I'm not going to go into Halloween here, as I did a post on it this time last year. In the Northern hemisphere it's the start of winter. There are many names for it, all over the British Isles, but the celebrations and customs are similar.
But today - here in the Southern Hemisphere - it's mid spring and it's the birthday of my nephew's daughter and informal personal publicist Dezzy, who constantly promotes my writing at her Sydney school, helps in the library and is turning into a writer herself. Right now, it's online fan fiction, but who knows where this will go? At her age, I was writing plays no one would ever perform and dreadful historical fiction.
So, in Dezzy's honour here is my birthday meme. Happy birthday, Dezzy!
475 - Romulus Augustulus is proclaimed Western Roman Emperor. Included here because he was the last Western Roman Emperor(they were around for hundreds of years more over in Byzantium, where they were Eastern Roman Emperors). I also include him because he was a kid. His Dad put him there. There's a short story I read somewhere with him in it, but I can't remember who wrote it or what it was called. I read a lot!
1517 - Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses on the door of that church in Wittenberg and the Protestant Reformation begins. Not in itself about books or writing, but it was too important to leave out. European politics was never the same again and besides, think of all the historians and novelists who have benefited from the explosion!
1587 - Leiden University Library opens its doors. Hey, it's a library! And I believe it's still around, at least there are still libraries there.
Leiden University Library, 1610, public domain
2011 - The world's population reaches seven billion. Oh, dear... It's now known as Seven Billion Day.
There's more, but let's go on to the birthdays.
1451 - Christopher Columbus. 'Nuff said.
1620 - John Evelyn, he of the famous Diaries, from which we learn stuff about his era, though not as famous as his contemporary, Samuel Pepys. But he wrote plenty of books, was really good at gardening(especially trees)and he could draw too. I haven't checked him out on Gutenberg, but will. He had a daughter who also wrote at least one book, under a pen name.
1795 - John Keats, that amazing poet who died way too early. But one of his poems was about autumn. It begins "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness ..."
1876 - Natalie Clifford Barney, a rather scandalous American poet who lived most of her life in Paris, where she had an amazing salon, with famous guests from all over. She gets a mention in Kerry Greenwood's Murder In Montparnasse, as the young Phryne Fisher spends some post-Great War time in Paris, making a living as an artist's model. She has to pose in Grecian costume while Natalie Barney recites, in hopes of getting a meal afterwards and some payment.
1912 - Ollie Johnstone, one of Disney's top animators, who animated some of Disney's most famous characters. He wrote a book about it, I believe.
1930 - Michael Collins, my favourite astronaut of the Apollo 11 crew, and maybe my favourite astronaut of all time. See, he not only had a lot of amazing adventures in space and kept the mothership waiting and safe while the other two jumped around on the moon, he also wrote about it - and he did write about it, he said it wasn't ghost written - in some of the most delightful books about the history of the space program I've ever read. I used them as research material for my own children's history of the space program. He said recently, when asked, that, no, he wouldn't go back to the moon, been there done that, but he'd sign up for a Mars voyage like a shot. Happy birthday, Michael!
1932 - Katherine Paterson, author of A Bridge To Terabithia, which I confess I haven't read, but should get around to, as a children's librarian!
1959 - Neal Stephenson, award-winning author of a lot of thick-as-a-brick speculative fiction novels, often compared to those of William Gibson. I must admit, I find his work a bit difficult for me to follow, but that's just personal taste. I will try again some time. You never know, it took me three tries to get into Lord Of The Rings and now I adore it. Anyway, happy birthday, Neal!
And speaking of Lord Of The Rings...
1961 - Peter Jackson, who has given us all such joy with his big screen interpretations of Tolkien's works. Happy birthday, Peter!
I'd just like to add, as my token tribute to Halloween, that I'm reading and enjoying Lexa Cain's horror-themed YA novel The Soul Cutter, which I won in ebook at her web site.