1342 – Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich, (also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian), influential British Catholic nun, theologian, and mystic who wrote the earliest surviving English-language book to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.
1491 – Teofilo Folengo, Italian poet who also used the name Merlino Coccajo (or Cocajo); he was one of the principal Italian macaronic poets (macaronic literature uses a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns); his most famous work, the epic poem Baldo, blends Latin with various Italian dialects, in hexameter verse.
1710 – Sarah Fielding, British author who was responsible for the first English language novel written specifically for children (The Governess); she was the sister of novelist Henry Fielding.
1838 – Herculine Barbin, French memoirist who was an intersex person assigned female at birth and raised in a convent, but later reclassified as male by a court of law.
1847 – Bram Stoker, Irish novelist and short-story writer who wrote the Gothic horror vampire novel Dracula; in his day, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned.
1869 – Zinaida Gippius, Russian poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, literary critic, editor, and religious thinker who was a major figure in Russian Symbolism; after openly criticizing the tsar and denouncing the October Revolution, she emigrated to Poland, France, and then Italy, where she sometimes wrote on the topic of exile, as well as exploring mystical and covertly sexual themes.
1875 – Qiu Jin, Chinese poet, writer, revolutionary, and feminist who was also known as Xuanqing and Jianhu Nüxia (which, when translated literally into English, means “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”); she was executed after a failed uprising against the Qing dynasty, and is considered a national heroine in China.
1897 – Dorothy Day, U.S. journalist, novelist, editor, autobiographer, nonfiction writer, social activist, and anarchist; the Catholic Church has begun exploration of naming her a saint, giving her the interim title, Servant of God.
1898 – Katharine Mary Briggs, British folklorist and writer, who wrote The Anatomy of Puck, as well as the four-volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language and various other books on fairies and folklore.
1900 – Margaret Mitchell, U.S. author of the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and which was made into the Academy Award-winning film of the same name; the book and film have been criticized for their romanticized depiction of slavery.
1908 – Martha Gellhorn, U.S. novelist, journalist, and travel writer who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century; she was also the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.
1916 – Peter Weiss, German-born Swedish novelist, dramatist, film director, and painter.
1919 – Purushottam Laxman ‘Pu La’ Deshpande, noted Marathi Indian writer, humorist, orator, screenwriter, composer, professor, classical musician, and actor.
1932 – Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award-winning U.S. science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, science writer, screenwriter, essayist, and editor.
1942 – Vijay Nahar, Indian author and historian known for his reference books on Indian history and political leaders.
1954 – Natalka Bilotserkivets, award-winning Ukrainian poet, editor, and translator.
1954 – Timothy Egan, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. nonfiction author, biographer, and journalist.
1954 – Ko Hyeong-ryeol, award-winning modern Korean poet, writer, and essayist.
1954 – Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese-born British novelist who, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
1955 – Che Husna Azhari, prominent Malaysian author, short-story writer, and engineer; her fiction is generally set in Kelantan, Malaysia, and her best known short stories are used as standard teaching texts in Malaysia.
1955 – Jeffrey Ford, U.S. author of fantasy, science fiction and mystery.
1961 – Chin Wan (pen name for Horace Chin Wan-kan), Chinese Hong Kong writer, professor, and advocate for Hong Kong autonomy; for his work toward Hong Kong home rule, he has been called the “godfather of localism.”
1962 – Oriza Hirata, Japanese author, playwright, film director, and academic; he is best known for his work in theater and for creating what he has coined, “contemporary colloquial theater,” or as theater critics call it, “quiet drama.”
1970 – Péter Zilahy, Hungarian, author, poet, journalist, photographer, and performer whose prose and poetry has been widely translated; he has often used photography, interactive media, and performance art in his work.
1971 – Carlos Atanes, award-winning Spanish author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer.
1974 – Joshua Ferris, U.S. novelist and nonfiction author best known for his debut novel Then We Came to the End.
1976 – Karolina Ramqvist (full name Annika Karolina Virtanen Ramqvist), prominent Swedish journalist and best-selling author; her novels explore contemporary issues of sexuality, commercialization, isolation, and belonging.
1979 – Valentin Popov, Bulgarian novelist and short-story writer who writes in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and mystery.
1985 – Julie Murphy, bestselling U.S. author for adults and young adults; she wrote her first novel, Side Effects May Vary, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) while working as a librarian, and is best known for Dumplin’, which was made into a film.
1989 – Silvia Núñez del Arco Vidal, Peruvian novelist, some of whose works are erotic.
1991 – Samantha Shannon, British writer of dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.