1515 – Teresa of Ávila, Spanish author, philosopher, autobiographer, theologian, cleric, mystic, physician, religious reformer, and Catholic saint; she was born a Spanish noble but chose a monastic life; her written contributions, include her autobiography, The Life of Teresa of Jesus, and her seminal work The Interior Castle, are today an integral part of Spanish Renaissance literature.
1605 – Nishiyama Soin (born Nishiyama), Japanese poet and writer who founded the Danrin school of haikai poetry, which aimed to move away from the serious ‘bookishness’ of Japanese poetry at the time to become more in touch with the common people, infusing a spirit of greater freedom into poetry.
1658 – Ebba Maria De la Gardie, Swedish poet and singer who a poet at the royal court of Swedish Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark; she also participated in the theatre of the royal court and was one of a group of female courtiers who performed the Swedish premier of Iphigénie by Racine; this was the first play performed in Sweden by an all female cast, and the first introduction of French Classicism in Sweden.
1827 – Victòria Peña i Nicolau (also known as Victoria Peña de Amer), award-winning Spanish Mallorcan poet who married the poet Miquel Victorià Amer.
1868 – Maxim Gorky, Russian Soviet writer and founder of the Socialist Realism literary movement; he was a four-time nominee for the Nobel Prize.
1879 – Terence James MacSwiney (Toirdhealbhach Mac Suibhne), Irish poet, playwright, author, and politician; he was elected as Sinn Féin Lord Mayor of Cork during the Irish War of Independence in 1920, arrested by the British Government on charges of sedition, and imprisoned in Brixton Prison, where he died after 74 days of a hunger strike, bringing him and the Irish Republican campaign to international attention.
1887 – Dimcho Debelianov (Димчо Дебелянов), Bulgarian poet and author known for satirical works with symbolist qualities, sometimes incorporating medieval legends.
1894 – Sylvia von Harden (also called Sylvia von Halle), German writer, poet, journalist, and model.
1899 – John Ching Hsiung Wu (also called John C.H. Wu and Wu Jingxiong), Chinese poet, author, translator, and jurist who wrote works in Chinese, English, French, and German on Christian spirituality, Chinese literature (including a translation of the Tao Te Ching) and legal topics, and was the principal author of the constitution of the Republic of China; he maintained a correspondence with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
and later produced scholarly work examining Holmes’ legal thought.
1909 – Nelson Algren, National Book Award-winning American novelist and short-story writer.
1912 – Léon Damas, French Guiana writer, poet, and politician who was one of the founders of the Négritude movement; he also used the pseudonym Lionel Georges André Cabassou.
1916- Tokiko Iwatani, award-winning Korean-born Japanese lyricist, poet, linguist, songwriter, and translator; she wrote or translated the lyrics to more than 3,000 popular songs.
1922 – Mirella Bentivoglio, Italian poet, writer, performance artist, sculptor, and curator who was part of the international concrete poetry movement.
1924 – Byrd Baylor, American novelist, essayist, and picture-book author whose work won four Caldecott Honor awards.
1930 – Amelia Rosselli, Italian writer, poet, translator, literary critic, composer, and ethnomusicologist whose highly experimental literary output includes verse and prose in English and French as well as Italian; she committed suicide in 1996 by jumping from her fifth-floor apartment near Rome’s Piazza Navona.
1931 – Jane Rule, American-born Canadian writer and professor known for her lesbian-themed novels and nonfiction.
1936 – Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize-winning Peruvian-Spanish writer known “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
1936 – Zdeněk Svěrák, Czech writer, poet, playwright, screenwriter, humorist, song writer, and actor who is one of the best known figures in Czech popular culture.
1947 – Hanne Aga, Norwegian poet and author; her principle narrative themes include the relation between body and mind, and between perception and poetic language.
1948 – Jayne Ann Krentz, American author of romance novels, who also writes under the names Jane Quick and Amanda Quick.
1953 – Maria Jastrzebska, Polish-born British poet, editor, playwright, translator, and feminist who co-founded the Queer Writing South network.
1956 – Amanda Aizpuriete, award-winning Latvian poet, writer, translator, and linguist.
1960 – Shelly Rachel Yachimovich, Israeli author, journalist, television commentator, and politician who served as leader of the Israeli Labor Party.
1962 – Nuray Lale, Turkish-born, German-based writer and translator.
1964 – Lisa Moore, acclaimed Canadian novelist, short-story writer and editor, much of whose work is set in Newfoundland.
1968 – Iris Chang, American historian, journalist, and political activist best known for her 1997 account of the Nanking Massacre, The Rape of Nanking.
1970 – Jennifer Weiner, bestselling American author, journalist, and television producer who has been an activist against gender bias in publishing and the media.
1977 – Lauren Weisberger, bestselling American author best known for her novel The Devil Wears Prada.
1985 – Heart Yngrid, Filipina romance author, two of whose books have been made into television series.