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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

September 4th

September 4 is almost certainly my real birthday, as I discovered some years ago when researching for a book at the State Library newspaper archives.  I thought it might be fun to get a front page of a newspaper for my day of birth and looked up September 3. Which was a Thursday the year I was born. I was born on Friday. 

Really, if you want to do a birthday meme, this is the wrong time of year. Battles, killings, all sorts of dreadful stuff and boring people who share a birthday with you. September 3, my official birthday, has it all.

But for September 4 I did manage to find two favourite writers - Mary Renault and Joan Aiken. I was delighted.

Mary Renault was the Rosemary Sutcliff of Ancient Greece. She made it feel real, as if you were there, and that included her novels about mythological characters such as Theseus. Evangeline Walton wrote a Theseus novel at around the same time, but it wasn't as good - she was best at Welsh myth. I cried over The King Must Die(which I first read when I was eleven) and The Bull From The Sea. She convinced me that Theseus might have been a real person, and the fantastical elements were limited to his ability to know when an earthquake was about to happen. Even his visit to the underworld was explained as a stroke, after which he can't move properly any more.

Joan Aiken was the kind of writer I have always had a hankering to be - witty, quirky, creating a universe in which of course there are unicorns and the kindergarten class is taught by a fairy and in fact, there are fundraisings for the local retired fairy home. And then there's the Dido Twite series, set in an alternative universe in which the Stuarts still rule England in the nineteenth century and the Hanoverians are always plotting to get in. I have read The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase and The Stolen Lake. In the latter, someone steals the lake into which King Arthur threw Excalibur... No, you have to read it, I won't go into detail. But it's the sort of quirky silliness you'd expect from this author. 

So if my birthday is indeed September 4, I am sharing it with at least two wonderful writers.


A latte beckons said...

Happy birthday for yesterday (or the day before!) Sue.

It's my birthday today, but I don't seem to share it with any other writers. You're doing pretty well with those two!

Sue Bursztynski said...

I have good news for you, Kate(and happy birthday!) No children's writers, but a browse through Wikipedia tells me you share a birthday with Arthur Koestler, author of some wonderful novels (The Gladiators, Arrival and Departure, Darkness At Noon) and that amazing author of historical romances, Frank Yerby, including some that were made into great Hollywood movies with Rex Harrison and the gorgeous Ricardo Montalban. I like both of these writers very much. There was also a cousin of Leo Tolstoy who was a poet and novelist, but I had never heard of him.

A latte beckons said...

Thanks Sue! I'm glad I'm not just stuck with Racquel Welch and Freddy Mercury. Not that there's anything wrong with Racquel and Freddy, but I don't feel I have much in common with either of them! :)