Writers who have recently died:

Swedish writer Börge Hellström died on 17th February aged 59; he was best known as one half of the writing duo Roslund & Hellström...Dutch author and illustrator Dick Bruna died on 16th February aged 98; he is best known for his children's books, his most notable creation is Miffy (Nijntje in the original Dutch)...English-Irish poet Tom Raworth died on 8th February aged 78, he was a key figure in the British Poetry Revival....Canadian novelist Richard B. Wright died on 7th February aged 79, he is best known for his award winning novel Clara Callan (2001)...American poet Thomas Lux died on 5th February aged 70...Pakistani novelist Bano Qudsia died on 4th February aged 88, her best known work is Raja Gidh (1981)...Albanian poet and writer Dritëro Agolli died on 3rd February aged 85...African-American novelist William Melvin Kelley died on 1st February aged 79; he is best known for his debut novel, A Different Drummer, published in 1962...Nigerian novelist Buchi Emecheta died on 25th January aged 72, her best known novels include The Bride Price (1976) and The Joys of Motherhood (1979)...British author Douglas Reeman / Alexander Kent died on 23rd January aged 92 he wrote historical fiction about the Royal Navy, mainly set during either World War II or the Napoleonic Wars....Award winning Dutch writer and poet Robert Anker died on 20th January aged 70...Jamaican novelist Peter Abrahams died on 18th January aged 97...South Korean novelist Jung Mikyung died 18th January aged 56...English children's author and illustrator Babette Cole died on 15th January aged 66; her books include Princess Smartypants (1986) and Prince Cinders (1987)...Italian author Giulio Angioni died on 12th January aged 77...American author of The Exorcist (1971), William Peter Blatty, died on 12th January aged 89...

Molière (Jean-Baptiste Poquelin) (1622-1673)


Death: 17th February 1673
Location: Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France
Cause of death: Pulmonary Tuberculosis
Photo taken by: Wayne

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French playwright and actor, considered to be a master of comic satire. It is believed that he used a pseudonym to spare his father the shame of having an actor in the family. In 1643 he formed a theatre company, but this went bankrupt after a couple of years and Molière was imprisoned for debt before his father intervened. 
He spent the next fourteen years working as a travelling comedian for other theatre companies before he again created a company of his own. His theatre company joined the famous Italian theatre company Commedia dell'arte and in 1659 the company preformed one of his own works Les Précieuses Ridicules, which gained Molière much attention. He continued to write and act until he died after collapsing on stage whilst performing Le Malade Imaginaire. The superstition that yellow brings bad luck to actors is said to originate from the colour of the clothing he was wearing at the time of his death.
He was buried in the cemetery Saint-Joseph in Paris and in 1817 his remains were transferred to Père Lachaise Cemetery, near to the poet La Fontaine.

Harry Martinson (1904-1978)

Death:  11th February 1978
Cause of death: Suicide - Seppuku with a pair of scissors
Location: Silverdals griftegård, Sollentuna, Stockholms Lan, Sweeden
Photo taken by: Kotoviski

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Swedish author and poet. Joint winner (along with Eyvind Johnson) of the 1974 Nobel Prize in Literature.  The selection of both Martinson and Johnson was controversial as they were themselves both on the Nobel panel. 
Martinson was orphaned at an early age and spent his childhood in the Swedish countryside where he was fostered. Aged sixteen he became a sailor and he spent several years sailing round the world, unfortunately he developed tuberculosis and had to spend time in sanatoriums. 
In 1927 he met fellow writer Moa Johansson and they married in 1929. His first novel was published in 1935. Flowering nettle is a partly autobiographical account of the problems and hardships encountered by a young boy in the country. In 1939 he separated from Moa. He met Ingrid Lindcrantz with whom he had two daughters with and spent the rest of his life with. 
The criticism over the 1974 Nobel Prize was not directed at the ability of the two authors, but directly at the Academy for awarding the prize to members of the panel. However the criticism affected both writers and caused Martinson to become ill. He was admitted to hospital in 1978 where he tried to take his own life by committing seppuku (ritual disembowelment) with a pair of scissors. He inflicted horrific injuries upon himself and died several days later.

