Authors' Birthdays/April

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  • Edmond Rostand (1868): French dramatist and poet, author of Cyrano de Bergerac
  • Augusta Baker (1911): Baltimore (MD)-born librarian, storyteller, and writer who worked for 35 years at the New York Public Library and developed comprehensive bibliographies of African American-based children's literature;
  • Anne McCaffrey (1926): fantasy/sci-fi writer
  • Samuel Ray Delany (1942): Harlem native, sci-fi novelist and short story writer, winner of the Nebula, Hugo, and Pilgrim Awards


  • Hans Christian Andersen (1805): Danish fairy tale writer, who penned over 160 fairy tales
  • Emile Zola (1840): French writer and insurgent
  • George MacDonald Fraser (1925): British historical novelist who wrote about the rogue and bully Flashman


  • George Herbert (1593; d.1633): English metaphysical poet (born Wales)
  • Washington Irving (1783; d.1859): American writer, author of Rip Van Winkle and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Jane Goodall (1934): London-born animal behaviorist (chimps) and writer


  • Rémy de Gourmont (1858; d.1915): French novelist and critic, best known as an apologist for the symbolists, in Le Livre des masques (1896; The Book of Masks)
  • Finnish Swedish-language poet Edith Södergran (1892);
  • Robert Emmett Sherwood (1896): U.S. playwright and historian who was a member of the Algonquin round table and Franklin Roosevelt's speechwriter in the 1940s;
  • Marguerite Duras (1914): Vietnamese novelist and screenplay writer, who wrote the screenplay for the film Hiroshima Mon Amor (1959);
  • Maya Angelou (1928): Missouri-born (Arkansas-raised) novelist, poet, dramatist, and performer, born Marguerite Johnson


  • Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837): British poet, author of Poems and Ballads, and member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood that included William Morris
  • Booker T. Washington (1856; d. 1915): Virginia-born essayist, autobiographer, biographer, educator, and social thinker, born into slavery as Booker Taliaferro, well-known for the bestselling Up From Slavery (1901)
  • Robert Bloch (1917): American crime/suspense writer, aka Collier Young, penned Psycho


  • Merle Haggard (1937): California-born country songwriter and singer.


  • William Wordsworth (1770; d.1850): English romantic poet
  • William Ellery Channing (1780): Rhode Island author and clergyman, instrumental in founding the Unitarian church
  • Walter Winchell (1897): premier New Yorker gossip columnist


  • E.Y. "Yip" Harburg (1888): Lyricist who penned the words to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" (1932) and "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (1939), among others
  • John Fante (1911): Denver native (lived in L.A.) and depression-era novelist
  • Seymour Hersh (1937): Chicago-born journalist who broke the My Lai massacre story
  • Barbara Kingsolver (1955): Annapolis (MD)-born novelist who wrote The Bean Trees (1988), Animal Dreams (1990), and The Poisonwood Bible (1998), among others


  • Charles-Pierre Baudelaire (1821; d.1867): French poet, essayist, and art critic;
  • Paule Marshall (1929): Brooklyn-born novelist and short story writer, one of the first writers to explore the psychological concerns of African American women


  • William Hazlitt (1778; 1830): English critic and essayist whose style is appreciated for its plainness and vigor
  • Joseph Pulitzer (1847): Hungarian-born publisher and journalist
  • George William Russell (1867; d.1935): Irish poet, editor, and painter, aka AE
  • Clare Booth Luce (1903): New Yorker, journalist, playwright and politician, staff writer for Vanity Fair magazine and author of the play The Women, on which the movie is based
  • David Halberstam (1934): NYC-born historian
  • Paul Theroux (1941): Massachusetts native, travel writer, and novelist


  • Wisconsin novelist and essayist Glenway Wescott (1901);
  • Leo Rosten (1908): born in Poland, grew up in the U.S., and best known for The Joys of Yiddish (1968)


  • Beverly Cleary (1916): Children's book writer
  • Jack Gelber (1932): Chicago-born playwright
  • Sir Alan Ayckbourn (1939): British prolific playwright
  • Scott Turow (1949): Chicago native, writer of legal thrillers


