1798 – Klementyna Hoffmanowa, Polish novelist, children’s author, translator, magazine editor, and teacher who was one of the first Polish writers for children and the first known woman in Poland to support herself from writing and teaching; her best known work, the book The Diary of Countess Francoise Krasinska, is considered one of the first Polish psychological novels.
1803 – Fyodor Tyutchev, Russian poet, writer, politician, diplomat, translator, and philosopher; as a poet, he was little known during his lifetime but is now one of the most memorized and quoted Russian poets.
1805 – Mary Jane Seacole (born Mary Jane Grant), pioneering Jamaican and British nurse and entrepreneur who set up the “British Hotel” behind the lines during the Crimean War as a place for sick and convalescent officers, and as a base to help wounded men on the battlefield; she was arguably the first nurse practitioner. She was posthumously awarded the Jamaican Order of Merit, and in 2004, she was voted the greatest Black Briton ever. Her autobiography, The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, is one of the earliest autobiographies of an Afro-Caribbean woman. She was also a character in a 13th season Doctor Who episode.
1825 – Henriette Goldschmidt, German writer, feminist, pedagogist, and social worker.
1857 – Katharine Ellis Coman, U.S. historian, economist, sociologist, professor, and social activist who believed that the field of political economy could be harnessed to solve the pressing social problems of the day, and who specialized in research and teaching about the development of the U.S. West, and about British and U.S. industrialism; in her work, she criticized capitalism and supported the labor movement.
She wrote the first history of U.S. industry, as well as the first paper published in The American Economic Review, and was the first female statistics professor in the United States.
1861 – Clemence Annie Housman, British novelist, illlustrator, author of erotic horror, and leader in the women’s suffrage movement; she was the sister of classical scholar and poet A.E. Housman and playwright Laurence Housman.
1863 – Katharine Pyle, U.S. writer, children’s author, and painter who was the sister of author and artist Howard Pyle; she wrote more than 30 books and illustrated others, and her art was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893.
1867 – Ying Lianzhi (also known as Ying Hua), Chinese journalist, editor, and a prominent Catholic layman who agitated for church reform and was instrumental in founding the Catholic University of Peking.
1881 – Milica Jankovic, Serbian writer of prose and verse who was also known by her pseudonym, Leposava Mihajlovic; her best known work is Ispovesti (Confessions), a collection of modernist short stories characterized by a lively style and a warm understanding of humanity.
1890 – Moishe Broderzon, Russian-born Polish Yiddish poet, writer, painter, librettist, composer, and theater director who founded several groups for artists and writers; his extravagant appearance made an impression in Yiddish cultural circles, with his long black hair, Pushkin-style sideburns, black shirt of a Russian worker, amber and coral necklaces, and rings on his fingers. In 1939 he wrote lyrics, titled Yud, that took the form of 50 poems of 16 lines each, laden with tragic premonitions of the end of Polish Jewry in a coming world catastrophe. He escaped from Poland into the Soviet Union after the Nazi invasion, but in 1950 he was arrested and spent five years in a Siberian labor camp.
1891 – Masao Kume, Japanese writer, politician, playwright and novelist who was also a haiku poet under the pen name Santei.
1897 – Nirad C. Chaudhuri, Indian-British Bengali novelist, autobiographer, and nonfiction writer.
1901 – Marieluise Fleißer, German author, playwright, and screenwriter most often associated with the New Objectivity movement.
1903 – Margaret Kennedy Knight (née Horsey), English author, psychologist, editor, philosopher, essayist, lecturer, and humanist who wrote on psychology and ethics; her book A Modern Introduction to Psychology, coauthored with her husband Arthur Rex Knight, went through many editions.
1906 – Sait Faik Abasıyanık, Turkish screenwriter, writer, poet, and novelist who is considered one of the greatest Turkish writers of short stories and poetry; he created a new style of Turkish literature and brought new life to Turkish short-story writing, with harsh but humanistic portrayals of laborers, fishermen, children, the unemployed, and the poor, in stories that focused on the urban lifestyle and the darker places in Istanbul.
