March 4 Writer Birthdays

1493 – Anna Bijns, Flemish writer, poet, teacher, and school administrator; she was the first author in Dutch-language literature who owed her success in part to the recently invented printing press.

1634 – Kazimierz Łyszczyński, Polish writer, philosopher, soldier, and judge who studied philosophy as a Jesuit but later turned away from religion. His treatise On the Non-Existence of God led to his accusation, trial, and execution for atheism.

1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss folklorist and author who is best remembered for the book Swiss Family Robinson.

1793 – Ōshio Heihachirō, Japanese samurai, writer, Neo-Confucianism scholar, and rebel leader.

1798 – Sigurður Breiðfjörð, prolific Icelandic poet, writer, and cooper.

1803 – Nikolay Mikhailovich Yazykov, Russian poet, writer, and Slavophile who was one of the most popular poets of his generation.

1819 – Narcyza Zmichowska (also known by her pen name, Gabryella), Polish novelist and poet who is considered a precursor of feminism in Poland.

1827 – Henrietta Keddie, prolific Scottish novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Sarah Tytler; her domestic realism was popular with women readers, as were her conduct books for girls.

1833 – Agripina Samper Agudelo, Colombian writer and poet who wrote under the pseudonym “Pía-Rigán,” an anagram of her real name; her works were unpublished in her own lifetime, and published only posthumously.

1836 – Matilda Betham-Edwards, English novelist, travel writer, poet, and children’s writer.

1851 – Alexandros Pepekas Papadiamantis, influential Greek short-story writer, novelist, journalist, and translator.

1856 – Toru Dutt, Indian Bengali poet, novelist, essayist, and translator who wrote in English and French, but is best known for her poems in English; in her work, she explored themes of loneliness, longing, patriotism and nostalgia. She died at the age of 21.

1862 – Louise Cruppi (née Crémieux), French writer, musician, feminist, and activist.

1865 – Eduard Vilde, revered Estonian writer, journalist, humorist, and diplomat who is considered a pioneer of critical realism in Estonian literature; he is generally credited as being the country’s first professional writer.

1871 – Mykola Burachek, Ukrainian writer, impressionist painter, art historian, and university teacher.

1875 – Enrique Larreta, Argentine writer, academic, journalist, diplomat, and art collector who was a ten-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1878 – Takeo Arishima, Japanese novelist, essayist, diarist, short-story writer, poet, philosopher, social critic, and literary critic; his work was critically acclaimed for his style, but the themes and characters of his works, which focused on women and lower-class men. He died in 1923 in a suicide pact with the woman he loved, after her husband learned of their affair.

1881 – T.S. Stribling, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. lawyer, short-story writer, novelist, and journalist who wrote about the American South.

1893 – Anne Marie Frederikke Telmányi (née Nielsen), Danish painter, writer, and biographer; as an artist, she is remembered for her landscapes, mythological subjects, and portraits of important figures of the times.

1897 – Bernice Love Wiggins (also known as Bernice Love Clay), U.S. African-American poet and writer who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.

1901 – Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo (born Joseph-Casimir Rabearivelo), Madagascan poet who is widely considered to be Africa’s first modern poet and the greatest literary artist of Madagascar.

1906 – Meindert DeJong, Dutch-U.S. author of children’s books who won multiple Newbery Medals.

1913 – Marie-Louise-Taos Amrouche, Tunisian-born Algerian writer, singer, and author who was the first Algerian woman to publish a novel.

1914 – Barbara Newhall Follett, U.S. child-prodigy novelist whose first two books were published when she was twelve and fourteen; she disappeared at age 25 and was never found.

1919 – Rosamund Stanhope, British poet and teacher known for her use of esoteric and unusual words.

1921 – Phanishwar Nath Renu, Indian author, screenwriter, and activist who was one of the most successful and influential writers of modern Hindi literature.

1924 – Alcira Soust Scaffo, Uruguayan writer, poet, and teacher who lived in Mexico for more than two decades; during the occupation of the National Autonomous University of Mexico by the Mexican Army, she remained hidden for 15 days in a bathroom at the university.

1928 – Alan Sillitoe, English writer; one of the “Angry Young Men” of the 1950s; he is remembered for his brash and angry accounts of working-class life. which injected new vigor into post-World War II British fiction.

1932 – Miriam Makeba, South African singer, songwriter, autobiographer, and human-rights activist.

1940 – David Plante, U.S. and British novelist, professor, diarist, and memoirist.

1942 – Maria Baciu, award-winning Romanian poet, novelist, children’s writer, professor, and literary critic.

1942 – Eleanor Millard, Canadian writer, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, social worker, and politician.

1943 – Lourdes Ortiz, Spanish novelist, crime novelist, historical novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and translator; her work focuses mainly on social and political topics.

1946 – Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, U.S. author, editor, journalist, memoirist, and music critic; her published works include rock criticism, a memoir, and two series of science fiction/fantasy and murder mystery novels; she was one of the first women rock critics and is a High Priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition.

1946 – Márcio Souza, Brazilian writer, novelist, science-fiction author, and literary critic; much of his work focuses on the Amazon basin.

1948 – Julia Cameron, U.S. teacher, author, artist, and poet whose best known books are The Artist’s Way and The Right to Write.

1948 – James Ellroy, U.S. author of crime fiction and essays, much of whose work is characterized by a telegrammatic prose style that omits connecting words and uses only short, staccato sentences; he has called himself, “The Demon Dog of American Literature.

1951 – Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Korean novelist, producer, director, professor, and artist who was murdered a week after her novel was published.

1953 – Geoff Nicholson, British satirical novelist and nonfiction writer.

1953 – Peggy Rathman, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books.

1953 – Daniel Woodrell, U.S. novelist and short-story writer whose work is set in the Ozarks.

1954 – Irina Borisovna Ratushinskaya, Ukrainian Soviet dissident, poet, memoirist, writer, screenwriter, teacher, and physicist; in 1983, she was convicted of “agitation carried on for the purpose of subverting or weakening the Soviet regime” through her poetry, and spent three-and-a-half years in a labor camp, where she continued to write poetry, scratching poems into soap with a matchstick, memorizing them, and then washing them away.

1965 – Khaled Hosseini, Afghan-U.S. novelist, short-story writer, physician, and advocate for refugees; his first novel, The Kite Runner, was an international bestseller and a critical success.

1965 – Alexander Shaganov, Russian writer, poet, audio engineer, singer, songwriter, and lyricist who wrote the lyrics for many popular songs.

1966 – Dav Pilkey, U.S. cartoonist, author, and illustrator of children’s books, most notably the “Captain Underpants” series.