  • Thomas Jefferson (1743): America's Renaissance man, Virginia-born 3rd U.S. president, inventor, lawyer, architect, gardener, and writer, whose pamphlet A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774) pushed forward the American patriot cause;
  • Nella Larsen (1891; d.1964): Chicago native and novelist, regarded as an important writer of the Harlem Renaissance;
  • Marguerite Henry: author of Misty of Chincoteague and other kids' horse books (1902);
  • Samuel Barclay Beckett (1906): Irish playwright and novelist, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969 and is best-known for his play Waiting for Godot;
  • Eudora Welty (1909): American writer, winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize;
  • Seamus Heaney (1939): Irish poet and 1995 Nobel Prize winner


  • James Branch Cabell (1879): Richmond, Virginia native and novelist
  • Arnold Toynbee (1889): British historian, known for his twelve-volume collection, A Study of History (1934-1961)


  • Henry James (1843; d.1916): American novelist (born New York), whose novels include The American (1877), The Europeans (1878), Daisy Miller (1879), and The Portrait of a Lady (1881), and whose older brother was philosopher William James (1828-1910);
  • Waverly Root (1903): food writer, born in Providence, RI, author of The Food of France (1958)


  • Gertrude Chandler Warner (1890; d.1979), creator of the Boxcar Children
  • Anatole France (1844; d.1924): French novelist, poet, political satirist, and 1921 Nobel Prize winner, born Jacques Anatole Francois Thibault
  • John Millington Synge (1871; d.1909): Irish playwright, who wrote Playboy of the Western World
  • Garth Williams (1912): classic children's book illustrator
  • Sir Kingsley Amis (1922): British novelist, poet, and short story writer


  • C[onstantine] P[eter] Cavafy (1863; d.1933): Modern Greek poet (born and died in Egypt), aka Konstantinos Patrou Kabaphes
  • Karen Blixen (1885; d.1962): Danish writer and traveller, aka Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa (1937) and Shadows on the Grass (1961)
  • Thornton Niven Wilder (1897): Wisconsin-born playwright and novelist, author of every amateur stage company's favourite play, Our Town
  • Cynthia Ozick (1928): NYC-born novelist and essayist


  • George Henry Lewes (1817): British writer, known for nurturing and encouraging the writing talent of lover Mary Ann Evans (George Eliot)
  • Richard Harding Davis (1864): War-time journalist and fiction writer


  • Sarah Kemble Knight (1666): New England diarist
  • Etheridge Knight (1931; d.1991): African American poet, one of the most popular poets of the black arts movement in the 1960s


  • Marcus Aurelius [Antoninus] (121 A.D): Roman philosopher, humane emperor, and author of The Meditations
  • Michael Leiris (1901): French surrealist writer, anthropologist, and autobiographer


  • Charlotte Bronte (1816; d.1855): English novelist, author of Jane Eyre (1847), sister to Anne and Emily, sometimes writing under the name Currer Bell
  • Josh Billings (1818): Massachusetts native, humorist, auctioneer, and realtor, born Henry Wheeler Shaw
  • Elaine May (1932): Philadelphia-born comedienne, writer, and director, nee Elaine Berlin, who wrote Heaven Can Wait and adapted the script for The Birdcage, among others
  • Thomas McMahon (1943): Ohio native and novelist
  • Kolo Omotoso (1943): Nigerian playwright and novelist
  • Barbara Park (1947): Junie B. Jones creator


  • Henry Fielding (1707; d.1754): English novelist and playwright, author of Joseph Andrews (1742) and The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1749), and cousin to Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
  • Ellen [Anderson Gholson] Glasgow (1874; d.1945): Richmond, Virginia-born novelist, whose novels, including In This Our Life (1941; won 1942 Putlizer Prize), present an unsentimental social history of Virginia
  • James Norman Hall (1887): Iowa-born (ended up in Tahiti) novelist and essayist, who with war buddy Charles Nordhoff wrote Mutiny on the Bounty (1932) and others
  • Paula Fox (1923)
  • Louise Glück (1942): NYC-born poet, author of Wild Iris (1992), which won the Pulitzer Prize


