Literary Birthdays – February 28 – March 6

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February 28

Adele B. McQueen (born February 28, 1913) – U.S. scholar, education and parenting

Read About Adele McQueen

Anthony M. Kelley (born February 28, 1965) – U.S. musician, composer, scholar  

Visit Anthony Kelley’s Duke University web page

Read a press release about Kelley

Read about Anthony Kelley in this student paper about music copyright issues

Watch a video about the making of The Doll, for which Kelley composed the music



March 1

Akutagawa Ryūnosuke (born March 1, 1892) – Japanese short story writer – “Roshomon” (1915)

Read the Authors Calendar
biography of Akutagawa Ryunosuke

“With his friends, Kikuchi Kan and Kumé Masao, he founded the literary magazine Shin Shicho, where he published ‘Rashomon’ (or ‘The Rasho Gate’, 1915). The tale, set in 12th-century Kyoto, depicts a ruined city, where a former servant tries to survive and must choose between immorality and virtue.”

Shantabai Kamble (born March 1, 1923) – Indian writer from the Dalit (untouchable) class of Hindu society – Picturebook of My Life (1983)  Shantabai Krishnaji Kamble1

Read Shantabai Kamble’s Wikipedia biography

Read about Shantabai Kamble here

Read about Shantabai Kamble’s autobiography Majya Jalmachi Chittarkatha / Picturebook of My Life

Read more of Kamble’s life in this section
The Encyclopaedia of Dalits in India: Literature



March 2

yevgeny-baratynsky_6-t Evgeny Baratynsky (born March 2, 1800) – Russian poet

Read the Wikipedia biography of Evgeny Baratynsky

The Russiapedia Biography of Evgeny Baratynsky here

Read an excerpt from an article about Evgeny Baratynsky

Excerpt from Baratynsky’s poem “Ultimate Death”

Ages went by, and now my eyes beheld
a fearful sight: death walked the land and the waves;
the fate of living beings was fulfilled.
Where were the people? Where? Dead in their graves!
Like mouldering columns at the frontiers
the last few families were dying out;
towns stood in ruin, senseless flocks unguarded
wandered the meadows where the weeds ran riot;
their food had vanished with the hands that fed them,
and I could hear their hungry lamentation.

And when their bleating died away, a deep
and solemn silence seized on everything,
and nature, savage and imperial,
put on the purple of antiquity.
Magnificent and gloomy the spectacle
of forests, valleys, mountains, seas unpeopled!
The sun still rose into the firmament
and animated nature as in former days,
but nothing was left on earth to celebrate
its rising. Only mist curled on its face,
blue wreaths of smoke, a cleansing sacrifice.

[Translated by Peter France]

Read Baratynsky’s poems “Ultimate Death” and “Steamship” in the
July 2009 edition of
The International Literary Quarterly

Visit the Muranovo Estate website, originally the
home of Evgeny Baratynsky

Metta Victoria Fuller Victor (Seeley Regester) (born March 2, 1831) – U.S. detective fiction writer – The Dead Letter (1866)

“When Metta Victor wrote The Dead Letter using the nom de plume of Seeley Regester, the only models of detective fiction in English were Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories, Charles Dickens’s detective sub-plot in Bleak House (1852–53), and Wilkie Collins’s suspense novel, The Woman in White (1860).  Regester’s primary accomplishment lies in extending the puzzle plot of the detective short story to the longer narrative form of the novel.”

[excerpt from B.J. Rahn’s article about “Seeley Regester”]

Read more here

Read The Dead Letter online:



March 3

George Miller (George Miliotis) (born March 3, 1945) – Australian film director, screenwriter – Mad Max (1979) George Miller1

Read IMDB about George Miller here

Read the All Movie Guide biography of George Miller

Read about George Miller on the Mad Max Movies website

Caroline Lamarche (born March 3, 1955) – Belgian novelist, poet, children’s book author – Karl et Lola (2006) Caroline LaMarche1

Read the Wikipedia biography of Caroline Lamarche

Caroline LaMarche interview:



 March 4

Miriam Makeba (born March 4, 1932) – South African singer/songwriter, human rights activist – Pata Pata (1957) Miriam Makeba

Read the Wikipedia biography of Miriam Makeba

Read the BBC obituary for Miriam Makeba

Read Karen DeWitt’s obit of Miriam Makeba

Watch Miriam Makeba sing in an excerpt from the South African film Come Back Africa (1959)

Watch beautiful Miriam Makeba sing “Khawuleza” in a 1966 Swedish television program

569 Khaled Hosseini (born March 4,. 1965) – Iranian-American novelist – The Kite Runner (2003)

Read the Wikipedia biography of Khaled Hosseini

Read Kavita’s correspondence with Khaled Hosseini regarding The Kite Runner (Seph of Urban Precedence’s Blog)

Watch Khaled Hosseini speak about
becoming a writer (2 minutes)

Watch Khaled Hosseini talk about his childhood – leaving Afghanistan for France and then the U.S.

Watch Khaled Hosseini and Stephen Colbert

Robert Emmet (born March 4, 1778) – Irish militant, orator – Speech from the Dock (1803)  133445-004-d9606c83

Read about Robert Emmet here

Excerpts from Robert Emmet’s “Speech from the Dock” (1803)

What have I to say why sentence of death should not be pronounced on me according to law?  I have nothing to say that can alter your predetermination, nor that it will become me to say with any view to the mitigation of that sentence which you are here to pronounce, and I must abide by.

