1783 – Nadezhda Durova, Russian author who was the first known female Army officer in the Russian military; she became a decorated cavalry soldier while disguised as a man. Her memoir, The Cavalry Maiden, is significant because it is one of the earliest autobiographies in the Russian language, and because few junior officers in the Napoleonic wars published accounts of their experiences.
1850 – Guerra Junqueiro (full name Abilio Manuel de Guerra Junqueiro), Portugese poet, journalist, author, and playwright; his highly satiric poems criticizing conservatism, romanticism, and the Church helped inspire the creation of the Portuguese First Republic.
1864 – Anagarika Dharmapala, Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) writer and Buddhist revivalist who was the first global Buddhist missionary, one of the founders of non-violent Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism, and a leading figure in the Sri Lankan independence movement against British rule.
1867 – Masaoka Shiki, Japanese poet, author, and literary critic who was a major figure in the development of modern haiku poetry.
1883 – William Carlos Williams, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning American modernist poet, writer, and physician who is credited with inventing a uniquely American form of poetry whose subject matter centered on everyday circumstances and the lives of ordinary people.
1885 – Prabodhankar Thackeray (pen name for Keshav Sitaram Thackeray), Indian social reformer and prolific author who campaigned against superstitions and social evils in India, including untouchability and child marriage.
1901 – Sir Francis Chichester, English adventurer, aviator, and sailor who was the first person to sail single-handed around the world by the clipper route, and the fastest circumnavigator, in nine months and one day overall; he wrote many books, stories, and articles about sailing, navigation, science, natural history, and his own adventures, and is the subject of a 1979 rock song, “Single-Handed Sailor,” by Dire Straits.
1902 – Beatrice Miles, Australian writer who was described as Sydney’s “iconic eccentric” and was known for her ability to quote any passage from Shakespeare for money. She lived for two years in a hospital for the insane, after her father had her committed because he was tired of bohemian behavior and lifestyle; after that, she lived on the street and was known for her outrageous behavior, but also for her compassion for the sick and dying. Her most notorious escapades involved taxi drivers, to whom she refused to pay fares; when drivers refused to pick her up, she sometimes damage their cabs in retaliation, including ripping a door off its hinges. A voracious reader, she read two books a day and spent hours at the State Library until she was banned; her writings, including such titles as Dictionary by a Bitch, I Go on a Wild Goose Chase, I Leave in a Hurry, and Notes on Sydney Monuments, are now in that library.
1908 – John Creasey, Prolific English author of crime novels and science fiction who used least 28 different pseudonyms for his 600+ books.
1909 – Elizabeth Enright, Newbery Medal-winning American author and illustrator of children’s books.
1916 – Mary Stewart (born Mary Florence Elinor Rainbow), English novelist, children’s writer, and poet; she is remembered for her romantic mystery novels, and especially for her Merlin series of historical fantasy.
1927 – Hélène Langevin-Joliot, French physicist, researcher, and writer.
1929 – Anant Pai (popularly known as Uncle Pai), Indian educationalist, comic writer, and children’s writer who was a pioneer in Indian comics; he is most famous as the creator of comic book series that retold traditional Indian folk tales, mythological stories, and biographies of historical characters.
1931 – Jean-Claude Bajeux, Haitian writer, political activist, Minister of Culture, and professor of Caribbean literature.
1931 – Ayako Sono (曽野 綾子) award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, columnist, and essayist who was part of the Third Generation movement in Japanese literature.
1932 – Robert B. Parker, American crime writer, most famous for his series of novels about the fictional detective Spenser.
1935 – Ken Kesey, American counterculture author who considered himself a link between the Beat generation and 1960s hippie culture; he is best known for his book One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
1936 – Victor Watson, English children’s writer, children’s literature scholar, editor, and teacher; he is particularly known for an award-winning series of war stories for children ages eight to thirteen, beginning with the book Paradise Barn.
1937 – Albertine Sarrazin, Algerian-born French novelist, short-story writer, poet, journalist, petty criminal, and prostitute who was best known for her semi-autobiographical novel L’Astragale.
1938 – Herman Hendrik ter Balkt (H.H. ter Balkt), award-winning Dutch poet, writer, and teacher.
1938 – Dilip Chitre, Indian writer, poet, screenwriter, filmmaker, film critic, translator, linguist, and painter; he was an important writer in both Marathi and English.
1939 – Carl Dennis, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.
1947 – Allama Muhammad Idrees Dahri, Pakistani philosopher, Islamic scholar, preacher, writer, author, poet, and researcher.
1947 – Gail Carson Levine, American author of young-adult novels, best known for her Cinderella-retelling “Ella Enchanted” series.
1949 – Maria Barbal, award-winning Spanish Catalan writer, novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and children’s writer.
1949 – Jennifer Crusie (pseudonym for Jennifer Smith), award-winning bestselling American author of contemporary romance novels and mysteries; she is also a literary critic and nonfiction writer on popular culture.
1950 – Lawrence Anthony, South African author, explorer, and environmentalist.
1951 – Alexander Kanengoni, Zimbabwean writer, author, and journalist who took part in Zimbabwe’s war for independence.
1953 – Choi Ihn Suk, South Korean writer, playwright and screenwriter who is a significant figure in Korean Realism.
1954 – Jana Kolarič, award-winning Slovenian writer, poet, playwright, novelist, translator, and children’s writer.
1957 – Gebran Ghassan Tueni, Lebanese politician who was editor and publisher of the daily newspaper An Nahar, established by his grandfather (also named Gebran Tueni).
1960 –Elsebeth Egholm, Danish writer, journalist, and screenwriter who is most widely known as the author of crime novels and the creator of the television series Those Who Kill.
1962 – Anjum Rehbar, award-winning Indian poet who writes in Urdu and Hindi.
1968 – Cheryl Strayed (born Nyland), award-winning American memoirist, novelist, essayist, and podcast host whose bestselling book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, was made into a film starring Reese Witherspoon.
1977 – Igor Štiks, Bosnian/Yugoslavian law professor and novelist.
1982 – Hope Larson, American cartoonist and graphic novelist.