1378 – Zhu Quan, Ming dynasty prince who was a writer, poet, playwright, painter, historian, military commander, composer, and zither player.
1652 – Elizabeth Charlotte (Madame Palatine), German and French writer and princess who married Philippe I, Duke of Orléans; her vast, frank correspondence provides a detailed account of the personalities and activities at the court of her brother-in-law, Louis XIV, for half a century.
1763 – Juan Germán Roscio, Venezuelan writer, editor, journalist, lawyer, politician, and diplomat.
1772 – Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand, French writer, bookseller, psychic, and professional fortune-teller of considerable fame and influence.
1819 – Julia Ward Howe, prominent American abolitionist, social activist, and poet who authored “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.”
1828 – Caroline Gravière, Belgian novelist and short-story writer.
1831 – Raoul de Navery (pseudonym of Madame Chervet, born Marie-Eugenie Saffray), French Roman Catholic novelist and poet who often wrote on religious themes.
1832 – Alexandr Nikolayevich Aksakov (also spelled Aksakof), Russian writer, translator, journalist, editor, and psychic researcher; he is credited with coining the term “telekinesis.”
1832 – Catherine Drew, Irish journalist, writer, editor, columnist, and novelist; she was one of the founding members of the Ladies’ Press Association, and campaigned for the rights of women journalists.
1860 – Margrethe Munthe, Norwegian writer, poet, children’s author, playwright, and songwriter.
1867 – Arnold Bennett, English novelist who has an omelette named after him at the Savoy Hotel in London.
1876 – Antoni Ferdynand Ossendowski, Polish writer, journalist, traveler, globetrotter, explorer, and university professor who is best known for his books about Lenin and the Russian Civil War.
1878 – María Jesús Alvarado Rivera, Peruvian writer, journalist, educator, social activist, and rebel feminist; she was called the “first modern champion of women’s rights in Peru.”
1880 – Ninu “Anthony” Cremona (also colloquially known as Is-Sur Nin), award-winning Maltese writer, playwright, editor, biographer, and health inspector whose biggest contribution to the Maltese language was the formulation of the Maltese orthography.
1882 – Terezie Císarová (known as Thea Cervenková), Czech screenwriter, writer, filmmaker, film critic, and journalist; she was known as the “lady crazy about film.”
1884 – Max Brod, German-speaking Czech and Jewish (later Israeli) author, composer, and journalist who is most famous as friend and biographer of Franz Kafka.
1891 – Liu Bannong, influential Chinese poet and linguist who was a leader in the May Fourth Movement.
1891 – Jaan Kärner, Estonian poet, novelist, playwright, literary critic, science writer, historical writer, and translator; he was especially known for his nature poetry.
1894 – Dashiell Hammett, American detective novelist, best known for The Maltese Falcon.
1900 – Magda Portal, Peruvian poet, feminist, author, and political activist who was a key figure in the vanguardia poetry literary movement in Peru and Latin America, as well as a founder of the APRA (American Popular Revolutionary Alliance) political party.
1906 – Kristian Osvald Viderø, award-winning Danish Faroese writer, poet, clergyman, and Bible translator.
1907 – Rachel Carson, American marine biologist, environmentalist, writer, and activist; her book The Silent Spring is credited with starting the global environmental movement.
1911 – Astrid Grethe Grouleff Heltberg, Danish writer, poet, essayist, novelist, memoirist, children’s writer, journalist, and stenographer.
1912 – John Cheever, Pulitzer and National Book Award-winning American novelist and short-story writer who is sometimes called “the Chekhov of the suburbs.” His main themes include the duality of human nature and a nostalgia for a vanishing way of life, characterized by abiding cultural traditions and a profound sense of community, as opposed to the alienating nomadism of modern suburbia.
1915 – Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist and nonfiction author whose most popular works include The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War.
1917 – Estrella D. Alfon, well-known, prolific Filipina author, short-story writer, and professor who wrote in English.
