June 15 – Kobayashi Issa

Happy Birthday Kobayashi Issa!

Kobayashi Issa by Hashimoto Heihachi

Kobayashi Issa by Hashimoto Heihachi

Kobayashi Issa – born June 15, 1763 – Japanese Haiku poet

Read about Kobayashi Issa here and here

Read the Gwanlingo blog post about Kobayashi Issa:

Issa is considered one of four great masters of Haiku. This seventeen syllable poetic form is known for its ability to squeeze astonishing beauty and depth of feeling out of plain language and direct observation. Issa’s poems are remarkable for their “pathos and humor,” especially in light of the string of tragedies that marked each stage of his life.

Read some of Kobayashi Issa’s poems here.

春風や 牛にひかれて 善光寺

The spring breeze.

Being pulled by a cow

To the Zenkoji temple.

[From the Japanese traditional legend. An old woman who had no faith found herself in Zenkoji while chasing the cow that hung the dried cloth on the horn. As a result, she began to believe Buddhism deeply.]

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June 14 Judith Kerr

Happy Birthday Judith Kerr!

Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr – Born June 14, 1923 – U.K. writer and illustrator – The Tiger Who Came to Tea (1968)

Read about Judith Kerr here and here

The backstory of The Tiger Who Came to Tea


Judith Kerr visits her childhood home in Germany

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June LitBirthdays


June 1

Casper de Vries

Marie Knight

Naguib Surur

Mircea Cărtărescu

June 2

Xiao Hong

Dorothy West

June 3

Rumer (Sarah Joyce)

Pedro Mir

(Irwin) Allen Ginsberg

June 4

Jacques Roumain

Margrit Schriber

Jin Au-Yeung

June 5

Elena Piscopia

Pu Songling

Federico Garcia Lorca

June 6

Vlado Georgiev

Isaiah Berlin

Alexander (or Aleksandr) (Sergeyevich) Pushkin

June 7

Louise Erdrich (Karen Louise Erdrich)

Gwendolyn Brooks

Nikki Giovanni

Orhan Pamuk

June 8

Karin Alvtegen

Tim Berners-Lee

Sara Paretsky

June 9

André Juillard

George Axelrod

Cole Porter

June 10

Maurice Sendak

Benjamin Millepied

Samartha Vashishtha

Saul Bellow

Terence Rattigan

June 11

Bill Findlay

Siavash Ghomayshi

Yasunari Kawabata

June 12

Tess Gerritsen

Anne Frank

June 13

Anis Mojgani

Dorothy Leigh Sayers

William Butler Yeats

June 14

Ernesto Che Guevara

Margaret Bourke-White

Mona Simpson

June 15

Ibn-e-Insha (ابن انشاء)

Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson)

Waylon Jennings

June 16

Lamont Dozier

Joyce Carol Oates

June 17

Jeph Jacques

Nino (Kazunari Ninomiya)

June 18

Lidia Jorge

Sammy Cahn

Paul McCartney

June 19

Aung San Suu Kyi

Pauline Kael

Salman Rushdie

June 20

Enn Vetemaa

Amos Tutuola

Anna Laetitia Barbauld

June 21

John Agard

Benazir Bhutto

Jean-Paul Sartre

Mary McCarthy

June 22

Moana Maniapoto

Abbas Kiarostami Persian: عباس کیارستمی

Kaarina Helakisa

Sándor Weöres

Dan Brown

June 23

Steven Dietz

Anna Akhmatova

Alfred Kinsey

Patrick Monahan

June 24

Julia Kristeva

Anita Desai

June 25

Ricky Gervais

George Orwell

Anthony Bourdain

Yann Martel

June 26

Ya’akov Cohen (also spelled Cahan) (Hebrew: יעקב כהן)

Yves Beauchemin

Noriaki Kubo (The Kubo)

June 27

Paul L. Dunbar

Bob Keeshan

Helen Keller

June 28

Mariko Nanba (南波真理子)

Aimee Bender

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Sophie Hannah

June 29

Nawal Al Zoghbi

Frédéric Dard

Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Toure)

June 30

José Emilio Pacheco

David Frum

James Goldman

Dempsey Books are on Amazon.com

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LitBirthdays Jakucho Setouchi

Happy Birthday Jakucho Setouchi!

Jakucho Setouchi

Jakucho Setouchi (born May 15, 1922) Buddhist nun, writer, activist

Read about Jakucho Setouchi here and here

Setouchi translated The Tales of Genji from classical Japanese to modern Japanese.

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LitBirthdays Rudolph Fisher

Happy Birthday Rudolph Fisher!

