1861 – Anna Brigadere, Latvian writer, poet, playwright, children’s writer, and autobiographer whose work illuminated the lives of Latvian women in the late 19th century.
1889 – Sarah Louise “Sadie” Delany, African-American educator and civil rights pioneer who was coauthor and subject, along with her younger sister, Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, of the bestselling biography, Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years, (written with journalist Amy Hill Hearth), which made Sadie famous at age 103. The trio followed it up with a second book, The Delany Sisters’ Book of Everyday Wisdom; after Bessie’s death at age 104, Sadie and Hearth created a third book, On My Own At 107: Reflections on Life Without Bessie. Sadie, who passed away in 1999 at age 109, and her sister were also the aunts of acclaimed science-fiction author Samuel R. Delaney.
1894 – Rachel Field, Newbery Award Medal-winning American author best known for the children’s novel Hitty, Her First Hundred Years.
1900 – Wlodzimierz Slobodnik, Polish poet, translator, satirist, and author of numerous books for young adults.
1911 – William Golding, Nobel Prize-winning British novelist, poet, and playwright, best known for his classic book, Lord of the Flies and his other novels, “which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world today.”
1918 – Penelope Mortimer, British journalist, biographer, and novelist.
1919 – Khumar Barabankvi (real name Mohammed Haidar Khan), Indian/Pakistani Urdu poet and lyricist.
1922 – Salil Chowdhury, Indian Bengali composer, poet, playwright, and lyricist.
1922 – Damon Knight, American science-fiction author, mostly known for his short stories; the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have named their Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award after him.
1933 – Ingrid Jonker, South African poet who is often called the South African Sylvia Plath, because of the intensity of her work and the tragic course of her life; she committed suicide at the age of 31 by walking into the sea and drowning.
1938 – Keorapetse William Kgositsile (also known as ‘Bra Willie’), South African poet and political activist who was South Africa’s National Poet Laureate; his influential collection, My Name is Afrika, established him as a leading African poet.
1947 – Thomas H. Cook, Edgar Award-winning American mystery author.
1947 – Tanith Lee, celebrated British author of science-fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.
1960 – Maud Sulter, Scottish writer, poet, playwright, photographer, educator, artist, and curator of Ghanaian heritage.
1960 – Oksana Zabuzhko, Ukrainian poet, novelist, and essayist.
1963 – Milena Ercolani, award-winning Sammarinese author, poet, novelist, children’s writer, and teacher who is president of the Sammarina Cultural Association, which promotes the artistic work of San Marino, a tiny independent country surrounded by north-central Italy.
1964 – Yvonne Vera, Zimbabwean novelist and short-story writer whose novels are known for their poetic prose, difficult subject matter, and strong women characters, and are firmly rooted in Zimbabwe’s difficult past.
1969 – Duncan Ryuken Williams, Japanese-born writer, professor, and Soto Zen Buddhist priest whose research focuses on Zen Buddhism, Buddhism in America, and the mixed-race Japanese (hapa) experience.
1970 – Suki Kim, South Korean-born, American-based journalist who is author of the award-winning novel The Interpreter and a bestselling literary nonfiction book, Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite; she is the only foreign writer ever to have lived undercover in North Korea for immersive journalism.
1972 – N.K. Jemison, American psychologist and author of science fiction and fantasy, best known for her Inheritance trilogy; her fiction explores a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression.
1972 – Rebecca Skloot, American writer who specializes in science and medicine; her bestselling nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was made into a movie by Oprah Winfrey.
1973 – Jeff Chapman (better known by the pseudonym Ninjalicious), Canadian urban explorer and author who founded the urban exploration zine Infiltration: The Zine About Going Places You’re Not Supposed To Go. His doctors claimed that the cancer that killed him at age 31 was caused by carcinogens he came into contact with while exploring places that were supposed to be off-limits.
1974 – Sabrina Calvo, French poet, screenwriter, game designer, comics writer, science-fiction writer, and illustrator; she identifies as a transgender person, with her work before 2018 published as David Calvo.
1975 – Caroline Fourest, French feminist writer, author, film director, journalist, columnist, radio presenter, and magazine editor.
1975 – Gina Trapani, American tech blogger, writer, web developer, book author, and co-founder of the Lifehacker blog.
1977 – Tryno Maldonado, Mexican novelist and literary editor who has been named by Colombian magazine Gatopardo as one of the best young writers in Latin America.
1980 – Linda Ifeoma Ikeji, controversial Nigerian blogger, writer, and television broadcast entrepreneur; Forbes magazine has included her in its profiles of Africa’s 20 Most Prominent Women.
1981 – Mohamed Salah El Azab, award-winning Egyptian novelist and short-story writer who has been called “one of Egypt’s rising literary talents.”