1432 – Luigi Pulci, Italian poet, writer, and diplomat best known for his epic parody poem Morgante, about a giant who is converted to Christianity; Pulci’s patrons included Lorenzo de’ Medici.
1771 – Walter Scott, Scottish baronet who was a novelist, poet, playwright, and historian, best known for the historical novel Ivanhoe and the narrative poem The Lady of the Lake; he is considered a key figure in the establishment of the historical novel genre, as well as European literary Romanticism.
1785 – Thomas de Quincey, English essayist, best known for his Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.
1787 – Eliza Lee Cabot Follen, American author, poet, editor, hymn writer, and abolitionist.
1850 – Sibylle Riqueti de Mirabeau, prolific French novelist, playwright, journalist, memoirist, satirist, humorist, and salonnière; her full name was Sibylle Aimée Marie-Antoinette Gabrielle de Riquetti de Mirabeau, Comtesse de Martel de Janville, but she wrote under the pseudonym Gyp. Her work often brazenly denounced fashionable society; because of her unpopular opinions, she was the victim of several attempts on her life as well as of a sensational kidnapping.
1858 – E. (Edith) Nesbit (married name Edith Bland), prolific English novelist, children’s author, picture-book writer, nonfiction author, short-story writer, fantasy author, poet, and labor activist whose most popular book is The Railway Children.
1861 – Christina Henderson, Australian-born New Zealand writer, editor, teacher, feminist, prohibitionist, and social reformer.
1862 – Fernanda Nissen (Petra Gregorine Fernanda Nissen, née Thomesen), Norwegian journalist, literary and theater critic, politician, and feminist pioneer.
1862 – Blanca de los Ríos Nostench, Spanish writer, novelist, poet, short-story writer, literary critic, and painter who published her first novel at the age of 16; she also wrote under the pen name Carolina del Boss.
1865 – Mikao Usui, Japanese popularizer of the Reiki practice of alternative healing, known for his book, The Original Reiki Handbook of Dr. Mikao Usui.
1872 – Sri Aurobindo, Indian yogi and nationalist whose writings “synthesized Eastern and Western philosophy, religion, literature, and psychology.”
1875 – Otto Miguel Cione Falcone, popular Uruguayan journalist, novelist, playwright, and diplomat; as a journalist, he wrote under the pseudonym Martin Flores.
1878 – Atom Yarjanian (better known by his pen name, Siamanto), influential Turkish-born Armenian writer, poet, and national figure who was killed by Ottoman authorities during the Armenian Genocide.
1882 – Marion Bauer, American composer, music historian, editor, and music critic who played an active role in shaping American musical identity in the first half of the 20th century.
1885 – Edna Ferber, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author and playwright; several of her works were made into popular films.
1896 – Gerty Theresa Cori (née Radnitz), Austro-Hungarian-American biochemist, author, and professor who was the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, for her significant role in the “discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen.” She published extensively in her field.
1896 – Catherine Doherty (full name Ekaterina Fyodorovna Kolyschkine de Hueck Doherty), Russian-born Canadian Catholic social worker and founder of the Madonna House Apostolate; a pioneer of social justice and a renowned speaker, she was also a prolific writer of hundreds of articles and a bestselling author of dozens of books; her canonization as a Saint is under consideration by the Catholic Church.
1901 – Agustin Caralde Fabian, well-known Filipino ficition writer, journalist, and essayist who wrote under several pen names, including A.C. Fabian; he wrote in both English and Tagalog; his most famous novel, Timawa (“Free Person/Slave”), was praised for its “radical break from the usual complicated plots and labyrinthine structures of many novels” published in the Philippines at the time.
1907 – Carmen Conde Abellán, Spanish poet, literary critic, narrative writer, teacher, and university founder.
1912 – Julia Child, influential American cookbook author, chef, and television personality whose Mastering The Art of French Cooking is still a classic of the genre; she also did top-secret research for the U.S. intelligence agency during World War II.
1913 – Nguyễn Hữu Đang, Vietnamese journalist and poet who was one of the writers associated with the Nhân Văn-Giai Phẩm cultural and political movement; he also used the pen name Phạm Đình Thái.
1915 – Meary James Thurairajah Tambimuttu, Sri Lankan Tamil poet, editor, critic, and publisher.
1922 – Leonard Baskin, American artist, illustrator, publisher, and author of books of his illustrations; he founded the Gehenna Press, one of the U.S.’s first fine arts presses.
1922 – Vahagn Davtyan, Turkish-born Armenian writer, poet, translator, linguist, and publicist.
1926 – Sukanta Bhattacharya, influential Indian poet and playwright who was one of the most popular Bengali poets of the 20th century; his work is characterized by its irreverence, patriotism, socialist leanings, humanism, and romanticism.
1926 – Park In-hwan, South Korean modernist poet, author, and bookseller.
1936 – Hamish Henry Cordy Keith, New Zealand writer, art curator, arts consultant, and social commentator.
1936 – Tahar Ouettar, prolific Algerian writer, novelist, and defender of the Berber language.
1944 – Linda Ellerbee, American journalist and author, known for her NBC News programs, her memoirs, and her “Girl Reporter” series of books.
1945 – James Munange Ogoola, Ugandan poet, translator, religious writer, and judge.
1949 – Garry Disher, Australian author of crime fiction and young-adult literature.
1953 – Vigdís Grímsdóttir, award-winning Icelandic novelist, poet, playwright, children’s writer, short-story writer, and teacher; her novel Ég heiti Ísbjörg ég er ljón (“My name is Ísbjörg, I am a Leo”) was adapted for performance at the National Theatre of Iceland.
1954 – Stieg Larsson, Swedish journalist and writer, best known for the popular Millennium crime-fiction trilogy, which began with the bestselling book, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo; his Millennium books were published posthumously, after his death in 2004, with the publisher commissioning writer David Lagercrantz to write more books, expanding the trilogy into a longer series.
1958 – Minoru Kawasaki, Japanese screenwriter, film director, and producer who is known for his low budget, absurdist comedy films.
1960 – Morten Harry Olsen, award-winning Norwegian author, journalist, translator, literary critic, and short-story writer who studied criminology and philosophy; he has also worked as a travel agent, taxi driver, night porter, office worker, and teacher.
1975 – Steinar Bragi (full name Steinar Bragi Guðmundsson), Icelandic writer who is considered by many to be Iceland’s foremost contemporary author.
1996 – Mikhail Aleksandrovich Samarsky, Russian writer, blogger, and political scientist.