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February 18 Writer Birthdays

February 18 Writer Birthdays

  • 1404 - Leon Battista Alberti, Italian author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, cryptographer, and general Renaissance humanist polymath.

  • 1855 - Jean Jules Jusserand, Pulitzer Prize-winning French scholar of history and Medieval English literature, author, and Ambassador to the U.S. during World War I; Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., features a memorial to him.

  • 1883 - Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer and philosopher, best known for his novel Zorba the Greek.

  • 1909 - Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American novelist and short-story writer; also known as a historian and environmentalist.

  • 1922 - Helen Gurley Brown, American author, publisher, and businesswoman who was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.

  • 1925 - Jack Gilbert, award-winning American poet whose work is known for its simple lyricism and straightforward clarity of tone, as well as a resonating control over his emotions; many of his poems are about his relationships with women.

  • 1925 - Krishna Sobti (Hindi: कृष्णा सोबती), Hindi fiction writer and essayist, best known for her 1966 novel Mitro Marajani, an unapologetic portrayal of a married woman's sexuality.

  • 1926 - A.R. Ammons, National Book Award-winning American poet; much of his work was inspired by his childhood on a North Carolina cotton and tobacco farm during the Great Depression.

  • 1929 - Len Deighton, British novelist, military historian, graphic artist, and food writer who is best known for his spy novels.

  • 1931 - Toni Morrison, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning American novelist, essayist, editor, and educator who is one of the most acclaimed writers of her time; her novels are known for epic themes, exquisite language, and richly detailed African-American characters.

  • 1934 - Audre Lorde, Caribbean-American writer, poet, librarian, and activist.

  • 1935 - Janette Oke, Canadian author of inspirational and Christian historical fiction, usually set in the pioneer era.

  • 1936 - Jeanne Auel, bestselling Finnish-American author known for her Earth's Children series of books, a series of novels set in prehistoric Europe that explores early humans, especially interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals.

  • 1950 - Bebe Moore Campbell, American journalist, teacher, and bestselling author of fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature.

  • 1950 - John Wilden Hughes, Jr., American film director, producer, and screenwriter who wrote or directed some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon's Vacation, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.

  • 1955 - Lisa See, bestselling American writer and novelist whose work is often inspired by her Chinese-American background.

  • 1957 - George Pelecanos, American author of detective fiction, mostly set in Washington, D.C.; he is also a television writer and producer.

  • 1961 - Douglas Rushkoff, American media theorist, writer, and graphic novelist, known for his connection with early cyberpunk culture.

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February 16 Writer Birthdays

February 16 Writer Birthdays

  • 1927 - Luísa Dacosta (born Marie Louise Pinto Saraiva dos Santos), Portuguese short story writer, poet, anthologist.

  • 1927 - David Bryon Davis, American historian and authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world.

  • 1927 - Shahidullah Kaiser, Bangladeshi novelist and writer.

  • 1944 - Richard Ford, American author, winner of the 1996 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his book Independence Day.

  • 1953 - Roberta Williams, American video game designer and writer.

  • 1954 - Iain Banks, Scottish author of fiction and science fiction.

  • 1956 -  Paul Gilroy – British author, professor, and historian of black culture.

  • 1331 - Coluccio Salutati, Tuscan humanist, writer, orator, and man of letters who was one of the most important political and cultural leaders of Renaissance Florence; he amassed a collection of 800 books, at the time the largest library in Florence.

  • 1829 - Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey, an American novelist, historian, and biographer from the prominent southern Percy family.

  • 1831 - Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov (Никола́й Семёнович Леско́в), Russian novelist, short story writer, and journalist who also wrote under the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky; he was praised for his unique writing style and innovative experiments in form and admired by Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorky.

  • 1834 - Ernst Haeckl, German natural philosopher; promoter of Darwin's ideas in Germany.

