1148 – Qiu Chuji (also known by his Taoist name Master Changchun), Chinese writer, writer, advisor, explorer, and religious leader who founded the Dragon Gate sect of Taoism and was the most famous among the Seven True Taoists of the North.
1405 – Roberto Valturio, Italian writer, historian, and engineer who is best remembered as the author of the military treatise De Re Militari; the book was popular among political leaders and other powerful people of the day, and Leonardo da Vinci is known to have owned a copy.
1609 – John Suckling, English “Cavalier” poet, dramatist, and soldier who was renowned for his wit and his degenerate lifestyle; he invented the card game cribbage but is best known for his poem “Ballade upon a Wedding.”
1775 – Charles Lamb, English essayist, poet, and historian, best known for Tales from Shakespeare, co-authored with his sister Mary Lamb.
1781 – Adèle d’Osmond, Comtesse de Boigne (born Adélaïde Charlotte Louise Éléonore d’Osmond), French writer, memoirist, and salonnière who was born and raised at the Palace of Versailles before her family went into exile during the French Revolution; she returned to Paris during the reign of Napoleonand became prominent in society after the restoration of the Bourbons. She is best known for her memoirs describing life under the July Monarchy.
1791 – Otagaki Rengetsu, Japanese poet, writer, calligrapher, potter, and painter who was also a Buddhist nun; she is widely regarded to have been one of the greatest Japanese poets of the 19th century.
1822 – Eliza Lynn Linton, British writer, journalist, novelist, and essayist who was the first female salaried journalist in Britain; despite her own path-breaking role as an independent woman, many of her essays took a strong anti-feminist slant.
1842 – Agnes Mary Clerke, award-winning Irish astronomer, writer, biographer, and book reviewer; her best known book is A Popular History of Astronomy during the Nineteenth Century. She was so well-versed in languages that she was able to review books written not only in English but also in French, German, Greek, and Italian.
1847 – Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart (Duchess of Uzès), French author, poet, businessperson, sculptor, feminist activist, and race-car driver.
1855 – Ghénia Avril de Sainte-Croix, French author, journalist, feminist, and peace activist who led the French branch of the International Abolitionist Federation, which sought to abolish state regulation of prostitution and fought trafficking in women. She also advised the French government and the League of Nations on women’s issues.
1868 – William Allen White, U.S. author, biographer, newspaper editor, and politician who was a leader of the Progressive movement.
1881 – Pauline Brunius (née Emma Maria Pauline Lindstedt), Swedish screenwriter, stage and film actress, and film and theatre director; she was the managing director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre.
1889 – Maud Doria Haviland, English writer, ornithologist, entomologist, children’s writer, and scientific illustrator; her most popular book, A Summer on the Yenesei, describes a 1914 scientific expedition she took down the Yenisei River in Siberia to the Kara Sea.
1890 – Boris Pasternak, Russian novelist, poet, and translator who is best known for his novel about the Russian Revolution, Doctor Zhivago; the manuscript could not be published in his own country and had to be smuggled out of the Soviet Union to Italy for publication.
1898 – Bertolt Brecht, influential German poet, playwright, and theater director who is a key figure in 20th century drama.
1898 – Joseph Kessel, Argentine-born French journalist, novelist, screenwriter and translator who fought as an aviator in both World Wars; many of his books were made into films.
1901 – Mariblanca Sabas Alomá, Cuban feminist, journalist, poet, and political activist; most of her writing was devoted to the cause of women’s rights, particularly the right to vote.
1906 – Adrienne Adams, two-time Caldecott Honor-winning U.S. children’s book author and illustrator.
1909 – Austra Skujina, Latvian poet whose first poems were published when she was still a teenager; she was first known for her left-wing and protest poems, and later for her sad poems about impossibility of love and happiness. She committed suicide at the age of 23.
1909 – Thiri Pyanchi Min Thu Wun, Burmese poet, writer, and scholar who helped launch a new age literary movement called Khit-San (Testing the Times); he was the father of Htin Kyaw, president of Myanmar from 2016 to 2018.
1910 – Princess Eugénie of Greece and Denmark, French-born Greek princess and author who wrote a biography, in French, of Tsarevitch Aleksey Nikolaevich, son of the last Tsar of Russia.
1920 – Alex Comfort, British scientist, physician, gerontologist, and anarchist best known for his sex manual, The Joy of Sex.
1930 – Michael Anthony, award-winning Trinidadian novelist, historian, poet, journalist, editor, travel writer, children’s writer, short-story writer, and radio broadcaster.
1930 – E.L. Konigsburg, two-time Newbery Medal-winning U.S. author and illustrator of children’s and young-adult books; she is best known for the beloved novel, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.
1934 – Fleur Adcock (born Kareen Fleur Adcock), award-winning New Zealand poet, writer, lecturer, editor, translator, and librarian who lives in the U.K. Her poetry is typically concerned with themes of place, human relationships, and everyday activities, but frequently with a dark twist, and is often written from the perspective of an outsider.