1970 – Amélie Sarn, French author, comic-book writer, comics artist, children’s author, and translator.

1971 – Aram Hur, South Korean writer, teacher, humanist, educator, publisher, lecturer, restauranteur, and social entrepreneur; she is the founder and chairperson of Indigo Book Company, a humanities bookstore for young people which also hosts public events, educational movements, and social activities, and is a combination of nonprofit book publisher, magazine, bookstore, after-school program, and community center.

1975 – Fiona Maazel, award-winning U.S. novelist who was named a “5 under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation.

LetterMo 2023, Days 17-28

This is one of the items I mailed on Feb. 28, the final day of LetterMo 2023. This postcard went to a tea-drinking Postcrosser in Brooklyn, New York.

I completed the Month of Letters challenge in February, but got sidetracked and did not report my progress through much of the second half of the month, so I’m going to catch up on that now.

Month of Letters, or LetterMo, encourages participants to write and send at least one piece of handwritten snail mail per day during the month of February, and to respond to mail that is received. Bills, advertisements, and such do not count, and requirements are suspended on Sundays and holidays when the mail does not go out.

I’ve listed the mail I’ve sent in blog entries through the first half of the month. For February 15-28, I sent the following:

Feb. 15 – I wrote and mailed a postcard to a Postcrosser in Japan. (Postcrossing is a site that helps 800,00+ members send postcards to each other all over the world.)

Feb. 17– I sent two pieces of mail this day.

  • The first was a long letter to a friend in Pennsylvania whom I don’t see nearly as often as I’d like to.
  • The other was a note included in a packet of forms I had to sign and send back to a genealogist I’ve hired to help me collect the paperwork necessary to claim my Italian citizenship. (I was born and live in the U.S. but am eligible for Italian citizenship and want to be a dual citizen.) Sending back forms wouldn’t generally count for LetterMo, but I take the opportunity to thank her for the great work she has been doing and wrote a note of appreciation for all her work.

Feb. 18 – This day I was traveling. But I did fit in the time to write one letter from my room at a b&b. It went to a pen pal in New England who is also taking part in LetterMo.

Feb. 19 & 20 – These were a Sunday and the Presidents’ Birthday holiday, so there was no mail and no LetterMo responsibilities.

Feb. 21 – On this day, I wrote a letter to a pen pal in Texas.

Feb. 22 – Today’s LetterMo letter was to a pen pal in Oklahoma.

Feb. 23 – The only piece of outgoing mail today was a postcard to a Postcrosser in France.

Feb. 24 – Remember that family history book I compiled originally for my father and made revised copies for other family members, including the one I mailed to my sister in California on Feb. 16? Today I sent a copy of the same book, with a birthday card, to another of my sisters, this one in South Carolina.

Feb. 25 – Today’s letter to a LetterMo participant in Arizona was written in response to a LetterMo letter received this month.

Feb. 26 – Another Sunday. No mail.

Feb. 27 – I wrote and mailed two letters today, both to LetterMo participants.

  • One went to a new correspondent in Pennsylvania.
  • I wrote the other to a pen pal in Los Angeles to whom I have owed a letter for months.

Feb. 28 – On the final LetterMo day, I mailed three items:

  • A postcard of a pretty teapot to a tea-drinking Postcrosser in New York.
  • A get-well card to a local friend who is having surgery.
  • And a photo of some of my ancestors with a note on the back, included in another packet of documents sent to the professional genealogist (see Feb. 17) who is doing some research for me.

And that is a wrap on the Month of Letters 2023 edition! Interested in participating? See the website here and start stocking up on stationery for next February! And if you have any questions, post them in the comments section and I’ll do my best to answer them.

March 3 Writer Birthdays

1520 – Matthias Flacius, Croatian writer, historian, theologian, religious reformer, and university teacher.

1606 – Edmund Waller, English poet and member of Parliament.

1695 – María Anna Aguilar Velarde (more commonly known as Sor María Anna Águeda de San Ignacio), prolific Mexican author, theologian, nun, and abbess of the convent; she wrote on religious, mystical, and theological subjects, and well as authoring a spiritual guidebook for nuns.

1746 – Izabela Dorota Czartoryska (née Fleming), Polish writer, art collector, salonnière, and princess who was a key figure in Enlightenment-era Poland; she founded Poland’s first museum, the Czartoryski Museum.

1756 – William Godwin, English political philosopher, journalist, novelist, and anarchist who was the father of novelist Mary Shelley; he wrote works for adults and children, as well as the first mystery novel.

1777 – Adolphe Dureau de la Malle, French writer, geographer, naturalist, historian, and artist.

1791 – Auguste Imbert, French writer, poet, historian, playwright, bookseller, publisher, editor, songwriter, singer, and opinion journalist.

1797 – Emily Eden, popular English poet, novelist, artist, and travel writer who gave witty accounts of English life in the early 19th century and of her travels in India.

1806 – Emil Adolf Rossmässler, German writer, politician, author, biologist, university teacher, malacologist, editor, and journal founder who was a pioneer and the leading advocate of popularizing science in nineteenth-century Germany.

1825 – Anna Maria (Annie) Keary, English novelist, poet, world traveler, fairy-tale author, fantasy author, and innovative children’s writer of both fiction and nonfiction.

1858 – Cornelis Johannes Kieviet, Dutch teacher and writer of children’s literature who is best known for his children’s stories about a boy named Dik Trom; a statue of Dik Trom sitting backwards on a donkey can be found in the main square of Kieviet’s hometown, Hoofddorp.

1863 – Arthur Machen (pen name of Arthur Llewellyn Jones), Welsh author and mystic known for horror fiction and fantasy.

1874 – Mahmood Hussain Afsar Maudoodi, Indian Urdu poet, writer, and physician.

1874 – Ladislaus Baron Pilars de Pilar, Polish poet, author, historian, entrepreneur, and literature professor; he wrote in Polish, French, and English.

1879 – Hakucho Masamune (pseudonym of Tadao Masamune), award-winning Japanese writer, literary critic, art critic, novelist, dramatist, short-story writer, and academic who was a leading member of the Japanese Naturalist school of literature.

1880 – Sverre Brandt, Norwegian writer, playwright, children’s writer, and theatre worker who is best remembered for his children’s play Reisen til julestjernen (Journey to the Christmas Star), which has been staged many times and also adapted into a film.

1888 – Natalena Koroleva (born Carmen-Alfonsa-Fernanda-Estrella-Natalena Dunin-Borkowska), Spanish-born Ukrainian writer, painter, opera singer, translator, short-story writer, archaeologist, and World War I nurse; she studied history, archaeology, philosophy, medicine, and music theory and was fluent in a variety of languages, including Ukrainian, French, Polish, Spanish, Arabic, and Italian.