A man in my situation, my lords, has not only to encounter the difficulties of fortune. and the force of power over minds which it has corrupted or subjugated. but the difficulties of established prejudice: the man dies, but his memory lives. That mine may not perish, that it may live in the respect of my countrymen, I seize upon this opportunity to vindicate myself from some of the charges alleged against me. When my spirit shall be wafted to a more friendly port; when my shade shall have joined the bands of those martyred heroes who have shed their blood on the scaffold and in the field, in defense of their country and of virtue. this is my hope: I wish that my memory and name may animate those who survive me, while I look down with complacency on the destruction of that perfidious government which upholds its domination by blasphemy of the Most High-which displays its power over man as over the beasts of the forest — which sets man upon his brother, and lifts his hand in the name of God against the throat of his fellow who believes or doubts a little more or a little less than the government standard — a government which is steeled to barbarity by the cries of the orphans and the tears of the widows which it has made.
Again I say, that what I have spoken was not intended for your lordship, whose situation I commiserate rather than envy-my expressions were for my countrymen; if there is a true Irishman present, let my last words cheer him in the hour of his affliction.
Let no man dare, when I am dead, to charge me with dishonor; let no man attaint my memory by believing that I could have engaged in any cause but that of my country’s liberty and independence, or that I could have become the pliant minion of power in the oppression or the miseries of my countrymen.
I have but one request to ask at my departure from this world–it is the charity of its silence! Let no man write my epitaph: for as no man who knows my motives dare now vindicate them. let not prejudice or ignorance asperse them. Let them and me repose in obscurity and peace, and my tomb remain uninscribed, until other times, and other men, can do justice to my character; when my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written. I have done.

Read the entire speech here

Listen to an Irish ballad about Robert Emmet



March 5


Elisabeth Badinter (born March 5,. 1944) – French philosopher, feminist, essayist – Amour en plus: histoire de l’amour maternel (XVIIe -XXe siècle / Mother Love: Myth and Reality (1980)

Read a biography of Elisabeth Badinter

Read Elisabeth Badinter’s opinions on men and
modern feminism

“The whole problem of political and professional inequality stems precisely from this inequity in the home. …There has however been noticeable change since the fifties, when men wouldn’t have lifted a finger to help. A true egalitarian model would be a form of joint responsibility. The situation is improving, even if it is still far from adequate: there will always be swines or selfish types … You know, it takes time to make a man. And, by the way, it’s taking them longer and longer, 35 – 40 years.”

Watch an interview (in French) of Badinter



March 6

Teru Miyamoto (宮本 輝, born March 6, 1947) – Japanese novelist, short story writer, screenwriter – “Maborosi” / “Illusory Light” (1979)

Read a review of Teru Miyamoto’s novel Kinshu: Autumn Brocade

An excerpt from Chapter 2 of The People of Dream Street

“That should do it,” said one of the men. As the motorcycles disappeared, the residents of the shopping arcade came running. Tomi knew: it wasn’t that the bikes were gone by the time the residents arrived; the residents watched the bikes go before they flocked to the scene.

“What happened?” It was the voice of the son and heir to the Tai Liquor Store.

“Tomi-san, are you all right?” This was the voice of Mr. Wang, of the Taroken Chinese restaurant.  Dizzy, Tomi staggered. She felt sick at her stomach. Her heart raced, then stopped, then began to beat wildly again. She sat heavily on the pavement. She thought that she was still standing. She moved her legs, intending to walk toward the shop; but what the residents saw was Tomi falling slowly backward, to all appearances dead.

The police had to wait three days before they could take Tomi’s statement. She regained consciousness as soon as the ambulance brought her to the hospital; but her arrhythmia showed no improvement, and she began talking to herself. Her words, now mingled with tears, now with smiles, grew more passionate with time and flowed ceaselessly from her mouth.

“If you wave your net around like that, you’ll break the dragonflies’ wings. Foolish boy, only catching drone beetles. I’ll have to get your father to scold you. Ah! watch where you’re going. How many times do I have to tell you? Watch where you’re going when you walk in the street, or you’ll fall in the sewage ditch. The next time you fall in the ditch, I won’t let you off with just a knock on the forehead. What’s this? you come back crying from a fight with a girl? And then you hit Mother’s behind. You couldn’t win an argument with a girl, could you? Crybaby. Aha, you’re hiding something from Mother. You can’t fool me. You came from inside me, you know. .. .”

The doctor injected a strong sedative and set up a continuous intravenous drip of nutrients mixed with a cardiac. Then he spoke to Satomi Shunta, who’d arrived out of breath at the hospital twenty minutes after Tomi was carried in, and had been at her side ever since: the shock had left her in a temporary state of dementia. The electrocardiogram showed indications of severe angina pectoris; he intended to carry out a detailed examination when her condition stabilized. . . .

Gazing at the ceiling, Tomi continued her soliloquy after the doctor left the room. “People go on about unfilial children, and a child who dies before his parents is the most unfilial of all. But you’re not unfilial. You were dragged off by the army and killed in the war. You were twenty. Did you have a girlfriend? It’s all right, Mother’s here.” Tomi’s voice grew fainter, then intermittent, until finally she closed her eyes. Fearfully, Satomi Shunta held the palm of his hand to her nostrils. She was breathing. Relieved, he left the room, went to the  smoking area, and lit a cigarette. He felt an uncontrollable anger toward something he couldn’t define. It wasn’t directed at the two men who destroyed Tomi’s shop, nor at the people of Dream Street who looked on from their shop fronts and second-floor windows without intervening.



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