1659 – Jacques Louis Valon (Marquis de Mimeure), French writer, poet, translator, linguist, and soldier.
1704 – Richard Pococke, Irish writer, archaeologist, Egyptologist, travel writer, anthropologist, and Anglican bishop; he is best known for his travel writings and diaries.
1781 – Anna Jane Vardill (also called by her married name Anna Niven, and by her pseudonym, “V”), British poet, essayist, satirist, and translator who created a mystery when she published a sequel to one of Samuel Coleridge’s poems before he had published his work.
1800 – María Sáez Pérez de Vernet, Argentine writer who was the wife of Luis Vernet, founder of the settlement at Port Louis, Falkland Islands; the diary she kept has provided historians with a valuable picture of life there in her time.
1845 – Agnes Giberne, Indian-born British astronomer, science writer, children’s writer, short-story writer, and novelist who wrote science books, as well as fiction with moral or religious themes.
1854 – Danske Dandridge, Danish-born U.S. poet, writer, historian, garden writer, and nurse who was considered a major poet of 19th century West Virginia.
1855 – Anna Matilda Charlotta Branting (née Jäderin), Swedish writer, author, journalist, politician, and theater critic (under the pseudonym Réne) who married the Swedish prime minister Hjalmar Branting.
1869 – Mirra Lokhvitskaya, Pushkin Prize-winning Russian poet who was called the “Russian Sappho” because of the erotic sensuality of her works; in modern times she has become regarded as one of the most original and influential voices of the Silver Age of Russian Poetry.
1870 – Elisabeth Maria Beskow, Swedish author who wrote about fifty books under the pseudonym Runa; in them she discussed equal rights for women and spoke against animal testing and in favor of vegetarianism.
1873 – Maria O’Neill (full name Maria da Conceição Infante de Lacerda Pereira de Eça Custance O’Neill), Portuguese writer, poet, journalist, and spiritualist of Irish descent.
1876 – Tatyana Alexeyevna Afanasyeva (also known as Tatiana Ehrenfest-Afanaseva or Afanassjewa), Russian and Dutch mathematician, physicist, and author who made contributions to the fields of statistical mechanics and statistical thermodynamics; she also published many papers that covered topics including randomness, entropy, and the teaching of geometry to children. Albert Einstein was a frequent guest in her home.
1878 – Amelia Josephine Burr, U.S. writer, poet, and world traveler who was a “popular lyricist, whose work yet flashes with genuine poetic feeling.”
1879 – Mait Metsanurk, Estonian writer, journalist, and literary critic who led the neo-realist school of Estonian literature.
1881 – Marie Hamsun, Norwegian writer, author, biographer, poet, and actor.
1896 – Gholamreza Rashid-Yasemi, Iranian writer, poet, translator, journalist, academic, and linguist who was a founding member of Daneshkadeh literary society.
1899 – Trude Richter (born Erna Barnick), German writer, literary scholar, and teacher who became a political activist and spent many years detained in labor camps in the Soviet Union.
1899 – Allen Tate, U.S. poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, biographer, and social commentator who served as U.S. Poet Laureate.
1900 – Alexander Andreyevich Prokofyev, Soviet Russian poet and writer whose work is characterized by motifs from Russian folklore.
1900 – Anna Seghers, German writer, novelist, and science-fiction author who depicted the moral experience of World War II.
1907 – Jack Schaefer, U.S. novelist and children’s author known for his westerns.
1909 – Peter Drucker, Austrian-born U.S. business consultant, author, lawyer, educator, businessperson, economist, columnist, sculptor, university teacher, journalist, and philosopher whose writings contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business corporation.
1912 – Joan Sales i Vallès, Spanish Catalan writer, poet, novelist, translator, editor, lawyer, and businessperson.
1920 – Einar Ragnarsson Kvaran, Icelandic engineer, teacher, genealogist, and writer.
1922 – Yuri Knorozov, Soviet Ukrainian linguist, epigrapher, and ethnographer, who played a key role in deciphering pre-Columbian Mayan script.
1923 – Jane Trahey, U.S. businesswoman and writer who was a pioneer of advertising writing in the 1960s.
1924 – Björn Olof Lennartson Kurtén, Finnish vertebrate paleontologist, author, and professor who wrote both nonfiction books about his discipline and a series of “paleofiction” novels about encounter between Cro Magnons and Neanderthals.
1925 – Zygmunt Bauman, Polish sociologist, philosopher, and author who has written on globalization, modernity and postmodernity, consumerism, and morality.
1925 – John Gordon, British writer of young-adult supernatural novels and short stories, and a memoir.
1926 – Elsa Wiezell, award-winning Paraguayan poet, teacher, and painter.
1930 – Farid Seiful-Mulyukov, Soviet writer, journalist, and television writer and presenter.
1930 – Mercedes Rein, Uruguayan writer, literary critic, teacher, poet, and translator.
1934 – Joanne Kyger, U.S. poet, prose writer, and editor who was associated with the poets of the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beat Generation, Black Mountain, and the New York School.
1935 – Cosmas Desmond, British-born South African author, Catholic priest, and activist who is particularly well known for his opposition to forced removals in South Africa under the system of apartheid.
1937 – Meg Campbell, New Zealand poet whose poetry expresses her personal experiences and struggles with depression, often through wit and a sense of humor; she also used mythology within her poetry to speak about gender roles and sexuality as well as domesticity.
1942 – Sharon Olds, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and professor who is considered one of the leading voices in contemporary poetry; in her work, she eschews poetic convention, writing about unconventional subjects such as family, abuse, and sex.
1943 – Bhagwandas Patel, Indian Gujarati writer and folklorist who pioneered research into Gujarat’s tribal literature and brought the state’s oral literature to the attention of the literary community.
1945 – Frans Sammut, Maltese novelist and nonfiction writer.
1947 – Edna Alford, award-winning Canadian author, poet, and editor who is especially known for the collections, A Sleep Full of Dreams and The Garden of Eloise Loon.
1953 – Claire Dé (pen name of Claire Dandurand), award-winning Canadian novelist, playwright, translator, theatrical designer, and writer of erotic short stories.
1953 – Tony Hoagland, award-winning U.S. poet, essayist, and literary critic; according to one critic, “His erudite comic poems are backloaded with heartache and longing, and they function, emotionally, like improvised explosive devices: The pain comes at you from the cruelest angles, on the sunniest of days.”
1953 – Elisabeth Reichart, award-winning Austrian novelist, playwright, radio play writer, and short-story writer.
1958 – Annette Gordon-Reed, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. historian, author, and professor who has written about the Hemings family at Monticello and is responsible for changing historians’ understanding of Thomas Jefferson in terms of his relationship with his enslaved worker Sally Hemings and her children.
1958 – Charlie Kaufman, U.S. screenwriter, playwright, producer, director, and lyricist who wrote such films as Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as well as television programs, and has been nominated for four Academy Awards; three of his scripts appear in the Writers Guild of America’s list of the 101 greatest movie screenplays ever written.
1958 – Michael Wilbon, U.S. sportswriter, columnist, journalist, and sports commentator.
1959 – Maria Matios, award-winning Ukrainian poet, novelist, cookbook author, and politician; some of her work is based on the unique experiences of her family, whose roots go back as far as 1790.
1960 – Siân Busby, British novelist and nonfiction writer.
1961 – Xiao Qiang, Chinese writer, journalist, physicist, and human-rights activist.
1964 – Susie Dent, British writer, linguist, lexicographer, etymologist, and television personality.
1964 – Lyuben Lyubenov Dilov, Jr. (also known as Luben Dilov and Ljuben Dilov), Bulgarian writer, journalist, film director, and politician.
1965 – Ewa Kassala, Polish writer, journalist, trainer, screenwriter, and television host; some of her books have been published under the pen name Dorota Stasikowska-Wozniak.
1967 – Ruta Sepetys, award-winning bestselling Lithuanian-U.S. writer and essayist who writes historical novels and young-adult fiction and considers herself a “seeker of lost stories,” giving voice to those who weren’t able to tell their own story.
1968 – Wendy Orr, award-winning Canadian-born Australian novelist, children’s book writer, and picture book author who is best known as the author of Nim’s Island, which was made into a film in 2008 starring Jodie Foster.
1973 – Amanda Howard, Australian writer, crime author, and expert on serial killers.
1973 – Ryukishi07, Japanese screenwriter, writer, illustrator, novelist, and graphic novel writer; the pen name originates from Final Fantasy, “Ryukishi” being the term for “Dragoon” and “07” goroawase for “Lenna”.
1982 – Shin Dong-hyuk, North Korean defector who is a writer, journalist, and human-rights activist; he is reputed to be the only prisoner known to have successfully escaped from a “total-control zone” grade internment camp in North Korea.
1984 – Tamsin Omond, British author, environmental activist, and journalist who has campaigned for the U.K. government for action to avoid human-caused climate change.