1828 – Leo Tolstoy (Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy), Russian novelist, poet, and essayist who is considered one of the greatest writers of all time; his work is known for its high degree of detail and its psychological complexity, including his most famous novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. He has been called “the conscience of humanity.”
1850 – Bharatendu Harishchandra, Indian poet, author, travel writer, dramatist, and translator who is considered the father of modern Hindi literature and theater.
1851 – Mabel Collins, Guernsey-based English fashion writer, author of popular occult novels, anti-vivisection activist, and theosophist.
1862 – Sergei Aleksandrovich Nilus, Russian religious writer and mystic who was responsible for publishing for the first time in Russia The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
1867 – Delilah Leontium Beasley, American historian and newspaper columnist who was the first African-American woman to be published regularly in a major metropolitan newspaper; she was also first to present written proof of the existence of California’s black pioneers, in her books Slavery in California and The Negro Trail-Blazers of California. She is remembered for detailing the racial problems in California and the heroic achievements by Blacks to overcome them.
1868 – Mary Hunter Austin, American nature writer whose work focused on the fauna, flora, culture, and spirituality of the Southwestern United States.
1871 – Ralph Hodgson, English poet and animal lover who is considered one of the earliest writers about ecology, speaking out against the fur trade and human destruction of the natural world.
1872 – Sarala Devi Chaudhurani, Indian writer and activist who founded the first women’s organization in India; one of her primary goals was to promote female education.
1878 – Adelaide Crapsey, American writer, teacher, poet, journalist, and literary critic.
1900 – James Hilton, award-winning bestselling English novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction author, playwright, and screenwriter whose most famous works include the books Goodbye, Mr. Chips, Random Harvest, and Lost Horizon, as well as the screenplay for the World War II film Mrs. Miniver.
1903 – Phyllis A. Whitney, Japanese-born American mystery writer for adults and teens, known for her suspenseful plots and exotic settings.
1907 – Leon Edel, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American literary critic and Henry James biographer.
1911 – Paul Goodman, American novelist, playwright, poet, psychotherapist, social critic, anarchist philosopher, and public intellectual whose work often revolved around education, community, civil planning, decentralization and self-regulation, civil liberties, and peace.
1922 – Bernard Bailyn, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and author who wrote about American Colonial and Revolutionary War history.
1934 – Sonia Sanchez (born Wilsonia Benita Driver), American Book Award-winning African-American poet, playwright, children’s author, short-story writer, essayist, and black nationalist who is part of the Black Arts movement.
1937 – Betsy Reilly Lewin, American writer and illustrator of children’s books; she is best known for the Caldecott Honor Book, Click Clack Moo: Cows that Type.
1948 – Pamela Des Barres, author, magazine writer, memoirist, actress, and musician who writes about music and popular culture.
1950 – Seyla Benhabib, award-winning Turkish-born American writer, philosopher, biographer, political scientist, and professor; she is well known for her work in political philosophy, which draws on critical theory and feminist political theory.
1951 – Bob Shacochis, National Book Award finalist American novelist, short-story writer, food writer, and literary journalist.
1953 – Wanjiru Kihoro, Kenyan writer, economist, and feminist activist who was one of the founders of the pan-African women’s organization Akina Mama wa Afrika and the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners in Kenya.
1959 – Amal Taher Mohamed Naseer, Jordanian writer, literary critic, and academic; she is the first woman to have a doctorate from her department at the University of Jordan.
1960 – Kimberly Willis Holt, National Book Award-winning American children’s author.
1960 – Rosabetty Muñoz Serón, award-winning Chilean poet, writer, and professor.
1962 – Eva Elisabeth “Liza” Marklund, Swedish journalist, crime writer, and book publisher whose novels feature fictional newspaper reporter Annika Bengtzon.
1964 – Aleksandar Hemon, Bosnian-American fiction writer, essayist, and critic best known for his 2008 novel The Lazarus Project.
1965 – Troy Blacklaws, South African writer, novelist, and teacher; his first novel, Karoo Boy, described as “a riotous vision of 1976 Cape Town,” was later adapted for the stage by Blacklaws and two co-authors.
1967 – Hana Andronikova, award-winning Czech novelist, playwright, and short-story writer.
1969 – Jorge Enrique González Pacheco, Cuban poet, film industry professional, and cultural entrepreneur.
1971 – Ayeta Anne Wangusa, Ugandan writer, editor, and women’s rights activist who first achieved recognition in literary circles for her novel Memoirs of a Mother.
1973 – Zaza Burchuladze, Georgian postmodern writer, playwright, translator, and journalist. His narratives often startle the audience with their experimental style and provocative themes; he writes about political conformity, violence, and brutality, addressing ideological and religious topics as well as sexuality.