  • 1838 - Henry Adams, American historian and novelist whose posthumously published autobiography won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize; he was descended from two U.S. presidents.

  • 1883 - Elizabeth Craig, Scottish journalist and cookbook author.

  • 1886 - Van Wyck Brooks, American historian and biographer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for The Flowering of New England.

  • 1904 - George F. Kennan, American diplomat and Cold War figure, Ambassador to the Soviet Union and author of seventeen books, including a Pulitzer and National Book Award winner.

  • 1915 - Elisabeth Eybers, South African poet who wrote mainly in Afrikaans, but translated some of her own work into English.

  • 1957 - Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr., American actor, director, author, and TV host for the PBS children's series about books, Reading Rainbow; he is also well known as an actor for his roles as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the young Kunta Kinte in the seminal television miniseries Roots.

  • 1958 - Natalie Angier, American science journalist and non-fiction author.

  • 1968 - Warren Ellis, English author of fiction and comic books.

  • 1973 - Maureen Johnson, American author of young adult fiction.

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February 15 Writer Birthdays

February 15 Writer Birthdays

  • 1564 - Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, mathematician, and writer who played a major role in the Renaissance's scientific revolution; called the "father of observational astronomy," the "father of modern physics," and the "father of science," he is known for confirming the phases of Venus, discovering the four largest satellites of Jupiter (the Galilean moons), and observing and analyzing sunspots; his insistence that the earth revolved around the sun, along with his views on science and the church, led to his conviction for heresy and his house arrest for the rest of his life. The Catholic Church pardoned him in 1992.

  • 1883 - Sax Rohmer, English novelist, best known for his Fu Manchu series.

  • 1896 - James Phinney Baxter III, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian.

  • 1898 - Masuji Ibuse, Japanese novelist and short-story writer.

  • 1909 - Miep Gies, (born Hermine Santruschitz), Austrian/Dutch activist who hid Anne Frank, Anne's family, and four other Jews from the Nazis in an annex above Anne's father's business premises during World War II; she later wrote a book, Anne Frank Remembered, but her biggest contribution to literature was her gathering of the pages of Anne's diary after the Nazis ransacked the hiding place and arrested the people hiding there, and saving the diary until after the war to give to Anne's father, the only survivor among the eight Jews who hid there; she died in 2010 at the age of 100.

  • 1928 - Norman Bridwell, American's children's book author and illustrator, known for the "Clifford The Big Red Dog" books.

  • 1937 - Gregory Mcdonald, American mystery writer, author of the Fletch books.

  • 1945 - Jack Dann, American science fiction and fantasy writer and anthologist.

  • 1945 - Douglas Hofstadter, Pulitzer Prize-winning American professor of cognitive science.

  • 1948 - Art Spiegelman, Swedish-born American cartoonist, best known for his graphic novel Maus.

  • 1954 - Matthew Abram "Matt" Groening,  American cartoonist, writer, producer, animator, and voice actor, best known as creator of the animated television series, The Simpsons.

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    February 13 Writer Birthdays

    February 13 Writer Birthdays

    • Farjeon - Jim at the Corner.jpg1469 - Elia Levita (Hebrew: אליהו בן אשר הלוי אשכנזי) also known as Elijah Levita, Elias Levita, Élie Lévita, and Eliahu Bakhur ("Eliahu the Bachelor"), a Bavarian-born Hebrew grammarian, scholar, and poet, best known as the author of the Bovo-Bukh, the most popular chivalric romance written in Yiddish.

    • 1769 - Ivan Andreyevich Krylov (Russian: Ива́н Андре́евич Крыло́в), Russia's best known fabulist, who wrote fables loosely based on Aesop's and La Fontaine's, but was also known for his original work, often satirizing the incompetent bureaucracy.

    • 1879 - Sarojini Naidu (née Chattopadhyaya), known as The Nightingale of India (Bharatiya Kokila); she was a child prodigy, Indian independence activist, and poet, who was the second Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh state.

