1348 – Giovanni Sercambi, Italian author who is remembered for a history of his native city of Lucca, Le croniche di Luccha, and for a collection of 155 short stories.
1547 – Bahāʾ al-dīn al-ʿĀmilī, Lebanese scientist, astronomer, writer, architect, astrologer, mathematician, and philosopher who was one of the main co-founders of Isfahan School of Islamic Philosophy.
1718 – Søren Abildgaard, Norwegian writer, illustrator, artist, draftsman, geologist, and naturalist who traveled throughout Denmark to create drawings of its tombstones, runes, and other historic monuments; he was also an illustrator and painter on historian Jacob Langebek’s tour to Sweden and the Baltic provinces, and is remembered for his studies of topographical and geological conditions and phenomena.
1756 – Stefano Zannowich, Montenegrin Serb count, adventurer, writer, and translator who wrote in Italian, French, Latin, German, and Serbian.
1772 – Giovanni Battista Brocchi, Italian writer, engineer, paleontologist, botanist, malacologist, naturalist, mineralogist, and geologist; some of his most important work had to do with marine shell fossils.
1812 – Harriet Jane Farley, U.S. writer, journalist, newspaper editor, children’s author, and abolitionist.
1822 – Hong Rengan, Chinese writer, politician, translator, and prince who was an important leader of the Taiping Rebellion.
1839 – Emilie “Emily” Frances Davis, U.S. writer and diarist who was a free African-American woman living in Philadelphia during the U.S. Civil War; her pocket diaries for the years 1863, 1864, and 1865 recount her perspective on such topics as the Emancipation Proclamation, the battle of Gettysburg, and the mourning of President Lincoln.
1855 – Jean Jules Jusserand, Pulitzer Prize-winning French scholar of history and Medieval English literature, author, and Ambassador to the U.S. during World War I; Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C., features a memorial to him.
1867 – Hedwig Courths-Mahler (née Ernestine Friederike Elisabeth Mahler), German writer and screenwriter who is remembered as the author of bestselling romance novels, often about socially disadvantaged characters who fight against intrigues and, in the end, overcome class differences through love. She used the pseudonyms Relham, H. Brand, Gonda Haack, and Rose Bernd. Her books are still in print today.
1883 – Nikos Kazantzakis, Greek writer and philosopher, best known for his novel Zorba the Greek.
1883 – Jessie Sinclair Litchfield, award-winning Australian author, journalist, memoirist, short-story writer, editor, and Northern Territory pioneer; in 1955, she became the Northern Territory’s first justice of the peace.
1887 – Harriet Löwenhjelm, Swedish writer, poet, and artist; she originally wrote poetry as a complement to her drawings, but some have since been set to music.
1895 – Flavio Herrera, Guatemalan writer, poet, and diplomat; some of his works are now required reading in Guatemalan schools.
1898 – Jón Skúlason Thoroddsen, Icelandic writer, poet, author, playwright, and politician; in 1922, he published Flugur, a collection of short texts that scholars now believe was the first collection of prose poetry in the Icelandic language.
1909 – Dido Sotiriou, Turkish-born Greek novelist, journalist, and playwright; her bestselling novel, Bloody Earth, or Farewell Anatolia, deals with the trauma of the Greek-Turkish population exchange and the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor.
1909 – Dido Sotiriou (née Pappa), Greek novelist, journalist, magazine editor, and playwright; her best-known novel, Bloody Earth (English-language edition titled Farewell Anatolia), deals with the trauma of the Greek-Turkish population exchange and the expulsion of Greeks from Asia Minor, and is still popular today.
1909 – Wallace Stegner, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction author who has often been called the Dean of Western Writers; he was also known as a historian and environmentalist.
1911 – Erich Kulka, Czech-born Israeli writer, historian, journalist, and Holocaust survivor. In 1939, at the outbreak of World War II, he was arrested by the Gestapo for anti-Nazi activities; he survived six years in a succession of concentration and death camps, including Auschwitz, and a three-day death march, before escaping from a train along with his 12-year-old son and sheltering in a mountain village until the end of the war.
1916 – Zija Dizdarević, Bosnian short-story writer whose work was notable for the use of the authentic Bosnian speech and dialect of uneducated people in their ordinary lives.
