1633 – Samuel Pepys, English diarist and member of Parliament; the detailed diary he kept during the 1660s was first published in the 19th century and is one of the most important historical sources on the English Restoration period, including eyewitness accounts of such events as the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London.
1787 – Emma Hart Willard, American author, educator, and women’s rights activist.
1843 – Frances Murray, American-born Scottish author, poet, travel writer, musicologist, university teacher, and women’s rights activist.
1857 – Margaret Deland, American novelist, short-story writer, poet, university teacher, and autobiographer who was part of the literary realism movement.
1865 – Anna Ritter, German poet and writer whose work was lyric, saturated with symbolism, and influenced by folklore and a New Romanticism; several composers set her poems to music, including Max Reger, Jean Sibelius, and Kurt Weill.
1868 – W.E.B. duBois, American author, editor, autobiographer, professor, sociologist, historian, and civil-rights activist whose best known work is The Souls of Black Folk.
1873 – Liang Qichao, Chinese writer, historian, journalist, translator, philosopher, and reformist.
1877 – Frederic L. Paxson, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, historian, and professor.
1887 – Henriqueta Galeno, Brazilian writer, poet, lawyer, and teacher who played an active role in gaining Brazilian women the right to vote.
1889 – Musidora (real name Jeanne Roques), French writer, journalist, screenwriter, actress, and film director.
1899 – Erich Kästner, German author, poet, satirist, children’s writer, and screenwriter.
1899 – Elisabeth Langgässer, German novelist, short-story writer, lyric poet, lyricist, literary critic, and teacher; she became a writer when fired from her teaching position because she gave birth to an out-of-wedlock child. Her best known work is the short story Saisonbeginn, which provides a graphically human portrayal of a 1930s German Alpine village erecting a sign that forbids the entry of Jews.
1904 – William M. Shirer, National Book Award-winning American journalist, broadcaster, and historian whose best-known book was The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.
1913 – Sabine Sicaud, French poet who won her first poetry prize at age 11 and published a book of poems at age 13, expressing a child’s awakening to the wonders of nature. She died of osteomyelitis at age 15; the poems she wrote in her last year of life were published for the first time thirty years later.
1924 – Parviz Shapour, Iranian artist, short-story writer, author, politician, and man of letters known for his witticisms and for his brief and troubled marriage to poet Forough Farrokhzad; his short, witty writings have been described as “cartoons expressed as words.”
1937 – Amina Haider al-Sadr (also known as Bint al-Huda al-Sadr, Iraqi writer, educator, and political activist who in 1980 was executed by Saddam Hussein, along with her brother, Ayatullah Sayyid Mohammad Baqir al-Sadr.
1937 – Claude Brown, American novelist, autobiographer, and sociologist whose best known book is Manchild in the Promised Land.
1942 – Haki R. Madhubuti (born Don Luther Lee), African-American poet, essayist, critic, and publisher who founded Third World Press and was a key member of the black arts movement.
1944 – John Sandford (pen name of John Roswell Camp), Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and bestselling author of thrillers.
1944 – Bernard Cornwell, British author of historical novels, contemporary thrillers, and history.
1949 – Maya Bejerano, award-winning Israeli poet.
1950 – Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, American novelist, philosopher, writer, biographer, classical scholar, and philosopher, who writes both fiction and nonfiction, often centered around science and philosophical rationalism.
1953 – Walter Wick, American artist and photographer known for his intricate photographs in the I Spy series of picture books for children.
1964 – Milly Jane Johnson, award-winning British author of bestselling romantic fiction; she is also a poet, short-story writer, and newspaper columnist.
1967 – Anupama Chopra, Indian author, journalist, film critic, and director of the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival.
1968 – Sonya Hartnett, Australian novelist, young-adult author and children’s writer who has been called, “the finest Australian writer of her generation.”
1970 – Heidi Marie Kriznik, award-winning Norwegian novelist.
1982 – Eileen Barbosa, award-winning Cape Verdean short-story writer, poet, and advisor to the Prime Minister.
1991 – Alanda Kariza, Indonesian writer and activist; she initiated the Indonesian Youth Conference as a tool for young people to speak up and address their aspirations.