1906 – Betti Alver, Estonian novelist, poet, and translator who is considered one of Estonia’s most notable poets; she first became known as a member of the Arbujad (“Soothsayers”), a small group of influential Estonian poets.
1911 – Selma Vaz Dias, Dutch and British playwright, radio script writer, and actor.
1911 – Josefina Vicens (also referred to by her nickname, “el Peque”), Mexican novelist, screenwriter, journalist, and activist who is considered to be one of Mexico’s seminal writers; she is best known for her novels and for her pioneering contributions to twentieth-century Mexican politics and political thought through her activism and journalism.
1912 – Shaun Herron, Irish mystery and suspense novelist, journalist, intelligence officer, and two-time Edgar Award finalist.
1914 – Wilson Tucker, U.S. mystery and science-fiction author and fanzine editor who coined the term “space opera” and was also a theater technician.
1915 – Marc Simont, Caldecott Medal-winning Paris-born U.S. children’s book author, illustrator, and political cartoonist.
1916 – P. K. Page, British-born Canadian poet, novelist, playwright, essayist, travel writer, children’s author, journalist, autobiographer, teacher, and painter; in 2001, by a special resolution of the United Nations, her poem “Planet Earth” was read simultaneously in New York, the Antarctic, and the South Pacific to celebrate the International Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations.
1920 – Paul Celan (real name Paul Antschel), Romanian-born Jewish poet and translator who wrote in German; the deaths of his parents at the hands of the Nazis and his own experience of the Holocaust were defining forces in his poetry and his use of language.
1923 – Gloria Whelan, National Book Award-winning U.S. children’s and YA author; historical fiction author, poet, and short-story writer.
1925 – Tui Flower (real name Lucy Tui Hampton Aitken, née Flower), pioneering New Zealand food writer who has been described as “New Zealand’s Julia Child.”
1925 – Elaine Horseman (née Hall), British author children’s books about children in an old Victorian house and a book of magic spells.
1925 – Eva Ramm, Norwegian psychologist, essayist, novelist, crime writer, nonfiction author, children’s author, and magazine editor.
1927 – Guy Davenport, U.S. writer, translator, illustrator, painter, intellectual, and teacher whose works include Da Vinci’s Bicycle and The Jules Verne Steam Balloon.
1929 – Hal Lindsey, U.S. evangelist and Christian author, known for his 1970 book The Late, Great Planet Earth; he made many prophecies in a series of popular apocalyptic books suggesting that the rapture was likely to occur in the 1980s. It did not.
1933 – Giuliana Berlinguer, Italian director, screenwriter, and novelist.
1933 – Daniel Chavarría, Uruguayan-born Cuban screenwriter, writer, teacher, translator, and revolutionary.
1934 – Renzo Pi Hugarte, Uruguayan anthropologist, historian, author, and professor who is considered one of the founding fathers of anthropology in Uruguay.
1934 – Robert Towne, U.S. screenwriter, producer, director, and actor who is best-known for his Academy Award-winning screenplay for the film Chinatown.
1936 – Robert Barnard, English crime writer and literary critic whose main series revolved around detective Charlie Pearce, though his other books including two alternate histories in which Wolfgang Mozart survived into old age and became a detective; Barnard sometimes used the pen name Bernard Bastable.
1940 – Hanna Rambe, Indonesian mystery novelist, short-story writer, biographer, journalist, editor, and translator whose writing is infused with a strong sense of irony and meticulous research; she is currently working on a three-volume history of 17th-century Eastern Indonesia.
1944 – József A. Eszterhás (also known as Joe Eszterhas), Hungarian-born U.S. screenwriter and author who wrote the screenplays for such well-known films as Flashdance, Jagged Edge, Basic Instinct and Showgirls, as well as several books, including an autobiography.
1946 – Daoud Abdel Sayed, award-winning Egyptian screenwriter and filmmaker.
1947 – Nina Gorlanova, award-winning Russian novelist and short-story writer who creates in her fiction a fantastic world populated with curious characters and possessing its own mythology; she writes about themes of maternity and the everyday hardships of Russian woman.
1948 – Zoë Wicomb, award-winning South African novelist, short-story writer, literary critic, and academic who now lives in Scotland.
1949 – Betty Louise Bell, U.S. Cherokee novelist, nonfiction writer, and professor whose areas of scholarly interest include Native American literature, women’s studies, 19th-century American literature, and creative writing.
1949 – Henry Ong, award-winning Malaysian-born playwright, author, screenwriter, and children’s writer.
1950 – Carlos Eire, National Book Award-winning Cuban-born American professor, nonfiction author, and memoirist best known for the book Waiting for Snow in Havana, a memoir of the Cuban Revolution.
1950 – Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, Indian Bengali writer and Indologist who specializes in Indian epics and Puranas (ancient Indian legends and lore) and is director of a major encyclopedia of Indian literature.
1953 – Rick Bayless, U.S. chef and food author who specializes in regional Mexican cuisine.
1954 – Siobhán Parkinson, award-winning Irish writer, editor, translator, children’s writer, and linguist who was named Laureate na nÓg, a position awarded in Ireland once every two years to a distinguished writer or illustrator of children’s books.
1954 – Henry Rousso, Egyptian-born French historian, author, and researcher who specializes in World War II France.
1955 – Steven Brust (full name Steven Karl Zoltán Brust), U.S. science-fiction and fantasy author of the Vlad Taltos series and other books and short stories; he is also a drummer and singer-songwriter. His philosophy of writing: “The novel should be understood as a structure built to accommodate the greatest possible amount of cool stuff.”
1956 – Dominique Demers, bestselling and award-winning Canadian children’s author, novelist, and screenwriter, most renowned for her Mlle Charlotte series of books.
1956 – Anna Fienberg, Australian writer of novels and short fiction for children and young adults.
1961 – Maria Amélia Gomes Barros da Lomba do Amaral (known as Amélia da Lomba or Amélia Dalomba), Angolan writer and journalist.
1962 – Andrew Bovell, award-winning Australian playwright and screenwriter.
1963 – Lauren Tarshis, bestselling U.S. author and editor of children’s books, with several series of fiction, nonfiction, and historical fiction works including her popular “I Survived” series that focuses on historical disasters from the perspective of a boy or girl who lived to tell the tale.
1964 – Lorna Jane Clarkson (née Smith), Australian fashion designer, entrepreneur, and author who has written books on health, well-being, and cooking.
1965 – Lidija Bajuk, Croatian poet, short-story writer, and singer-songwriter who has written books of poetry, short stories, and fairy tales.
1965 – Jennifer Michael Hecht, U.S. author, poet, essayist, columnist, blogger, philosopher, literary critic, historian, and professor.
1965 – Billie Livingston, award-winning Canadian novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and poet; her work has been called, “courageously renegade (and hilarious)” and compared the writing of Flannery O’Connor and Graham Greene.
1968 – Hamid Hassani, Iranian writer, linguist, and lexicographer whose areas of interest include Persian lexicography, dictionary-making, and Persian linguistics.
1969 – Ichirō Sakaki, Japanese novelist, screenwriter, and manga writer
1970 – Adrianne Janette Byrd, bestselling U.S. African-American author of more than 50 romance novels.
1973 – Anne-Dauphine Julliand, French writer, essayist, journalist, and filmmaker; some of her work recounts her family’s experiences with the serious illness of two of her children.
1980 – Ismael Beah, Sierra Leonean author who was forced to become a child soldier at the age of 13 and later wrote the memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoir of a Boy Soldier as well as several novels.
1949 – Gayl Jones, U.S. African-American gothic novelist, poet, and short-story writer; on reading one of her manuscripts, acclaimed author Toni Morrison said, “no novel about any black woman could ever be the same after this.”