Rudolph Fisher (born May 9, 1897) (One source says birthdate was May 6, 1897) – African-American writer, musical arranger, physician

Read about Rudolph Fisher here and here

The Brown University Library collection of Rudolph Fisher papers:

“The Conjure-Man Dies, published in 1932, also received strong reviews, hailing Fisher as the first black mystery writer.”

Read the LA Review of Books about The Conjure Man Dies:

It would not be until 1932, however, during the Harlem Renaissance, that the first full-fledged, non-serialized detective novel by an African American would be published. This was Rudolph Fisher’s The Conjure-Man Dies: A Mystery Tale of Dark Harlem. Fisher, a physician by trade, would die two years later, at age 37, but the one mystery novel he left behind is a remarkable work.

As in an English country house mystery, a large portion of the novel takes place at the crime scene, with the investigators questioning people, including a small circle of suspects. But Fisher’s book is no mere copy of a then popular form. Fisher writes an engrossing mystery complete with clues, red herrings, and surprising plot twists, and adapts it to his own concerns as a Harlem Renaissance novelist.

Fisher uses his mystery novel to concentrate on black life only. There are no white characters in The Conjure-Man Dies. But what Fisher does is use his mystery plot and his characters as a way to examine the social layers, language differences, and belief systems of a community. It’s a community that had not then been explored much by those living outside it.

Read an excerpt of The Conjure Man Dies.

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May LitBirthdays


May 1

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Judy Collins

Ignazio Silone (Secondino Tranquilli)

Helen Bamber

May 2

Satyajit Ray

Ichiyo Higuchi (Higuchi Natsu)

Kwon-taek Im

May 2 is
Holocaust Remembrance Day

May 3

Betty Comden

Leslie Marmon Silko

Yehuda Amichai

May 4

Rüdiger Nehberg

Rey Valera

Khwaja Abdullah Ansari

May 5

Thomas Boberg

Elizabeth Cochrane (Nellie Bly)

Soren Kierkegaard

Tammy Wynette

May 6

George Clooney

Vladimiro Ariel Dorfman

Sujata Bhatt

Sigmund Freud

May 7

William Dempsey Valgardson

Volker Braun

Rabindranath Tagore

Robert Browning

May 8

Beth Henley

Gary Snyder

Sirkka Hämäläinen

May 9

Nada El-Hage

Lucian Blaga

Ghostface Killah

May 10

Nayantara Sahgal

Bono (Paul David Hewson)

Olga Bancic

May 11

Andre Gregory

John Michael Hayes

Irving Berlin

May 12

Wu Wenjun

Claribel Alegria

Andrey Andreyevich Voznesensky

May 13

Stephen Colbert

Clive Barnes

Daphne du Maurier

May 14

Eoin Colfer

Sofia Carmina Coppola

Che Guevara

Luis Llorens Torres

May 15

Asala Nasri

L. Frank Baum

Katherine Anne Porter


May 16

Olga Berggolts

Studs Terkel

May 17

Jien (Jichin-daikasho)

Dennis Potter

May 18

Tina Fey

Omar Khayyam

May 19

Elena Poniatowska

Malcolm X (Malcolm Little)

Lorraine Hansberry

May 20

Sirivennela (Chembolu SeethaRama Sastry)

Honoré de Balzac

Cher (Cherilyn Sarkisian)

Joe (John Robert) Cocker

May 21

(Liv) Marit Bergman

Manly Wade Wellman

May 22

Betty Williams

Bernie Taupin

Georges Remi / Hergé

Arthur Conan Doyle

May 23

Sebastian Cordero

Walter Reisch

Pär Lagerkvist

Carl Linnaeus

May 24

Patti LaBelle

Joseph Brodsky

Mikhail (Aleksandrovich) Sholokhov

Bob Dylan

May 25

Alastair Campbell

Naim Frashëri

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Robert Ludlum

May 26

Peggy Lee (Norma Egstrom)

Nobuhiro Watsuki

Frankie Manning

Stevie (Stephanie Lynn) Nicks

May 27

Andrei Georgiyevich Bitov

John Cheever

Rachel Carson

Dashiell Hammett

May 28

Muriel Barbery

Patrick White

Ian Fleming

John Fogerty

May 29

Leah Goldberg (לאה גולדברג; )

G.K. Chesterton

May 30

Agnes Varda

Vizma Belševica

May 31

Svetlana Alexievich

Judith Wright

Walt Whitman

Dempsey Books are on Amazon.com

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LitBirthdays – Karan Mahajan

Happy Birthday Karan Mahajan!

Karan Mahajan

Karan Mahajan (born April 24, 1984) Indian-American novelist – The Association of Small Bombs (2016)

Read about Karan Mahajan here and here

Karan Mahajan talks about how he came to write The Association of Small Bombs


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