Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.

– Confucius


born in Qufu, China

gender: male
genre: Philosophy
influences: Zhou Era Chinese Thought
Confucius was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher, whose teachings and philosophy have deeply influenced Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese thought and life.孔子 – Kong Zi
孔夫子 – Kong Fuzi (Kung Fu-Tzu)

His family was poor and in his youth he tended livestock but in later years, he had many disciples and served for a time as the Minister of Crime.

Kay Ryan

It isn’t ever delicate to live.

– Kay Ryan



born in San Jose, California, The United States,  September 27, 1945

gender: female

genre: Poetry

Born in California in 1945 and acknowledged as one of the most original voices in the contemporary landscape, Kay Ryan is the author of several books of poetry, including Flamingo Watching (2006), The Niagara River (2005), and Say Uncle (2000). Her book The Best of It: New and Selected Poems (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.

Ryan’s tightly compressed, rhythmically dense poetry is often compared to that of Emily Dickinson and Marianne Moore; however, Ryan’s often barbed wit and unique facility with “recombinant” rhyme has earned her the status of one of the great living American poets, and led to her appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2008. She held the position for two terms, using the appointment to champion community colleges like the one in Marin County, California where she and her partner Carol Adair taught for over thirty years. In an interview with the Washington City Paper at the end of tenure, Ryan called herself a “whistle-blower” who “advocated for much underpraised and underfunded community colleges across the nation.”

Ryan’s surprising laureateship capped years of outsider-status in the poetry world. Her quizzical, philosophical, often mordant poetry is a product of years of thought. Ryan has said that her poems do not start with imagery or sound, but rather develop “the way an oyster does, with an aggravation.” Critic Meghan O’Rourke has written of her work: “Each poem twists around and back upon its argument like a river retracing its path; they are didactic in spirit, but a bedrock wit supports them.” “Sharks’ Teeth” displays that meandering approach to her subject matter, which, Ryan says, “gives my poems a coolness. I can touch things that are very hot because I’ve given them some distance.”

Kay Ryan is the recipient of several major awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Guggenheim Foundation. She has received the Union League Poetry Prize and the Maurice English Poetry Award, as well as the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Since 2006 she has served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Jane Smiley

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.

– Jane Smiley


born in Los Angeles, California, The United States,  September 26, 1949

gender: female

Jane Smiley is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist.Born in Los Angeles, California, Smiley grew up in Webster Groves, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and graduated from John Burroughs School. She obtained a A.B. at Vassar College, then earned a M.F.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. While working towards her doctorate, she also spent a year studying in Iceland as a Fulbright Scholar. From 1981 to 1996, she taught at Iowa State University. Smiley published her first novel,Barn Blind, in 1980, and won a 1985 O. Henry Award for her short story “Lily”, which was published in The Atlantic Monthly. Her best-selling A Thousand Acres, a story based on William Shakespeare’s King Lear, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1992. It was adapted into a film of the same title in 1997. In 1995 she wrote her sole television script produced, for an episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Her novella The Age of Grief was made into the 2002 film The Secret Lives of Dentists.

Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (2005), is a non-fiction meditation on the history and the nature of the novel, somewhat in the tradition of E. M. Forster’s seminal Aspects of the Novel, that roams from eleventh century Japan’s Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji to twenty-first century Americans chick lit.

In 2001, Smiley was elected a member of The American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Shel Silverstein

Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.

– Shel Silverstein


born in Chicago, IL, The United States,  September 25, 1930


died: May 10, 1999
gender: male
Shel Silverstein was the author-artist of many beloved books of prose and poetry. He was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter.


Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish.

– Euripides


born in Salamís, Greece September 21, 0480

died: December 30, 0405
gender: male
genre: Literature & Fiction, Poetry

(Greek: Ευριπίδης )
Euripides (Ancient Greek: Εὐριπίδης) (ca. 480 BC–406 BC) was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays, although four of those were probably written by Critias. Eighteen of Euripides’ plays have survived complete. It is now widely believed that what was thought to be a nineteenth, Rhesus, was probably not by Euripides. Fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays also survive. More of his plays have survived than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because of the chance preservation of a manuscript that was probably part of a complete collection of his works in alphabetical order.

Refusing to cover her hair in public

Dear Ela,


We have just hours to act. Tonight, Australian time, Sudanese women’s rights activist Amira Osman Hamed will go on trial.

The charge? ‘Indecent clothing’. Amira was arrested by a policeman after refusing to cover her hair in public.

If found guilty, Amira risks a vicious beating — up to 40 lashes. Not only is this punishment cruel and inhumane, it’s against international law.

Act now to demand the Sudanese Justice Minister throw out the case.

Amira is an exceptionally brave woman. She’s well aware of the risks that come with ignoring her country’s strict laws on how women should dress.

Just four years ago, in a case that made headlines around the world, a female journalist in Sudan was fined for wearing trousers. Refusing to pay, she escaped a public beating only after her union offered to cover the fine. [1]

Amira is relying on people like us — show her she isn’t alone. Amira’s best chance is if the case is dropped before it reaches court. In the hours before the trial begins, let’s flood the Sudanese Justice Minister with thousands of messages demanding just that.

Please add your message to the chorus — tell the Justice Minister to drop the charges against Amira immediately and unconditionally.

According to Amira, the police officer who arrested her was so shocked to find her hair uncovered, he said “You are not Sudanese. What is your religion?”[2]

In fact, Amira is a proud Muslim. But she believes that women have a right to choose their own clothing, and she prefers to wear her hair in traditional Sudanese braids rather than cover it.

Stand with Amira, and remind the Sudanese Justice Minister that the whole world is watching.  Insist that the minister drop the outrageous charges against Amira, abolish flogging as a punishment, and repeal this unjust law.

In hope,

Michael Hayworth
Crisis Response Coordinator
Amnesty International Australia.

PS. The trial is due to start tonight, Australian time.

We have just hours to protect Amira from possible beating — email the Justice Minister now before the trial starts.
[1] New York Times ‘Sudan court fines woman for wearing trousers’ 
[2] Daily Life ‘She may be flogged for not covering her hair’