    • 1881 - Eleanor Farjeon, English author of children's stories and plays, poetry, biography, history, and satire; ,any of her works had charming illustrations by Edward Ardizzone.

    • 1891 - Kate Roberts, one of the foremost Welsh-language authors of the twentieth century, she is known mainly for her short stories, but also wrote novels.

    • 1903 - Georges Simenon, Belgian author best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret.

    • 1911 - Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Punjabi-born Nobel Prize-nominated Pakistani leftist poet and author; one of the most celebrated writers of the Urdu language.

    • 1932 - Simms Taback, Caldecott Medal-winning American writer and illustrator of children's books.

    • 1945 - Simon Schama, British historian and author, best known for his multi-volume History of Britain.

    • 1945 - William Sleator, American science-fiction author who wrote primarily for a young-adult audience.

    • 1952 - Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), Taiwanese essayist and cultural critic; she occasionally writes under the pen name 'Hu Meili.'

    • 1957 - Denise Austin, American fitness instructor and prolific author of fitness books.

    • 1958 - Lenard Duane Moore, American poet, essayist, playwright, and literary critic.

    • 1959 - Maureen F. McHugh, American author of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.

    • 1961 - Henry Rollins, American spoken word artist, writer, journalist, publisher, actor, radio DJ, activist, and former singer-songwriter.

    • 1980 - Mark Watson, British comedian and author.

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      February 11 Writer Birthdays

      February 11 Writer Birthdays

      • 1783 - Jarena Lee – first female African-American autobiographer and first female African-American ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

      • 1802 - Lydia Maria Child, political-rights activist for the cause of women, slaves, and American Indians; also a novelist and poet; she is best known for the poem used as the lyrics to the song, "Over the River and Through the Wood."

      • 1898 - Leo Szilard, Hungarian-born physicist, biologist, inventor, and professor who played key parts in the invention of the nuclear reactor, linear accelerator, and electron microscope, and was involved in the first cloning of a human cell.

      • 1900 - Hans-Georg Gadamer, German philosopher and writer.

      • 1909 - Joseph Leo Mankiewicz, American film director, screenwriter, and producer

      • 1916 - Florynce Kennedy, American attorney, civil-rights activist, feminist, and autobiographer.

      • 1917 - Sidney Sheldon, American writer who started out writing for TV, but then moved to his best-selling fiction work.

      • 1931 - Larry Merchant, American sportswriter, television commentator, and boxing analyst.

      • 1939 - Jane Yolen, American author of sci-fi, fantasy, and children's books.

      • 1946 - Jeffrey Gitomer, American author, professional speaker, and business trainer who writes and lectures internationally on sales, customer loyalty, and personal development.

      • 1957 - Pico Iyer, British-born essayist and novelist, many of whose works deal with the crossings of cultures.

      • 1959 - Celeste O. Norfleet, American author of romance novels and young-adult books.

      • 1962 - Sandra Tsing Loh, American writer, actress, and radio personality.

      • 1968 - Mo Willems, American children's book author and illustrator.

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      Teaser Tuesday: The Underground Railroad

      • Grab your current read
      • Open to a random page
      • On your blog or other social media, share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
      • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
      • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday. Post a link at www.ThePurpleBooker.com/ as a response to the week's Teaser Tuesday.

      Currently I'm reading Colson Whitehead's alternate history novel, The Underground Railroad. My teaser is from page 235, where the character is thinking about the book Gulliver's Travels.

      "The white man in the book, Gulliver, roved from peril to peril, each new island a new predicament to solve before he could return home. That was the man's real trouble, not the savage and uncanny civilizations he encountered — he kept forgetting what he had."

      ― The Underground Railroad
      by Colson Whitehead

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      February 7 Writer Birthdays

      February 7 Writer Birthdays

      • 1478 - Thomas More, English Renaissance writer and humanist who coined the term "utopia."