1924 – Bal Gangadhar Samant, Indian writer in the Marathi language who wrote a wide range of books, including fiction, biographies, dramas, and history.
1925 – Tony Hillerman, bestselling American author of detective novels, short stories, a memoir, and nonfiction books about the southwestern United States; he is best known for his Navajo Tribal Police mysteries, which are rich in details about Native American cultures. He has said that his Navajo name means, “He who is afraid of his horse.”
1930 – John Barth, National Book Award-winning American novelist, short-story writer, and professor, known for the postmodernist and metafictional qualities of his work. His controversial 1967 essay, “The Literature of Exhaustion,” considered a manifesto of postmodernism, depicted literary realism as a “used-up” tradition; despite criticism that his essay was a statement of “the death of the novel,” Barth insisted that he meant only that literature was moving into a new stage.
1931 – Ottaplakkal Nambiyadikkal Velu Kurup (known as O.N.V. Kurup or simply O.N.V.) – Malayalam poet and lyricist who is considered one of the finest lyrical poets in India.
1932 – M.E. Kerr (who also wrote as Marijane Meaker Kerr, Ann Aldrich, and Vin Packer), American novelist, lesbian pulp-fiction writer, mystery writer, and children’s author.
1932 – Linda Pastan, American poet who writes about the anxieties that exist under the surface of ordinary life.
1933 – Manohar Shankar Oak, Indian Marathi poet, novelist, and translator who influenced English-language poets including Allen Ginsberg; Oak developed his own meters of free verse in poetry and is credited with changing the flavor of Marathi poetic language.
1934 – Harlan Ellison, prolific and influential American author of novels, short stories, screenplays, essays, comic books, and reviews, most of them in the genres of speculative fiction; he was also known for his outspoken, combative personality, and was the winner of multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars.
1935 – Karen Christine (“Kim”) Friele, Norwegian writer, gay-rights activist, and human-rights activist, famous for being the first Norwegian to publicly acknowledge and advocate for her sexuality; in 2005 she was proclaimed the fourth most important Norwegian of the century.
1937 – Andrei Georgiyevich Bitov, Russian novelist, poet, and writer of absurdist short stories.
1940 – Edmund Morris, Pulitzer Prize-winning Kenyan-born American biographer of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.
1944 – Ginette Anfousse, French-Canadian writer and illustrator of children’s books, as well as a literary critic.
1945 – Anthony Pagden, American author, translator, and professor of history and political science.
1949 – Alma Guillermoprieto, Mexican journalist, author, professor, and dancer who has written extensively about Latin America for the British and American press.
1951 – Inger Marianne Larsen, award-winning Danish poet, writer, and novelist.
1953 – Emha Ainun Nadjib, Indonesian poet, novelist, short-story writer, and essayist; his real name was Muhammad Ainun Nadjib; he also wrote under the name Cak Nun. He leads the Kiai Kanjeng group, which stages dramas and musical performances on religious themes.
1956- Kiba Lumberg (real name Kirsti Leila Annikki Lumberg), Finnish author, artist, and critic author of Finnish Kale (Romani) descent; she is known as a critic of the traditional Roma culture.
1958 – Rajni Tilak, prominent Indian Dalit poet, short-story writer, autobiogrqapher, translator, and anthologist who was also an activist for the rights of women and for workers, and a leading voice in Dalit feminism and writing.
1962 – Mare Kandre, Swedish novelist, poet, and short-story writer of Estonian descent whose writing was sometimes influenced by Gothic fiction; her work often deals with girls’ development to adulthood, women’s roles, and marginalized and traumatized individuals who break with society’s expectations. Before she became a writer, she was the frontwoman for the music group Global Infantilists.
1963 – Ningiukulu (Ningeokuluk) Teevee, Canadian Inuit writer and visual artist who is an award-winning children’s writer who often draws on Inuit traditions and folklore.
1966 – Heston Blumenthal, English chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author.
1971 – Vilma Kadlecková, award-winning Czech author of science fiction and fantasy novels and children’s literature.