizing the tsar and denouncing the October Revolution, she emigrated to Poland, France, and then Italy, where she sometimes wrote on the topic of exile, as well as exploring mystical and covertly sexual themes.

1875 – Qiu Jin, Chinese poet, writer, revolutionary, and feminist who was also known as Xuanqing and Jianhu Nüxia (which, when translated literally into English, means “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”); she was executed after a failed uprising against the Qing dynasty, and is considered a national heroine in China.

1887 – René Maran, French poet and novelist who was the first black writer to win the French Prix Goncourt.

1897 – Dorothy Day, U.S. journalist, novelist, editor, autobiographer, nonfiction writer, social activist, and anarchist; the Catholic Church has begun exploration of naming her a saint, giving her the interim title, Servant of God.

1898 – Katharine Mary Briggs, British folklorist and writer, who wrote The Anatomy of Puck, as well as the four-volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language and various other books on fairies and folklore.

1900 – Margaret Mitchell, U.S. author of the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and which was made into the Academy Award-winning film of the same name; the book and film have been criticized for their romanticized depiction of slavery.

1902 – Mercedes Carvajal de Arocha (known as Lucila Palacios), Trinidadian and Venezuelan writer, politician, and diplomat. She was the first woman member of the Academia Venezolana de la Lengua.

1908 – Agustí Bartra i Lleonart, Spanish Catalan poet, writer, translator, and university professor.

1908 – Martha Gellhorn, U.S. novelist, journalist, and travel writer who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century; she was also the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.

1910 – Elfriede Brüning, award-winning German writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer; she sometimes used the pseudonym Elke Klent. She often wrote about social injustices and women’s struggles for equality in marriage.

1912 – Monica Edwards (née Monica le Doux Newton), English writer, novelist, children’s author, short-story writer, and nonfiction author; she was best known for her children’s books.

1916 – Ursula Isabel d’Abo (née Manners), English socialite who served as a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, worked as a nurse, managed a munitions factory, had relationships with Maharajah Man Singh II and oil magnate J. Paul Getty, and published an autobiography, The Girl with the Widow’s Peak: The Memoirs. Winston Churchill nicknamed her “The Cygnet.”

1916 – Peter Weiss, German-born Swedish novelist, dramatist, film director, and painter.

1919 – Purushottam Laxman ‘Pu La’ Deshpande, noted Marathi Indian writer, humorist, orator, screenwriter, composer, professor, classical musician, and actor.

1932 – Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award-winning U.S. science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, science writer, screenwriter, essayist, and editor.

1937 – Michiko Kanba, Japanese writer, essayist, and activist who was a 22-year-old college student when she died in clashes between demonstrators and police during the 1960 Anpo Protests. Her personal writings and political essays were published under the title The Smile Nobody Knows.

1942 – Vijay Nahar, Indian author and historian known for his reference books on Indian history and political leaders.

1954 – Natalka Bilotserkivets, award-winning Ukrainian poet, editor, and translator.

1954 – Timothy Egan, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. nonfiction author, biographer, and journalist.

1954 – Ko Hyeong-ryeol, award-winning modern Korean poet, writer, and essayist.

1954 – Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese-born British novelist who, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”

1955 – Che Husna Azhari, prominent Malaysian author, short-story writer, and engineer; her fiction is generally set in Kelantan, Malaysia, and her best known short stories are used as standard teaching texts in Malaysia.

1955 – Jeffrey Ford, U.S. author of fantasy, science fiction and mystery.

1961 – Chin Wan (pen name for Horace Chin Wan-kan), Chinese Hong Kong writer, professor, and advocate for Hong Kong autonomy; for his work toward Hong Kong home rule, he has been called the “godfather of localism.”

1962 – Oriza Hirata, Japanese author, playwright, film director, and academic; he is best known for his work in theater and for creating what he has coined, “contemporary colloquial theater,” or as theater critics call it, “quiet drama.”

1970 – Péter Zilahy, Hungarian, author, poet, journalist, photographer, and performer whose prose and poetry has been widely translated; he has often used photography, interactive media, and performance art in his work.

1971 – Carlos Atanes, award-winning Spanish author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer.

1974 – Joshua Ferris, U.S. novelist and nonfiction author best known for his debut novel Then We Came to the End.

1976 – Karolina Ramqvist (full name Annika Karolina Virtanen Ramqvist), prominent Swedish journalist and best-selling author; her novels explore contemporary issues of sexuality, commercialization, isolation, and belonging.

1979 – Valentin Popov, Bulgarian novelist and short-story writer who writes in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and mystery.

1985 – Julie Murphy, bestselling U.S. author for adults and young adults; she wrote her first novel, Side Effects May Vary, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) while working as a librarian, and is best known for Dumplin’, which was made into a film.

1989 – Silvia Núñez del Arco Vidal, Peruvian novelist, some of whose works are erotic.

1991 – Samantha Shannon, British writer of dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.