1194 – Saint Clare of Assisi (Chiara Offreduccio), Italian nun, mystic, and the founder of the Order of Poor Clares; she wrote their Rule of Life, the first set of monastic guidelines known to have been written by a woman. She was one of the first followers of Francis of Assisi.
1821 – Mary Baker Eddy, American writer, theologian, magazine and newspaper editor, and religious leader who founded the Christian Science movement (not associated with Scientology) and authored its main textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures; in her writings, she argued that the material world does not exist and, in particular, that sickness is a mental error that can be corrected by Christian Science prayer; she also founded The Christian Science Monitor, a newspaper that has won seven Pulitzer Prizes.
1862 – Ida B. Wells, African-American investigative journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, and early leader in the civil rights movement who was born a slave; she was one of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
1864 – Dwijendralal Ray (also known as D.L. Ray), Indian writer, poet, playwright, musician, composer, teacher, and civil servant who is known for his Hindu mythological and Nationalist historical plays and songs; he is regarded as one of the most important figures in early modern Bengali literature.
1880 – Kathleen Norris, American novelist and newspaper columnist whose writings capture upper-class life in the San Francisco area. (Not to be confused with modern poet Kathleen Norris)
1889 – Arthur Bowie Chrisman, Newbery Medal-winning American children’s author and short-story writer.
1923 – Mari Evans, American poet, playwright, nonfiction author, and editor whose poetry is known for its lyrical simplicity and the directness of its themes; she is associated with the Black Arts Movement.
1928 – Anita Brookner, Booker Prize-winning British novelist, professor, and art historian, her novels explore themes of emotional loss and typically depict intellectual, middle-class women who suffer isolation and disappointments in love.
1928 – Robert Sheckley, American science-fiction author who has been nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula awards.
1929 – Sheri Tepper, American author of science fiction, horror and mystery novels. Many of her books have an ecofeminist slant.
1943 – Reinaldo Arenas, Cuban poet, novelist, and playwright, and librarian who was an early sympathizer and later critic of Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution.
1952 – Richard Egielski, Caldecott Medal-winning American illustrator and writer.
1955 – Susan Wheeler, National Book Award finalist and Pushcart Prize-winning American poet, essayist, and professor.
1962 – Ross King, Canadian scholar, historian, historical novelist, and nonfiction writer best known for his books about art and architecture, including Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Brunelleschi’s Dome: The Story of the Great Cathedral in Florence, and
The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism.