1593 – Izaak Walton, English writer, biographer, and fisherman, best known for the book The Compleat Angler and for his biography of his friend the poet and philosopher John Donne.
1795 – Judit Dukai Takách, Hungarian poet and writer who was known by her pseudonym Malvina.
1817 – Justo Arosemena Quesada, Colombian writer, lawyer, economist, diplomat, and politician who dedicated his life to the cause of the autonomy for the Isthmus of Panama.
1855 – Jean Lorrain, French novelist, playwright, librettist, journalist, short-story writer, and Symbolist poet.
1858 – Agustina Pastora Andrade, Argentine poet who was one of the principal writers of the Generation of ’80; her poems were praised for their “idealized romantic love.”
1879 – Mabel Malherbe, South African writer, editor, magazine founder, and politician who, as mayor of Pretoria, was the first woman elected as mayor of a South African city.
1880 – Ramón Pérez de Ayala y Fernández del Portal, Nobel Prize-nominated Spanish writer, poet, journalist, and diplomat.
1888 – Yulia Alexandrovna von Dehn (known as Lili Dehn, or Lili von Dehn), Russian writer who was a close friend of the Empress Alexandra; after the Russian Revolution, she wrote a biography, The Real Tsaritsa, to refute rumors that were circulating in Europe about the Empress and Grigori Rasputin.
1892 – S.R. Ranganathan, Indian writer, mathematician, and librarian who is considered to be the father of library science for his development of the five laws of library science and a major faceted classification system.
1896 – Jean Piaget, Swiss developmental psychologist known for his studies of children and cognitive development.
1897 – Marta Brunet, award-winning Chilean writer and diplomat.
1899 – P.L. Travers, Australian-born novelist whose series of books about the magical English nanny Mary Poppins were adapted many times, into film and on stage.
1904 – Sarala Devi, Indian Odia writer, feminist, independence activist, and politician who was the first woman elected to the Odisha Legislative Assembly.
1905 – Mary Meilak, Maltese poet, writer, and essayist who is first known Maltese woman to publish a book of poetry.
1908 – Tommaso Landolfi, award-winning Italian author, short-story writer, science-fiction and fantasy writer, translator, and literary critic known for his numerous grotesque tales and novels.
1909 – Vinayaka Krishna Gokak, key Indian writer in the Kannada language and a scholar of English and Kannada literature; his epic Bharatha Sindhu Rashmi deals with the Vedic age and is perhaps the longest epic narrative in any language in the 20th century.
1910 – Larysa Hienijuš, Belarusian poet, writer, children’s writer, and politician. When the Red Army invaded in 1939, her father was murdered and her mother and sisters were deported; she was appointed Secretary General of the Belarusian government in exile, and hid the most valuable parts of the nation’s archive to keep it safe, while also protecting political refugees and prisoners of war. Later, the Soviets imprisoned and tortured her. For ten years, her works were banned in her own country.
1914 – Tove Jansson, award-winning, bestselling Finnish novelist, children’s writer, short-story writer, artist, illustrator, and cartoonist, best known for her Moomin books, about a family of trolls who are white, round and smooth in appearance, with large snouts that make them vaguely resemble hippopotamuses.
1922 – Sheila Cussons, South African writer, poet, and artist who was one of the most important poets in the Afrikaans language.
1922 – Philip Larkin, English poet, novelist, librarian, and jazz critic whose poetry has been described as having “a very English, glum accuracy” about emotions, places, and relationships; Larkin himself said that deprivation was for him “what daffodils were for Wordsworth.”
1923 – Mário Cesariny de Vasconcelos, Portuguese surrealist poet, writer, and painter.
1927 – Daniel Keyes, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American science-fiction author, comic-book writer, editor, and professor best known for his book Flowers for Algernon; he was named an Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
1927 – Robert Shaw, award-winning English actor, novelist, screenwriter, and playwright.
1929 – Abdi Ipekçi, Turkish journalist, editor, and human-rights activist who was murdered for his newspaper’s left-leaning stances; the International Press Institute named him one of the 50 World Press Freedom Heroes.
1932 – Berta Golob, prolific Slovene writer, poet, children’s author, librarian, and teacher whose works often have religious themes.
1933 – Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, bestselling Japanese children’s book author, actress, television talk-show host, and Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF who initially planned to be an opera singer; she has been called “the most popular and admired woman in Japan.”
1933 – Zhengzhang Shangfang, Chinese writer and linguist best known for his reconstruction of Old Chinese.
1934 – Graeme Gibson, award-winning Canadian novelist and nonfiction writer who was an advocate for the arts, environmental causes, and social justice.
1937 – Abhimanyu Unnuth, prolific Mauritian writer, novelist, poet, and essayist who wrote in Hindi; his writing is characterized by realistic descriptions of daily life and denouncements of injustice, stupidity and exploitation.
1939 – Yi Chong-jun, prominent South Korean novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter.
1939 – Til Bikram Nembang Limbu (popularly known as Bairagi Kainla or Bairagi Kaila), Nepali university chancellor, folklorist, and writer who is part of Nepal’s Third Dimension literary movement; his work promotes the culture, language, and literature of the indigenous peoples of Nepal.
1941 – Jamila Gavin, Indian-born British writer who is known primarily for children’s books, including several with Indian themes.
1941 – Shirlee Busbee, bestselling, award-winning American author of romance novels.
1942 – Karol Efraim Sidon, Czech writer and playwright who is the Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic.
1944 – Patricia McKissack, prolific African-American children’s novelist, biographer, and nonfiction writer who often wrote about African-American history.
1945 – Barbara Delinsky (born Barbara Ruth Greenberg), American writer of bestselling romantic suspense novels, short stories, and nonfiction books; she has also written under the pen names Bonnie Drake and Billie Douglass.
1947 – Jill McGown, Scottish mystery novelist who sometimes writes under the name Elizabeth Chaplin; she is best known for her mystery series featuring Inspector Lloyd and Judy Hill.
1947 – John Varley, award-winning American science-fiction novelist and short-story writer.
1948 – Pablo Medina, Cuban writer, poet, novelist, translator, songwriter, and professor.
1949 – Jonathan Kellerman, American author of bestselling suspense novels, nonfiction, and children’s books who is best known for his series featuring the characters Alex Delaware and Petra Connor. He and his wife, mystery novelist Faye Kellerman, are the only married couple ever to appear on the New York Times bestseller list simultaneously for two different books.
1950 – Jeanne Larsen, award-winning American novelist, poet, essayist, and translator who often sets her fiction in historical China.
1952 – Theodore van Houten, Dutch writer, translator, biographer, columnist, arts critic, journalist, and music historian.
1966 – Linn Ullmann (born Karin Beate Ullmann), Norwegian novelist, columnist, journalist, and literary critic.
1973 – Gene Luen Yang, award-winning Chinese-American author of graphic novels and comics; the Library of Congress has named him an Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
1975 – Jothimani Sennimalai (also known as, simply, Jothimani), Indian novelist, award-winning short-story writer, social worker, and politician; she is a member of the Indian National Congress.
1979 – Fouzia Bhatti, Pakistani author, poet, and columnist who writes in Urdu.
1980 – Lolita Séchan, French writer, children’s book author, comic-book writer, and graphic novelist.
1983 – Nathalie Heirani Salmon-Hudry, award-winning Tahitian writer and autobiographer who was severely injured at birth and writes using a computer head pointer.
1984 – Inga Žolude, award-winning Latvian novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and translator.