J. B. Priestley, Julian Tuwim, Tõnu Õnnepalu, Nicolaas Beets, Roald Dahl, Anton Constandse

De Engelse schrijver, journalist en literatuurcriticus John Boynton Priestley werd geboren in Bradford op 13 september 1894. Tijdens WO I diende hij in het leger als vrijwilliger. Na de oorlog begon hij aan een studie literatuur en geschiedenis in Cambridge. Vanaf 1922 was hij als zelfstandig schrijver en criticus werkzaam. Hij schreef romans, toneelstukken, korte verhalen en essays. Tot aan 1940 wijdde hij zich aan het theater. Ook als regisseur en zelfs een keer als acteur. Tijdens WO II werkte hij voor de BBC. In die tijd werd hij een van Engelands populairste radiopresentatoren.

Uit: English Journey

“Southampton to Newcastle, Newcastle to Norwich: memories rose like milk coming to the boil. I had seen England. I had seen a lot of Englands. How many? At once, three disengaged themselves from the shifting mass. There was first, Old England, the country of the cathedrals and minsters and manor houses and inns, of parson and Squire; guide-book and quaint highways and byways England… Then, I decided, there is the nineteenth-century England, the industrial England of coal, iron, steel, cotton, wool, railways; of thousands of rows of little houses all alike, sham Gothic churches, square-faced chapels, Town Halls, Mechanics’ Institutes, mills, foundries, warehouses, refined watering-places, Pier Pavilions, Family and Commercial Hotels, Literary and Philosophical Societies, back-to-back houses, detached villas with monkey-trees, Grill Rooms, railway stations, slag-heaps and ‘tips’, dock roads, Refreshment Rooms, doss-houses, Unionist or Liberal Clubs, cindery waste ground, mill chimneys, slums, fried-fish shops, public-houses with red blinds, bethels in corrugated iron, good-class draper’s and confectioners’ shops, a cynically devastated countryside, sooty dismal little towns, and still sootier grim fortress-like cities. This England makes up the larger part of the Midlands and the North and exists everywhere; but it is not been added to and has no new life poured into it…”



John Boynton Priestley (13 september 1894 – 14 augustus 1984)


De Poolse dichter Julian Tuwim werd geboren in Łódź op 13 september 1894. Hij was oprichter van de dichtersgroep Skamander en een prominent vertegenwoordiger van het literaire cabaret in de jaren twintig en dertig. Ook was hij vertaler uit het Russisch. Tijdens de bezetting emigreerde Tuwim naar via Frankrijk en Zuidamerika naar de VS. Na de oorlog was hij een van de eerste schrijvers die naar Polen terugkeerden.


The Common Man

When plastered billboards scream with slogans
‘fight for your country, go to battle’
When media’s print assaults your senses,
‘Support our leaders’ shrieks and rattles…
And fools who don’t know any better
Believe the old, eternal lie
That we must march and shoot and kill
Murder, and burn, and bomb, and grill…

When press begins the battle-cry
That nation needs to unify
And for your country you must die…
Dear brainwashed friend, my neighbor dear
Brother from this, or other nation
Know that the cries of anger, fear,
Are nothing but manipulation
by fat-cats, kings who covet riches,
And feed off your sweat and blood – the leeches!
When call to arms engulfs the land
It means that somewhere oil was found,
Shooting ‘blackgold’ from underground!
It means they found a sneaky way
To make more money, grab more gold
But this is not what you are told!

Don’t spill your blood for bucks or oil
Break, burn your rifle, shout: ‘NO DEAL!’
Let the rich scoundrels, kings, and bankers
Send their own children to get killed!
May your loud voice be amplified
By roar of other common men
The battle-weary of all nations:



Julian Tuwim (13 september 1894 – 27 december 1953)


De Estische dichter, schrijver en vertalerTõnu Õnnepalu werd geboren op 13 september 1962 in Tallin. Tot 1985 studeerde hij botanica en ecologie aan de universiteit van Tartu. Daarna doceerde hij scheikunde en biologie. Sinds 1988 is hij werkzaam als zelfstandig schrijver en vertaler en tevens als redacteur bij het culturele tijdschrift Vikerkaar. In 1993 kwam hij internationaal in de belangstelling met zijn roman Piiririik (Engels: “Border State”) die verscheen onder zijn pseudoniem Emil Tode.
Het boek werd in veertien talen vertaald en werd het meest vertaalde boek uit Estland gedurende de jaren negentig.

Uit: Practicing


“I don’t want any changes. In my life, that is. Nothing about it must change.
Let it all stay the way it always has been. Everything around me can change, that’s fascinating; it’s thrilling to observe the reforms, catastrophes, revolutions and wars. But only from a distance. My greatest mistake has been to imagine I want changes in my life.
Why should life change? It’s disturbing enough without any changes. It’s hard enough to make sense of it already.
Routine is the greatest blessing, but in my ingratitude I have regarded it as
the source of my despair. And yet by instinct I have never sought anything but
stability. A means to make my life so routinely repetitive that it would fade away completely, allowing me an unobstructed view. //to observe unobstructed//
Today, like every other working day, at about two o’clock I took a train to the Notre-Dame des Champs metro station. There’s one change to make
on the way, but it’s still quick. I know all the stops by heart. I know which end of
the train is more convenient and what comes after what: Rue du Bac, Sevres-Babylone, Rennes, Notre-Dame des Champs.
There’s a small sandwich bar there that I discovered last summer, when
this exhibition was on in the jardin de Luxemburg. It’s cheap, only 35 francs a meal. For that I get a toasted panini — either chicken curry or turkey emmental — an iced tea (there are’t any hot drinks on the menu) and a flan — a dull-looking, actually rather repulsive cake that I like because it reminds me of the custard cake or pie of my childhood. I always pretend to make my selection carefully, then with calculated pauses I inform the girl, the woman or the man — whoever happens to be standing behind the counter at the time — of my choice. This is my daily act of social intercourse, my gesture of communication with this city. I have no
desire for any more intimate relationship with the people at the counter. I feel annoyed by the very fact that they recognize me and are accustomed to my daily appearance. If it were up to me I’d make them forget me every day, so I could just keep on dropping in for the first time, in passing.
But what’s more important than that is that the sandwich bar holds no surprises for me. The panini and the cake always taste the same. The flavour of the iced tea depends on whether I bother to specify citron, other wise they always give me peche, the peach. That makes no great difference. But today for some reason I decided to vary my menu and took apple tarte instead of the flan. This change bothered me right through the meal. I had to think about the apple tarte, I couldn’t be sure it would prove satisfactory. And in fact, it was a bit too sweet.”


Tõnu Õnnepalu (Tallin, 13 september 1962)


Voor onderstaande schrijvers zie ook mijn blog van 13 september 2006.


De Nederlandse dichter, predikant en hoogleraarr Nicolaas Beets werd geboren op 13 september 1814 in Haarlem.


De Britse schrijver Roald Dahl werd geboren op 13 september 1916 in Llandalf, Zuid-Wales.

De Nederlandse wetenschapper en publicist, vrijdenker en anarchist Anton Constandse werd geboren in Brouwershaven op 13 september 1899.