1453 – Girolamo Benivieni, Italian Florentine poet, writer, philosopher, translator, and musician.
1564 – Christopher Marlowe, English playwright, poet, translator, and (probably) government spy of the Elizabethan era; he is sometimes credited with authorship of plays attributed to Shakespeare, but most scholars refute this.
1727 – Mary Coke, English Viscountess known for her letters and private journal, later published, in which she made pointed observations of people in her circle and political figures.
1753 – Évariste Desiré de Forges (Vicomte de Parny), French poet who was extremely popular during his lifetime; iconic Russian poet Pushkin once called him, “My master.”
1754 – August Nordenskiöld (also spelled Nordenskjöld), Finnish-Swedish writer, chemist, alchemist and critic of slavery; he was also involved in an attempt to found an anti-slavery colony on the west coast of Africa. He died in 1792 in a violent clash between locals in Sierra Leone, where he had moved.
1778 – Ugo Foscolo (born Niccolò Foscolo), Italian writer, revolutionary, and poet.
1788 – Karoly Kisfaludy, award-winning Hungarian Romantic poet, playwright, magazine founder, and artist.
1833 – José María de Pereda, Spanish journalist and novelist of the native realism school.
1833 – Frances Julia “Snow” Wedgwood, English feminist novelist, biographer, historian, philosopher, nonfiction writer, and literary critic who was described as “a young woman of extreme passions and fastidious principles” and “at once a powerful reasoner and an inexorable critic of reason.” Her two-part philosophical dialogue on the theological significance of her uncle Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species, argued that evolution was compatible with Christianity; in response, Darwin wrote her, “I must tell you how much I admire your Article…. I think that you understand my book perfectly, and that I find a very rare event with my critics.”
1845 – Kirstine Frederiksen, award-winning Danish writer, author, pedagogue, stenographer, and women’s rights activist.
1850 – Elizabeth “Lizzie” Williams Champney, U.S. novels, children’s writer, history writer, and travel writer.
1860 – Henriette Dessaulles (also known by the pen name Fadette), Canadian journalist, columnist, and diarist.
1860 – Johan (Eliza) de Meester, Dutch writer, publicist, and editor.
1864 – John Henry Mackay, Scottish-born writer and philosopher, known for his anarchist views.
1873 – Judith Anne Dorothea Blunt-Lytton (16th Baroness Wentworth, also known as Lady Wentworth), British writer poet, tennis player, and profoundly influential Arabian horse breeder. Her father was the poet Wilfrid Blunt, her maternal grandmother was renowned mathematician and pioneering computer programmer Ada Lovelace, and her great grandfather was the poet Lord Byron.
1876 – Alice Guerin Crist, Irish-born Australian poet, novelist, children’s writer, short-story writer, and journalist.
1879 – Carl Wilhelm Ramsauer, internationally known German physicist, professor, writer, and editor; he pioneered the field of electron and proton collisions with gas molecules and is best known for discovery of the Ramsauer–Townsend effect.
1882 – Anne Spencer, U.S. African-American poet, teacher, civil rights activist, librarian, and gardener who was an important member of the Harlem Renaissance group of intellectuals.
1888 – Ljudmil Stojanow, Bulgarian poet, short-story writer, and novelist.
1894 – Maria Dorota Leopoldyna Czapska, award-winning Polish author, essayist, historian, biographer, and literary critic.
1894 – Eric Honeywood Partridge, New Zealand–British writer, editor, short-story writer, and lexicographer of the English language, particularly of its slang. He also wrote books on tennis.
1894 – Sant Kirpal Singh, Indian author and spiritual leader who was president of the World Fellowship of Religions, an organization recognized by UNESCO, which had representatives from all the main religions of the world.
1898 – Carmen Eva Nelken Mansberger (known by the pseudonym Magda Donato), Spanish writer, journalist, playwright, and actress who went into exile in Mexico after the Spanish Civil War.
1898 – Melvin Beaunorus Tolson, U.S. Modernist poet, educator, columnist, and politician whose work concentrated on the experience of African Americans and includes several long historical poems; he spent most of his career in Texas and Oklahoma, but was named Poet Laureate of Liberia.
1900 – Rudolf Värnlund, proletarian Swedish novelist, playwright, critic, and social commentator.
1903 – Peter G. Buckinx, Flemish poet, essayist, playwright, and magazine editor.
1904 – Augusto Céspedes Patzi , Bolivian writer, politician, diplomat, and journalist.
1905 – Irmgard Keun, German author noted for her portrayals of life in both the Weimar Republic and the early years of Nazi Germany.
1913 – Mary Leakey, British paleoanthropologist and writer who made several important discovers that advanced understanding of human evolution; she is best known for her discovery of the first fossilised Proconsul skull, an extinct ape believed to be ancestral to humans.
1919 – Louis Philip Heren, British journalist and author of political theory and autobiography; he is considered one of the great foreign correspondents of the 20th century.
1920 – Max Mannheimer, award-winning Jewish Czech author, painter, and Holocaust survivor who was sent to Auschwitz in 1943 and then to other camps; it was not until the 1980s that he was able to write and speak about the horrors he experienced.
1921 – Carl Neumann Degler, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian and author.
1922 – Rahim Moeini Kermanshahi, Iranian poet, writer,songwriter, lyricist, journalist, historian, and artist.
1924 – Paolo Volponi, award-winning Italian writer, poet, novelist, and politician whose novels powerfully contract a visionary fictional world while exploring the ills of Italian society in the years of industrial expansion after the Second World War.
1925 – Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesian novelist, journalist, and human rights activist.
1928 – Sperantza Vrana (born Elpida Homatianou), Greek author, autobiographer, and actress, best known for her autobiography Tolmo (I Dare).
1929 – Keith Spencer Waterhouse, British novelist, newspaper columnist, and television writer.
1934 – Tomoko Yoshida (real name Tomoko Kira), award-winning Japanese author and teacher.
1936 – Mercy Adoma Owusu-Nimoh, award-winning Ghanaian children’s writer, publisher, educationist, and politician; in the 1996 parliamentary elections she ran for the National Democratic Congress, coming in second place.
1940 – Tom Brokaw, U.S. television journalist and nonfiction author.
1941 – Bahman Sholevar, Iranian-born novelist, poet, translator, critic, psychiatrist, and political activist who began writing and translating at age 13, his translations of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land are still renowned as classics of translation in modern Persian literature.
1942 – Ahmad-Jabir Ahmadov Ismail Oghlu, award-winning Azerbaijan academic and food and science writer who authored more than 300 scientific publications, including 60 books.
1947 – Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author and economic researcher.
1951 – Lidia Ravera, Italian writer, screenwriter, journalist, essayist, and politician. Her most popular novel, Porci con le ali (Winged Pigs), dealt with the disillusionment of her generation with the ideals of the late 1960s; she also wrote the film adaptation.
1952 – Nay Win Myint, award-winning Burmese novelist, journalist, lecturer, and translator who also writes under the pseudonyms Win Phwe and Aung Maung; in his journalistic work, he focuses on environmental issues.
1955 – Carlos Barbarito, award-winning Argentine writer, poet, and translator.
1955 – Michael Pollan, U.S. author and professor whose work centers on food and culture; he is best known for his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
1956 – Hikaru Okuizumi (real name Yasuhiro Okuizumi), award-winning Japanese novelist.
1962 – Eleanor Wong Siew Yin, award-winning Singaporean playwright, poet, lawyer, and law professor who is best known for Invitation to Treat, her trilogy of plays centered on the experiences of the character Ellen Toh, a lesbian lawyer in Singapore.