1547 – Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist, poet, and playwright whose major work, Don Quixote, is considered the first modern European novel.
1760 – William Beckford, reclusive and eccentric English novelist, travel book writer, and architect, best known for his romance, The History of the Caliph Vathek.
1810 – Elizabeth Gaskell, British novelist and nonfiction writer of the Victorian era, possibly best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë.
1848 – Caroline Ardelia Yale, U.S. educator who revolutionized the teaching of hearing-impaired students; she developed a more comprehensive system of phonetic symbols than was in use at the time and published Formation and Development of Elementary English Sounds to describe it; she collaborated with inventor Alexander Graham Bell and his father, Alexander Melville Bell, on her teaching methods. Her system became the predominate one in the U.S. for teaching deaf students. She also published an autobiography, Years of Building-Memories of a Pioneer in a Special Field of Education. The crater Yale on the planet Venus is named in her honor.
1862 – Kuroiwa Shuroku (also known as Kuroiwa Ruiko), Japanese journalist, writer, and novelist who was also a prolific translator.
1866 – J.E. Casely Hayford (also known as Ekra-Agiman), Ghanian writer, editor, journalist, lawyer, and politician who supported pan-African nationalism.
1881 – Ludwig von Mises, Ukrainian-born Austrian-U.S. writer, economist, university teacher, philosopher, and sociologist who is best known for his work on praxeology, a study of human choice and action.
1882 – Miekichi Suzuki, Japanese novelist and children’s writer who published a children’s literature magazine that was groundbreaking in its emphasis on learning from observation and experience rather than by rote, and focused on everyday language as much as ceremonial language.
1897 – Herbert Agar, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist, historian, author, and editor who is best remembered for his book The People’s Choice, a critical look at the American presidency.
1914 – Diederik (or Dirk) Johannes Opperman (commonly referred to as D.J.
Opperman), South Africa writer, poet, and university teacher who is one of the best known Afrikaans poets of the twentieth century.
1915 – Oscar Handlin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, writer, and professor who helped promote social and ethnic history, virtually inventing the field of immigration history.
1916 – İsmet Kür (born Zorluhankızı), Turkish educator, journalist, columnist, short-story writer, novelist, memoirist, poet, and nonfiction writer; she is best known for her children’s literature.
1923 – Stan Berenstain, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books, known for the “Berenstain Bears” series of picture books he co-wrote with his wife Jan.
1925 – Eugenia Apostol, Filipino journalist and publisher notable for her role in peaceful overthrow of two Philippine presidents.
1927 – Elizabeth Peters, pen name of U.S. mystery author and Egyptologist Barbara Mertz, who also wrote under the pseudonym Barbara Michaels; as Elizabeth Peters, her main series involves Egyptologist Amelia Peabody. She also wrote two nonfiction books about ancient Egypt.
1929 – Xu Huaizhong, award-winning Chinese novelist, screenwriter, and editor who is best known for his novel Qianfengji.
1930 – Colin Dexter, English crime writer who was well known for his Inspector Morse novels, which have been adapted for television.
1930 – Satya Vrat Shastri, award-winning Indian poet, author, professor, grammarian, and literary critic who writes in Sanskrit.
1932 – Henrique Abranches, award-winning Portuguese-born Angolan fiction writer, poet, playwright, essayist, anthropologist, and political activist who is also the director of Angola’s National Museum of Slavery.
1934 – Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, Hungarian-born psychology professor best known for his book Flow: The Psychology of Optimum Experience.
1934 – Stuart Kaminsky, award-winning U.S. author of mystery novels.
1935 – Chung-ying Cheng, Taiwanese writer, philosopher, and professor of philosophy.
1935 – Rieko Nakagawa, award-winning Japanese children’s literature writer, author, essayist, and lyricist; she has also written under the name Yuriko Ōmura; she is particularly well known for her “Guri and Gura” series of children’s books.
1935 – Ingrid Noll (married name Ingrid Gullatz), award-winning Chinese-born German thriller writer who published her first novel at the age of 55 and is today one of the most popular German authors; some of her books have been adapted for film and television.
1936 – James Fogle, U.S. author of the autobiographical novel Drugstore Cowboy.
1942 – Donna Leon, award-winning U.S. author whose series of crime novels set in Venice feature Commissario Guido Brunetti.
1942 – Steve Tesich, Academy Award-winning Serbian-born screenwriter, playwright, and novelist best known for the film Breaking Away.
1947 – Festus Iyayi, Nigerian writer, economist, and professor known for his radical and sometimes tough stance on social and political issues; he wrote in a realistic style that depicted the social, political, and moral environment that both the rich and poor live and work in.
1947 – Cassandra Jean Pybus, award-winning Australian historian, writer, and professor who has published extensively on Australian and American history.
1950 – Duni Chand Chambial (often known as D.C. Chambial), prolific Indian poet, editor, and literary critic who writes in both English and Hindi.
1950 – Merle Collins, Aruban-born Grenadian poet, novelist, short-story writer, professor, literary critic, and performing artist.
1951 – Miguel Castro Enriquez (also known as Mike Enriquez), Filipino journalist, television announcer, and radio newscaster.
1952 – Gábor Csupó, Hungarian animator, writer, cartoonist, film producer, graphic designer, and filmmaker.
1959 – Jon Fosse, Norwegian writer, poet, playwright, and children’s writer.
1963 – Lopito Feijóo (born João André da Silva Feijó), Angolan poet who writes in Portuguese and belongs to a generation of Angolan poets whose themes revolve around relationships and love.
1965 – Petra Östergren, Swedish feminist writer, debater, social commentator, and self-defense instructor.
1966 – Kaajal Oza Vaidya, prolific Indian novelist, poet, screenwriter for films and soap operas, essayist, short-story writer, columnist, radio personality, journalist, and actress.
1986 – Delara Darabi, Iranian writer, poet, and painter who was sentenced to death after having been convicted of murdering her father’s female cousin; she said her older boyfriend, Amir Hossein, had killed the woman and persuaded her to lie about it to protect him. While on death row she wrote poetry, most notably the poem, “Prison,” a psychological and philosophical work about life in prison. She was hanged in 2009 at the age of 22.