John Buchan (1875-1940)

Death: 11th February 1940
Cause of Death: Accidental - Fall
Location: St Thomas of Canterbury Churchyard, Elsfield, Oxfordshire, England
Photo taken by: Clive and Chris

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Scottish novelist best remembered for writing The Thirty-Nine Steps which was filmed by Hitchcock in 1935. 
He was born in Perth, Scotland and studied Classics at Glasgow University before studying law as Brasenose College, Oxford. After a short law career he moved into a political career and became the private secretary of the High Commissioner for South Africa. In 1910 he wrote Prester John an adventure novel set in South Africa. During WWI he worked for the War Propaganda Bureau and the British Army Intelligence Corps. After the war he continued to write thrillers and also started to produce biographies and historical works. In 1935 he became Governor General of Canada and was created Baron Tweedsmuir. 
On 6th February 1940 he had a stroke whilst he was shaving and badly injured his head as he fell. After several operations the injury proved fatal and he died on 11th February. He was cremated in Canada and his ashes were returned to the U.K.

Elizabeth von Arnim (1866-1941)

Death: 9th February 1941
Location: St. Margaret's Church, Tylers Green, Buckinghamshire, England 
Cause of death: Influenza 
Photo taken by: Clive and Chris

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British novelist and member of the German nobility. Born Mary Annette Beauchamp in Sydney, Australia, she was the cousin of Katherine Mansfield. She was brought up in England and in 1891 she married Count Henning August von Arnim.
Her first book, Elizabeth and Her German Garden, was published in 1898 and it was a huge success, having to be reprinted over twenty times in the first year.
Her husband died in 1910 and she married John Francis Stanley Russell, 2nd Earl Russell, in 1916. The marriage was unsuccessful and the couple divorced in 1919. She spent the remainder of her life in London, Switzerland and the French Riviera, until the outbreak of the Second World War when she moved to the United States.
She died from complications of Influenza and was cremated in Washington, D.C. and then in 1947 her ashes were mixed with those of her brother and buried in the churchyard of St. Margaret’s Church in Tylers Green.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881)

Photo taken by: Julia and Keld
Death:  9th February 1881
Location: Tikhvin Cemetery, Alexander Nevsky Monastery, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Cause of death: Pulmonary Hemorrhage associated with emphysema

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Russian writer, considered to be one if the greatest writers of the twentieth century. In 1846 his first work, the 
Photo taken by:  Berteun
epistolary novel Poor Folk, was published to much critical acclaim. In 1849 he was imprisoned and sentenced to death for his involvement in revolutionary activity against Tsar Nikolai I. However, he was not executed and was instead exiled to a labour camp in Siberia. In 1854 he was released, but he was required to serve in the Siberian Regiment, where he spent the next five years. He returned to St. Petersburg where, following the death of his wife and brother, he fell into a deep depression and began to gamble heavily. It is believed that his best known work, Crime and Punishment, was completed in a hurry in order for Dostoevsky to receive the advance from his publisher.
His tombstone reads "Verily, Verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." from John 12:24, which is also the epigraph of his final novel, The Brothers Karamazov.

Halldór Laxness (1902-1998)

Death:  8th February 1988
Location:  Mosfellskirkja, Mosfellsdalur, Iceland
Cause of death: Alzheimer's disease 
Photo taken by: Granitsilber

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Icelandic author of novels, poetry, plays, travelogues, and short stories.  Awarded the 1955 Nobel Prize in Literature for his vivid epic power which has renewed the great narrative art of Iceland. During his career he wrote over fifty novels.

Dollie Radford (1858–1920)

Death: 7th February 1920
Location: St Johns at Hampstead (Churchyard Extension), London, England. Plot: G102
Photo taken by: DeadGoodBooks

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English poet and writer. Caroline Maitland married Ernest Radford in 1883, and wrote poems as well as fiction for both adults and children using the name Dollie Radford.