1775 – Muthuswami Dikshitar, Indian poet, author, and legendary composer of Indian classical music.
1826 – Matilda Joslyn Gage, American author, editor, journalist, lecturer, abolitionist, suffragist, and activist for women’s rights and Native American rights who ran an Underground Railroad station out of her home and wrote prolifically against oppression of all kinds; her son-in-law, Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, called her “the most gifted and educated woman of her age.”
1834 – William Morris, influential English poet, artist, designer, and social activist who was a key figure in the Arts and Crafts movement.
1855 – Olive Schreiner, South African author, anti-war activist, and intellectual who was best known for her novel, The Story of an African Farm.
1897 – Theodora Kroeber (full name Theodora Covel Kracaw Kroeber Quinn), American writer, anthropologist, and university Regent, best known for her accounts of several Native Californian cultures; her influential book Ishi in Two Worlds was an account of the last member of the Yahi tribe of Northern California, whom her husband, anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, had befriended and studied. Her later work included a collaboration with her daughter, renowned science-fiction and fantasy author Ursula K. Le Guin.
1916 – Donald Hamilton, American writer of pulp spy fiction, crime fiction, and westerns.
1919 – Lawrence Ferlinghetti, American beat poet, painter, social activist, and founder of San Francisco’s City Lights Booksellers & Publishers.
1920 – Mary Stolz, Newbery Honor-winning American author of children’s books and young-adult novels.
1923 – Michael Legat, British author of romance novels and guides for writers.
1924 – Vincent Cronin, British author of cultural histories and biography, best known for biographies of French royalty and historical work about the Renaissance; his father was the Scottish novelist A.J. Cronin.
1926 – Dario Fo, Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, actor, and director who “emulates the jesters of the Middle Ages in scourging authority and upholding the dignity of the downtrodden.”
1935 – Mary Berry, British food writer, prolific cookbook author, autobiographer, and television presenter who was one of the judges on the Great British Baking Show.
1943 – Kate (Catherine Merrial) Webb (born March 24, 1943) – New Zealand journalist and war correspondent; she was known for her fearless and tenacious reporting throughout the Vietnam War, and at one point was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese and was thought to have been killed in captivity but survived to write about the weeks-long ordeal.
1944 – Mary Balogh, Welsh-Canadian author of historical romance novels.
1949 – Tabitha King, American writer, novelist, and science-fiction writer; she is married to author Stephen King.
1970 – Erica Kennedy, African-American author, journalist, blogger, singer, and bestselling novelist.