1891 – Grace Lumpkin, U.S. writer of proletarian literature who focused most of her works on the Depression era and the rise and fall of Communism in the United States.

1891 – Tove Kathrine Mohr, Norwegian writer, physician, gynecologist, Socialist, and proponent for women’s rights.

1896 – Roy Franklin Nichols, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and professor who specialized in U.S. history and government.

1899 – Yury Karlovich Olesha, Soviet Russian novelist and playwright who is considered one of the greatest Russian novelists of the 20th century, and one of the few to have succeeded in writing works of lasting artistic value despite the stifling censorship of the era.

1909 – Pandelis Prevelakis, Greek novelist, poet, dramatist, translator, and essayist who was one of the leading Greek prose writers of the “Generation of the ’30s”; most of his works are set in Crete.

1910 – Hannah Vogt, German author and historian who wrote the bestselling book The Burden of Guilt: A Short History of Germany, 1914-1945.

1914 – Kim Saryan (also spelled Kim Sa-ryang), Japanese and North Korean novelist, playwright, critic, and short-story writer who wrote in both Japanese and Korean.

1917 – Sameera Moussa (Arabic: سميرة موسى), award-winning Egyptian physicist, radiologist, writer, and professor who was the first female Egyptian nuclear physicist; she wrote extensively on nuclear energy — including its impact, its safety, and the theory behind it — on the history of the atom and its structure, on the dangers of nuclear fission technology, and on the properties and biological effects of radiation.

1920 – Ronald Searle, British artist, illustrator, and satirical cartoonist, known for creating the St. Trinian’s School series.

1926 – James Merrill, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet praised for his stylish elegance, moral sensibilities, and transformation of autobiographical moments into complex meditations.

1927 – Nicolas Freeling, British crime novelist and nonfiction writer; he is best known for the Van der Velk series of detective mysteries.

1928 – France Križanic, Slovene mathematician and professor of mathematical analysis who was the author of numerous books and textbooks on mathematics.

1928 – Gudrun Pausewang (also known by her married name, Gudrun Wilcke), German author of children’s and young-adult literature.

1928 – Silvia Rodgers (born Silvia Szulman), German-Jewish-British writer, autobiographer, anthropologist, and political activist.

1929 – Irina Tokmakova, award-winning Russian writer, poet, playwright, translator, and children’s writer who is particularly renowned for her translations into Russian of the works of Tove Jansson, Astrid Lindgren, and Kenneth Grahame.

1933 – Hannah Yakin, Dutch-born Israeli author, short-story writer, painter, sculptor, and etcher.

1935 – Ibrahim Aslan, Egyptian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer.

1937 – Satyam Sankaramanchi, Indian Telugu short-story writer and storyteller whose stories weave a whole new world around the tiny village of Amaravati, where he was born; his series of stories about Amaravati is considered one of the best short-story series written in the Telugu language.

1938 – Gaston Bart-Williams, Sierra Leonean journalist, writer, film director, novelist, poet, diplomat, and activist.

1938 – Patricia MacLachlan, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s writer of picture books, as well as novels for children and teens; she is best known for the book Sarah, Plain and Tall, set on the American frontier.

1943 – Aeronwy Bryn Thomas-Ellis, British poet, writer, and translator of Italian poetry; she was the daughter of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

1945 – George Miller (George Miliotis), Australian film director and screenwriter best known for Mad Max.

1949 – Ron Chernow, U.S. writer, journalist, historian, and biographer, winner of the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize; his biography of Alexander Hamilton inspired the Broadway musical.

1950 – Mohamed Ali Yousfi, award-winning Tunisian writer, poet, novelist, and translator.

1954 – Corinne Chaponnière, Quebec-born Canadian and Swiss journalist, writer, essayist, biographer, feminist writer, and television writer and reporter.

1955 – Caroline Lamarche, award-winning Belgian novelist, poet, short-story writer, teacher, radio writer, and children’s author

1956 – Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning bestselling U.S. novelist, journalist, and editor.

1957 – Nicholas Shakespeare, British novelist and biographer whose upbringing as a diplomat’s son is reflected in the variety of his work.

1957 – Stephen Budiansky, U.S. historian, nonfiction author, science writer, biographer, and book reviewer with interests in the history of cryptography, military and intelligence history, and music.

1958 – Siti Musdah Mulia, Indonesian nonfiction writer, professor, and women’s rights activist; she was the first woman appointed as a research professor with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences and has chaired the Indonesian Conference on Religion for Peace.

1958 – Barnaba M. Zingani, Malawian novelist, technical writer, short-story writer, children’s author, and teacher. In the Chichewa language he has written five novels, two of them for children, as well as a technical book on air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics, and short stories; in English he has published a children’s book, Black-Skinned Scientist and Other Stories.

1961 – John Matteson, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. professor and author.

1969 – Kola Boof (born Naima Bint Harith), Sudanese-U.S. novelist.

1971 – Tyler Florence, U.S. chef, cookbook author, and television show host.

1982 – Tolu Ogunlesi, Scottish-born Nigerian journalist, poet, photographer, fiction writer, and blogger.

Bird Diversity

A few of the backyard birds spotted today as I sat on my patio.

Sitting in my backyard, and with some help from an ornithology app, I have identified 22 different bird species in about 20 minutes.

I once read of a study that showed that people are happier if they are regularly exposed to at least fourteen different species. I’ve got more than that here today, and all of them at the same time. Today’s 22 bird species:

  • White-Breasted Nuthatch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • Carolina Wren
  • House Finch
  • House Sparrow
  • White-throated Sparrow
  • Song Sparrow
  • Mourning Dove
  • American Crow
  • American Robin
  • Tufted Titmouse
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  • European Starling
  • Dark-Eyed Juno
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Red-Shouldered Hawk
  • Eastern Towhee
  • Common Grackle
  • Pine Siskin

March 2 Writer Birthdays

1578 – George Sandys, English writer, poet, politician, translator, travel writer, explorer, and colonizer.

1651 – Carlo Gimach, Maltese architect, engineer, writer, and poet.

1760 – Christina Charlotta Cederström (née Mörner af Morlanda), Swedish baroness who was a writer, poet, novelist, artist, composer, and salonnière.

1800 – Evgeny Baratynsky, Russian poet who was lauded by Alexander Pushkin as the finest Russian elegiac poet.

1817 – Janos Arany, Hungarian poet, translator and journalist who has been called “the Shakespeare of ballads.”

