1590 – Lady Anne Clifford, English diarist, letter writer, patron of the arts, women’s rights activist, and High Sheriff of Westmoreland; poet John Donne said of her that she could “discourse of all things from Predestination to Slea-silk.”
1628 – George Villiers (2nd Duke of Buckingham), English politician and writer of restoration comedies.
1661 – Charles Rollin, French writer, historian, translator, and professor who wrote on history, religion, and education.
1719 – Magnus Gottfried Lichtwer, German writer, poet, fabulist, and lawyer; he is most remembered for his fables, some of which were set to music by Austrian composer Joseph Haydn.
1775 – Walter Savage Landor, English critic and writer, known for his hot temper and his reverence for classical writers.
1782 – Ann Taylor, English poet, children’s writer, and literary critic; while in her youth she earned long-lasting popularity as a writer of verse for children, and she later became an astringent literary critic, she is best remembered as the sister and collaborator of poet and novelist Jane Taylor, who wrote the lyrics to, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
1786 – Virginia Randolph Cary, U.S. author of nonfiction and inspirational books, including the influential advice book, Letters on Female Character, Addressed to a Young Lady, on the Death of Her Mother; her twelve sisters and brothers included Mary Randolph, author of the influential cookbook The Virginia House-Wife, and Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., who served in the U.S. House of Representatives and as Governor of Virginia. After her mother died, three-year-old Cary lived at Monticello with her brother and sister-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. and Martha Jefferson, the daughter of Thomas Jefferson. Virginia’s brother-in-law, Richard Randolph of Bizarre, was descended from Pocahontas.
1793 – Jacques Albin Simon Collin de Plancy, French writer who published several works on occultism and demonology; his best known book, Dictionnaire Infernal, cataloged different types of demons, including “beings, characters, books, deeds and causes which pertain to the manifestations and magic of trafficking with Hell; divinations, occult sciences, grimoires, marvels, errors, prejudices, traditions, folktales, the various superstitions, and generally all manner of marvellous, surprising, mysterious, and supernatural beliefs.”
1827 – Julie Bernat (known by her stage name, Mademoiselle Judith), French writer, translator, novelist, and actress.
1837 – Augusta Webster (born Julia Augusta Davies), English poet, dramatist, essayist, translator, and school board member who published some of her work under the pen name Cecil Homes; her writing explored the condition of women, and she was a strong advocate for women’s rights, especially the right to vote.
1850 – Ferdinando Fontana, Italian writer, playwright, journalist, poet, and translator who is best known today for writing the libretti of the first two operas by Giacomo Puccini – Le Villi and Edgar.
1853 – Matilda Beatrice deMille (born Matilda Beatrice Samuel, and also known as Beatrice C. deMille, Agnes Graham, and Tillie Samuel), English-U.S. screenwriter, playwright, actress, and entrepreneur who helped found Paramount Pictures; film pioneer Cecil B. deMille was her son.
1853 – Manuel Vitorino Pereira, Brazilian writer, physician, and politician who was the Vice President and the Acting President of Brazil.
1857 – Agar Eva Infanzón Canel (best known by her pseudonym Eva Canel), Spanish-born Cuban writer, journalist, novelist, satirist, playwright, travel writer, and newspaper and magazine publisher.
1858 – Johanna Wolff (née Kielich), popular Russian-born German writer and nurse who was an important figure in East Prussian women’s literature.
1866 – Frank Gelett Burgess, U.S. artist, art critic, poet, author, and humorist; he coined the term “blurb” for a quote about a book that is printed on the cover to spur sales.
1878 – Anton H. Tammsaare, Estonian writer whose work is among the most important in Estonian literature.
1883 – Ujaku Akita, Japanese writer, poet, playwright, novelist, children’s writer, and Esperantist.
1885 – Hana Gregorová, Slovak author, editor, and short-story writer who explored women’s lives in realistic terms; she often focused on the issues of women’s emancipation and inequalities with men.
1887 – Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky, Russian and Soviet short-story writer, lawyer, poet, translator, and literary historian who described himself as being “known for being unknown”; most of his writings were published posthumously.
1890 – Angela Margaret Thirkell (née Mackail), prolific English and Australian novelist, short-story writer, and radio writer whose fiction showed a keen social sense and a lively eye for everyday details; one of her novels, Trooper to Southern Cross, was written under the pseudonym Leslie Parker.
1893 – Krishna Prasad Dar, award-winning Indian writer, printer, and publisher who wrote several books about printing and publishing, but who is best known for his cookbook, Kashmiri Cooking, with illustrations by his son, the noted cartoonist Sudhir Dar.
1900 – Félix Couchoro, Dahomeyan and Togolese writer, novelist, newspaper editor, and educator whose first book, L’Esclave, was only the second novel published by an African in French. (The West African kingdom of Dahomey is now part of Benin.)
1907 – Jun Takami (pen name for Takami Yoshio), award-winning Japanese novelist, diarist, and poet who helped establish the Museum of Modern Japanese Literature.
1912 – Barbara Tuchman, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and author.
