1641 – Johann Weikhard Freiherr von Valvasor (also known as simply Valvasor), writer, geologist, cartographer, publisher, and natural historian from Carniola (present-day Slovenia) who was known as a pioneer of karst studies but whose best known work was a 15-volume study of the history of Carniola.
1728 – Maria Angela Ardinghelli, Italian writer, poet, nonfiction writer, translator, mathematician, and physicist, best known for her translations of the works of Stephen Hales, a Newtonian physiologist who was a member of the Paris Academy of Sciences.
1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss author best remembered for his novel The Swiss Family Robinson, one of the most popular books of all time; he was inspired by Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, but Wyss wrote about a marooned family because he wanted the book to teach important lessons to children.
1783 – Rosa Maria Antonetta Paulina Assing (née Varnhagen) German lyric poet, prose writer, educator, translator, linguist, and silhouette artist.
1841 – Elise Adelaïde Haighton, Dutch feminist writer and free thinker who wrote under the pseudonyms Hroswitha and Brunhilde.
1873 – Olga Forsh, Russian and Soviet novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and memoirist.
1879 – Lilly Heber, Norwegian biographer, literary critic, historian, novelist, and magazine editor.
1881 – Daniël Francois Malherbe (commonly known as D.F. Malherbe), South African novelist, poet, dramatist, and scholar; he wrote what is regarded as the first novel of artistic value in Afrikaans, Vergeet niet (Do Not Forget).
1888 – Cyril Valentine Briggs, African-Caribbean writer, editor, and communist activist who was born on the island of Nevis, part of the Caribbean Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and later emigrated to the United States; he is best remembered as founder and editor of The Crusader, a seminal magazine of the New Negro Movement, and as founder of the African Blood Brotherhood, a small but historically important radical organization dedicated to advancing the cause of Pan-Africanism.
1890 – María Currea Manrique, award-winning Colombian writer, journalist, suffragist, politician, and nurse who helped pass laws that recognized women’s right to citizenship, education, and enfranchisement.
1893 – Mina Witkojc, German writer, journalist, poet, and translator who wrote in the Lower Sorbian language.
1899 – Irena Krzywicka (née Goldberg), Russian-born Polish feminist writer, translator, and activist for women’s rights; in her works, she promoted sexual education, contraception, and planned parenthood.
1900 – Nan Chauncy, British-born Australian children’s writer.
1900 – Pak Hon-yong, Korean writer, journalist, philosopher, independence activist, and politician.
1908 – Ian Fleming, English naval intelligence officer best known for his spy novels, which introduced the character James Bond.
1912 – Patrick White, Nobel Prize-winning English-born Australian writer, praised for his “epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.”
1913 – May Swenson, American poet who has been called one of the most important and original poets of the 20th century.
1915 – Dorothy Auchterlonie, English-born Australian writer, literary critic, poet, and academic.
1916 – Walker Percy, National Book Award-winning American novelist, essayist, and educator whose works were set in the American South.
1918 – Mary Vaughan Jones, celebrated Welsh children’s writer and teacher.
1922 – José Craveirinha, Mozambican author, journalist, short-story writer, and poet who was one of the African pioneers of the Négritude movement and is today considered the greatest poet of Mozambique; his poems, written in Portuguese, address such issues as racism and the Portuguese colonial domination of Mozambique. He also wrote under the pseudonyms Mário Vieira, José Cravo, Jesuíno Cravo, J. Cravo, J.C., Abílio Cossa, and José G. Vetrinha.
1929 – Stephen Birmingham, American writer of social history books about rich people, including the nonfiction book Our Crowd about the Jewish elite in New York.
1932 – Kuroi Senji (pen name of Osabe Shunjiro), award-winning Japanese author of fiction and essays; he is a member of the “Introspective Generation” of Japanese writers, whose work depicts the thoughts of ordinary Japanese.
1935 – Antigone Kefala, award-winning Australian and Greek poet and prose writer who is considered an important voice in capturing the migrant experience in contemporary Australia; her poetry and prose, written in both Greek and English, has been described as having an almost metaphysical detachment.
1940 – Maeve Binchy, bestselling award-winning Irish novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, playwright, journalist, columnist, and essayist whose fiction often revolved around life in small-town Ireland.
1944 – Vidaluz Meneses Robleto, award-winning Nicaraguan poet, writer, librarian, professor, and social activist.
1946 – K. Satchidanandan, Malayalam Indian poet, critic, and translator who was a pioneer of modern poetry in the Malayalam language. (Some sources give his birth year as 1948.)
1947 – Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and politician who authored many books on Egyptology.
1947 – Richard White, American historian and author specializing in the history of the American West.
1953 – Silvana De Mari, Italian children’s writer, fantasy author, blogger, and surgeon.
1955 – Geoffrey A. Landis, American NASA aerospace engineer, professor, and author of hard science fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; he has won a Nebula Award and two Hugo Awards, and holds nine patents, mostly for improvements to solar cells and photovoltaic devices.
1955 – Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery Medal-winning American children’s librarian, children’s literature author, and storyteller, best known for her picture book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village.
1966 – Miljenko Jergovic, prominent Bosnian writer, poet, and journalist, praised for his storytelling skills, his ability to create a compelling atmosphere, his lyricism, his immersion in history, and his ability to incorporate tradition into contemporary prose.
1958 – Kunle Ajibade, Nigerian journalist, editor, and author.
1961 – Ömer Sükrü Asan, Turkish folklorist, writer, photographer, historian, and ethnologist.
1967 – Priya A.S., Indian Malayalam writer of short stories, children’s literature, translations, and memoirs.
1969 – Muriel Barbery, Moroccan-born French novelist, best known for her book The Elegance of the Hedgehog.
1984 – Chanida Phaengdara Potter, Lao-born American writer, activist, and community-development strategist in the Lao American and Southeast Asian diaspora communities; she is well known for her work as the founding editor of the online publication, Little Laos on the Prairie, and leads an organization that aims to empower Southeast Asian diaspora communities by bridging the access gap to community, storytelling, languages, and cross-cultural connections.