      • 1812 - Charles Dickens, English writer and social critic, one of the major novelists of the Victorian age

      • 1837 - James Murray, Scottish lexicographer, philologist, and primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.

      • 1867 - Laura Ingalls Wilder, writer whose Little House book series for children was based on her childhood as a pioneer on the American frontier.

      • 1885 - Sinclair Lewis, American novelist, playwright, and magazine writer who was awarded the 1930 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters"; he was offered the Pulitzer Prize for his book Arrowsmith, but he turned it down.

      • 1908 - Fred Gipson, American author best known for his 1956 novel Old Yeller.

      • 1922 - Marion Cunningham, American food writer best known for her work on editions of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

      • 1932 - Gay Talese, American author, memoirist, and literary journalist.

      • 1943 - Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian.

      • 1950 - Karen Joy Fowler, American author of science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction, best known for The Jane Austen Book Club.

      • 1974 - Emma McLaughlin, American novelist who wrote The Nanny Diaries with Nicola Krau.

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      Big Foot Lives

      February 7th, 2018 (10:59 am)

      I'm feeling like an old-style headline from the National Enquirer: "Mom Gives Birth to Bigfoot!!!!" We bought Jon Morgan new shoes over the weekend, and he's up to a size 14.

      If his feet get any bigger, we'll have to start special-ordering his shoes.

      (The picture shows him as a Wookie, dressed for a Halloween Parade busking session with other members of the TC Williams orchestra. But everyone knows that Wookies are the same species as Bigfoot, but with weapons and pilot licenses. Of course, in this photo his weapon is a violin.)

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      February 6 Writer Birthdays

      February 6 Writer Birthdays

      • 1564 - Christopher Marlowe, English playwright, poet, translator, and (probably) government spy of the Elizabethan era; he is sometimes credited with authorship of plays attributed to Shakespeare, but most scholars refute this.

      • 1753 - Évariste Desiré de Forges, vicomte de Parny, French poet who was extremely popular during his lifetime; Pushkin once called him, "My master."

      • 1778 - Ugo Foscolo (born Niccolò Foscolo), Italian writer, revolutionary, and poet.

      • 1833 - José María de Pereda, Spanish journalist and novelist of the native realism school.

      • 1860 - Johan (Eliza) de Meester, Dutch writer, publicist, and editor.

      • 1864 - John Henry Mackay, Scottish-born writer and philosopher, known for his anarchist views.

      • 1879 - Carl Wilhelm Ramsauer, internationally known German physicist, professor, writer, and editor; he pioneered the field of electron and proton collisions with gas molecules and is best known for discovery of the Ramsauer–Townsend effect.

      • 1882 - Anne Spencer, African-American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener who was an important member of the Harlem Renaissance group of intellectuals.

      • 1888 - Ljudmil Stojanow, Bulgarian poet, short-story writer, and novelist.

      • 1898 - Melvin Beaunorus Tolson, American Modernist poet, educator, columnist, and politician whose work concentrated on the experience of African Americans and includes several long historical poems; he spent most of his career in Texas and Oklahoma, but was named Poet Laureate of Liberia.

      • 1900 - Rudolf Värnlund, proletarian Swedish novelist, playwright, critic, and social commentator.

      • 1903 - Peter G. Buckinx, Flemish poet, essayist, playwright, and magazine editor.

      • 1905 - Irmgard Keun, German author noted for her portrayals of life in both the Weimar Republic and the early years of Nazi Germany.

      • 1913 - Mary Leakey, British paleoanthropologist and writer who made several important discovers that advanced understanding of human evolution; she is best known for her discovery of the first fossilised Proconsul skull, an extinct ape believed to be ancestral to humans.

      • 1919 - Louis Philip Heren, British journalist and author of political theory and autobiography; he is considered one of the great foreign correspondents of the 20th century.

      • 1921 - Carl Neumann Degler, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and author.

