1211 – Ibn Khallikan, Iraqi Islamic scholar and poet who compiled a celebrated biographical encyclopedia of Arab scholars.
1398 – Panfilo Castaldi, (also called Pamfilo or Pamphilo), Italian physician and “master of the art of printing,” to whom local tradition attributes the invention of moveable type.
1547 – Philipp Nicodemus Frischlin, German philologist, poet, playwright, writer, linguist, mathematician, and astronomer.
1556 – Sophia Brahe, Danish horticulturalist, astronomer, writer, historian, chemist, and botanist; she assisted her brother, the astronomer Tycho Brahe, with his astronomical observations.
1680 – Barthold Heinrich Brockes, German poet, writer, translator, librettist, and lawyer.
1747 – Frederick Salvemini de Castillon, Dutch and Italian music theorist, musicologist, music historian, writer, and translator.
1762 – Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe, English artist and diarist in colonial Canada; she was the wife of John Graves Simcoe, the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada, and her diary and watercolor paintings provide an important account of 18th and 19th century Canadian life.
1800 – Delvalle Lowry, British geologist, mineralogist, author, and technical illustrator; she wrote both technical books for scientists, and a book that popularized mineralogy for a general audience.
1836 – Emeline S. Burlingame, American writer, editor, minister, and suffragist.
1837 – Lady Anne Blunt (full name, Anne Isabella Noel Blunt, 15th Baroness Wentworth, née King-Noel), English-born writer, explorer, artist, and vastly influential horse breeder who was the was the daughter of William King, 1st Earl of Lovelace, and Augusta Ada Byron, the world’s first computer programmer, the granddaughter of the poet Lord Byron, and the wife of the poet Wilfrid Blunt; she travelled extensively in Arabia and the Middle East, buying Arabian horses, and wrote several books about her travels. She was also a gifted violinist who owned a violin made by Stradivarius.
1840 – Serafin Baroja, Spanish Basque writer, poet, engineer, journalist, and mining engineer.
1841 – Andrejs Pumpurs, Latvian poet, author, and military officer; he is best known for writing the Latvian epic Lacplesis (The Bear Slayer).
1847 – Alice Meynell, English writer, editor, critic, and suffragist who is remembered chiefly for her poetry.
1854 – Henny Koch, German writer, children’s author, translator, and linguist.
1863 – Rasmus Steinsvik, Norwegian journalist, writer, and magazine and newspaper editor.
1872 – Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, American novelist, poet, and children’s writer who was a frequent contributor to The Ladies’ Home Journal.
1876 – Mary Augusta Dickerson (also known as Mary Dickerson Donahey), American novelist, children’s book author, and cookbook writer.
1880 – Christabel Harriette Pankhurst, British suffragette who wrote on women’s rights; she cofounded the Women’s Social and Political Union and directed its militant actions from exile in France in 1912 and 1913. Her best known work is The Case for Women’s Suffrage: The Legal Disabilities of Women.
1895 – Babette Deutsch, American poet, literary critic, translator, journalist, linguist, and novelist who was praised for “her commanding stature as a poet.”
1900 – Ruth Krefting, Norwegian writer, biographer, playwright, and painter.
1907 – Maurice Blanchot, French writer, philosopher, journalist, and literary theorist whose work had a strong influence on post-structuralist philosophy.
1908 – Esphyr Slobodkina, Russian-born American children’s author and illustrator, best known for her classic picture book Caps For Sale.
1910 – György Faludy, Hungarian poet, writer, and translator.
1912 – Hàn Mặc Tử (pen name for Francis Nguyễn Trọng Trí), Vietnamese poet who was the most celebrated Vietnamese Catholic literary figure during the colonial era.
1914 – Alys Faiz, London-born Pakistani poet, writer, journalist, human rights activist, social worker, and teacher.
1915 – Andreas Eriksen, Norwegian novelist, children’s author, and short-story writer; during the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany he was arrested and imprisoned in several concentration camp, but survived the war.
1922 – Hussein-Ali Montazer, prolific Iranian author, Shia Islamic theologian, democracy advocate, women’s rights activist, politician, philosopher, and human rights proponent; he was one of the leaders of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and was widely known as the most knowledgeable senior Islamic scholar in Iran.
1924 – Chukwudifu Oputa, Nigerian jurist, academic, and writer who was Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and headed the Oputa panel that investigated human right abuses by former military juntas.
1924 – Rosamunde Pilcher, bestselling, award-winning British author of romance novels, mainstream fiction, and short stories; she also published under the pen name Jane Fraser.
1926 – Fereydoon Moshiri, prominent Persian poet who wrote poems in both modern and classic styles.
1931 – Ashokamitran (real name Jagadisa Thyagarajan), award-winning Tamil Indian novelist, playwright, and literary critic who is considered one of the finest writers in contemporary Tamil literature, with his novels and short stories characterized by subtle satire and an engrossing portrayal of people who thrive in life despite hardships.
1931 – Fay Weldon, award-winning English author, essayist, and playwright.
1932 – Juan García Ponce, Mexican novelist, short-story writer, essayist, translator, and literary and art critic.
1932 – Alejandro Rossi, award-winning Italian and Venezuelan philosopher, author, essayist, and short-story writer whose writing is marked by a rich language that plays with generic definitions.
1932 – Sydney Sipho Sepamla, award-winning South African poet and novelist.
1939 – Junko Tabei (born Junko Ishibashi), Japanese mountaineer, author, and teacher who was the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first woman to ascend the Seven Summits, climbing the highest peak on every continent; in addition to writing books, she organized environmental projects to clean up rubbish left behind by climbers on Everest, and led annual climbs up Mount Fuji for youth affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake. An asteroid and a mountain range on Pluto were named after her.
1947 – Jo Beverley, English-Canadian writer of contemporary and historical romance novels, known for painstaking research and use of historical detail.
1949 – Liang Xiaosheng, Chinese novelist, screenwriter, and professor.
1950 – Sonni Gwanle Tyoden, Nigerian professor, political scientist, writer, and university vice chancellor.
1954 – Rene O. Villanueva, Filipino playwright, screenwriter, and children’s author whose works “were typified by a sense of an authentic recognition of the Filipino child’s realities, unclouded by sentimentalism” and distinguished by his ear for the language as it was spoken by ordinary people.
1962 – Francis Egbokhare, Nigerian writer, linguist, columnist, and professor whose research areas are in ethics, historical linguistics, and syntax.
1971 – Elizabeth Bear, multiple Hugo Award-winning American author of speculative fiction who has published novels, short stories, and poetry.
1973 – Pang Ho-cheung, Hong Kong screenwriter, novelist, filmmaker, and actor.
1979 – Roberto Saviano, Italian screenwriter, essayist, and journalist who uses literature and investigative reporting to explore the topic of organized crime.
1981 – Kola Tubosun, Nigerian writer, journalist, translator, linguist, and teacher who writes in Yoruba and English.