1394 – Charles d’Orléans (Duke of Orléans), French poet who wrote chansons, ballades, and rondeaux in French, Latin, and English.
1583 – Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Aguilar (also known as Juan Martínez de Jáuregui y Hurtado de la Sal), Spanish poet, writer, scholar, translator, and painter.
1632 – Benedict [Baruch] de Spinoza, Dutch philosopher, author, and lens-grinder.
1713 – Laurence Sterne, Anglo-Irish novelist, travel writer, memoirist, and clergyman, best known for his novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman.
1764 – Ulrika Carolina Widström, popular, award-winning Swedish poet, writer, translator, and educator; her breakthrough work in poetry came in 1799 with the publication of her book Erotiska sånger (Erotic songs).
1826 – Carlo Collodi, Italian journalist and author also known as Carlo Lorenzini; he is best known as the creator of Pinocchio.
1827 – Adélia Josefina de Castro Fonseca, Brazilian poet, writer, pianist, painter, and journalist.
1849 – Frances Hodgson Burnett, English playwright and beloved author whose children’s stories like The Secret Garden are considered classics; she also wrote novels for adults and hosted literary salons in Washington, D.C. while living for a time in the U.S.
1858 – Marie Bashkirtseff, Russian and Ukrainian writer, biographer, diarist, painter, and sculptor who is best known for the diary she began keeping at age 13, which has been called “a strikingly modern psychological self-portrait of a young, gifted mind.”
1873 – Dora Wilcox (born Mary Theodora Wilcox), award-winning New Zealand and Australian poet, writer, and playwright.
1885 – Anna Louise Strong, U.S. author, journalist, activist, trade unionist, and peace activist who was best known for her reporting on communist movements in the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China.
1888 – Dale Carnegie, U.S. writer and lecturer whose most famous work is the book How to Win Friends and Influence People.
1891 – Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska (née Kossak), prolific Polish poet who was known as the Polish Sappho and Queen of Lyrical Poetry” during Poland’s interwar period and was associated with the Skamander group of experimental poets; she was also a playwright and a painter. Many of her plays provoked scandals because of her treatment of such topics as abortion, extramarital affairs, and incest, but she is best known for 1937 anti-Nazi play, Baba-dziwo (translated into English as A Woman of Wonder).
1895 – Sapargali Begalin, Kazakh poet and short-story writer.
1906 – Ali Nazem, Iranian-born Azerbaijani writer, poet, literary critic, teacher, and literary historian who is now considered one of the founders of Marxist criticism in Azerbaijan, known for his work on the history of classical literature.
1912 – Garson Kanin, U.S. playwright and producer who was a friend of actress Katharine Hepburn.
1914 – Bessie Blount (full name Bessie Virginia Blount Griffin), U.S. writer, columnist, nurse, physical therapist, inventor, and forensic scientist who made significant breakthroughs in assistive technologies and forensic science, becoming a role model, especially for other African-American women, for her pioneering work. She is best known for inventing an electric self-feeding apparatus for amputees, while working with soldiers recently returned from World War II; when the U.S. Veteran’s Administration declined her invention, she licensed it freely to the French government.
1917 – Rosa Galcerán, Spanish comics artist, writer, poet, and advertising artist.
1921 – Yoshiko Uchida, award-winning Japanese-U.S. memoirist, children’s author, short-story writer, editor, autobiographer, novelist, folklorist, and teacher; her writing is considered part of the Folk Art literary movement.
1925 – Alison Joy Bielski (née Prosser, previously Treverton-Jones), Welsh poet and writer who often drew inspiration from Welsh legends and mythology. Her works include The Flower Legends of Wales and Tales and Traditions of Tenby; she also published books on local history. During her lifetime, her poetry was considered too modern, too experimental, and too difficult, because she used little punctuation and few uppercase letters in her works.
1925 – William F Buckley Jr., U.S. conservative author who founded the magazine National Review.
1927 – Ahmadou Kourouma, Ivorian (Ivory Coast) novelist, satirist, activist who shone a light on colonialism in Africa.
1928 – Radka Donnell, Bulgarian feminist writer, poet, painter, storyteller, and quiltmaker.
1932 – Anna Jókai, award-winning Hungarian writer, poet, novelist, historian, and teacher who took part in the Hungarian liberation movement.
1935 – Manlio Argueta, Salvadoran writer, critic, and novelist; though he is primarily a poet, he is best known in the English speaking world for his novel One Day of Life.
1935 – Mordecai Gerstein, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s book author and illustrator.
1936 – Mohammed Moftahh Rajab Elfitory (known as El fitory), Sudanese writer, poet, playwright, and journalist; he started writing classical Arabic poetry at the age of 13, and later became one of the major figures of contemporary Arabic poetry.
1944 – Eintou Pearl Springer (formerly Pearl Eintou Springer), Trinidadian poet, playwright, librarian, and cultural activist who was named Poet Laureate of Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago; her work frequently deals with social issues as well as pride in her African heritage.
1948 – Spider Robinson, award-winning U.S.-born Canadian author of science fiction and humor; he has also written short stories and book reviews.
1949 – Obo Aba Hisanjani, Nigerian poet who has campaigned against the development and exploitation of the land for commercial purposes; known in Lagos as the Bushman Poet, he is known for his native rhythms and complex Yoruba rhymes. Despite being criticized by many politicians for being against modernization, Hisanjani is the Nigerian Poet Laureate.
1950 – Angifi Proctor Dladla, South African poet, playwright, and writing teacher who wrote Kgodumodumo, a play about traditional knowledge and the protection of biodiversity; he has also written under the name Muntu Wa Bachaki.
1950 – Michal Govrin, award-winning Israeli novelist, poet, essayist, university professor, translator, and theater director; her work explores, among other topics, Jewish mysticism, the nature of prayer, and the Holocaust.
1952 – Parveen Shakir, Pakistani poet, teacher, and civil servant who is best known for her poetry, which brought a distinctive feminine voice to Urdu literature, and for her consistent use of the rare grammatical feminine gender for the word “lover”; since her death, the Parveen Shakir Urdu Literature Festival has been held every year in Islamabad in her memory.
1953 – Shahida Hassan, Bangladeshi-born Urdu poet who is known for poems and ghazals with a contemporary flavor.
1953 – Carmelina Rotundo, Italian journalist, blogger, poet, author, and teacher.
1955 – Einar Kárason, Icelandic writer and poet; he is best known for his novel Þar sem djöflaeyjan rís, which was translated into English as Devil’s Island, and made into a film.
1961 – Arundhati Roy, Indian author and political activist, best known for her novel The God of Small Things.
1970 – Marlon James, award-winning Jamaican author who almost gave up his writing career after receiving 70 rejections for his first novel.
1972 – Samira Bellil, French feminist writer, autobiographer, and activist or the rights of girls and women; she became famous in France with the publication of an autobiographical book that discusses the violence she and other young women endured in the immigrant outskirts of Paris, where she was repeatedly gang-raped as a teenager; her book depicts the predicament of young girls in the poor, outlying suburbs (banlieue) of French cities.
1974 – Stephen Merchant, British comedian and television writer whose credits include The Office.
1975 – Thomas Kohnstamm, U.S. author and travel writer.
1987 – Maysoon al-Eryani, award-winning Yemeni poet and translator who writes in Arabic and English.