1921 – C.T. Hsia, Chinese writer, professor, historian, translator, university teacher, literary critic, philologist, and sinologist.
1922 – Helen Gurley Brown, U.S. author, publisher, and businesswoman who was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years.
1922 – Juhan Smuul (also known as Johannes Schmuul), Estonian screenwriter, writer, poet, politician, and journalist.
1922 – Luigi Squarzina, Italian writer, screenwriter, encyclopedia editor, actor, playwright, and theater director.
1924 – Chin Shunshin (also known as Chen Shunchen), Taiwanese-Japanese novelist, translator, and cultural critic who is best known for historical fiction and mystery novels.
1925 – Jack Gilbert, award-winning U.S. poet whose work is known for its simple lyricism and straightforward clarity of tone, as well as a resonating control over his emotions; many of his poems are about his relationships with women.
1925 – Halit Kıvanç, Turkish writer, television presenter, radio personality, humorist, sports journalist, sports commentator, and judge.
1925 – Krishna Sobti (Hindi: कृष्णा सोबती), Indian Hindi fiction writer and essayist, best known for her 1966 novel Mitro Marajani, an unapologetic portrayal of a married woman’s sexuality.
1926 – A.R. Ammons, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet; much of his work was inspired by his childhood on a North Carolina cotton and tobacco farm during the Great Depression.
1927 – Osvaldo Bayer, Argentine journalist, writer, screenwriter, historian, biographer, university professor, and trade unionist.
1928 – Eeva Karin Kilpi (née Salo), Russian-born Finnish writer, poet, and feminist.
1929 – Len Deighton, British novelist, military historian, graphic artist, and food writer who is best known for his spy novels.
1931 – Toni Morrison, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning U.S. African-American novelist, essayist, editor, and educator who is one of the most acclaimed writers of her time; her novels are known for epic themes, exquisite language, and richly detailed African-American characters.
1933 – Yoko Ono, Japanese artist, author, musician, film director, performance artist, and peace activist who is best known for her marriage to Beatle John Lennon.
1934 – Audre Lorde, Caribbean and U.S. writer, poet, librarian, and activist.
1935 – Janette Oke, Canadian author of inspirational and Christian historical fiction, usually set in the pioneer era.
1936 – Jeanne Auel, bestselling U.S. author known for Clan of the Cave Bear, the first novel in her Earth’s Children series of books, a series set in prehistoric Europe that explores early humans, especially interactions of Cro-Magnon people with Neanderthals.
1939 – Claude Ake, Nigerian author, political scientist, and professor who was considered one of Africa’s foremost political philosophers; he specialized in political economy, political theory, and development studies and is known for his research on development and democracy in Africa.
1846 – E. Katharine Dooris Sharp, Irish-born botanist, poet, and suffragist who was the author of Summer in a Bog.
1950 – Bebe Moore Campbell, U.S. journalist, teacher, and bestselling author of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s literature.
1950 – John Wilden Hughes, Jr., U.S. film director, producer, and screenwriter who wrote or directed some of the most successful films of the 1980s and 1990s, including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles.
1952 – Mara Zalite, award-winning Latvian writer, composer, and cultural worker; her literary works include novels, poetry, essays, plays, drama, prose, and librettos, and often deal with historical problems and have symbolic meanings that correspond with Latvian mythology and culture.
1955 – Lisa See, bestselling U.S. writer and novelist whose work is often inspired by her Chinese-American background.
1957 – George Pelecanos, U.S. author of detective fiction, mostly set in Washington, D.C.; he is also a television writer and producer.
1959 – Helena von Zweigbergk, Swedish author, journalist, film critic, and television presenter.
1961 – Douglas Rushkoff, U.S. media theorist, writer, and graphic novelist, known for his connection with early cyberpunk culture.
1964 – María del Carmen Aristegui Flores, Mexican journalist and anchorwoman who is widely regarded as one of Mexico’s leading journalists and opinion leaders; she is best known for her critical investigations of the Mexican government.
1976 – Bernadette Sembrano (full name Bernadette Lorraine Palisada Dominguez Sembrano Aguinaldo), Filipina reporter, newscaster, and television host.