1454 – Poliziano (real name Agnolo (Angelo) Ambrogini), Italian writer, poet, playwright, classical scholar, university teacher, and tutor to the Medici children.
1634 – Pasquier Quesnel, French theologian who was banished because of his Jansenist sympathies; he was imprisoned for three months but escaped, eventually settling in Amsterdam.
1676 – Caspar Abel, German writer, poet, pastor, theologian, historian, and translator.
1766 – Anne Woodrooffe (born Anne Cox), British author who was best known for her religious novel Shades of Character.
1789 – Franc Serafin Metelko, Slovenian author, translator, linguist, and priest who is best remembered for his proposal of a new script for the Slovene to replace the traditional Bohoric alphabet, which had been in use since the late sixteenth century.
1794 – John Gibson Lockhart, Scottish lawyer, novelist, biographer, journalist, linguist, and critic.
1795 – Eleanor Anne Porden, British Romantic poet and author.
1802 – Favell Lee Mortimer (born Favell Lee Bevan), British author and illustrator of educational children’s books; her work had an Evangelical focus.
1806 – Ismayil bek Kutkashensky, Azerbaijani writer and Imperial Russian general; he was the author of the first Azerbaijani literary work written in French.
1806 – Fermín Toro y Blanco, Venezuelan novelist, essayist, humanist, politician, and diplomat.
1837 – Estella Hertzveld (full name Estella Dorothea Salomea Hymans-Hertzveld, Dutch Jewish poet, writer, translator, and feminist whose poems focused on Biblical and historical themes.
1854 – Mahendranath Gupta (also known as Master Mahashay), Indian author, teacher, and mystic; his five-volume work, Sri Sri Ramakrishna Kathamrita (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna), is a Bengali classic.
1860 – Owen Wister, American author credited with inventing the western novel, with the publication of his iconic book, The Virginian; he also wrote nonfiction and biographies.
1866 – Beatrice von Dovsky, Austrian writer, poet, children’s author, fairy-tale writer, librettist, and actress; she is best known for writing the libretto for Max von Schillings’s opera Mona Lisa.
1866 – Ellisif Ranveig Wessel (née Müller), Norwegian writer, photographer, poet, children’s writer, translator, trade unionist, and politician.
1868 – Gertrude Bell (full name Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell), English writer, world traveler, travel writer, archaeologist, politician, and diplomat who explored, mapped, and became highly influential to British imperial policy-making in the Middle East. Esteemed by British officials, she played a major role in establishing and helping administer the modern state of Iraq; she has also been described as one of the few British representatives remembered affectionately by the Arabs.
1873 – William Alexander Stephenson, Jamaican journalist who emigrated to New York, where he became involved in the Harlem Renaissance.
1874 – Jerzy Żuławski, Polish writer, poet, playwright, and philosopher of the Young Poland movement.
1881 – Julia Grace Wales, Canadian writer, poet, academic, and peace activist known for authoring the Wisconsin Plan, a proposal to set up a conference of intellectuals from neutral nations who would work to find a solution for the First World War.
1888 – Ton Satomi (pen-name of Hideo Yamanouchi), Japanese novelist and screenwriter known for the craftsmanship of his dialogue and his command of the Japanese language.
1895 – Frank Raymond Leavis, British author and literary critic.
1899 – Erzsi Újvári (born Erzsébet Kassák), Hungarian poet, writer, and journalist.
1903 – Thomas Dionysius Clark, American historian, professor, and author of a landmark history of Kentucky; he was a champion for historic preservation, credited with saving from destruction a large portion of Kentucky’s printed history, which later become a core body of documents in the state archives.
1903 – Irving Stone, American writer who specialized in biographical fiction, best known for books on artists Vincent Van Gogh (Lust For Life) and Michelangelo (The Agony and the Ecstasy).
1912 – Mira Mihelič, Slovenian writer, translator, linguist, and artist.
1914 – Wim Hora Adema, Dutch author, children’s writer, journalist, publisher, World War II resistance fighter, and co-founder of what considered a radical feminist magazine; she was one of the best-known women of the second wave of Dutch feminism.
1915 – Jerome Lawrence, American playwright and author who helped create Armed Forces Radio.
1916 – Natalia Ginzburg, Italian short-story writer and political activist.
1917 – Arthur Laurents, American playwright, stage director, radio writer, screenwriter, and author of U.S. Army training films; his best known works include West Side Story and Gypsy.
1919 – Raphaël Onana, Camaroonian writer and Free French soldier who became a naturalized French citizen; he wrote a memoir about his wartime experiences.
1921 – Leon Garfield, British author of historical fiction for children; he was also a screenwriter who adapted Shakespearean plays into animated television programs.
1922 – Käbi Alma Laretei, Estonian-Swedish concert pianist, author, and television presenter who wrote books about music; she was also married to film director Ingmar Bergman and collaborated with him professionally on music for his films, both during and after their marriage.
1927 – Peggy Parish, American author of children’s books, including her beloved series “Amelia Bedelia”; since her death in 1988, the series has been written by her nephew, Herman Parish.
1929 – Ke Yan, Chinese novelist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, children’s author, lyricist, and textbook writer; she has also held several high-level position in literary and educational organizations.
1931 – E.V. Thompson, British historical novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction writer who was formerly in the Navy and on the police force; he often used the pseudonym James Munro.
1936 – Jeelani Bano, award-winning Indian poet, novelist, autobiographer, and short-story writer in the Urdu language.
1936 – Pema Chödrön, American Buddhist nun, author, and teacher.
1940 – Susan Howatch, English author of historical and domestic fiction, often with religious and philosophical themes; she is especially known for generational sagas.
1941 – Emmanuel Boundzéki Dongala, award-winning Congolese novelist, chemist, and professor.
1943 – Christopher Priest, award-winning British author of novels, short stories, radio and television scripts, biographies, criticism, novelizations, journalism, and children’s nonfiction.
1944 – Lili Golestan, Iranian writer, translator, and linguist.
1949 – Edward Graydon Carter, Canadian-born American journalist and magazine editor and founder.
1949 – Brian Sibley, English writer of radio dramas and documentaries.
1952 – Jeffry P. Freundlich, American playwright and crime novelist who uses the pen name Jeff Lindsay; his wife Hilary Hemingway coauthored many of his early published works.
1953 – Laura Numeroff, American children’s author, best known for If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and its sequels.
1958 – Joe Keenan, Emmy Award-winning American screenwriter, television producer, and author, sometimes referred to as a “gay P.D. Wodehouse.”
1959 – Tom Wujec, Canadian author, editor, and lecturer on topics relating to creativity, innovation, and technology.
1960 – Angélique Kidjo (full name Angélique Kpasseloko Hinto Hounsinou Kandjo Manta Zogbin Kidjo), Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, activist, and memoir writer who is noted for her diverse musical influences.
1966 – Brian Selznick, Caldecott Medal-winning American author and illustrator of children’s books; his grandfather was a cousin of Hollywood producer David O. Selznick.
1974 – Aaron Becker, Caldecott Honor-winning American author and illustrator of children’s books.
1976 – Ranj Dhaliwal, controversial Indo-Canadian author of crime fiction.