1647 – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, British poet and courtier whose work reacted against the “spiritual authoritarianism” of the Puritan era; he was as well known for his rakish lifestyle as for his poetry, although the two were often interlinked.
1750 – Hugo Kołłątaj, Ukrainian-born Polish writer, historian, philosopher, geographer, university teacher, anthropologist, politician, constitutional reformer, and Catholic priest who was one of the most prominent figures of the Polish Enlightenment.
1868 – Edmund Rostand, French Neo-Romantic poet and dramatist; he is best known for his play Cyrano de Bergerac.
1875 – Edgar Wallace, English author and war correspondent, best known today as the co-creator of King Kong.
1902 – Maria Polydouri, Greek Neo-Romantic poet and author.
1911 – Augusta Baker, American librarian, storyteller, and writer who worked for 35 years at the New York Public Library and developed comprehensive bibliographies of children’s literature by and about African Americans.
1922 – William Manchester, American historian, reporter, author, professor, and biographer.
1926 – Anne McCaffrey, American-born Irish writer of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories; many of her books include dragons and are set on the fictional world of Pern. She was the first woman to receive a Hugo Award and also the first woman to receive a Nebula Award; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has named her a Grand Master.
1929 – Milan Kundera, reclusive Czech-born French novelist and poet whose works including The Unbearable Lightness of Being were banned by the communist government of Czechoslovakia.
1930 – Chimako Tada, Japanese poet and translator, renowned for her surreal style and evocation of women’s experience in post-war Japan; she wrote in traditional styles, such as tanka and haiku, as well as contemporary prose poetry.
1937 – Yılmaz Güney, award-winning Turkish-born Kurdish novelist, screenwriter, poet, film director, and actor; much of his work was devoted to the plight of ordinary, working-class people in Turkey, and he was often at odds with the Turkish government because of his portrayals of Kurdish culture, people, and language in his movies. His works were banned and he was imprisoned, but he escaped and fled the country.
1940 – Luz Argentina Chiriboga, Afro-Ecuadorian writer who was one of the first writers to address the duality of African and Hispanic cultures; in her poetry, novels, and short stories, she challenges stereotypes about women.
1942 – Samuel R. Delany, multiple Nebula Award-winning American author, memoirist, essayist, and literary critic, best known for his science fiction.
1947 – Francine Prose, American novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, essayist, critic, and literature professor.
1948 – Hélé Béji, Tunisian writer, essayist, satirist, professor, and magazine contributor.
1948 – Catherine Millet, French writer, journalist, art critic, curator, and founder and editor of the magazine Art Press, which focuses on modern art and contemporary art.
1958 – Attiya Dawood, Pakastani Sindhi poet, writer, feminist, and activist who has been hailed as one of the most important feminist Sindhi writers of her time; she often uses her poetry to highlight the oppression of women in Pakistani society.
1958 – Hiromi Kawakami, award-winning Japanese novelist, science-fiction author, poet, and literary critic known for her offbeat style.
1960 – Frieda Hughes, English-Australian writer, poet, children’s author, and painter.
1961 – Liu Xia, Chinese poet, writer, painter, photographer, and human rights activist who was placed under house arrest for visiting her husband, reformer Liu Xiaobo, in prison when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
1970 – Brad Meltzer, bestselling American author of political thrillers, non-fiction writer, television show creator, and comic book writer.
1974 – Nii Parkes, award-winning British-born Ghanaian writer, poet, journalist, children’s writer, novelist, publisher, and sociocultural commentator.