1820 – Eduard Douwes Dekker, Dutch author better known by his pen name Multatuli (from Latin multa tuli, “I have suffered much”); he is best known for his satirical novel Max Havelaar, which denounced the abuses of colonialism in the Dutch East Indies (today’s Indonesia) and for his feminism. He is considered one of the Netherlands’ greatest authors.

1828 – Ahmad bey Javanshir, Azerbaijani writer, poet, children’s author, historian, translator, lexicographer, and military officer; he was the great-grandnephew of Ibrahim Khalil Khan, last ruling khan of Karabakh, and the father of philanthropist and feminist Hamida Javanshir.

1831 – Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (pen name Seeley Regester), U.S. author of groundbreaking detective fiction who is considered the first to extend the “puzzle plot” of the detective short story to the longer narrative form of the novel.

1853 – Ella Loraine Dorsey, U.S. author, short-story writer, journalist, children’s writer, and translator.

1855 – Adhar Lal Sen, Indian Bengali poet, writer, educator, and magistrate who was a household disciple of Ramakrishna, the 19th century mystic saint from Bengal.

1859 – Sholem Aleichem (pen name of Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich), Ukrainian Yiddish author whose Tevye the Milkman stories were the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof.

1866 – John Gray, English writer, poet, novelist, librarian, translator, Catholic priest, monk, and, linguist; it has been suggested, despite a lack of evidence, that he may have been the inspiration behind Oscar Wilde’s fictional Dorian Gray.

1873 – Inez Haynes Irwin, Brazilian author, journalist, writer, children’s author, science-fiction writer, feminist, and suffragist.

1873 – Marija Juric (pen name Zagorka), Croatian journalist, writer, and women’s rights activist who was the first female journalist in Croatia and is among the most read of Croatian writers.

1881 – Eugeniu Ștefănescu-Est, Romanian Symbolist poet, novelist, fairy-tale writer, children’s author, artist, caricaturist, lawyer, and judge.

1898 – Vera Sergeyevna Bulich, Russian and Finnish poet, prose writer, and critic; one critic compared the fine delicacy of her poetry to the finish of Chinese porcelain.

1904 – Dr. Seuss (pen name of Theodore “Ted” Geisel), popular and influential U.S. children’s author, political cartoonist, illustrator, poet, animator, screenwriter, and filmmaker; his birthday has been adopted as Read Across America Day.

1908 – Olivia Mary Manning, British novelist, poet, writer, screenwriter, and reviewer; her fiction and nonfiction works, many of them detailing journeys and personal odysseys, were principally set in the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East and are admired for her artistic eye and vivid descriptions of place.

1909 – Geneviève Viollet-le-Duc, award-winning French writer, art historian, letter writer, biographer, and woman of letters.

1912 – Yi Ho-woo, award-winning South Korean poet, journalist, editor, and editorial writer; the Korea Literature Translation Institute said that his work “is typified by the poet’s dogged determination to live, his burning passion, and his strong critical awareness of contemporary realities.”

1917 – David Goodis, U.S. novelist and short-story writer known for his crime and noir fiction.

1918 – Ales Bachyla, Belarusian poet, writer, playwright, and translator whose writing was characterized by “memories of the front, daily work of common people, love towards his country and the duty of a citizen, patriotism and portraying nature.”

1922 – Hannes Sigfússon, Icelandic poet, writer, novelist, memoirist, editor, and translator.

1926 – Mirjam Polkunen, award-winning Finnish writer, author, literature researcher, translator, and dramatist.

1928 – Alberto Caramella, Italian poet, writer, and lawyer who worked to promote Italian and international poetry.

1930 – Pablo Armando Fernández, award-winning Cuban poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright.

1931 – Mykola Petrovych Bakay, Polish-born Ukrainian singer, composer, lyricist, poet, author, and Soviet dissident.

1931 – Ruth Machado Lousada Rocha (mostly known as Ruth Rocha), Brazilian writer, children’s book author, and academic who is a key figure in the new wave of Brazilian children’s literature.

1931 – Tom Wolfe, influential U.S. author and journalist, known for his earlier nonfiction writing and his later novels; he is widely known for his association with the New Journalism, a style of news writing and journalism developed in the 1960s and 1970s that incorporates literary techniques.

1932 – Aldona Gustas, award-winning Lithuanian feminist poet and illustrator who is based in Berlin, where she co-founded an important artistic forum in West Berlin, the “Berliner Malerpoeten” (Berlin Painter/Poets), a group of artists who both wrote and illustrated their works; the central theme of Gustas’ poetry, which is deeply autobiographical, is love and playful eroticism in a utopian world of fantasy, with references to natural elements such as clouds, swans, sea gulls, flowers, fish, and stars. She also makes frequent use in her work of Lithuanian myths and folktales.

1933 – Leo Dillon, two-time Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. artist best known for illustrating children’s books, but who also wrote children’s books and did magazine covers and adult book covers; he worked closely with his wife Diane Dillon.

1933 – Vasant Purushottam Kale (popularly known as Va Pu), Indian Marathi writer, storyteller, and architect.

1939 – Janina Katz, Polish-Danish writer, poet, translator, literary critic, and children’s writer.

1942 – John Irving, bestselling U.S.-Canadian novelist, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, and educator known for his dense and psychological style; his best-known works include The World According to Garp, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and The Cider House Rules.

1943 – Peter Straub, World Fantasy and Bram Stoker Award-winning U.S. author of horror novels and poetry.

1944 – Alejandro Aura, Mexican writer, essayist, poet, playwright, and actor who was also a culture promoter and television host.

1950 – Ahmet Hüsrev Altan, Turkish author, journalist, and editor.

1955 – Oluremi Comfort Sonaiya, Nigerian writer, professor, columnist, educationalist, and politician who was the only female presidential candidate in Nigeria’s 2015 general election.

1961 – Sheila Black, U.S. poet, novelist, and editor who writes for adults, young adults, and children; she is also an advocate for people with disabilities.

1966 – Ann Leckie, U.S. author of science fiction and fantasy who has won the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards.

1978 – Márcio-André de Sousa Haz, Brazilian writer, poet, literary critic, linguist, and film director; he writes under his first name Márcio-André, and as a film director uses Sousa Haz.

1979 – Kristina Ohlsson, award-winning Swedish writer, crime novelist, children’s author, and political scientist.

Joni Mitchell and Friends in Concert Tonight

Tonight is Joni Mitchell‘s Gershwin Prize concert at DAR Constitution Hall. The Gershwin Prize is presented each year by the Library of Congress to a living person who has made lasting contributions to popular music.

The concert is free, but most tickets go to VIPs. So the audience features Supreme Court justices, members of Congress, diplomats, and the like, as well as high-level officials from the Library of Congress and from PBS, which records the event to televise. The general public is not invited.