  • William Shakespeare (1564; d.1616)
  • Edwin Markham (1852): Oregon-born poet
  • Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh (1899): New Zealand mystery writer, creator of Police Inspector Roderick Alleyn
  • Vladimir Nabokov (1899): Russian novelist, poet, scholar, translator, and butterfly collector
  • Halldor Laxness (1902): Icelandic novelist and 1955 Nobel Prize winner
  • J[ames] P[atrick] Donleavy (1926): Brooklyn native (became Irish citizen 1967) and novelist
  • Victoria Glendinning (1937): Yorkshire native, famous for her biographies of Edith Sitwell and Vita Sackville-West, among others
  • Charles [Richard] Johnson (1948): African American novelist, short story writer, cartoonist, and reporter, whose 1990 book Middle Passage won the National Book Award


  • Daniel Defoe (1659; other sources say Sept. 1660; d.1731): English journalist, essayist, political tract writer, and novelist, born Daniel Foe, who wrote Robinson Crusoe (1719) and Moll Flanders (1722), among others
  • Anthony Trollope (1815): English novelist
  • Elizabeth Goudge (1900): English novelist and playwright
  • Robert Penn Warren (1905): Three-time Pulitzer Prize winning poet and novelist, and the first U.S. poet laureate
  • George Oppen (1908): American objectivist poet and political activist
  • Sue Grafton (1940): mystery writer, creator of sleuth Kinsey Millhone and the "A is for Alibi" series


  • Walter De La Mare (1873; d.1956): English poet, essayist, novelist, and accountant, aka Walter Ramal
  • J(ay) Anthony Lukas (1933): NYC-born writer, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize winner, best known for reporting on controversial issues
  • Padgett Powell (1952): Southern novelist


  • David Hume (1711; d.1776): Scottish philosopher and historian, who wrote A Treatise on Human Nature (1739-40), Essays Moral and Political (1741-42), Political Discourses (1752), and an exhaustive History of England (1754-62), among others
  • Maud Hart Lovelace (1892): creator of the Betsy-Tacy series of children's books
  • A[braham] H[enry] Raskin (1911): Canadian and long-time New York Times writer, considered an authority on labor and industrial relations
  • Bernard Malamud (1914): NYC-born novelist and short-story writer


  • Jessie Redmon Fauset (1882; d. 1961): New Jersey native, female African-American editor and novelist, who discovered and encouraged many writers during the Harlem Renaissance
  • Ludwig Bemelmans (1898): Madeline creator
  • C[ecil] Day Lewis (1904): Irish-born poet, critic, detective-story writer, British poet laureate in the 1960s, aka Nicholas Blake
  • August Wilson (1945): two-time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright, born in Pittsburgh, PA


  • (Nelle) Harper Lee (1926): Alabama-born author who wrote To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Bill Blackbeard (1926): Indianapolis-born editor and author of books on cartoons and comic strips
  • Lois Duncan (1934): teen writer
  • Terry [David John] Pratchett (1948): British sci-fi and fantasy writer, creator of Discworld
  • Carolyn Forche (1950): American poet (born Detroit)


  • William Randolph Hearst (1863): San Francisco-born publisher and yellow-journalism practitioner
  • Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950), Italian-English writer
  • Gilbert La Rocque (1943): French-Canadian author and editor
  • Yusef Komunyakaa (1947): Louisiana-born Pulitzer Prize winning poet


  • Alice B. Toklas (1877): Gertrude Stein companion and cookbook writer
  • John Crowe Ransom (1888): American poet, born in Tennessee
  • Harriet Sobol (1936): children's book writer
  • Laurence (Larry) Van Cott Niven (1938): L.A.-born science-fiction writer
  • Annie Dillard (1945): American author (born Pittsburgh), who won the 1975 Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek