1593 – George Herbert, Welsh poet, orator, and priest who was a key figure in devotional lyrics; he is also associated with metaphysical poetry.
1758 – Manuel del Socorro Rodríguez, Cuban writer, journalist, essayist, poet, and librarian who is considered he founder of journalism in Colombia.
1783 – Washington Irving, influential American author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat, best known for his short stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”
1815 – Clotilde de Vaux (born Clotilde Marie), French writer, poet, and short-story author who inspired the French philosopher Auguste Comte’s Religion of Humanity.
1837 – John Burroughs, American naturalist and essayist; a key figure in the U.S. conservation movement.
1856 – Narcisa Amália de Oliveira Campos, Brazilian poet, journalist, and women’s rights activist.
1876 – Rachel Annand Taylor, Scottish poet, biographer, and literary critic who was prominent in the Celtic Revival.
1878 – Hiraide Shu, Japanese novelist, poet, and lawyer who was one of the founding members of the literary journal Subaru; as a lawyer, he received widespread fame for his defense of anarchist author Ōsugi Sakae and feminist poet Yosano Akiko.
1879 – Agha Hashar Kashmiri, Urdu Indian poet, writer, and playwright; several of his plays were Indian Shakespearean adaptations.
1880 – Otto Weininger, Austrian philosopher and author (now widely considered misogynistic and antisemitic); he fatally shot himself in the chest at the age of 23 in the same room where Beethoven died.
1886 – Nikolay Gumilyov, Russian writer, poet, translator, literary critic, explorer, military officer, and africanist.
1894 – Dora Black Russell, British countess who was an author, feminist, and birth-control activist; she married author and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
1898 – Henry Luce, American journalist, editor, and magazine magnate; the founder of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, he has been called “the most influential private citizen in the America of his day.”
1900 – Anica Černej, Slovenian author, poet, and teacher who in was arrested with many other academics by German occupying armed forces and died in a concentration camp.
1916 – Herb Caen, San Francisco-based journalist and columnist for almost 60 years.
1918 – Park Nam-su, South Korean poet who eschewed the lyrical naturalism that was in vogue and instead pioneered poetry that celebrated and explored mundane reality and common human experiences; his post-war poetry, such as Sea Gull Sketches (Galmaegi somyo), acutely depicted the toll that warfare wreaked upon the daily lives of ordinary citizens, especially the lingering hardships refugees faced.
1923 – Galo René Pérez, Ecuadorian writer, poet, literary critic, biographer, college teacher, and government minister.
1924 – Ada Škerl, Slovenian poet, writer, children’s author, and translator.
1928 – Jennifer Paterson, British celebrity chef, food columnist, cookbook author; with Clarissa Dickson Wright, she is one of television’s “Two Fat Ladies.”
1934 – Jane Goodall, British primatologist, anthropologist, author, and animal-rights activist; the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, she is the only human ever known to be accepted in chimpanzee society.
1935 – Harold Kushner, American rabbi and bestselling nonfiction author.
1936 – Reginald Hill, award-winning British crime writer who is best known for his crime novels about Dalziel and Pascoe, which were adapted for BBC television.
1946 – Lil Milagro Ramírez, Salvadoran poet and revolutionary leader who was a founding member of the first guerrilla organizations that would come together to form the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN); she was captured by agents of the National Guard in 1976 and was considered “disappeared” until she was murdered in 1979, after being tortured for three years.
1947 – Srikrishna Alanahalli, Indian novelist and poet, most of whose works are written in the Kannada language; all of his novels were adapted into films.
1957 – Unni Lindell, Norwegian novelist, poet, and children’s book writer.
1958 – Vanna Bonta, Italian-born American science-fiction novelist, poet, and actress; she invented a spacesuit that was tested in zero-gravity on the History Channel; a haiku she wrote is on a NASA spacecraft headed to Mars.
1959 – Hanne Bramness, award-winning Norwegian poet, writer, translator, editor, children’s writer, and publisher.
1968 – Ričardas Šileika, Lithuanian writer, poet, essayist, and photographer.