1740 – Donatien Alphonse François (Marquis de Sade), French nobleman, revolutionary politician, philosopher and writer famous for his libertine sexuality; his works include novels, short stories, plays, dialogues, and political tracts, but he is remembered especially for his erotica.
1840 – Thomas Hardy, English novelist and poet of the Victorian realist school who was also influenced by Romanticism; he thought of himself as primarily a poet, but is most remembered as author of some of the m,t acclaimed novels in English literature, including The Mayor of Casterbridge, Far From the Madding Crowd, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles.
1846 – Victorino Abente y Lago, Spanish-born Paraguayan poet.
1851 – Þorgils gjallandi (born Jón Stefánsson), Icelandic author whose stories relate the achievements of nonconformist people.
1857 – Karl Adolph Gjellerup, Nobel Prize-winning Danish poet and novelist who was lauded “for his varied and rich poetry, which is inspired by lofty ideals.”
1870 – Eli Birgit “Ella” Anker, Norwegian magazine journalist, writer, newspaper correspondent, biographer, playwright, feminist, politician, and pamphleteer.
1887 – Genaro Estrada, Mexican poet, politician, diplomat, historian, journalist, and academic.
1899 – Lotte Reiniger, German screenwriter, animator, film director, and silhouette artist.
1899 – Edwin Way Teale, Pulitzer Prize-winning American naturalist, best known for his nonfiction book Wandering Through Winter.
1907 – Dorothy West, American novelist, short-story writer, and essayist of the Harlem Renaissance, best known for her book The Living is Easy.
1911 – Xiao Hong, Chinese novelist, poet, short-story writer, and autobiographical essayist; she was born Zhang Naiying and also used the pen name Qiao Yin.
1913 – Vicente Gerbasi, Venezuelan writer, poet, author, and diplomat.
1913 – Barbara Pym, Booker Prize-nominated English novelist and humorous author, once called “the most underrated writer of the century.”
1918 – Moon Ik-hwan, South Korean poet, theologian, and pastor who was engaged in various social movements.
1920 – Ricaredo Demetillo, award-winning Filipino essayist, poet, and playwright who was one of the most important and prolific 20th century literary figures in the Philippines; his birth year is sometimes listed as 1919.
1927 – Koichi Iiboshi, Japanese journalist and novelist.
1927 – William Loren Katz (born Loren Paul Katz), prolific American author of young-adult books about the integral roles of African-Americans in the U.S., and editor of the series, “The American Negro: His History and Literature” and “The Antislavery Crusade in America.”
1929 – Peter Clarke, South African visual artist, writer, and poet.
1929 – Norton Juster, American architect and author of children’s books, notably The Phantom Tollbooth.
1929 – Nuggehalli Pankaja, award-winning Indian novelist, short-story writer, poet, and playwright in the Kannada and English languages; she is considered one of the key literary figures writing in Kannada.
1930 – Thakkathu Amayankottu Rajalakshmi (more commonly known as simply Rajalakshmi), award-winning Indian novelist, short-story writer, and poet of Malayalam literature; one of her novels has been adapted for television and radio.
1932 – Jillian Becker, award-winning South Africa novelist, short-story writer, critic, journalist, and lecturer; she is best known internationally as a writer, researcher, and authority on the subject of terrorism.
1932 – Makoto Oda, Japanese writer, translator, philosopher, novelist, and peace activist.
1934 – Anita Lobel, Polish-born American memoirist, author, and illustrator of children’s books, whose memoir No Pretty Pictures was a finalist for the National Book Award.
1935 – Carol Shields, Pulitzer Prize-winning American-born Canadian novelist and short-story writer.
1936 – Jean Nelissen, Dutch sports journalist, author, and television presenter.
1937 – Yunna Morits, Russian writer, poet, children’s author, and translator.
1942 – Alba Maria Zaluar, Brazilian anthropologist, writer, and professor, whose work emphasized urban anthropology and popular culture, including the samba and the carnival of Rio de Janeiro.
1945 – Suzan Shown Harjo, American Cheyenne-Holdulgee-Muscogee poet, writer, journalist, lecturer, curator, broadcaster, and activist for American Indian rights, known for her advocacy on behalf of Native American tribes, and for her efforts to get sports teams to drop names that promote negative stereotypes of Native Americans. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor.
1949 – Vladimir Lukov, Bulgarian poet and author whose work has been called both philosophical and enigmatic.
1950 – Norman E. Rosenthal, South African author, psychiatrist, and scientist who first described winter depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and pioneered the use of light therapy for its treatment; he is also known for his work on post-traumatic stress and on transcendental meditation.
1951 – John Francis Ernest Trenwith, New Zealand writer, humorist, author of comic novels, and academic.
1952 – Ana Cristina César, Brazilian poet, author, and translator.
1953 – Cornel Ronald West, American philosopher, political activist, social critic, author, theologian, radio host, and professor whose work focuses on the roles of race, gender, and class in American society; he is an outspoken voice in left-wing politics in the U.S. Among his most influential books are Race Matters and Democracy Matters. He has been portrayed on Saturday Night Live by Kenan Thompson.
1957 – Claudio Lomnitz, Chilean author, anthropologist, essayist, and professor who has written books about Mexico.
1955 – Paulina “Poulli” Chiziane, Mozambican author of novels and short stories in the Portuguese language; she was the first woman in Mozambique to publish a novel, and her writing has generated some polemical discussions about social issues, such as the practice of polygamy in the country.
1957 – Sara Warneke (pen name Sara Douglass), award-winning Australian fantasy novelist, short-story author, and nonfiction author.
1962 – Sibylle Berg, Swiss-German writer, playwright, novelist, short-story writer, columnist, and university instructor.
1965 – Jim Knipfel, American novelist, journalist, columnist, music and film reviewer, and autobiographer.
1965 – Sean Stewart, American author of science-fiction and fantasy books for adults and teens.
1970 – Patricia Riggen, Mexican screenwriter and film director.
1974 – Izabela Zubko, award-winning Polish poet and prose writer.
1975 – Salvatore Scibona, American novelist and short-story writer; The New Yorker once included him as one of the “Fiction Writers To Watch: 20 under 40.”
1977 – Alexandra Beverfjord, Norwegian journalist, author, writer, crime novelist, and editor.
1980 – Naoki Matayoshi, award-winning Japanese comedian, screenwriter, and novelist.
1981 – Fredrik Backman, bestselling Swedish novelist, columnist, blogger, and writer, best known for the book A Man Called Ove.
1987 – Hirondina Juliana Francisco Joshua (better known as Hirondina Joshua), award-winning Mozambican poet, writer, and playwright.