LitBirthdays June 5 – 11, 2011

June is

Audio book month


Ice Tea Month

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June 5

Elena Piscopia
 Elena Piscopia (b. 1646) – Italian mathematician, philosopher, first woman to receive a doctoral degree –

Read about Elena Piscopia here and here
“Although some other women had studied science and math at the university level in Italy in her time, Elena Piscopia was the first to apply in theology. She studied there from 1672-1678, and in 1678, she received her master’s and doctorate of philosophy degrees. The ceremony awarding her these degrees had to be held in the cathedral to accommodate the crowd that came to see her receive them.”

Vassar library - Elena Piscopia

Vassar College library stained glass window – Elena Piscopia presenting her doctoral argument. Read more here.

A detailed biography of Elena Piscopia can be found in the book
Benedict in the world: portraits of monastic oblates
by Linda Kulzer and Roberta C. Bondi


Born June 5

Pu Songling (b. 1640) – Chinese short story writer – Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio

Federico Garcia Lorca (b. 1898) – Spanish poet – “Song of First Desire”


June 6

Vlado Georgiev
Vlado Georgiev (b. 1977) – Serbian singer/songwriter

More info about Vlado Georgiev here and on his website

Vlado Georgiev music video “Iskreno” (Sincerely)
and “Zivim na te nadjem” (I live to find you)

Zivim da te nadjem / I live to find you

Svako te pominje / Everyone mentions you
i svakog briga je / and everyone cares
sta se to desilo sa nama / what happened with us

Pomislim poziv je tvoj / I think it’s you calling
a znam da ne znas ni broj / but I know you don’t even know my number
sta se to desilo sa nama / What happened with us?

U sve cu da vjerujem / I’ll believe in everything
samo da ljubim te / just to kiss you
drugi te kradu od mene / others are stealing you from me
ja ipak nadam se / I’m still hoping


Zivim da se vratis / I live for you to come back
znam da je tesko opet da nadjes put / I know it’s tough for you to find the way again
zivim da te nadjem / I live to find you
zbog tebe zivim ja, ti si jedini razlog ja znam / I live for you, you’re the only reason I know

Al’ ostani sama da te pronadjem
i da te vratim
znam da je tesko opet da nadjes put

Zivim da te nadjem
zbog tebe zivim ja, ti si jedini razlog, ja znam
ostani sama, ostani, molim te

Svako te pominje
i ko da vjeruje da
da tako govoris o nama

Pomislim poziv je tvoj
a znam da ne znas ni broj
sta se to desilo sa nama

U sve cu da vjerujem / I’ll believe in anything
samo da ljubim te / just to kiss you
drugi te kradu od mene / Others are stealing you from me
ja ipak nadam se / I’m still hoping

Al’ ostani sama dok te pronadjem / But stay single until I find you
i dok te vratim / and I make you come back
znam da je tesko opet da nadjes put / I know it’s tough for you to find the way again

Zivim da te nadjem / I live to find you
zbog tebe zivim ja, ti si jedini razlog, ja znam /I live for you, you’re the only reason I know
ostani sama, ostani, molim te / but stay single — stay, please.

[Lyrics translation by Adrienne here]


Born June 6

Isaiah Berlin (b. 1909) – U.K. philosopher, essayist – “The Hedgehog and the Fox”

Alexander (or Aleksandr) (Sergeyevich) Pushkin (b. 1799) – Russian poet, playwright


June 7

Gwendolyn Brooks
 Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 1917) – U.S. poet

Read about Gwendolyn Brooks here and here

For the first twenty years of her career, the audience for Gwendolyn Brooks’s poetry was made up of “chiefly whites.” Then, when she was fifty years old, Brooks underwent a transformation that affected her political convictions and her poetry. Beginning in 1967, the author began actively directing her work toward the black community. For the rest of her career, she followed the guiding principle that “Black poetry is poetry written by blacks. about blacks, to blacks.”

