LitBirthdays January 16-22, 2011

January Is

National Hot Tea Month


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January 16

 Laura Riding Laura Riding (b. 1901) – U.S. poet, essayist

Read about Laura Riding here and here


January 17

Brian Thomas Helgeland (b. 1961) U.S. film director, screenwriter

Read Brian Helgeland’s biography here and here

Read a short story by Brian Helgeland —

“Veronica Majeure”

What really matters is there are two hard and fast rules to what I do. The first is leave no witnesses. That I got covered, unless you count me as one which is how I’m feeling more and more these days. Like I’m watching myself. Like I’m not a part of myself. Like I used to be me, but I’m not anymore. Not without the local whiskey at least. Where was I? Oh yeah, hard and fast rules. The second is get out of town. After the job is done you go. Before the heat descends. Even if there is no heat you skedaddle. It does you no good to hang around. Get miles is my motto. Get miles and be smart. Except who could have predicted Iceland?

Brian Helgeland and Quentin Tarantino discuss film and screenwriting in this 2003 New York Times Roundtable discussion

Helgeland: It’s a very complicated thing, adaptation. And it’s a very different kind of satisfaction than you get from doing an original. It’s easier, sort of, but also trickier. If you write an original, it’s like you went in and dug a well and you hit oil. But an adaptation, it’s like the oil well’s on fire, and they bring you in to put the fire out and get it working again — or something like that. It’s like, here are these 18 problems that you need to solve in order for this to work as a movie. An original is always — I just think it’s closer to you. Not that they’re not all close to you, but the original is more yours. It’s your kid, as opposed to the adaptation, which is like having to raise your sister’s kid from the time he was 10. With an original, you’re not looking over your shoulder at the book.


January 18


Sally Morgan (b. 1951) – Australian aboriginal artist, author – Wanamurraganya: The story of Jack McPhee (1989) Sally Morgan

Read about Sally Morgan here and here

Read a synopsis of Morgan’s Wanamurraganya – The Story of Jack McPhee


January 19

edgar-allan-poe-short-story-writer1 Edgar Allan Poe (b. 1809) – U.S. poet, short story writer

Read the Authors Calendar biography of Edgar Allan Poe

Read the Poe Calendar blog — a year of posts in honor of Edgar Allan Poe’s bicentennial in 2009

“A young Edgar Poe served as a lieutenant (in fact, second-in-command) for the Richmond Junior Volunteers, a group of teenaged riflemen-in-training. This role put him in the direct path of the Marquis de La Fayette, one of the most celebrated generals of the American Revolution.”

Read about the disappearance of the mysterious visitor to Poe’s Baltimore grave here


January 20


 1274d22ae9d632d84312a95e24f46517_800x_a50_cropped Uni Arge (b. 1971) – Faroese / Danish soccer player, journalist, singer/songwriter

Read the Wikipedia article about Uni Arge

Listen to Uni Arge perform “Rum” / “Space”

Lyrics (Faroese language)

Rúm er fyri øllum segði tann ið rúmið bygdi
rúm er fyri teimum sum eg altíð loyvi inn
rúmið bygdi hann og fleiri onnur burtur stygdi
rúm er fyri mínum segði hann og tú forsvinn
rúm er fyri tær
um tú rætta ljósið sær

Rúmligur eg eri segði tann ið húsið reisti
rúmlig eru vit sum koma saman her hvønn dag
gestum rúma vit øll eftir okkar egna leisti
rúma teimum segði hann sum syngja okkar lag
rúm er fyri tær
um tú rætta litin fær

Rúm er fyri øllum segði hann í hvørjum kóri
raskastur er leiðarin sum velur hvør skal við
dúglig eru tey sum syngja við og sjálvi vóru
rúmlig sum øll onnur men nú dyrka annan sið
rúm er fyri tær
um tú rætta ljósið sær

Húsarúm er her hann segði stíg á okkar máttu
hjartarúm er fyri tær um tú ert so sum vit
hugsar tú nógv sjálvur mást tú finna aðra smáttu
tú kanst tá ikki rúmast her og eina tú so sit
rúm er fyri tær
um tú rætta ljósið sær

rúm er fyri tær
um tú rætta ljósið sær
rúm er fyri tær
rúm er fyri tær


January 21

Eva Ibbotson (b. 1925) – U.K. children’s book author – Which Witch? (1979) Eva Ibbotson

Read the Wikipedia article about Eva Ibbotson

Read a 2009 interview with Eva Ibbotson on the WordWenches blog

Eva: I came to England as an 8 year old girl; my parents had been separated for some years and I was a bit uncertain where I belonged. When we came to settle in London it was in the world of refugees and danger, and reading for me, as for so many children in those years, became a way of escape.  But the cosmopolitanism of my fellow refugees made a rich tapestry which I used again and again when I began to write.

Read Eva Ibbotson’s October 2010 obituary in the U.K. Guardian

She was shortlisted for the Carnegie medal for Which Witch? the story of a wizard looking for a wife. The Secret of Platform 13 features a mysterious platform at King’s Cross station that leads to another, magical world. Published in 1994, three years before JK Rowling’s Harry Potter set off for Hogwart’s from King’s Cross’s platform 9¾, the book’s possible influence on Rowling has occasionally been raised, though never by Ibbotson herself.

A self-confessed “happy endings freak”, her books always reassured young readers that good would be rewarded and that spoilt brats and greedy grown-ups would get their comeuppance.


January 22

Subhash Ram Prajapati (b. 1980) – Nepalese ethnomusicologist, documentary filmmaker, author

Read the Wikipedia article about Subhash Ram Prajapati

Watch Prajapati’s video of Nepalese Newari drummers

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