1511 – Giorgio Vasari, Italian writer, historian, painter, and architect who wrote Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, considered the ideological foundation of art-history writing; he was also the first to use the term “Renaissance” in print.
1818 – Emily Jane Brontë, English novelist and poet who is best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights, which is now considered a classic of English literature and a defining work of the Gothic romance genre. She also published a book of poetry with her also-famous literary sisters Charlotte and Anne, titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell (their pseudonyms); her own poems are regarded as works of poetic genius.
1827 – Susan Shelby Magoffin, American writer whose diary, written as she traveled along the Santa Fe Trail in the late 1840s, has been used extensively by historians as a source for information about the lives of the pioneers.
1859 – Julia Frankau, bestselling English novelist and nonfiction author who often wrote under the name Frank Danby; her first novel was controversial because of its satirical portrayal of London Jews and Jewish life and its discussion of euthanasia; she also wrote three nonfiction books about engraving.
1865 – Alicia Margaret Tyssen Amherst, English horticulturist and botanist who was the author of the first scholarly account of English gardening history.
1889 – Rosa Borja de Ycaza, Ecuadorian writer, composer, poet, sociologist, essayist, dramatist, and activist for women’s rights and the rights of workers.
1889 – Dorothy Violet Wellesley, Duchess of Wellington (also known as Lady Gerald Wellesley), English author, poet, and literary editor.
1893 – Fatima Jinnah (widely known as Māder-e Millat, or Mother of the Nation), Indian-born Pakistani politician, dental surgeon, stateswoman, biographer, and women’s rights advocate who was one of the founders of Pakistan; she was the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first Governor General of Pakistan, and wrote a biography of him. Some sources list her birthday as July 31.
1904 – Salvador Novo, influential Mexican poet, playwright, translator, and essayist.
1912 – Anne Ridler, English poet, writer, librettist, and editor.
1913 – Nankichi Niimi, Japanese teacher, writer, and children’s author who was sometimes known as the Hans Christian Andersen of Japan.
1914 – Béatrix Beck, French writer of Belgian origin who was a screenwriter, poet, and lawyer; she was the daughter of poet Christian Beck.
1914 – Michizo Tachihara, Japanese poet, writer, and architect; in his writing, he struggled to find a way for an urban poet to root himself in traditional customs and still be “modern.”
1918 – Auður Sveinsdóttir Laxness, Icelandic writer and craftswoman, credited with influencing the design and popularity of the Icelandic Lopapeysa sweater during the mid-20th century; as a writer, she sometimes collaborated with her husband, Nobel Literature laureate Halldór Laxness.
1918 – Ursula Mariana Șchiopu, Romanian writer, poet, psychologist, and academic who contributed to the development of the psychology of peace, war, and terrorism.
1924 – William H. Gass, American Book Award-winning American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, critic, and professor; one critic called his debut novel “the most important work of fiction by an American in this literary generation.”
1924 – José Antonio Villarreal, Mexican-American novelist whose books concern Chicano life in the American Southwest; he has been called the “pivotal transitional link between ‘Mexican American’ and ‘Chicano’ literature”, both because of his strengths as a novelist and because of his rediscovery of Latino literature in the 1970s.
1925 – Muhammad Dahlan Abdul Baing (also known as Duta Muda dan Patria and by his pseudonym Arena Wati), Malaysian writer who was the Malaysian National Laureate; his writings were in the Malay language.
1931 – Dominique Lapierre, French novelist, memoirist, biographer, history writer, investigative journalist, and world traveler, best known in the U.S. for his collaborations with Larry Collins.
1940 – Magdalena Ribbing, Swedish writer, journalist, author, editor, lecturer, and etiquette expert.
1945 – Patrick Modiano, Nobel Prize-winning French novelist, praised “for the art of memory with which he has evoked the most ungraspable human destinies and uncovered the life-world of the occupation.”
1946 – Barbara Kopple, two-time Academy Award-winning American documentary filmmaker and television director.
1953 – Raffaele Palma, award-winning Italian satirical writer, artist, and humorist.
1958 – Pattukkottai Prabakar, Indian Tamil writer of crime novels and thrillers who is also a screenwriter for television and movies.
1958 – Claudia Schreiber, German journalist, author, screenwriter, and television presenter.
1959 – T. Selva, Malaysian author, columnist, broadcaster whose work centers on ancient Indian sciences.
1960 – Marcus Pfister, Swiss children’s author and illustrator best known for his bestselling Rainbow Fish books.
1962 – Lavinia Greenlaw, award-winning English poet and novelist.
1967 – Ann Brashares, American author of novels for teens and adults, best known for The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequels; she has also written biographies and has been an editor for the “Sweet Valley High” series of young-adult books.
1969 – Svetlana Viktorivna Ischenko, Ukrainian poet, translator, stage actress, teacher, and artist.
1971 – Andrey Anatolevich Simonov, Russian aviation historian who has written several books and encyclopedias about World War II and the development of aviation in the USSR.
1974 – Jacek Dukai, award-winning Polish science-fiction and fantasy novelist and short-story writer.
1975 – Cherie Priest, American author and blogger who writes in the genres of Southern gothic, horror, and steampunk.