1939 – Adrienne Louise Clarkson, Hong Kong-born Canadian journalist, broadcaster, and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada.
1939 – Narayana Panicker Kochupillai (popularly known as N.P. Kochupillai), Indian medical doctor, clinical endocrinologist, author, and professor who has contributed to the understanding of endemically prevalent endocrine and metabolic disorders.
1939 – Deolinda Rodrigues (full name Deolinda Rodrigues Francisco de Almeida) Angolan writer, poet, translator, educator, radio host, militant nationalist, and revolutionary heroine who has been called “Mother of the Revolution”; she also wrote under the pseudonym Langidila.
1943 – Stephen Gammell, Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. children’s book author and illustrator who is most widely known for his evocative, nightmarish, surreal illustrations for Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark trilogy.
1944 – Francis Moore Lappé, U.S. author and food ecologist, best known for the Diet for a Small Planet.
1944 – Vernor Vinge, U.S. computer scientist and science-fiction novelist and short-story writer who has won multiple Hugo Awards; he is considered the first author to present a fictional “cyberspace”; he was once married to science-fiction author Joan D. Vinge.
1945 – Delma S. Arrigoitia (born Delma S. Arrigoitia Peraza), Puerto Rican historian, author, professor, biographer, and lawyer whose written works cover the life and works of some of Puerto Rico’s most prominent politicians of the early 20th century.
1946 – Sarah Joseph, award-winning Indian novelist and short-story writer in the Malayalam language who is considered one of India’s leading writers; she is a leader in the feminist movement in Kerala and a political activist.
1947 – Elena Pavlovna Dahl (née Kornilova), Russian-born Swedish author, poet, translator, teacher, journalist, and librarian.
1956 – Mariana Marin, award-winning Romanian poet and teacher who was regarded as one of the most gifted and uncompromising poets of the 1980s generation; she has been called “a distinctive voice revealed from the dark night of humanity’s soul.” Opposed to Nicolae Ceauşescu’s dictatorship, she tried to circumvent censorship by writing the book, Aripa secretă (The Secret Annex), a fantastic diary of Anne Frank and fictional dialogue with the teen writer; the book was a thinly disguised metaphor for life in the open-air camp that Romania had become. She was banned from publishing and joined the ranks of silenced intellectual voices until the collapse of the regime.
1951 – Prasanna, important and innovative Indian playwright and director who is one of the pioneers of modern Kannada theatre.
1957 – Carlo Grande, Italian writer, screenwriter, novelist, and journalist.
1961 – Paiwarin Khao-Ngam, award-winning Thai writer and poet.
1961 – Carlos Rehermann, award-winning Uruguayan novelist, playwright, and journalist who also writes weekly columns on the arts.
1964 – Elizabeth “Lucy” Cousins, English author and illustrator of children’s books who is best known for her books featuring Maisy Mouse.
1967 – Bino A. Realuyo, Filipino-born novelist, poet, editor, adult educator, and community organizer, now based in the U.S.; according to The New York Times Book Review, “Realuyo’s lucid prose, unencumbered by sentimentality or hindsight, lends freshness to the conflicts of his somewhat familiar characters and color to a setting both impoverished and alluring.”
1969 – Francesca Rhydderch, Welsh novelist, short-story writer, and academic whose debut novel, The Rice Paper Diaries, won the Wales Book of the Year Award for Fiction in 2014.
1970 – Åsne Seierstad, Norwegian journalist, author, and writer who best known for her accounts of everyday life in war zones – most notably Kabul, Baghdad, and Grozny – and especially for her bestselling book, Bookseller of Kabul, an account of the time she spent living with an Afghan family in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.
1973 – Núria Añó, Spanish Catalan writer, novelist, essayist, translator, short-story writer, and speaker; she is considered a key figure in contemporary Catalan literature.
1975 – Jael Uribe (full name Jael Uribe Elizabeth Medina), Dominican writer, storyteller, poet, and painter who created the poetic foundation Women Poets International and the Woman Scream International Poetry and Arts Festival.
1975 – Ahmad Hasan Al Zoubi (also spelled Al Zu’bi), Jordanian columnist, playwright, satirist, and short-story writer who rose to prominence after he started writing a weekly newspaper column, “Sawaleif” (“Parables”), that cynically addresses political and social problems; it became one of the most-read columns in Jordan.
1976 – Aleksandra Čvorović, award-winning Serbian writer, poet, children’s author, essayist, editor, short-story writer, librarian, and journalist
1979 – Johan Harstad, Norwegian novelist, playwright, short-story writer, young-adult author, and graphic designer; his first novel, Buzz Aldrin, hvor ble det av deg i alt mylderet? (Buzz Aldrin, What Happened to You in All the Confusion?) was made into a television series.