1617 – Yun Hyu, South Korean writer, poet, politician, painter, philosopher, and autobiographer.
1644 – William Penn, English real-estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and founder of Pennsylvania; he wrote in favor of democracy and religious freedom and was noted for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Indians; he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for his controversial religious pamphlets.
1797 – Ida Laura Pfeiffer (née Reyer), Austrian explorer, travel writer, and ethnographer whose travel journals were bestsellers; she journeyed an estimated 32,000 kilometers by land and 240,000 kilometers by sea through Southeast Asia, the Americas, Middle East, and Africa, including two trips around the world, but was denied membership by the Royal Geographical Society in London, which barred women until 1913.
1867 – Masaoka Shiki (pen-name of Masaoka Noboru), Japanese poet, author, and literary critic.
1879 – Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin (known as Miles Franklin), award-winning and influential Australian writer, novelist, nonfiction author, and feminist who is best known for her novel My Brilliant Career, which was made into a film; she was committed to the development of a uniquely Australian form of literature and actively pursued that goal by supporting writers, literary journals, and writers’ organizations. The prestigious Stella Prize, awarded annually for the best work of literature by an Australian woman, is named after her.
1880 – Andrei Bely (pen name for Boris Nikolaevich Bugaev), Russian poet, writer, playwright, literary critic, philosopher, autobiographer, and science-fiction writer; author Vladimir Nabokov called Bely’s novel Petersburg one of the four greatest novels of the 20th century.
1888 – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand-born British Modernist short-story writer and poet.
1893 – Lois Lenski, prolific, Newbery Medal-winning American author and illustrator of bestselling books for children and young adults; her work includes novels, children’s picture books, illustrated chapter books, songbooks, poetry, short stories, an autobiography, and essays about books and children’s literature
1894 – E.E. Cummings, award-winning American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright who was influenced by Modernism, Dadaism, and Surrealism; he is considered one of the most innovative poets of the 20th century.
1900 – Chu Yo-han, North Korean writer, poet, politician, and journalist; he was the editor of The Creation, the first literary magazine in Korea, and was a leading figure of the New Poetry movement.
1906 – Hannah Arendt, German-born political theorist whose works deal with the nature of power, politics, democracy, and totalitarianism; a Jew, she escaped Europe during the Holocaust and later became an American citizen.
1914 – Alexis Rannit (born Alexey Konstantinovich Dolgoshev), Estonian poet, writer, critic, and literature researcher.
1924 – Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya, award-winning Indian novelist who was one of the pioneers of modern Assamese literature.
1925 – Phillip V. Tobias, South African anthropologist, archeologist, paleontologist, prehistorian, author, physician, and professor who was also an activist for the eradication of apartheid and gave numerous anti-apartheid speeches at protest rallies and to academic audiences.
1938 – Vladislav Krapivin, prolific, award-winning Russian screenwriter, writer, teacher, poet, journalist, children’s writer, and science-fiction writer.
1942 – Sivasankari, popular Indian Tamil writer and activist; several of her novels have been adapted for film or television.
1949 – Katha Pollitt, American feminist poet, essayist, journalist, and critic.
1950 – Kate Grenville, award-winning Australian novelist, short-story writer, biographer, and teacher of creative writing; several of her novels have been adapted for film or stage.
1958 – Ada Zayas-Bazán, Cuban poet, writer, children’s author, and teacher.
1963 – Uche Nduka, award-winning Nigerian-born poet, writer, lecturer, and songwriter.
1964 – Olu Oguibe, Nigerian-born artist, writer, art historian, author, curator, and professor who is a leading contributor to post-colonial theory.
1969 – Dou Wei, Chinese poet, singer-songwriter, composer, and musician.
1978 – Marlene Wayar, Argentine writer, social psychologist, and transgender rights activist who is best known for the book Travesti: una teoría lo suficientemente buena (Cross-dressing: A Good Enough Theory).
1982 – Danila Botha, South African and Canadian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer.