1562 – Lope de Vega, Spanish playwright, poet, and novelist who was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Age of Baroque literature.
1620 – Avvakum Petrov (often called simply Avvakum), Russian writer, autobiographer, priest, and explorer whose autobiography and letters are considered masterpieces of 17th-century Russian literature. As leader of the opposition to Patriarch Nikon’s reforms of the Russian Orthodox Church, he was repeatedly imprisoned and exiled, and for the last fourteen years of his life was imprisoned in a pit or dugout (a sunken, log-framed hut) at Pustozyorsk above the Arctic Circle, until he was finally executed by being burned at the stake; the spot where he was burned has been commemorated by an ornate wooden cross. His followers are called Old Believers.
1777 – Catherine Eliza Richardson (née Scott; often called Caroline Eliza Richardson, and published as Mrs. G.G Richardson), Scottish author and poet who published a four-volume novel and three collections of verse.
1778 – Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck, English writer and book author who was part of the anti-slavery movement; in addition to her abolitionist work, she wrote about travel, religion, biography, and history, as well as a book called, Theory on the Classification of Beauty and Deformity. She sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Claude Lancelot.
1803 – Sofia Ahlbom, Swedish writer, poet, artist, photographer, cartographer, engraver, mapmaker, lithographer, and leading figure in the Swedish movement for women’s rights.
1812 – Henry Mayhew, English researcher, journalist, playwright, and reformer.
1845 – Khwaja Ghulam Farid, Indian/Pakistani scholar, writer, polyglot, and sufi poet who was born in what is now Pakistan; he was especially known for his work in the Saraiki language but also wrote in Punjabi and several other languages.
1860 – Batty Weber, influential Luxembourgian journalist and author who is regarded as a key contributor to the development of his country’s national identity; his style was characterized by a sense of humor and skillful use of irony.
1875 – Isabel Ecclestone Mackay, award-winning Canadian writer playwright, poet, short-story writer, and novelist.
1880 – Leonard Woolf, English political theorist, author, and publisher who was husband to author Virginia Woolf.
1889 – Reşat Nuri Güntekin, Turkish writer, politician, diplomat, playwright, novelist, and short-story writer; many of his written works have been adapted for film.
1890 – Isaac Rosenburg, English poet and artist who wrote poetry in the trenches while a soldier in World War I until he was killed on the front lines in 1918; his work is recognized as some of the most outstanding poetry written during the war.
1895 – Helen Hooven Santmyer, U.S. writer, educator, and librarian who is primarily known for her bestselling novel, “…And Ladies of the Club,” published when she was in her 80s.
1904 – Ba Jin (real name Li Yaotang), Chinese novelist, writer, autobiographer, children’s writer, Esperantist, translator, politician, and political activist who was best known for his novel The Family. He is considered one of the most important and widely read Chinese authors of the 20th century. (He was also known as Li Pei Kan.)
1909 – P.D. Eastman (Philip Dey “Phil” Eastman), U.S. writer, illustrator, and screenwriter mainly of children’s picture books and animated films; he was a protégé and colleague of Theodor Geisel (pen name Dr. Seuss).
1918 – Peter Mason Opie, Egyptian-born English author, folklorist, children’s writer, and collector of fairy tales who — along with his wife, folklorist Iona Margaret Balfour Opie –applied modern techniques to children’s literature. They are well known for their books The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (still considered the quintessential work on the subject) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. They were also noted anthologists, and assembled large collections of children’s literature, toys, and games; their collection of children’s books and ephemera covers the 16th to 20th century and is regarded as the richest library of children’s literature.
1922 – Kim Chunsu, award-winning South Korean writer, poet, professor, and politician; he was one of the leading Korean poets of the late twentieth century.
1922 – Fumiko Nakajo, Japanese tanka poet who died at the age of 31 after a turbulent life and a struggle against breast cancer — all recorded in her poetry.
1924 – Takaaki Yoshimoto, Japanese writer, poet, philosopher, author, and literary critic.
1926 – Poul Anderson, seven-time Hugo Award-winning and three-time Nebula Award-winning U.S. author of science-fiction, fantasy, and historical fiction novels and short stories, as well as essays; in his work, he often commented on society and politics.
1936 – William McIlvanney, Scottish writer of novels, short stories, and poetry.
1938 – Shelagh Delaney, English dramatist and screenwriter whose debut work, A Taste of Honey, has been described as “probably the most performed play by a post-war British woman playwright.”
1941 – Riaz Ahmed Gohar Shahi, Pakistani Sufi spiritual leader, poet, and author who has written books in Urdu on topics of spirituality.
1944 – Kathryn Stripling Byer (also called Kay Byer), U.S. writer, poet, and teacher who was the first female Poet Laureate of North Carolina.
1944 – Ahmed El Maanouni, award-winning Moroccan screenwriter, film director, and cinematographer who sparked international attention when his film Trances was honored by director Martin Scorsese at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival; Maanouni’s documentary films explore colonial history and its impact on Moroccan memory.
1945 – Gail Collins, U.S. journalist, editor, op-ed columnist, and author who is most recognized for her work with the New York Times.
1946 – Marc Brown, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books who created the “Arthur” books and television shows.
1947 – Bharat Jangam (also known as Bharat Mani Jangam), Nepalese novelist, freelance journalist, and Hindu activist.
1950 – Yuan Chiung-chiung, Taiwanese writer, poet, essayist, novelist, and screenwriter as part of the Boudoir literature movement; her work battled stereotypes of women.
1950 – Alexis Wright, indigenous Australian novelist and short-story writer.
1951 – Charlaine Harris, bestselling U.S. author of mystery and urban fantasy novels, best known for the Sookie Stackhouse series of Vampire books and the television show True Blood, which was based on it.
1952 – Gerry van der Linden (full name Gertrude Maria Johanna Catharina van der Linden), Dutch poet, writer, and teacher.
1956 – Francesca Gargallo, Italian-born Mexican writer, poet, and philosopher who has written many poetry books and novels and has been published in magazines.
1960 – John F. Kennedy, Jr., U.S. journalist, magazine publisher, and lawyer who was the son of President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy; he died in a plane crash at the age of 38.
1965 – Jandy Nelson, award-winning U.S. poet, author of bestselling young-adult fiction, and literary agent.
1972 – Martha Cecilia Ruiz, Nicaraguan poet, writer, journalist, and social activist.
1975 – Abdelkader Benali, award-winning Moroccan novelist, memoirist, and journalist who lives in the Netherlands.
1977 – Maryam Jafari Azarmani, Iranian poet, writer, translator, songwriter, lyricist, literary critic, and essayist.
1980 – Ng Yi Sheng, award-winning Singaporean writer and poet whose work explores gay, lesbian, and bisexual Singaporeans.
1980 – Licia Troisi, Italian writer, science-fiction and fantasy author, astronomer, and astrophysicist; she is currently Italy’s bestselling fantasy author.