(Amy Sickels – “Gwendolyn Brooks Biography” in
Gwendolyn Brooks by Harold Bloom)

Read a profile of Gwendolyn Brooks by Michele Hush here

Watch Chris Henkel’s animation of Brooks’ “We Real Cool” (aka “The Pool Players)

Visit the Library of Congress guide to Gwendolyn Brooks resources


Born June 7

Nikki Giovanni (b. 1943) – U.S. poet 

Orhan Pamuk (b. 1952) – Turkish novelist, 2006 Literature Nobel Prize winner – The Black Book


June 8

Karin Alvtegen
Karin Alvtegen (b. 1965) – Swedish novelist, crime fiction – Missing / Saknad (2000)

Read about Karin Alvtegen here and here


Born June 8

Tim Berners-Lee (b. 1955) – U.K. computer scientist – Weaving the Web: The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor (co-author Mark Fischetti, 1999) 

Sara Paretsky (b. 1947) – U.S. novelist, detective fiction – Ghost Country (1998)


June 9

André Juillard (b. 1948) – French comic book author

Read about André Juillard here and here

A brief description of Mezek, a comic book series by Yann and Andre Juillard

Read an interview with Juillard (in French) about Mezek


Born June 9

George Axelrod (b. 1922) – U.S. playwright, screenwriter – The Seven Year Itch

Cole Porter (b. 1891) – U.S. songwriter, composer of musicals – Kiss Me Kate


June 10

Benjamin Millepied
 Benjamin Millepied (b. 1977) – French dancer, choreographer – Black Swan (2010) (choreographer)

Read the Wikipedia article about Benjamin Millepied

Read the New York magazine profile of Millepied


Born June 10

Samartha Vashishtha (b. 1983) – Indian poet, translator, technical writer

Saul Bellow (b. 1915) – Canadian novelist, short story writer, winner 1976 Literature Nobel Prize – Herzog

Terence Rattigan (b. 1911) – U.K. playwright – The Winslow Boy


June 11

 Bill Findlay (born June 11, 1947) – Scottish playwright, translator – Scottish People’s Theatre

Bill Findlay translated the French play by Michel Tremblay “Les Belles Soeurs” into “The Guid Sisters”

From a review in the Guardian:
The play, premiered in 1968, was revolutionary in its use of joual, the Quebec working-class dialect that’s been turned into pungent Glaswegian by Martin Bowman and Bill Findlay. Even if the use of joual isn’t so controversial now, the play retains its political clout.

Watch a trailer for the play:

“When The Guid Sisters, Findlay’s rich, raucous and gritty Scots version of Québecois writer Michel Tremblay’s play Les Belles Soeurs first hit the Tron stage in Glasgow in 1989, it hit it running. It wasn’t just that Findlay, aided and abetted by his Canadian co-translator Martin Bowman, had effected a potent transposition of the urban French of Montreal into contemporary demotic Scots; it was more like the said sisters had been sailing down Sauchiehall Street on a Saturday night for years – it was just we hadn’t noticed them before. This wasn’t translation. This was trans-creation. “

Bill Findlay on translation into the Scots language:

The catalyst for the twentieth·century revival of literary translation into Scots was the ‘Scottish Renaissance Movement’ (so named by the French critic Denis Saurat) which began in the 1920s. The moving force was the poet and nationalist Hugh MacDiarmid. MacDiarmid argued for the revitalisation of Scots as a literary language, and in his own work he developed a ‘synthetic Scots’ medium that borrowed from earlier literature, reference works and dictionaries. It was an approach that looked back to the Golden Age of Scots in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries (including Scots as a translation medium) and forward to a hoped-for new age of political and literary independence in which Scots would once again become a national language. In this context, translating into Scots was an arm of cultural politics. MacDiarmid advocated a reorientation away from England towards Europe and a reconnection with Scotland’s ’ancient policies’ as in the days of Gavin Douglas and James VI when Scotland was a European nation. MacDiarmid saw translation as a key means by which that reorientation could be advanced … The translation of contemporary plays into Scots got underway only as recently as the 1980s, since when a number of plays by Dario Fo and Michel Tremblay (eight alone in the latter case) have been translated. (Fo and Tremblay are the subject of separate essays in this volume.) If we combine the number of classic and contemporary plays translated, we find that more Scots translations of plays have been produced in the period since 1980 than in any previous period.

(From Findlay’s introduction to
Frae ither tongues: essays on modern translations into Scots)


Born June 11

Siavash Ghomayshi
(b. 1945) – Iranian-U.S.  singer/songwriter, composer

Yasunari Kawabata (b. 1899) – Japanese novelist, 1968 Literature Nobel Prize winner – Snow Country (1956)


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