1538 – Giovanni Battista Guarini, Italian writer, poet, playwright, and diplomat.
1741 – Agatha (“Aagje”) Deken, Dutch poet, novelist, and letter writer.
1783 – Maria Bibiana Benitez, Puerto Rican’s first known female poet and one of its first playwrights.
1802 – Mahmud al-Alusi (full name Abū al-Thanā’ Shihāb ad-Dīn Sayyid Maḥmūd ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Ḥusaynī al-Ālūsī al-Baghdādī ), Arab Islamic scholar and author best known for writing Ruh al-Ma`ani, a tafsir (exegesis) of the Qur’an.
1815 – Ada Lovelace (full name Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace), English mathematician and writer who was the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron, yet is known chiefly for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine; she was the first to recognize that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and she published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. Her notes are considered so important to the history of early computers that she is often called the world’s first computer programmer.
1830 – Emily Dickinson, beloved and prolific U.S. poet who is regarded as one of the most important and most original American poets. Her work — most of which was not discovered until after her death — challenged the traditional definitions of poetry to free it from conventional restraints, using a distinctively elliptical language for expressing what was possible but not yet realized.
1843 – Isabella Fyvie Mayo, Scottish poet, novelist, autobiographer, suffragist, and social reformer who wrote under the pen name, Edward Garrett; she has been described as an “ethical anarchist, pacifist, anti-imperialist and anti-racist campaigner.”
1875 – Saralabala Sarkar, Indian Bengali essayist, poet, short-story writer, memoirist, political activist, and professor who was married at the age of 12 and widowed at 23.
1878 – Bertha Southey Brammall, Australian poet, novelist, short-story author, children’s writer, and radio program writer who is widely considered to be Tasmania’s leading poet and novelist.
1879 – Vittorio Osvaldo Tommasini (better known by his pen name Farfa), Italian futurist poet and painter.
1880 – Sir Cattamanchi Ramalinga Reddy (popularly known as Sir C.R. Reddy), Indian writer, poet, author, philosopher, educator, essayist, economist, literary critic, and political theorist who was a champion of the non-Brahmin movement; he wrote his works in both Teluga and English.
1891 – Nelly Sachs, Nobel Prize-winning Jewish German poet and playwright who escaped to Sweden to avoid being sent to a forced-labor camp; in her work, she gave voice to the suffering of the Jewish people under the Nazi regime.
1893 – Mirzadeh Eshghi, pen name for Iranian poet, playwright, political writer, journalist, and theater director Sayed Mohammad Reza Kordestani.
1902 – Dulce María Loynaz Muñoz, award-winning Cuban writer, poet, novelist, and lawyer who was known for the sobriety of her lyric expression, her exquisite handling of language, and her masterly use of Castilian language
1903 – William Charles Franklyn Plomer, South African modernist novelist, poet, librettist, composer, and literary editor who wrote a series of librettos for composer Benjamin Britten; some of his poetry was published under the pseudonym Robert Pagan.
1907 – Rumer Godden, prolific, award-winning English poet and author of fiction and nonfiction books; much of her work deals with her experiences in colonial India.
1920 – Tsai Ding Hsin, Taiwanese calligraphy master, artist, and poet of classical Chinese poetry.
1920 – Clarice Lispector, Brazilian novelist and short-story writer who is known for her innovative work, including Near to the Wild Heart and The Hour of the Star; she is often described as the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka. Her sister Elisa Lispector is also an acclaimed writer.
1924 – Nabi Khazri (real name Nabi Alekber oghlu Babayev), award-winning Azerbaijani poet, playwright, publicist, translator, and screenwriter.
1925 – Carolyn Kizer, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet of the American Northwest.
1928 – Alicia Yáñez Cossío, award-winning Ecuadorian poet, novelist, and journalist who is one of the leading figures in Ecuadorian and Latin American literature.
1928 – Milan Rúfus, Slovak writer, poet, essayist, children’s author, translator, linguist, and academic who is the Slovak poet most translated into other languages.
1930 – Khyal Amrohvi (born Syed Ali Mehdi Naqvi and also known as Khayal Amrohi), renowned Pakistani poet and educator who also wrote books on literature and philosophy.
1933 – Philip Craig, U.S. author known for his Martha’s Vineyard mysteries.
1951 – Maria Rita Kehl, Brazilian writer, poet, journalist, psychoanalyst, essayist, and literary critic.
1956 – Øystein Hauge, Norwegian writer, poet, and civil servant.
1956 – Jacquelyn Mitchard, U.S. journalist and bestselling author of adult and young-adult books; her novel The Deep End of the Ocean was named one of the ten most influential books of the past 25 years.
1958 – Warwick Hugh Anderson, Australian poet, author, historian, professor, and medical doctor.
1958 – Cornelia Funke, U.S.-based German author of children’s and young-adult fiction, best known for her “Inkheart” trilogy.
1960 – Kenneth Branagh, Northern Irish actor, director, screenwriter, and autobiographer, best known for his Shakespeare adaptations and his role as Professor Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter films; he was nominated for an Oscar for his Hamlet screenplay.
1984 – Helen Oyeyemi, award-winning British novelist who was included in Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists list.