0903 – Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi (عبدالرحمن صوفی), influential Persian astronomer whose most famous work is the Book of Fixed Stars; he also wrote about more than 1000 uses of the astrolabe, in such diverse areas as astrology, navigation, surveying, timekeeping, and prayer. The lunar crater Azophi and the minor planet 12621 Alsufi are named after him.
1750 – Cornelia Schlosser, German author and letter-writer who was the sister of writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1835 – Dom Joseph Pothier, French Benedictine monk, writer, scholar, composer, and musician who reconstituted the Gregorian chant.
1841 – Nikolai Alexandrovich Leykin, Russian writer, artist, playwright, journalist, and publisher.
1843 – Helena Nyblom, Swedish poet, author, autobiographer, and children’s writer who is best remembered for The Swan Suit.
1872 – Johan Huizinga, Dutch historian and linguist who is considered one of the founders of modern cultural history.
1873 – Willa Cather, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and journalist known for her novels of frontier life, like O Pioneers! and My Ántonia; much of her work is characterized by its nostalgic tone and her subject matter and themes drawn from memories of her early years on the American plains.
1878 – Akiko Yosano (与謝野 晶子), pen name of Hô Shô, a Japanese author, poet, pioneering feminist, pacifist, and social reformer who is one of the most famous, and most controversial, post-classical woman poets of Japan.
1888 – Joyce Cary, Anglo-Irish novelist and artist who chronicled his childhood in the fictionalized memoir A House of Children.
1893 – Virginia Kirkus, American literary critic, nonfiction writer, book editor, and book review magazine publisher who founded the Virginia Kirkus Bookshop Service, which became the influential Kirkus Reviews.
1903 – Shūzō Takiguchi, Japanese writer, poet, painter, and art critic who was the central figure of orthodox Surrealism in pre- and postwar Japan.
1909 – Nikola Yonkov Vaptsarov, Bulgarian poet, communist, and revolutionary who is considered one of the most important Bulgarian poets ever, despite working most of his life as a machinist and publishing only one poetry book in his lifetime.
1913 – Kersti Merilaas, Estonian writer, poet, children’s author, playwright, translator, and linguist.
1915- Leigh Brackett, American science-fiction and fantasy author and screenwriter; she is best known for her work on films like The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo, The Long Goodbye, and The Empire Strikes Back, and also is author of The Long Tomorrow and The Sword of Rhiannon.
1918 – Liu Yichang, (also known as Lau Yee Cheung), prolific Shanghai-born and Hong Kong-based novelist, editor, columnist, and publisher who is considered the founder of Hong Kong’s modern literature; his best-known works are The Drunkard, considered China’s first stream-of-consciousness novel, and Intersection, composed of two interconnected stories; both novels were adapted for film.
1922 – Maria Luisa Spaziani, Italian poet, writer, playwright, translator, and university teacher.
1925 – Intizar Hussain, award-winning Pakistani novelist, short-story writer, poet, and nonfiction writer who wrote in Urdu and was widely recognized as a leading literary figure of Pakistan.
1928 – Noam Chomsky, American linguist, philosopher, author, and prominent cultural figure.
1929 – Sengiin Erdene, award-winning Mongolian novelist, writer, and psychiatrist who was named People’s Writer of Mongolia.
1932 – Pentti Linkola, Finnish writer, ornithologist, naturalist, philosopher, and ecologist who promotes rapid population decline in order to combat the problems commonly attributed to overpopulation.
1932 – Henry Liu (pen name Chiang Nan), Taiwanese-born writer and journalist who was a critic of the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party) and was best known for writing an unauthorized biography of Chiang Ching-kuo, then president of the Republic of China; later, while living in California, he was assassinated by Bamboo Union members who had been trained by Chinese military intelligence.
1932 – Rosemary Rogers, née Jansz, influential Ceylonese-born British-American bestselling author of historical romance novels who was only the second romance author to have her novels published in trade-paperback format; she is considered one of the founders of the modern historical romance genre.
1939 – Epeli Hau’ofa, Tongan and Fijian novelist, poet, nonfiction writer, anthropologist, essayist, and professor, born of Tongan missionary parents in the Territory of Papua; he was the author of Mekeo: Inequality and Ambivalence in a Village Society, Tales of the Tikongs, which deals (through fiction) with indigenous South Pacific Islander responses to the changes and challenges of modernization and development, and more.
1940 – Patricia Fresen, South African writer, Roman Catholic theologian, and former nun.
1943 – Susan Isaacs, bestselling American novelist, essayist, and screenwriter.
1947 – Anne Fine, prolific, award-winning British author and children’s writer who was British Children’s Laureate; her books include Madame Doubtfire, The Tulip Touch, and Flour Babies.
1948 – Pearl Michelle Cleage (also known as Pearl Cleage Lomax), prolific African-American feminist playwright, poet, and newspaper columnist; her novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day was an Oprah Book Club selection.
1959 – William (Bill) King, Scottish writer of science-fiction and fantasy books who also designs role-playing games.
1965 – Khin Khin Htoo award-winning Myanmar novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, and sportswriter; her works are best known for their descriptions of traditional Burmese culture. She is considered one of the best authors in Myanmar.
1966 – Lucía Etxebarría, award-winning Spanish Basque writer, poet, biographer, and screenwriter.
1976 – Maja Apostoloska, award-winning Macedonian poet, essayist, editor, and literary critic.
1979 – Ayako Fujitani (藤谷 文子), Japanese novelist, essayist, short-story author, nonfiction writer, actress, and film director; she adapted one of her novellas for film and also starred in it; she is the daughter of martial artist and actor Steven Seagal and aikido master Miyako Fujitani.
1990 – Akram Fahimian, award-winning Iranian writer, poet, and photographer.