LitBirthdays November 6 – 12, 2011

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Native American Heritage


November 6

Ariana Gillis

Ariana Gillis (born November 6, 1990) – Canadian singer/songwriter

Read about Ariana Gillis here

Read a review of the album To Make It Make Sense by Ariana Gillis

Enter the talented and highly energetic Ariana Gillis, whose father David Gillis is an accomplished songwriter, arranger and player.

Ariana has hit the stage in the past few years with everything an emerging roots artist could want: great voice, solid chops, good looks, energy, connections and an intimate knowledge of the craft.

As a writer, the strength of her storytelling goes beyond mere puppy love lyrics; she explores complex themes like love and war, through intriguing metaphors like the currents of the ocean, the chemistry of a city, and the biology of a baby bird.

That’s the aura of serious songcraft that lingers over the pen of many a Canadian writer (to that point, Ariana recently took part in a Gordon Lightfoot tribute concert, where she handily proved her mettle with his material). Her lyricism dovetails nicely with the bold back beats, the twang of her dad’s six-string banjo, the slightly lonesome sound of her voice in the pining songs, and the depth of her themes.

[by David Newland February 16, 2011]

Watch/listen to Shake the Apple and Simon Brooke



Born November 6

Karin Fossum

Laure Junot, Duchesse d’Abrantès


November 7

Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell (born November 7, 1943) – Canadian singer/songwriter

Read about Joni Mitchell here

Watch Joni Mitchell interviewed on Charlie Rose

Joni Mitchell sings “River” and “Strong and Wrong”


It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

But it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
I’m going to make a lot of money
Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

He tried hard to help me
He put me at ease
And he loved me so good
Made me weak in the knees
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

Chrystos Chrystos (born November 7, 1946) – U.S. / Menominee poet, activist – Fire Power (1995)

Read about Chrystos here

Worrying About How to Pay All My Bills

with one week left until the first
my mind a headache of amounts
due dates wondering where I could pick up an extra
job as I drive to polish silver & brass & copper
at the mansion larger than all the places I’ve rented
put together

A fawn leaps across the road

all the numbers fall into a heap where they belong

I see the Elder lady who winked & whispered
You read too many books honey

Sprouting I see the sky blue as beginning
sun glittering each new spring leaf
bold yellow swamp lilies

the deer watching me from a curve of emerald &
all the dancing birds breathe into my soul

[Read more excerpts from Fire Power here]

Born November 7

Antonio Skármeta

Albert Camus



November 8

Richard Curtis
Richard Curtis (born November 8, 1956) – U.K. / New Zealand film director, screenwriter – Love Actually (2003)

Read about Richard Curtis here and here

“Even though I’m intrigued by the idea of talking to Curtis I’m well aware that few of my friends share my curiosity. One or two openly wondered why I should be even mildly interested in someone who has made such a powder puff contribution to film and television. Had I seen Love Actually? Another old rationalist friend went into a lengthy trope about the horrors of Richard’s 14-year old charitable venture, Comic Relief, and the manner in which it simultaneously contrived to sentimentalise the horrors of African poverty and revive the fading careers of second-rate celebrities.

I’d no great problem waving away the artistic objections. I thoroughly enjoyed Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was funnier and darker and far more ambiguous about how happiness might be obtained than many of its critics allowed. Of course Notting Hill was little more than a remake but in these days of Spiderman 3 and Die Hard 4, can we really become pious about someone cashing in on a successful formula? And no one could possibly doubt the contribution that Curtis has made to television. What a roll call of credits! Not the Nine O’clock News, Blackadder, The Vicar of Dibley, Mr Bean. I knew without bothering to check that even my most cynical friends had spent a good few hours of their lives lying back and chortling with delight at one or more of those offerings.”
[Laurie Taylor interview with Richard Curtis, New Humanist, Volume 122 Issue 4 July/August 2007]

Richard Curtis encounters Ricky Gervais

Video promo for the “Robin Hood” tax on U.K. banks, by Richard Curtis and Bill Nighy

Born November 8

Kazuo Ishiguro

Teofilo Folengo



November 9

Danielle Trussoni Danielle Trussoni (born November 9, 1973) – U.S. novelist – Angelology (2010)

Read about Danielle Trussoni here

Read the New York Times review of Angelology here

Danielle Trussoni talks about the Nephalim, featured in her novel Angelology

Born November 9

Benjamin Banneker

Ivan Turgenev



November 10

Holly Black (born November 10, 1971) – U.S. fantasy novelist, screenwriter, video game author – The Spiderwick Chronicles (2003)

Read about Holly Black here

Holly Black on her first novel, Tithe

At one time, people would vacation on the Shore and go to the beach. Atlantic City is still pretty happening, but they just stopped coming to Asbury Park, probably because it’s just as easy to get on a plane and go to Florida, so there are all these weird, beautiful boarded-up buildings — a creepy setting. I love abandoned structures, and that juxtaposition between industrial stuff and something as organic as fairies. Tithe is told from the perspective of someone who finds out she’s a changeling and has to learn about fairies, rather than a human interacting with fairies.

Listen to the SF Signal podcast interview with Holly Black here

View Richard Clement’s trailers for the Spiderwick Chronicles film here

Born November 10

Aka Morchiladze (George Akhvlediani)

Tim Rice



November 11

Douglas Rogers (born November 11, 1968) – Zimbabwean travel writer, memoirist – The Last Resort (2009) Doug Rogers.jpg

Read about Douglas Rogers here

Watch an interview with Douglas Rogers talking about his book The Last Resort



Born November 11

Alicia Ostriker

Carlos Fuentes



November 12

Ivo Urbančič (born November 12, 1930) -Slovenian philosopher Ivo Urbancic

Read about Ivo Urbancic here and here

Ivo Urbancic talks about information and the media in the philosophical roundtable discussion (Slovenian language)

Born November 12

Neil Young

Bahá’u’lláh (Mírzá Ḥusayn-`Alí Nuri Persian: میرزا حسینعلی نوری)



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