1644 – William Penn, English real-estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of Pennsylvania; he wrote in favor of democracy and religious freedom and was noted for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Indians; he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for his controversial religious pamphlets.
1867 – Masaoka Shiki (pen-name of Masaoka Noboru), Japanese poet, author, and literary critic.
1879 – Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin (known as Miles Franklin), award-winning and influential Australian writer, novelist, nonfiction author, and feminist who is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, which was made into a film; she was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature and actively pursued that goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers’ organizations. The prestigious Stella Prize, awarded annually for the best work of literature by an Australian woman, is named after her.
1888 – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born British modernist short-story writer and poet.
1893 – Lois Lenski, Newbery Medal-winning bestselling American author and illustrator of books for children and young adults.
1894 – E.E. Cummings, American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright; he is considered one of the most innovative poets of the 20th century.
1906 – Hannah Arendt, German-born political theorist whose works deal with the nature of power, politics, democracy, and totalitarianism; a Jew, she escaped Europe during the Holocaust and later became an American citizen.
1924 – Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, award-winning Indian novelist who was one of the pioneers of modern Assamese literature.
1942 – Sivasankari, popular Indian Tamil writer and activist; several of her novels have been adapted for film or television.
1949 – Katha Pollitt, American feminist poet, essayist, journalist, and critic.
1950 – Kate Grenville, award-winning Australian novelist, short-story writer, biographer, and teacher of creative writing; several of her novels have been adapted for film or stage.
1958 – Ada Zayas-Bazán, Cuban poet, writer, children’s author, and teacher.
1978 – Marlene Wayar, Argentine writer, social psychologist, and transgender rights activist who is best known for the book Travesti: una teoría lo suficientemente buena (Cross-dressing: A Good Enough Theory).