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April 13 Writer Birthdays

April 13 Writer Birthdays


  • 1743 - Thomas Jefferson, principal author of the American Declaration of Independence, Notes on the State of Virginia, and the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom; as third President of the United States, he nearly doubled the size of the country with the Louisiana Purchase. He was also a lawyer, farmer, inventor, linguist, mathematician, and scientist, and is considered one of the most brilliant people ever to hold the office of U.S. President; his legacy is clouded by the contradictions between his written advocacy of individual liberty and his reliance on slave labor on his own plantation.

  • 1828 - Josephine Elizabeth Butler, British writer and activist who was especially concerned with the welfare of prostitutes; she led a campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts both in Britain and internationally.

  • 1891 - Nella Larsen, American novelist and short-story writer of the Harlem Renaissance, who was also a librarian and a nurse.

  • 1902 - Marguerite Henry, multiple Newbery Medal-winning American children's book author, best known for her novel Misty of Chincoteague.

  • 1906 - Samuel Beckett, Nobel Prize-winning Irish playwright and writer; the Nobel committee praised his writing, which "in new forms for the novel and drama - in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation."

  • 1909 - Eudora Welty, influential Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of novels and nonfiction about the American South.

  • 1916 - Edna Lewis, African-American chef and author best known for her books on traditional American Southern cuisine.

  • 1922 - John Braine, novelist associated with the Angry Young Men movement, a loosely defined group of English writers who emerged on the literary scene in the 1950s.

  • 1938 - Olawale Gladstone Emmanuel Rotimi (best known as Ola Rotimi), a leading Nigerian playwright and theatre directors.

  • 1939 - Seamus Heaney, Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, writer, and translator whose "works of lyrical beauty and ethical depth ... exalt everyday miracles and the living past."

  • 1940 - J.M.G. Le Clézio, Nobel Prize-winning French-Mauritian-Breton novelist and professor.

  • 1947 - Rae Armantrout, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet who was one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, known for her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic; her short-lined poems dismantle conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and are often streaked with wit. She notes: “You can hold the various elements of my poems in your mind at one time, but those elements may be hissing and spitting at one another.”

  • 1949 - Christopher Hitchens, British author, essayist, journalist, columnist, orator, and critic who concentrated on politics, literature and religion.

  • 1963 - Garry Kimovich Kasparov (born Garik Kimovich Weinstein), Azerbaijan-born writer and political activist who is a Russian chess grandmaster and a former World Chess Champion, and whom many consider to be the greatest chess player of all time.