1715 – Dorothea Christiane Erxleben (née Leporin), German physician who was the first female medical doctor in Germany, and the first woman licensed by a regulating medical body to practice medicine in the world; she researched and wrote about why more women did not have an education.
1785 – Lady Caroline Lamb, Anglo-Irish aristocrat, novelist, poet, parodist, and songwriter, best known for her Gothic novel Glenarvon and her love affair with the poet Lord Byron, who described her as “the cleverest, most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous, fascinating little being that lives now…” She published three novels, two parodies of Byron’s poetry, several poems, and a number of songs.
1850 – Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish novelist, poet, children’s writer, and travel author known for such classic works as Treasure Island, Kidnappped, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
1869 – Helene Stöcker, German author, feminist, pacifist, and gender activist who successfully campaigned keep same-sex relationships between women legal, but she was unsuccessful in her campaign to legalize abortion; as war emerged she fled to Norway, and as that was invaded she moved to Japan and later emigrated to the United States.
1908 – C. Vann Woodward, U.S. Southern historian who often wrote about the history of race relations, as in his books The Strange Career of Jim Crow and The Origins of the New South, 1877-1913; he won a Pulitzer Prize for editing Mary Chesnut’s Civil War.
1914 – William Gibson, U.S. playwright and novelist whose most famous play is the Tony Award-winning The Miracle Worker, the story of the relationship between Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan.
1917- Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh, one of the most prominent Indian Hindi writers, poets, authors, journalists, and literary critics.
1922 – Makarand Dave, Gujarati language poet, author, and journalist from India
1925 – Gholamreza Ghodsi, Iranian essayist, poet, and university teacher who is a descendant of celebrated poet Mirza Mohammad Jan Ghodsi Mashhadi; Ghodsi began by writing sonnets, but he was interested in Indian style poetic forms, and in social and political poetic themes.
1930 – Nico Scheepmaker, award-winning Dutch poet, author, columnist, translator, and sports journalist.
1936 – Dacia Maraini, Italian screenwriter, writer, poet, playwright, and film director.
1937 – Malek Alloula, Algierian poet, writer, editor, and literary critic who is best remembered for his poetry and essays on philosophy.
1937 – Aurora Augusta Figueiredo de Carvalho Homem (generally known as Maria Aurora Carvalho Homem, or Maria Aurora), Portuguese journalist, poet, novelist, children’s writer, and television presenter.
1939 – George V. Higgins, U.S. author, lawyer, newspaper columnist, and college professor who wrote bestselling crime novels.
1940 – Cho Seon-jak, award-winning South Korean writer poet, and novelist; many of his works explored the injustice inherent in social structures, and his work often focused on social outcasts.
1940 – William Taubman, U.S. political scientist, author, and professor who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Nikita Khrushchev.
1946 – Stanisław Barańczak, Polish writer, poet, translator, university teacher, literary critic, and trade unionist; he is best known for his English-to-Polish translations of the dramas of William Shakespeare and the poetry of E.E. Cummings, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and others.
1946 – Han Soosan, award-winning South Korean novelist, poet, and short-story writer, known for his delicate and expressive writing style.
1948 – Humayun Ahmed, award-winning Bangladesh-born fiction and nonfiction author, dramatist, science-fiction writer, and film director.
1948 – Masuda Mizuko, Japanese award-winning writer, biochemist, and professor.
1952 – Ljubomir Ðurkovic, Montenegrin author, poet, and playwright.
1952 – Maria Mercè Marçal i Serra, Spanish Catalan poet, professor, writer, publisher, and translator.
1957 – Stephen Baxter, British author of hard science-fiction and alternate history novels and short stories; he is also an essayist, columnist, and engineer.
1969 – Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Somali writer, feminist, and activist for the rights of Muslim women; in 2005 Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.