But my husband Bob, who works at the Library of Congress, was able to get a ticket, as he usually does. He is basically a seat filler, meant to fill the empty seats between the groups of VIP ticket holders, so that the PBS broadcast will show a full house. (Not that there is ever any shortage of LC and PBS staffers who want to go. And, of course, if tickets were available to the general public, there would never be an empty seat.)

Some years, he has been able to get two tickets, and not even as seat fillers. So I have been to several Gershwin Prize concerts with him, and they are always fantastic! The first half is made up of performances of the honoree’s songs by other top-name performers. This year, those stars will include James Taylor, Diana Krall, Graham Nash, Annie Lennox, Herbie Hancock, and more. Then the winner herself will perform the second half of the concert. In the past, I’ve attended the Gershwin Prize concerts honoring Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, and Tony Bennett. But in recent years, the event has become so popular among the D.C. movers and shakers that Bob usually cannot manage a ticket for me any more. So I will have to wait to see it televised on PBS in a few weeks.

I’m glad he has the opportunity to go. I know he will have a great time; Joni Mitchell is one of his all-time favorites.

March 1 Writer Birthdays

1308 – Longchenpa (full name Longchen Rabjampa, Drimé Özer), Tibetan writer, educator, monk, and abbot who was a major teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism; he is considered one of the three main manifestations of Manjushri (the personification of Supreme Wisdom) to have taught in Central Tibet. His major work is the Seven Treasuries, which encapsulates the previous 600 years of Tibetan Buddhist thought.

1325 – Gidō Shūshin, Japanese writer, poet, diarist, and monk who was considered a master of poetry and prose in Chinese. He used the literary name Kugedojin, or Holy Man Who Sees Flowers in the Sky.

1597 – Jean-Charles della Faille, Flemish Belgian writer, mathematician, teacher, and Jesuit priest who also advised King Philip IV of Spain, on military questions, especially fortifications; his most famous book is Theoremata de centro gravitatis partium circuli et ellipsis (Theorems about the Center of Gravity of the Parts of a Circle and an Ellipse), in which he was the first to determine the center of gravity of the sector of a circle.

1633 – Yi Seou (also spelled Lee Seo-Woo), Korean politician, Neo-Confucian scholar, and early writer of the silhak Confucian social reform movement.

1717 – Catharina Helena Dörrien, German writer, editor, translator, botanist, mycologist, artist, and teacher who was the most celebrated German-speaking female naturalist of her time. She published a catalogue of plants of the Principality of Orange-Nassau, was a talented artist who painted more than 1,400 watercolor botanical illustrations, and became the first woman to name a fungal taxon.

1781 – Javiera Carrera (full name Francisca Xaviera Eudoxia Rudecinda Carmen de los Dolores de la Carrera y Verdugo), Chilean writer who, along with her brothers, was among the most important leaders of the early Chilean struggle for independence. Considered to be the Mother of Chile, she is also credited with having sewn the first national flag. After the Spanish Reconquista of 1814, she went into exile but was later arrested and imprisoned; she survived, but her brothers were executed.

1791 – Manuel Carpio (full name Manuel Elogio Carpio Hernández), Mexican poet, writer, theologian, philosopher, and doctor; he was part of the Mexican Romanticist movement.

1801 – Johanna Friederika Henriette Katharina Davidis, German author, essayist, governess, and teacher who dedicated her career to educating women about self-reliant housekeeping; she is considered Germany’s most famous cookbook author.

1833 – Isabel Prieto de Landázuri, Spanish writer, poet, playwright, and translator; she wrote most of her important work in Mexico, where she was one of the first women to enter the literary canon in the 19th century.

1837 – William Dean Howells, U.S. author and literary critic; creator of the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham.

1880 – Lytton Strachey, British author and critic, most known for his biographies and for his association with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group of English writers, artists, and philosophers.

1889 – Kanoko Okamoto (born Ohnuki Kano), Japanese writer, poet, novelist, and Buddhist scholar; because she started having her work published late in life and died at a young age, much of her writing was published posthumously.

1892 – Mercedes de Acosta, U.S. poet, playwright, novelist, autobiographer, screenwriter, and fashion designer who was also known for her lesbian relationships with famous Broadway and Hollywood personalities and her friendships with prominent artists of the period.

1892 – Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Japanese writer who is considered the Father of the Japanese Short Story.

1898 – Sara Haardt Mencken, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, reviewer, essayist, and professor of English literature who left a sizeable body of work despite the fact that she died at the age of 37. She married satirist and cultural critic H.L. Mencken, after meeting him when he came to speak at the college where she was a professor; the title of his speech was “How To Get a Husband.”

1904 – Angela du Maurier, English novelist who also wrote two volumes of autobiography, It’s Only the Sister and Old Maids Remember; she was the sister of author and playwright Daphne du Maurier.

1904 – Margaret Steuart “Peggy” Pollard (née Gladstone), British poet, playwright, activist, scholar of Sanskrit, and bard of the Cornish language.

1914 – Ralph Ellison, National Book Award-winning U.S. African-American novelist, literary critic, crime novelist, essayist, and professor known for his realist approach to fiction; much of his work, including his best known novel, Invisible Man, reflected the experiences of African Americans in the early 20th century.

1915 – Antonia Bruha, Austrian resistance activist, author, and translator.

1915 – Zulfiya Isroilova (usually referred to as simply Zulfiya), Uzbek poet, writer, and editor; she wrote patriotic works, pacifist works, and works on nature and on women’s issues.

1917 – Robert Lowell, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who was named U.S. Poet Laureate and also won the National Book Award; his work often dealt with New England and his own family, which traced back to the Mayflower.

1917 – Fadwa Tuqan, Palestinian poet known for her descriptions of the suffering of the Palestinian people and resistance to Israeli occupation; she is considered “one of the most distinguished figures of modern Arabic literature.”

1918 – Marie Louise Berneri, Italian author, psychologist, activist, and anarchist who also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia.

1921 – Richard Wilbur, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and translator who was named U.S. Poet Laureate; his poetry was praised for its wit, charm, and gentlemanly elegance.

1923 – Shantabai Kamble, Indian Marathi writer and activist from the Dalit (untouchable) class of Hindu society; her book, Picturebook of My Life, was the first published autobiography by a Dalit woman.

1929 – Georgi Ivanov Markov, Bulgarian dissident writer, journalist, novelist, and playwright who defected in 1968.

1930 – Sung Chan-gyeong (Hangul: 성찬경), award-winning South Korean poet and professor who has been called a master of metaphor; his poems are said to be “full of modernist experimentation in both technical form and content.”

