1727 – Ditlevine Feddersen (née Collett), Norwegian poet and translator; she was a central figure in the artistic and literary culture of Oslo.
1871 – André Raponda Walker, Gabonese author, ethnographer, fairy tale collector, Catholic priest, and missionary; he wrote extensively about the Gabonese language and culture.
1875 – Alice Dunbar Nelson, African-American writer, poet, educator, journalist, columnist, short-story writer, playwright, suffragist, and civil-rights activist who was part of the Harlem Renaissance.
1893 – Vladimir Mayakovsky, Russian poet, playwright, and actor.
1896 – A.J. Cronin, Scottish novelist and physician who wrote many books that were later adapted to film; his novel The Citadel is credited with laying the groundwork for the introduction of the National Health System in Britain.
1902 – Ada Verdun Howell, Australian author and poet; her best known work is the controversial prose/poem cycle Exit Strategies, which was praised by poet E. E. Cummings as “poetry as pure energy…just in time for atomic age.”
1906 – Susana Soca, Uruguayan poet, writer, and literary journal founder who was especially known for her support for fellow writers; she died in a plane crash in 1959 near Rio de Janeiro.
1909 – Nalapat Balamani Amma, prolific, award-winning Indian poet who wrote in Malayalam and was known as the “poetess of motherhood”; she was the mother of the renowned writer Kamala Surayya.
1913 – Manouchehr Sotoudeh, prolific Iranian writer, historian, geographer, lexicographer, and professor; he published Iran’s first dialectal dictionary.
1916 – Eve Merriam, American poet, playwright, children’s writer, director, and lecturer.
1919 – Miltos Sachtouris, Greek poet who adopted the pen name Miltos Chrysanthis.
1921 – Elizabeth Spencer, American novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, and screenwriter whose novella The Light in the Piazza was adapted for the screen and transformed into a Broadway musical. She is a five-time recipient of the O. Henry Award for short fiction.
1922 – George McGovern, American historian, author, and politician.
1923 – Joseph Hansen, American crime writer best known for his series featuring openly gay private eye Dave Brandstetter.
1925 – Minn Latt Yekhaun, Burmese writer and linguist who studied and published in Czechoslovakia and used the pen name U Gtun Kyi.
1935 – Tarsicio Herrera Zapién, Mexican writer, researcher, composer, musicologist, and academic.
1936 – Norman Manea, U.S.-based Romanian novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and essayist who writes about the Holocaust, daily life under communism, and exile.
1938 – Dominic Francis Moraes, Indian writer and poet who wrote in the English language and is widely seen as a foundational figure in Indian English literature.
1938 – Jayant Narlikar, Indian physicist, astronomer, astrophysicist, writer, university teacher, and science-fiction author.
1940 – Patricia Ann Tudor Sandahl (née Howard), Swedish psychotherapist and author.
1945 – Anna Enquist, pen name of Dutch novelist and poet Christa Widlund-Broer, one of the most popular writers in the Netherlands.
1946 – Stephen Coonts, American thriller and suspense novelist who is especially known for his Jake Grafton books.
1946 – Lucas Cornelis Malan, South African poet, academic writer, playwright, editor, and literary critic.
1949 – Thulani Davis, Grammy Award-winning African-American playwright, journalist, librettist, novelist, poet, and screenwriter.
1953 – Zinovia Dushkova, Moldovan writer of fiction and nonfiction, poet, philosopher, and historian; her work is part of the Theosophical tradition and deals with mysticism and the occult.
1958 – Maria Mercè Roca (full name Maria Mercè Roca i Perich), Spanish Catalan author, screenwriter, and politician.
1958 – Angharad Tomos, award-winning Welsh author and prominent language activist.
1959 – Vigdis Hjorth, Norwegian novelist, children’s author, screenwriter, and radio personality.
1962 – Ava Kitō, Japanese diarist who wrote about her experiences suffering from spinocerebellar ataxia; her book Ichi rittoro no namida (One Litre of Tears) was published two years before her death in 1988.
1963 – Garth Nix, bestselling Australian author of young-adult fantasy novels, including the “Keys to the Kingdom” series.
1966 – Alexis Leon, Indian software consultant and bestselling author of 50 books about information technology, the Internet, and management topics; he began writing after being paralyzed in a vehicle accident.
1966 – Lucien Moussa Shukri Soulban, Saudi Arabian game designer and writer who works primarily on role-playing games.
1967 – Rageh Omaar, Somali-born British journalist, writer, and television news presenter.
1968 – Lisa Jewell, bestselling British author of popular fiction; she began writing her first novel when a friend challenged her to write three chapters of a novel in exchange for dinner at her favorite restaurant.
1978 – Ketty Nivyabandi, Belgian-born Burundian poet writer, and human rights activist who writes in French.