1918 – André Bjerke, Norwegian poet, writer, screenwriter, essayist, author, children’s writer, translator, mystery novelist, short-story writer, and chess player who was a prominent proponent of the Riksmål language.
1920 – Machiko Hasegawa, bestselling Japanese writer and artist who was one of the first female manga artists; she started her own comic strip, Sazae-san, which ran daily for nearly 30 years.
1921 – Hélène Deschamps Adams, Chinese-born French and U.S. author, autobiographer, spy, and French Resistance fighter.
1922 – Daisy Jeanne MacKenzie (known as Jeanne), English author of memoirs, nonfiction, biographies, and true crime stories.
1923 – Marianne A. Ferber, Czech-born U.S. feminist economist, author, and editor who wrote and edited many books and articles on the subject of women’s work, the family, and the construction of gender; she is widely regarded as a central figure in the development of feminist economics and expanded the literature on women’s presence in the economy; she is most noted her work as co-editor of the influential anthology Beyond Economic Man: Feminist Theory and Economics and as co-author of the book The Economics of Women, Men and Work.
1924 – Lloyd Alexander, Newbery-winning U.S. author of children’s and young-adult fantasy.
1924 – Jayme Guilherme Caetano Braun, Brazilian poet, writer, singer, folk musician, radio broadcaster, and composer who played a large part in popularizing the gaúcho culture in Brazil.
1924 – Tuvya Ruebner (also Rübner), award-winning Slovakian-born Israeli poet, author, editor, educator, translator, and photographer who has been called, “among the most important Hebrew poets,” with his poetry described as “restrained, polished and intellectual … nourished by the ancient strata of Hebrew poetry and the best of the tradition of Central European poetry.”
1925 – Jack Spicer, U.S. beat poet of the San Francisco Renaissance movement.
1928- Carmen Naranjo, Costa Rican poet, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and diplomat.
1929 – Jacqueline Yvonne Meta (Jacque) van Maarsen, Dutch author and former bookbinder who is best known for her friendship with diarist Anne Frank; Jacque was the daughter of a Jewish father and a Christian mother, who was able to remove the J (Jew) signs from the family’s identity cards during the Second World War, an act that helped the van Maarsens escape from the Nazis.
1931 – Allan W. Eckert, Newbery-winning U.S. naturalist and writer.
1931 – Shirley Hazzard, National Book Award-winning Australian, British, and U.S. novelist, essayist, and short-story writer.
1932 – Pooran Farrokhzad, Iranian writer, poet, translator, journalist, playwright, linguist, and lexicographer who was the author of the Encyclopedia of Women Culture Makers in Iran and in the World which was the first comprehensive women’s encyclopedia in Iran.
1935 – Richard Brautigan, U.S. author of parody and black comedy.
1935 – Albie Sachs, South African author, lawyer, university teacher, writer, anti-Apartheid activist, and judge of the Constitutional Court who had his arm blown off by a car bomb in Mozambique, where he was living in exile.
1937 – Martín Almada, Paraguayan writer, lawyer, educationalist, and human rights activist.
1941 – Ahmad Kamal Abdullah (pen name Kemala), Malaysian poet, novelist, playwright, and literary critic who writes in Malay and is a Malaysian National Laureate.
1941 – Gregory Benford, Campbell Award and two-time Nebula Award-winning U.S. astrophysicist, professor, editor, and science-fiction author.
1942 – Pavel Reznícek, Czech novelist, short-story writer, translator, and surrealist poet.
1945 – Michael Dorris, award-winning U.S. novelist, memoirist, essayist, nonfiction writer, children’s writer, anthropologist, and professor who was best known as an author of Native American-themed literature; he was married to novelist Louise Erdrich, and they sometimes collaborated on their work. His book The Broken Cord was about dealing with his adopted son, who had fetal alcohol syndrome, and the widespread damage among children born with this problem; the work helped spur Congress to approve legislation to warn of the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
1945 – Nilto Maciel, award-winning Brazilian writer, lawyer, and civil servant who wrote poetry and tales in Portuguese, Esperanto, Spanish, Italian, and French.
1947 – Liv Marie Austrem, award-winning Norwegian novelist, children’s writer, and nonfiction writer.
1955 – Judith Tarr, U.S. fantasy author who also writes as Caitlin Brennen and Kathleen Bryan.
1957 – Polly Horvath, award-winning U.S.-born Canadian author of novels for children and young adults.
1960 – Clara Pinto-Correia, Portuguese-born novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, playwright, columnist, young-adult author, and educator who was also a professor of Veterinary and Animal Sciences; her novels explore themes sexism, alienation, and the influence of mass media in everyday life.
1968 – Dolan Mor, Cuban writer and Postmodern poet who takes a playful approach to literature, making use such devices as false authorships, changes in identities, nonexistent bibliographies, photocopies of apocryphal manuscripts, and combinations of different literary styles.
1974 – Jemima Khan (real name Jemima Marcelle Goldsmith), British writer, editor, heiress, and human-rights activist.