1342 – Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich, (also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian), influential British Catholic nun, theologian, and mystic who wrote the earliest surviving English-language book to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.
1491 – Teofilo Folengo, Italian poet who also used the name Merlino Coccajo (or Cocajo); he was one of the principal Italian macaronic poets (macaronic literature uses a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns); his most famous work, the epic poem Baldo, blends Latin with various Italian dialects, in hexameter verse.
1710 – Sarah Fielding, British author who was responsible for the first English language novel written specifically for children (The Governess); she was the sister of novelist Henry Fielding.
1838 – Herculine Barbin, French memoirist who was an intersex person assigned female at birth and raised in a convent, but later reclassified as male by a court of law.
1847 – Bram Stoker, Irish novelist who wrote the vampire novel Dracula.
1869 – Zinaida Gippius, Russian poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, literary critic, editor, and religious thinker who was a major figure in Russian Symbolism; after openly criticizing the tsar and denouncing the October Revolution, she emigrated to Poland, France, and then Italy, where she sometimes wrote on the topic of exile, as well as exploring mystical and covertly sexual themes.
1875 – Qiu Jin, Chinese poet, writer, revolutionary, and feminist who was also known as Xuanqing and Jianhu Nüxia (which, when translated literally into English, means “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”); she was executed after a failed uprising against the Qing dynasty, and she is considered a national heroine in China.
1898 – Katharine Mary Briggs, British folklorist and writer, who wrote The Anatomy of Puck, as well as the four-volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language and various other books on fairies and folklore.
1900 – Margaret Mitchell, American author of the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and which was made into the Academy Award-winning film of the same name; the book and film have been criticized for their romanticized depiction of slavery.
1908 – Martha Gellhorn, American novelist, journalist, and travel writer who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century; she was also the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.
1916 – Peter Weiss, German-born Swedish novelist, dramatist, film director, and painter.
1919 – Purushottam Laxman ‘Pu La’ Deshpande, noted Marathi Indian writer, humorist, orator, screenwriter, composer, professor, classical musician, and actor.
1932 – Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award-winning American science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, science writer, screenwriter, essayist, and editor.
1942 – Vijay Nahar, Indian author and historian known for his reference books on Indian history and political leaders.
1954 – Timothy Egan, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning American nonfiction author, biographer, and journalist.
1954 – Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese-born British novelist who, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
1955 – Jeffrey Ford, American author of fantasy, science fiction and mystery.
1974 – Joshua Ferris, American novelist and nonfiction author best known for his debut novel Then We Came to the End.
1985 – Julie Murphy, bestselling American author for adults and young adults; she wrote her first novel, Side Effects May Vary, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) while working as a librarian, and is best known for Dumplin’, which was made into a film.
1991 – Samantha Shannon, British writer of dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.