1932 – Ranginui Joseph Isaac Walker, award-winning New Zealand writer, professor, and activist of Māori and Lebanese descent.

1934 – Homa Nategh, Iranian writer, historian, women’s rights activist, resistance fighter, and professor who specialized in the contemporary history of Iran but moved to Paris after being purged from the University of Tehran after the 1979 revolution.

1940 – Nuala O’Faolain, Irish writer, novelist, memoirist, biographer, journalist, book reviewer, television producer, and teacher, best known for her memoirs Are You Somebody? and Almost There.

1941 – Robert Hass, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning U.S. poet, critic, and translator who was named U.S. Poet Laureate; his work has been called “musical, descriptive, meditative poetry.”

1942 – Josephine Hart (Lady Saatchi), Irish novelist, screenwriter, theatrical producer, and television presenter.

1943 – Sam McBratney, prolific Northern Irish teacher and writer, especially of books for children and young adults; he is best known as the author of the bestselling children’s book Guess How Much I Love You.

1946 – Jim Crace, award-winning English author of literary fiction.

1948 – Hamlet Isakhanli, Azerbaijani writer, poet, physicist, mathematician, translator, linguist, lexicographer, television host, and university founder and president.

1949 – Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Egyptian-born writer, scholar, and human-rights activist with expertise in Islamic history, culture, theology, and politics; he was exiled from Egypt for his liberal political, religious, and social views and now has political asylum in the United States.

1952 – Nevada Barr, U.S. author best known for her Anna Pigeon mysteries, set in U.S. National Parks.

1952 – Kim Seung-hee, award-winning South Korean poet, essayist, novelist, and professor; her early work is characterized by a penchant for formalism as well as fierce, unabashed language, while her later poetry has evolved towards the exploration of everyday reality and questions of existence.

1954 – Gerard “Gerry” Conlon, Northern Irish author, writer, screenwriter, and human-rights activist who is one of the Guildford Four who spent 15 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of being an IRA bomber; he described his experience of injustice in his book Proved Innocent.

1955 – Clara Sánchez, award-winning Spanish novelist and university professor.

1957 – Sophie Smiley, British teacher and author of books for children; she is best known for her books about a family that loves football.

1959 – Tonya K. Bolden, award-winning U.S. African-American writer and biographer best known for her works of children’s literature, especially children’s nonfiction.

1966 – Delphine de Vigan, French novelist and screenwriter.

1961 – Elisabeth Bouchaud, award-winning Tunisian physicist, writer, playwright, theatre manager, and actress.

1970 – Joanna Rubin Dranger, Swedish writer, graphic novelist, illustrator, comics artist, and professor.

1972 – Rieko “Rie” Yasumi, Japanese writer and senryū poet (senryū poems are constructed similarly to haiku, but tend to be cynical or darkly humorous, and to focus on human foibles, while haiku tend to be about nature).

1977 – Abigail “Aby” King, British novelist best known as the author of the Adventures of a Royal Dog fantasy series, beginning with the first book in the series, Lupo and The Secret of Windsor Castle; the books are based on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s cocker spaniel, Lupo.

1979 – Dana Goldberg (Hebrew: דנה גולדברג), Israeli poet, filmmaker, screenwriter, and playwright.

Dreams of Italy

I am going back to Italy. I recently read a series of memoirs by an Irish writer named Rosie Meleady, about buying a decrepit villa in Umbria and moving her family there to fix it up and run a wedding planning business. As I read, I kept thinking this was a writer I would love to know personally. Then I learned that she is now running writers’ retreats, and I had to sign up.

If you know me at all, you know I am obsessed with Italy. My ancestors came from there, and the one time I visited, I felt at home the moment the plane landed. I have been desperate to go back, and now I am really doing it.

I have not been on a plane since before covid-19 began, so I will be stepping out of my comfort zone here, but I think there is finally an excellent chance that the pandemic will be over before I leave.

The retreat is six days long, near Lake Trasimeno, on the border between Umbria and Tuscany. We’ll have several hours of writing per day, as well as sessions to discuss our week, and excursions to several villages, a winery, and more. I am currently editing the first draft of my science-fiction novel, but expect to be done with it by then. So I’ll probably use the retreat time to work on the outline or first draft of the second book in the series — unless this one still needs a lot more editing by then.

The retreat isn’t until summer, and I am still planning my itinerary. In addition to the six-day writing program, I plan to see some of my ancestral villages in Umbria and Marche, as well as visit Ravenna, and Venice. And I’ll be flying into Rome, so I plan to take a few days there to see parts of the city I missed last time. I also to journey to San Marino, an autonomous micro-country surrounded by the Italian countryside, and quite close to where my father’s maternal ancestors lived in Marche.

I don’t have concrete plans or reservations yet, just possibilities. And I can’t wait! If you have sights to suggest in central Italy, let me know. I am open to suggestions.

February 28 Writer Birthdays

1533 – Michel de Montaigne, influential French Renaissance writer and philosopher who popularized the essay as a literary genre.

1797 – Mary Lyon, U.S. educator, author, religious writer, and pioneer in the field of women’s education; she founded and served as president of Mount Holyoke College.

1814 – William Henry Giles Kingston, British writer of historical novels and travel books, who was best known for his popular tales for boys; often known as “W.H.G.” Kingston.

1820 – John Tenniel, English illustrator, graphic humorist, political cartoonist, writer, and poet; he is remembered mainly as the principal political cartoonist for Punch magazine and for his illustrations to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.

1824 – Karl-Maria Kertbeny (also called Károly Mária Kertbeny or Karl-Maria Benkert), Austrian-born Hungarian journalist, memoirist, and human rights campaigner, best known for coining the words heterosexual and homosexual.

1844 – Girish Chandra Ghosh, Bengali musician, poet, playwright, novelist, theatre director, and actor, considered the Father of Bengali Theatre.

1866 – Vyacheslav Ivanov, Russian poet, writer, playwright, philosopher, linguist, translator, and literary scholar who played a key role in the development of the Symbolist literary movement in Russia.

1894 – Ben Hecht, prolific U.S. screenwriter, director, producer, playwright, and novelist who was sometimes called the Shakespeare of Hollywood.

1895 – Marcel Pagnol, French author, playwright, and filmmaker, best known for his novel Jean de Florette.

1902 – Marcela Paz, pen name of Esther Huneeus Salas de Claro, a popular Chilean writer and children’s author.; she also used the pen names of Paula de la Sierra, Lukim Retse, P. Neka, and Juanita Godoy.

1909 – Ketti Frings, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, playwright, and screenwriter.

1909 – Stephen Spender, English poet, novelist, critic, essayist, professor, and literary magazine founder; his work explored themes of social injustice and class struggle.

1911 – Justus Cornelias Dirks, award-winning South African writer, novelist, and children’s author.

1913 – Adele McQueen, U.S. educator, pedagogue, parenting expert, and university teacher who also lived in Africa and wrote a Liberian cookbook.

1919 – Sumio Mori, Japanese poet noted for his haiku and his interest in the haikai traditions of pre-modern times.

1930 – Pareeth Mammy Meerakutty, Indian Malayalam writer, historian, grammarian, literary critic, children’s writer, literary historian, biographer, translator, and teacher who taught Malayalam language and literature.

1936 – Sanjib Chattopadhyay, award-winning Indian Bengali novelist, children’s author, and short-story writer; his style is characterized by the use of short satirical sentences, humor, and lively language, and his work is often about families living in Calcutta.

1939 – Erika Pluhar, Austrian author, actress, and singer who has been writing books since her childhood.

1941 – Guðrið Helmsdal Nielsen (born as Guðrið Helmsdal Poulsen), Faroese writer and poet; her first collection of poetry, Lýtt lot, which was published in 1963, was the first modern collection of poems in the Faroese language. She writes in both Faroese and Danish.

1942 – Liu Hsia (better known by her pen name Hsinglintzu), prolific Taiwanese writer and activist for people with disabilities, who was diagnosed with atrophic arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of 12; in 1980, she was named one of the nation’s Ten Outstanding Young Women.

1944 – Julio Escoto, Honduran novelist, essayist, and short-story writer.

1946 – Steve Martini, U.S. journalist, lawyer, and author of legal thrillers.

1947 – Leena Krohn, Finnish novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and children’s author whose work explores themes of morality, the borders between reality and illusion, and artificial intelligence.

1948 – Alfred Sant, Maltese novelist and politician who served as Prime Minister of Malta between 1996 and 1998.

1948 – Donna Jo Napoli, U.S. writer of children’s and young adult fiction, as well as a prominent linguist and professor.

1952 – Rudy Andeweg, Dutch author, writer, and university teacher who has written on political psychology, voting behavior, political elites, political leadership, comparative politics and political institutions.

1952 – Simon Hammelburg, Dutch journalist, author, composer, songwriter, and Holocaust educator.

1958 – Natalya Estemirova, Russian writer, journalist, lecturer, and human rights activist; she was abducted and assassinated in 2009 while working on extremely sensitive cases of human-rights abuses in Chechnya.

1959 – Megan McDonald, U.S. children’s author, best known for the Judy Moody books.

1963 – Kristina Masuwa-Morgan (better known as Kristina Rungano), Zimbabwean poet, short-story writer, educator, and computer scientist who was the first published Zimbabwean woman poet. Much of her poetry discusses themes about the experiences of women in wartime.

1964 – Lotta Lotass (real name Britt Inger Liselott Lotass Hagström), Swedish writer, playwright, and literary critic.

1964 – Daniel Munduruku, award-winning Brazilian writer, children’s author, museum director, and educator; a member of the Munduruku indigenous people, he often writes children’s books that deal with traditional indigenous life and tales.

1965 – Colum McCann, National Book Award-winning Irish writer of literary fiction.

1966 – Philip Reeve, award-winning English writer, author, illustrator, children’s writer, and science-fiction author who is primarily known for the book Mortal Engines, its sequels, and its film adaptation.

1970 – Lemony Snicket, Pen name of U.S. novelist Daniel Handler, author of the “A Series of Unfortunate Events” books for children.

1977 – Chris Wooding, award-winning British author, children’s writer, science-fiction writer, and fantasy writer; he wrote his first novel, Crashing, at the age of 19.

1978 – Daria Sofia Elisabeth (Lisa) Aschan (better known as Lisa Aschan), award-winning but controversial Swedish film director and screenwriter.

1989 – César González (also known by his pseudonym Camilo Blajaquis), Argentinian poet, screenwriter, writer, cinematographer, author, and film director who is often referred to as “el poeta villero” (the poet from the ghetto).

February 27 Writer Birthdays

1607 – Christian Keymann (also spelled Keimann), Czech-born German poet, writer, and hymnwriter.

1607 – Giovanni Francesco Loredan (or Loredano), Italian Venetian writer, novelist, essayist, history writer, librettist, editor, and politician; as founder of the Accademia degli Incogniti and a member of many other academies, he had close contact with most of the key scholars of his day and played a decisive role in the creation of modern opera.

1770 – Juan Bautista Arriaza, Spanish poet, writer, and diplomat.

1807 – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, U.S. poet, author, educator, and translator; one of the Fireside Poets, he is best known for “Paul Revere’s Ride” and “The Song of Hiawatha.”

1812 – Samo Chalupka, Slovak writer and Romantic poet, and translator; his works includes themes of Slovak nature, patriotism, and loyalty to his homeland, and often incorporated Slovak folk songs.

1814 – Maria Susanna Kübler, Swiss writer, teacher, and translator who is remembered for her housekeeping guides and cookbooks.

1818 – Joseph Jenkins, Welsh farmer, diarist, and poet who in his 50s suddenly abandoned his home and large family to seek his fortune in Australia.

1821 – Ausonio Franchi (real name Cristoforo Bonavino), Italian writer, philosopher, journalist, editor, theologian, and Catholic priest.

1835 – Richard Garnett, British writer, poet, biographer, scholar, and librarian.

1837 – Francesca Alexander, Tuscan-based U.S. expatriate illustrator, author, folklorist, and translator.

1838 – Pavel Dmitrievich Golohvastov, Russian writer, historian, philologist, publicist, and Slavophile.

1848 – Muhammad Anwaarullah Farooqui (also known as Shaykh Ul Islam Imam Muhammad Anwaarullah Khan Farooqui), prolific Indian-born writer who was the founder of the Islamic university Jamia Nizamia, Hyderabad.

1849 – Václav Beneš Třebízský, Czech writer, historical novelist, children’s writer, and priest.

1850 – Laura E. Richards, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer, author, poet, and children’s writer; she is best known for her biography of her mother, Julia Ward Howe, the poet, women’s suffragist, and abolitionist who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”

1851 – Manuel Magri, Maltese anthropologist, archaeologist, ethnographer, writer, folklorist, educator, and priest; he is considered one of Malta’s pioneers in the field of archaeology.

1856- Mary Kathleen Lyttelton (nee Clive), British writer, editor, activist, and suffragist who devoted much of her life to fighting to improve women’s lives; in her book Women and Their Work she argued that education for women was “essential to their true progress,” and that voting rights where essential to that education.

1857 – Agnes Mary Frances Robinson (known as Agnes-Marie-François Darmesteter after her first marriage and as Agnes Mary Frances Duclaux after her second) British and French poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, and translator.

1859 – Bertha Pappenheim, Austrian-Jewish writer, novelist, poet, playwright, children’s writer, short-story writer, feminist, and social pioneer who was the founder of the Jewish Women’s Association (Jüdischer Frauenbund). Her work was published under her own name, anonymously, or under the pseudonym Paul Berthold. But she is perhaps better known for her medical history; under the pseudonym Anna O., she was also one of neurophysiologist Josef Breuer’s best-documented patients because of Sigmund Freud’s writing about her case.

1867 – George Diamandy, Romanian writer, autobiographer, librettist, diarist, children’s author, diplomat, sociologist, anthropologist, and archaeologist.

1873 – Enrique Gómez Carrillo, Guatemalan literary critic, writer, journalist, and diplomat who was wrongly accused of betraying World War I German spy Mata Hari and giving her to the French.

1880 – Angelina Weld Grimké, U.S. African-American poet and playwright who was an important forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance; her aunts Angelina and Sarah Grimké were prominent white abolitionists despite being raised in a slave-owning family.

1884 – Alexandre Arnoux, French screenwriter, writer, poet, playwright, translator, and science-fiction writer.

1885 – Ellen Rydelius, Swedish writer, journalist, travel writer, cookbook author, and translator who is most remembered for translating major Russian works into Swedish, including Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.

1887 – Alés Harun, Belarusian writer, poet, playwright, lyricist, opinion journalist, and writer

1888 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr., U.S. social historian and author who was father of author Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

1900 – Keiji Nishitani, Japanese writer, philosopher, poet, and university teacher whose work had a religious and subjective bent that has been associated with the existentialists and mystics.

1901 – Ali Valiyev, Azerbaijani prose writer, historian, editor, journalist, and short-story writer who is considered one of the outstanding figures of the Azerbaijani national literature.

1902 – John Steinbeck, Pulitzer Prize-winning and Nobel Prize-winning U.S. writer of novels, short stories, and nonfiction; his “realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humor and keen social perception” are considered classics of Western literature. Much of his work is set in California and explores themes of fate and injustice.

1904 – James T. Farrell, U.S. novelist, poet, and short-story writer, best known for his Studs Lonigan trilogy.

1904 – Jalu Kurek, award-winning Polish poet and novelist who was part of the Kraków avant-garde movement.

1910 – Peter DeVries, U.S. novelist and editor known for his satiric wit, especially when writing about religion.

1912 – Lawrence Durrell, expatriate Indian-born British writer whose most famous work was his Alexandria quartet. His brother Gerald and sister Margaret were also authors; Gerald’s My Family and Other Animals and its sequels detailed the family’s life on the Greek isle of Corfu in the 1930s and was the basis for the television series, The Durrells in Corfu.

1912 – Vishnu Vaman Shirwadkar (popularly known by his pen name, Kusumagraj, and also known as Vi. Va. Shirwadkar), eminent and prolific Indian Marathi poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, and short-story writer who wrote about freedom, justice, and emancipation of the deprived.

1913 – Irwin Shaw, U.S. novelist, playwright, screenwriter, and short-story writer.

1921 – Germaine Simon, Luxembourg physician, novelist, and short-story writer who is best remembered for her historical novel Lucilinburhuc, which traced the history of Luxembourg from the Stone Age to the present.

1925 – Amir-Hossein Aryanpour, influential Iranian writer, translator, sociologist, linguist, lexicographer, and academic who wrote numerous books and articles on sociology, philosophy, and literature.

1926 – Elisabeth Borchers, German writer, poet, translator, literary editor, and children’s writer.

1931 – Kazuko Shiraishi, Canadian-born Japanese Modernist poet, editor, and translator; she has been called “the Allen Ginsberg of Japan.”

1933 – Armando Baptista-Bastos, Portuguese author, journalist, and writer.

1934 – N. Scott Momaday, U.S. Native American (Kiowa) author whose novel House Made of Dawn won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

1934 – Ralph Nader, U.S. author, lecturer, political activist, and occasional presidential candidate whose work centers on environmentalism, consumer protection, and government reform; his work has been credited with the passage of several consumer protection laws, and he has been named repeatedly to lists of the most influential Americans.

1935 – Gulzar Singh Sandhu, prominent, award-winning Indian Punjabi-language journalist, editor, columnist, and short-story writer.

1935 – Uri Shulevitz, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. writer and illustrator of children’s books.

1938 – Konstantin Vasilioglu, Ukrainian writer, poet, fairy-tale writer, educator, and lexicographer.

1942 – Christine Haidegger, influential, award-winning Austrian writer, poet, novelist, playwright, travel writer, short-story writer, and memoirist whose work revealed snapshots of seasons, nature and life, and existential experiences such as grief, loneliness, time, and transience, using unpretentious language characterized by its apparent simplicity and careful imagery.

1942 – Charlayne Hunter-Gault, U.S. journalist, broadcaster, foreign correspondent, and civil-rights activist.

1944 – Ken Grimwood, World Fantasy Award-winning U.S. author of fantasy fiction; he sometimes wrote under the name Alan Cochran.

1947 – Sonia Manzano Vela, award-winning Ecuadorian writer, poet, short-story writer, and pianist.

1956 – Meena Keshwar Kamal, Afghani writer, poet, politician, journalist, social worker, essayist, and revolutionary political activist who founded the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA); she was assassinated in 1987.

1964 – Chi Zijian, Chinese novelist best known for her book The Last Quarter of the Moon.

1965 – Marzena Broda, Polish poet, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.

1970 – Michael A. Burstein, U.S. science-fiction novelist and short-story writer who is also a columnist, journalist, science teacher, textbook editor, town council member, and president of the Society for the Preservation of Pluto as a Planet, which goes by the acronym SP3.

1972 – Pius Adebola Adesanmi, Nigerian-born writer, satirist, poet, columnist, essayist, nonfiction author, professor, and literary critic who was living in Canada; many of his writings focused on the absurd in the Nigerian social and political system. He died in 2019, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed shortly after take-off.

1972 – Maja Lidia Korwin-Kossakowska-Grzedowicz, award-winning Polish fantasy writer, novelist, short-story writer, journalist, and archeologist who is best known for using angel themes in her work. Her husband, Jaroslaw Grzedowicz, is also a fantasy writer.

1982 – Tehila Hakimi, award-winning Israeli poet, editor, author, and graphic novelist who is a key member of the Mizrahi Ars Poetica movement.