1783 – Nadezhda Durova, Russian author who was the first known female Army officer in the Russian military; she became a decorated cavalry soldier while disguised as a man. Her memoir, the Cavalry Maiden, is significant because it is one of the earliest autobiographies in the Russian language, and because few junior officers in the Napoleonic wars published accounts of their experiences.
1850 – Abilio Manuel de Guerra Junqueiro, Portugese poet and playwright.
1864 – Anagarika Dharmapala, Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) writer and Buddhist revivalist who was the first global Buddhist missionary, one of the founders of non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism, and a leading figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement against British rule.
1867 – Masaoka Shiki, Japanese poet, author, and literary critic who was a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry.
1883 – William Carlos Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American modernist poet, writer, and physician who is credited with inventing a uniquely American form of poetry whose subject matter centered on everyday circumstances and the lives of ordinary people.
1885 – Prabodhankar Thackeray (pen name for Keshav Sitaram Thackeray), Indian social reformer and prolific author who campaigned against superstitions and social evils in India, including untouchability and child marriage.
1901 – Sir Francis Chichester, English adventurer, aviator, and sailor who was the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, in nine months and one day overall; he wrote many books, stories, and articles about sailing, navigation, science, natural history, and his own adventures, and is the subject of a 1979 rock song, “Single-Handed Sailor,” by Dire Straits.
1908 – John Creasey, Prolific English author of crime novels and science fiction who used least 28 different pseudonyms for his 600+ books.
1909 – Elizabeth Enright, Newbery Medal-winning American author and illustrator of children’s books.
1916 – Mary Stewart (born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow), English novelist, children’s writer, and poet; she is remembered for her romantic mystery novels, and especially for her Merlin series of historical fantasy.
1927 – Hélène Langevin-Joliot, French physicist, researcher, and writer.
1931 – Ayako Sono (曽野 綾子) award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, columnist, and essayist who was part of the Third Generation movement in Japanese literature.
1932 – Robert B. Parker, American crime writer, most famous for his series of novels about the fictional detective Spenser.
1935 – Ken Kesey, counterculture author who considered himself a link between the Beat generation and 1960s hippie culture; he is best known for his book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
1939 – Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.
1947 – Gail Carson Levine, American author of young-adult novels, best known for her Cinderella-retelling “Ella Enchanted” series.
1949 – Jennifer Crusie, American author of contemporary romance novels.
1962 – Anjum Rehbar, award-winning Indian poet who writes in Urdu and Hindi.
1968 – Cheryl Strayed (born Nyland), American memoirist, novelist, essayist, and podcast host whose bestselling book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, was made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon.
1977 – Igor Štiks, Bosnian/Yugoslavian law professor and novelist.
1982 – Hope Larson, U.S. cartoonist and graphic novelist.