1631- Catharina Questiers, Dutch writer, poet, and playwright who was among the most successful Dutch poets of the second half of the 17th century; her brother David was also a poet.
1694 – Voltaire, Pen name of François-Marie Arouet, prolific French Enlightenment writer, historian, poet, playwright, novelist, essayist, history writer, science writer, pamphleteer, and philosopher; he is remembered most for works like the satiric novella Candide, his criticism of Christianity, and his advocacy for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. He was one of the first authors to become renowned and commercially successful internationally.
1740 – Charlotte Baden (full name Sophia Lovisa Charlotte Baden) , Danish writer, letter writer, and feminist.
1768 – Friedrich Schleiermacher, German theologian, writer, translator, philosopher, university teacher, and biblical scholar who is considered the “Father of Modern Liberal Theology.”
1844 – Ada Cambridge (later known as Ada Cross), English-born Australian writer, poet, autobiographer, and novelist.
1863 – Arthur Quiller-Couch, influential British writer, poet, novelist, university teacher, and literary critic who published under the pseudonymn Q; although a prolific novelist, he is remembered mainly for the monumental publication The Oxford Book Of English Verse 1250–1900 (later extended to 1918) and for his literary criticism.
1870 – Mary Johnston, American novelist, suffragist, and women’s rights advocate who was one of the nation’s bestselling authors; three silent films were adapted form her novels.
1902 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize-winning Polish-born Jewish-American author renowned “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life.”
1903 – Einosuke Itō (伊藤 永之介), Japanese writer and journalist who was part of the Proletarian literature movement.
1907 – Jim Bishop, journalist, columnist, and author who wrote the bestseller, The Day Kennedy Was Shot.
1908 – Leo Politi, Caldecott Medal-winning Italian-American children’s author and illustrator whose works often celebrated diversity; many of them were published in both English and Spanish.
1908 – Elizabeth George Speare, two-time Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s and young adult books; she is best known for the novel The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
1910 – Qian Zhongshu, Chinese essayist, novelist, satirist, translator, and scholar.
1924 – Lena Mukhina, Russian writer, diarist, and painter who as a teenager wrote in her diary about her life during the Siege of Leningrad; it was published many years later, after being discovered in a state archive.
1924 – Christopher Tolkien, son of J.R.R Tolkien, author, editor, and translator known as the editor of much of his father J.R.R. Tolkien’s work.
1929 – Marilyn French, controversial American feminist novelist and educator who wrote nonfiction books as well as novels, including The Women’s Room; she once said, “My goal in life is to change the entire social and economic structure of Western civilization, to make it a feminist world.”
1932 – Beryl Bainbridge, award-winning English actress and author of novels and short stories, primarily known for her works of psychological fiction, often macabre tales set among the English working class.
1936 – Alvappillai Veluppillai, Sri Lankan Tamil historian, author, and professor who wrote books and articles on Sri Lankan Tamil literature, history, and politics.
1939 – Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof, Malaysian writer, poet, playwright, short-story writer, and academic who is an expert in traditional Malay and South-East Asian theatre and is one of the leading writers of Malaysian English Literature.
1940 – Richard Marcinko, Retired Navy SEAL commander who is now known for his military fiction.
1941 – Margriet de Moor, award-winning Dutch novelist, essayist, translator, and pianist.
1947 – Jared Angira, Kenyan writer who has been called his country’s first “truly significant poet.”
1952 – Debjani Chatterjee, award-winning Indian-born British poet, writer, children’s author, editor, and translator who was also an Olympic torchbearer.
1953 – Tina Brown (Christina Hambley Brown), British/American editor, publisher, writer, columnist, and biographer best known as editor of Vanity Fair and author of a biography of Princess Diana. As a child she was expelled from three boarding schools for being “an extremely subversive influence.”
1953 – Lisa Goldstein, National Book Award-winning American fantasy and science-fiction writer of novels and short stories.
1955 – Dora María Téllez, Nicaraguan writer, historian, women’s rights advocate, and politician known for her involvement in the Nicaraguan Revolution.
1957 – Horacio Castellanos Moya, award-winning Salvadoran novelist, short-story writer, and journalist.
1966 – Kabir Bakul, award-winning prolific Bangladeshi writer, journalist, songwriter, and lyricist.
1967 – Freya North, popular British writer whose work is considered a precursor of “chick lit,” centering on strong female characters and their raunchy exploits.
1968 – Ayu Utami, Indonesian writer, novelist, short-story author, and journalist notable for her writing about subjects formerly forbidden to Indonesian women writers, incuding sex and politics.