1506 – George Buchanan, Scottish historian, writer, poet, playwright, philosopher, linguist, translator, and humanist scholar who has been called, “the most profound intellectual sixteenth century Scotland produced.”
1550 – Charlotte Duplessis-Mornay (née Arbaleste de la Borde) French writer of the Reformation, known for her first-person account of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre and for authoring the Memoires de Messire Philippes de Mornay, about her husband, anti-monarchist writer Philippe de Mornay.
1806 – Jane Williams (also known by her bardic name, Ysgafell), Welsh poet, writer, historian, translator, and biographer.
1818 – Cecilio Acosta, Venezuelan writer, poet, journalist, lawyer, philosopher, and humanist.
1884 – Yevgeny Ivanovich Zamyatin, Russian essayist, novelist, playwright, short-story writer, and science-fiction author.
1887 – Charles Nordhoff, English-born U.S. novelist, nonfiction writer, journalist, and travel writer best known for the book, Mutiny on the Bounty, part of a trilogy written with co-author James Norman Hall.
1888 – Winifred Goldring, U.S. paleontologist whose work included a description of stromatolites, as well as the study of Devonian crinoids; she was the first woman in the nation to be appointed as a State Paleontologist.
1898 – Leila Alice Denmark (née Daughtry), U.S. pediatrician, author of books on child-rearing, and co-developer of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine; the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician until her retirement in 2001 at the age of 103, she lived to the age of 114.
1900 – Gillian (Gilean) Joan Douglas, Canadian poet, nature writer, novelist, photo journalist, feminist, historian, autobiographer, and politician whose inspiration stemmed from her desire to be an independent woman in a patriarchal world.
1902 – Langston Hughes, U.S. African-American poet, novelist, playwright, columnist, and social activist who was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance.
1903 – Maryse Choisy, French philosophical writer, journalist, essayist, novelist, critic, and founder of the journal Psyché; she was brought up by her rich aunts in a historical castle in the Basque country and once received psychoanalytical treatment from Sigmund Freud.
1909 – Mahmoud Mohamed Shaker. Egyptian writer, poet, author, and journalist who was a scholar of the Arabic language and Islamic culture heritage.
1911 – Abubakar Imam, Nigerian writer, playwright, journalist, novelist, publisher, and politician who was the first Hausa editor of Gaskiya Ta Fi Kwabo, a pioneering Hausa-language newspaper.
1918 – Muriel Spark, Scottish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist whose best-known work is The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
1923 – Denis Williams, Guyanese writer, scholar, archeologist, and painter.
1924 – Richard Hooker, U.S. writer and surgeon who drew on his military service in the Korean War to write the book MASH, which was later turned into a film and long-running television series.
1924 – Subagio Sastrowardoyo, Indonesian poet, short-story writer, essayist, publisher, university teacher, and literary critic; his poems has been called, “cynical, untamed poetry.”
1925 – Lucille Eichengreen (born as Cecelia Landau), German-born, U.S.-based survivor of the Lódz Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz, Neuengamme, and Bergen-Belsen; she published a memoir From Ashes to Life: My Memories of the Holocaust and is a frequent lecturer on the Holocaust.
1925 – Daniel Damásio Ascensão Filipe, Cape Verdean poet, writer, and journalist.
1927 – Galway Kinnell, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. poet who served as Poet Laureate for the state of Vermont.
1927 – Ludwig Zeller, Chilean avant-garde poet and surreal artist whose poetry is noted for its visual influences and use of collage.
1928 – Mohammed Arkoun, Algerian author, professor, and editor who was one of the most influential secular scholars in Islamic studies and who contributed to contemporary intellectual Islamic reform; in his books, he advocated Islamic modernism, secularism, and humanism. Most of his work was written in French, but he also wrote in Arabic and English.
1930 – María Elena Walsh, Argentine poet, novelist, children’s writer, musician, playwright, and composer who is considered in her home country to be a “living legend, cultural hero (and) crest of nearly every childhood.”
1933 – Hla Myint (better known by his pseudonym Nat Nwe), prominent and prolific Burmese writer, poet, and novelist, best known as the founder of Nwe Ni, a foreign-affairs magazine.
1941 – Jerry Spinelli, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author of popular books for children and young adults.
1942 – Terry Jones, Welsh screenwriter, actor, writer, composer, comedian, television presenter, film director, children’s writer, Medieval historian, travel show host, and member of the Monty Python comedy team; he passed away in January 2020.
1952 – Anissa Helou, Lebanese chef, cookbook author, television presenter, and teacher who specializes in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa.
1956 – Christophorus Apolinaris Eka Budianta Martoredjo (also known as C.A. Eka Budianta, or just Eka Budianta), Indonesian poet and journalist.
1963 – Dan Fagin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist and nonfiction author.
1965 – Moeen Nizami (born Ghulam Moeen Ud Din), award-winning Pakistani Urdu poet, writer, and professor who is the author of more than 50 Persian and Urdu literary and research books and more than 60 papers in local and foreign journals.
1967 – Meg Cabot, U.S. author of romantic and paranormal fiction; best known for her popular young-adult series The Princess Diaries.
1982 – Ines Abassi, Tunisian poet and journalist.
1984 – Risa Wataya, award-winning Japanese novelist; her bestselling novel Katte ni furuetero (Tremble All You Want) was made into a film of the same name, and won the Audience Award at the Tokyo International Film Festival.