1310 – Song Lian (also called Jinglian), Chinese writer, teacher, politician, historian, painter, calligrapher, and politician who was a literary and political advisor and one of the principal figures in the school of Neo-Confucianism.
1568 – Michelangelo Buonarroti il Giovane, Italian Florentine poet, librettist, and man of letters; he became known as “the Younger” to distinguish him from his famous granduncle the sculptor; he studied mathematics at the University of Pisa, where he became friends with Galileo Galilei and Maffeo Barberini, the future Pope Urban VIII.
1574 – Erycius Puteanus, Dutch writer, linguist, humanist, philologist, musicologist, and university professor; his outspoken language provoked political animosities, and he was almost driven into exile by request of King James I of England, who wrongly believed him to be the author of a scandalous satire about James’s parentage and behavior.
1593 – Jón Ólafsson, Icelandic traveler noted for his autobiography, which covers his travels in Europe and later to the Danish settlement of Tranquebar (Tharangambadi) in India. His birth year is sometimes given as 1594.
1770 – François Pouqueville, French writer, scholar, physician, historian, art historian, archaeologist, anthropologist, explorer, and diplomat.
1801 – Kathinka Zitz (née Halein), German poet, short-story writer, journalist, translator, and novelist who has been called “the Poet Laureate of the German Revolution.”
1802 – Rosina Bulwer-Lytton (born Rosina Doyle Wheeler), English author of 14 novels, a volume of essays, and a volume of letters; she married Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a novelist and politician known for coining the book opening, “It was a dark and stormy night…”; after their separation, she published the novel Cheveley, or the Man of Honour, which bitterly caricatured him. Her mother was Anna Doyle Wheeler, writer and advocate for women’s rights.
1817 – Henry Cadwallader Adams, English cleric, schoolmaster, and writer of children’s novels.
1862 – Jean Blewett, Canadian writer, writer, poet, suffragist, journalist, lecturer, and essayist; her prose and verse had a wide appeal, with a light-hearted tone and humorous twists.
1862 – Eden Phillpotts, Indian-born English author, poet, and dramatist.
1872 – Bohdan Lepky, Ukrainian writer, poet, translator, journalist, scholar, artist, and literary critic.
1873 – Izumi Kyoka (also called Izumi Kyotaro), Japanese author of novels, short stories, and kabuki plays whose writing differed greatly from that of the naturalist writers who dominated the literary scene at the time; his works are surrealist critiques of society, drawing on his characteristic brand of Romanticism, but focused on tales of the supernatural, heavily influenced by works of the earlier Edo period in Japanese arts and letters. He is also considered one of the supreme stylists in modern Japanese literature, with the difficulty and richness of his prose frequently noted by literary critics.
1879 – Will Rogers (William Penn Adair Rogers), U.S. writer, actor, cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator.
1886 – Theodor Dahl, Norwegian journalist, short-story writer, novelist, and poet.
1897 – Janaki Ammal (full name Janaki Ammal Edavalath Kakkat), Indian botanist who worked on plant breeding, cytogenetics, and phytogeography; her most notable work involved studies on sugarcane and the eggplant, and she co-authored The Chromosome Atlas of Cultivated Plants, with C.D. Darlington.
1899 – Jóhannes úr Kötlum (born Jóhannes Bjarni Jónasson), Icelandic author, poet, songwriter, and member of parliament who is still one of Iceland’s most loved poets; he is popular for his verses for children and for how beautifully his words flow in the Icelandic language. Many of his poems have been turned into songs.
1903 – Watchman Nee (倪柝聲), Chinese Christian author and church leader who established many churches throughout China and wrote books that expounded the Bible.
1904 – Claire Beck Loos, Czechoslovakian photographer and writer.
1905 – Xavier Abril de Vivero, Peruvian poet, writer, and essayist who devoted time to studying the poetry of César Vallejo.
1906 – Sterling North, Newbery Honor-winning U.S. author, literary critic, journalist, editor, biographer, and children’s writer, best known for a children’s book that was a memoir about his own childhood, Rascal.
1916 – Walter Leland Cronkite Jr., U.S. broadcast journalist and author who was best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News; he was often called “the most trusted man in America.”
1925 – Ritwik Ghatak, Bengali Indian filmmaker and script writer, notable for his meticulous depiction of social reality.
1929 – Shakuntala Devi, Indian writer, mental calculator, and child prodigy, popularly known as the “human computer”; her talent earned her a place in The Guinness Book of World Records.
1933 – Charles K. Kao, Nobel Prize-winning Chinese-born British and U.S. electrical engineer and physicist who has written on optical communications technology, laying the foundation for the evolution of the internet; he is considered the Father of Fiber Optics and the Godfather of Broadband.
1934 – Judith Herzberg, Dutch poet, writer, screenwriter, playwright, translator, and librettist.
1936 – C.K. Williams (full name Charles Kenneth Williams), Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, critic, and translator who has been called, “one of the most distinguished poets of his generation.”
1939 – Gail E. Haley, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and illustrator.
1942 – Lajla Mattsson Magga, Swedish teacher, author, children’s writer, and lexicographer in the Southern Sámi language.
1942 – Carlos Moore, Cuban writer, researcher, journalist, professor, and social scientist dedicated to African and Afro-American history and culture.
1945 – Kadour Naimi, Algerian writer, playwright, filmmaker, and film producer.
1946 – Alexander “Alex” Shoumatoff, U.S. writer known for literary journalism and books and articles about nature and the environment.
1947 – Ma Sandar, well known award-winning Burmese writer, novelist, and short-story writer who writes with a clear and engaging style about the daily struggles of the people of Myanmar; ten of her novels have been made into movies.
1948 – Danila Comastri Montanari, Italian novelist and short-story writer who is best known for her historical mystery novels, especially the Publius Aurelius Statius series.
1948 – O.V. Usha, Indian Malayalam poet, novelist, songwriter, short-story writer, and lyricist; she has been described as displaying in her writings, “a deep moral concern and technical dexterity.”
1950 – Charles Frazier, U.S. historical novelist whose Civil War novel Cold Mountain became a bestseller and the basis for a film adaptation.
1953 – Stephen Jones, English writer who is an editor of horror anthologies and the author of several book-length studies of horror and fantasy films, as well as an account of H. P. Lovecraft’s early British publications.
1952 – Chen Maiping (pen name Wan Zhi), Chinese writer, poet, and translator whose writing for underground magazines drew the attention of Chinese authorities, resulting in his exile in Sweden.
1958 – Rodrigo Rey Rosa, award-winning Guatemalan novelist, short-story writer, and filmmaker who has based much of his work on legends and myths of Latin American and North Africa.
1959 – Tatiana Garmash-Roffe, Russian author of detective stories who also published under the pseudonym Tatiana Svetlova.
1966 – John Kilaka, Tanzanian writer, illustrator, and folklorist, best known as a creator of children’s picture books; he is also a storyteller and an enthusiastic collector of old traditions and stories.
1967 – Kate Cary, British author who, under the pen name Erin Hunter, writes books in the popular “Warriors” novels for young adults.
1968 – M.T. Anderson (full name Matthew Tobin Anderson), National Book Award-winning U.S. author of young-adult books.
1972 – Yiyun Li, award-winning Chinese-born novelist, short-story writer, editor, professor, and literary magazine editor.
1986 – Kristin Cast, bestselling U.S. author and editor of young-adult books who has often collaborated with her mother, the author P.C. Cast.