      • 1924 - Paolo Volponi, Italian writer, poet, and politician.

      • 1925 - Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesian novelist, journalist, and human rights activist.

      • 1929 - Keith Spencer Waterhouse, British novelist, newspaper columnist, and television writer

      • 1940 - Tom Brokaw, American television journalist and nonfiction author.

      • 1947 - Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and economic researcher.

      • 1955 - Michael Pollan, American author and professor whose work centers on food and culture; he is best known for his book The Omnivore's Dilemma.

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      February 5 Writer Birthdays

      February 5 Writer Birthdays

      • 1813 - Jermain Wesley Loguen, U.S. writer and activist against slavery, known for The Rev. J. W. Loguen, as a Slave and as a Freeman, a Narrative of Real Life.

      • 1871 - Jovan Dučić, Bosnian Serb modernist poet, political writer, and diplomat.

      • 1893 - William Earl Johns, English pilot and writer of adventure stories, usually under the name Captain W.E. Johns (though he was never actually a captain); he is best known as creator of pilot and adventurer Biggles.

      • 1915 - Margaret Ellis Millar (née Sturm), American-Canadian mystery and suspense writer; married to Kenneth Millar (better known by his pen name Ross Macdonald); she often used Santa Barbara, California, as a setting in her novels, but fictionalized it as San Felice or Santa Felicia.

      • 1928 - Andrew Greeley, prolific American novelist, journalist, columnist, sociologist, and Catholic priest; his novels were controversial because of his explicit treatment of sexuality, leading the National Catholic Register to accuse him of having "the dirtiest mind ever ordained".

      • 1936 - K.S. Nissar Ahmed, prominent Indian poet and writer in the Kannada language; he is also a geologist.

      • 1941 - Stephen Joseph Cannell, American mystery novelist and television screenwriter and producer who created or co-created nearly 40 television series, many of them popular crime shows.

      • 1951 - Elizabeth Swados, American novelist, nonfiction author, children's book author, composer, and theatre director who often wrote humorous satire, but also explored racism, murder, and mental illness; she collaborated on two musicals with cartoonist Gary Trudeau, writing the music to his lyrics.

      • 1953 - Giannina Braschi, Puerto Rican novelist and poet who is considered an influential and revolutionary voice in contemporary Latin American literature.

      • 1957 - Azouz Begag (عزوز بقاق ‎), French writer, politician, and researcher in economics and sociology.

      Johns - Biggles Flies Again.jpgJohns - Biggles Flies Again.jpgJohns - Biggles Flies Again.jpg

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      Bad News From Punxatawney Phil

      Chief Groundhog Punxatawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, as he usually does on Groundhog Day. I suspect that the lights from the television cameras make it almost inevitable. That means six more weeks of winter. Bummer. I'm not surprised. According to the AP, Phil has predicted an early spring only 18 times since 1887. And our unseasonably cold weather lately makes it easy to believe that winter is not yet finished with us.

      A few years back, I compiled some Groundhog Day History for this blog. In the spirit of the day, I'm reprinting part of that post here:

      A Little Groundhog Day History
      Every year on February 2, the groundhog -- let's say, Punxsutawney Phil -- emerges from his winter hidey hole, bleary eyed from his long winter's sleep. According to legend, if the groundhog steps outside and sees his shadow on this morning, he will be frightened back into his burrow, and there will be six more weeks of winter weather. If the day is cloudy so that he does not see his shadow, spring will come early.

      The Groundhog Day tradition grew out of Medieval European beliefs associated with the Christian holy day, Candlemas Day. Candelmas, also celebrated on February 2, marked a milestone in the winter, and the weather that day was important. According to an old Scottish poem:

      As the light grows longer
      The cold grows stronger
      If Candlemas be fair and bright
      Winter will have another flight
      If Candlemas be cloud and snow
      Winter will be gone and not come again
      A farmer should on Candlemas day
      Have half his corn and half his hay
      On Candlemas day if thorns hang a drop
      You can be sure of a good pea crop

      Roman soldiers spread the Candelmas tradition to the Teutons, or Germans. They expanded on it by concluding that if the sun shone on Candlemas Day, an animal -- the hedgehog -- would cast a shadow, predicting six more weeks of bad weather. Eventually, descendants of those Germans emigrated to the United States and settled in Pennsylvania, arguably the hub of all modern Groundhog Day activity. European hedgehogs were in short supply in the settler's new home, but Pennsylvania was home to a large population of groundhogs. Soon, the settlers realized that the groundhog possessed the wisdom and good sense to know that it should scurry back into its burrow, hedgehog-like, if its shadow appeared on Candelmas Day. And a new holiday tradition was born.

      Phil Becomes Famous
      Groundhog Day is celebrated throughout the United States and Canada, but the holiday's biggest fans know that the real party is at Gobbler's Knob, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the home of Punxsutawney Phil. In fact, The Punxsutawney Spirit newspaper is credited with printing the news of the first Groundhog Day observance in 1886. Phil's handlers claim that today's Phil is the same groundhog that prognosticated an early spring that year, and that he is now more than 120 years old. They attribute his longevity to the magical Elixir of Life, a secret recipe that Phil sips every summer at the Groundhog Picnic. Standard-issue teetotaling groundhogs live up to 6 years.

      Phil has met presidents and governors. He starred with Bill Murray in the 1993 movie Groundhog Day and has appeared on Oprah. During Prohibition, Phil threatened to impose 60 weeks of winter on the community if he wasn't allowed a drink.

      Fun Facts About Groundhogs

      • The average groundhog is 20 inches long and weighs 12 to 15 pounds. Punxsutawney Phil is indeed a giant among groundhogs, measuring 22 inches long and weighing in at 20 pounds.

      • A groundhog's diet consists of lots of greens, fruits, and vegetables and very little water. Most of their liquids come from dewy leaves.

      • A groundhog can whistle when it is alarmed. Groundhogs also whistle in the spring when they want to attract groundhogs of the opposite sex. For that reason, they are sometimes called whistlepigs. Other names for the groundhog include woodchuck and land beaver.

      • Groundhogs are one of the few animals that really hibernate. Hibernation is not just a deep sleep. It is a deep coma. During hibernation, the body temperature drops to a few degrees above freezing, the heart barely beats, blood scarcely flows, and breathing nearly stops.

      • Despite their cute, cuddly appearance, groundhogs can be quite aggressive and will defend themselves if threatened. They are much faster than they look, and they have exceptionally strong jaws.

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      February 2 Writer Birthdays

      February 2 Writer Birthdays

      • 1882 - James Joyce, acclaimed Irish modernist author, known for his command of the English language and his provocatively complex works of fiction.

      • 1895 - Joseph Seamon Cotter, Jr., U.S. poet and playwright.

      • 1905 - Ayn Rand, Russian-American novelist, philosopher, and Conservative/Libertarian political activist.

      • 1916 - Ngô Xuân Diệu, prominent Vietnamese poet more commonly known by the pen name Xuân Diệu.

      • 1940 - Susan Wittig Albert, American mystery writer, author of the China Bayles series.

      • 1921 - Jan Slepian, American author of books for children and young adults.

      • 1931 - Judith Viorst, American journalist, psychoanalysis researcher, and author of popular children's books, including the beloved picture book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.

      • 1948 - Ina Rosenberg Garten, American cookbook author, food columnist, host of the Food Network program Barefoot Contessa, and a former staff member of the White House Office of Management & Budget.

      • 1970 - Santa Montefiore (Santa Palmer-Tomkinson), British novelist and socialite of Argentinian background; her father, Charles Anthony Palmer-Tomkinson, represented Britain on the Olympic ski team and is a close friend of Prince Charles.

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