1801 – Johanna Friederika Henriette Katharina Davidis, German author, essayist, governess, and teacher who dedicated her career to educating women about self-reliant housekeeping; she is considered Germany’s most famous cookbook author.
1833 – Isabel Prieto de Landázuri, Spanish writer, poet, playwright, and translator; she wrote most of her important work in Mexico, where she was one of the first women to enter the literary canon in the 19th century.
1837 – William Dean Howells, U.S. author and literary critic; creator of the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham.
1880 – Lytton Strachey, British author and critic, most known for his biographies and for his association with Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group of English writers, artists, and philosophers.
1889 – Kanoko Okamoto (born Ohnuki Kano), Japanese writer, poet, novelist, and Buddhist scholar; because she started having her work published late in life and died at a young age, much of her writing was published posthumously.
1892 – Mercedes de Acosta, U.S. poet, playwright, novelist, autobiographer, screenwriter, and fashion designer who was also known for her lesbian relationships with famous Broadway and Hollywood personalities and her friendships with prominent artists of the period.
1892 – Akutagawa Ryūnosuke, Japanese writer who is considered the Father of the Japanese Short Story.
1898 – Sara Haardt Mencken, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, reviewer, essayist, and professor of English literature who left a sizeable body of work despite the fact that she died at the age of 37. She married satirist and cultural critic H.L. Mencken, after meeting him when he came to speak at the college where she was a professor; the title of his speech was “How To Get a Husband.”
1904 – Angela du Maurier, English novelist who also wrote two volumes of autobiography, It’s Only the Sister and Old Maids Remember; she was the sister of author and playwright Daphne du Maurier.
1904 – Margaret Steuart “Peggy” Pollard (née Gladstone), British poet, playwright, activist, scholar of Sanskrit, and bard of the Cornish language.
1914 – Ralph Ellison, National Book Award-winning U.S. African-American novelist, literary critic, crime novelist, essayist, and professor known for his realist approach to fiction; much of his work, including his best known novel, Invisible Man, reflected the experiences of African Americans in the early 20th century.
1915 – Antonia Bruha, Austrian resistance activist, author, and translator.
1915 – Zulfiya Isroilova (usually referred to as simply Zulfiya), Uzbek poet, writer, and editor; she wrote patriotic works, pacifist works, and works on nature and on women’s issues.
1917 – Robert Lowell, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet who was named U.S. Poet Laureate and also won the National Book Award; his work often dealt with New England and his own family, which traced back to the Mayflower.
1917 – Fadwa Tuqan, Palestinian poet known for her descriptions of the suffering of the Palestinian people and resistance to Israeli occupation; she is considered “one of the most distinguished figures of modern Arabic literature.”
1918 – Marie Louise Berneri, Italian author, psychologist, activist, and anarchist who also wrote a survey of utopias, Journey Through Utopia.
1921 – Richard Wilbur, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and translator who was named U.S. Poet Laureate; his poetry was praised for its wit, charm, and gentlemanly elegance.
1923 – Shantabai Kamble, Indian Marathi writer and activist from the Dalit (untouchable) class of Hindu society; her book, Picturebook of My Life, was the first published autobiography by a Dalit woman.
1929 – Georgi Ivanov Markov, Bulgarian dissident writer, journalist, novelist, and playwright who defected in 1968.
1930 – Sung Chan-gyeong (Hangul: 성찬경), award-winning South Korean poet and professor who has been called a master of metaphor; his poems are said to be “full of modernist experimentation in both technical form and content.”
1932 – Ranginui Joseph Isaac Walker, award-winning New Zealand writer, professor, and activist of Māori and Lebanese descent.
1934 – Homa Nategh, Iranian writer, historian, women’s rights activist, resistance fighter, and professor who specialized in the contemporary history of Iran but moved to Paris after being purged from the University of Tehran after the 1979 revolution.
1940 – Nuala O’Faolain, Irish writer, novelist, memoirist, biographer, journalist, book reviewer, television producer, and teacher, best known for her memoirs Are You Somebody? and Almost There.
1941 – Robert Hass, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning U.S. poet, critic, and translator who was named U.S. Poet Laureate; his work has been called “musical, descriptive, meditative poetry.”
1942 – Josephine Hart (Lady Saatchi), Irish novelist, screenwriter, theatrical producer, and television presenter.
1943 – Sam McBratney, prolific Northern Irish teacher and writer, especially of books for children and young adults; he is best known as the author of the bestselling children’s book Guess How Much I Love You.
1946 – Jim Crace, award-winning English author of literary fiction.
1948 – Hamlet Isakhanli, Azerbaijani writer, poet, physicist, mathematician, translator, linguist, lexicographer, television host, and university founder and president.
1949 – Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Egyptian-born writer, scholar, and human-rights activist with expertise in Islamic history, culture, theology, and politics; he was exiled from Egypt for his liberal political, religious, and social views and now has political asylum in the United States.
1952 – Nevada Barr, U.S. author best known for her Anna Pigeon mysteries, set in U.S. National Parks.
1952 – Kim Seung-hee, award-winning South Korean poet, essayist, novelist, and professor; her early work is characterized by a penchant for formalism as well as fierce, unabashed language, while her later poetry has evolved towards the exploration of everyday reality and questions of existence.
1954 – Gerard “Gerry” Conlon, Northern Irish author, writer, screenwriter, and human-rights activist who is one of the Guildford Four who spent 15 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of being an IRA bomber; he described his experience of injustice in his book Proved Innocent.
1955 – Clara Sánchez, award-winning Spanish novelist and university professor.
1957 – Sophie Smiley, British teacher and author of books for children; she is best known for her books about a family that loves football.
1959 – Tonya K. Bolden, award-winning U.S. African-American writer and biographer best known for her works of children’s literature, especially children’s nonfiction.
1966 – Delphine de Vigan, French novelist and screenwriter.
1961 – Elisabeth Bouchaud, award-winning Tunisian physicist, writer, playwright, theatre manager, and actress.
1970 – Joanna Rubin Dranger, Swedish writer, graphic novelist, illustrator, comics artist, and professor.
1972 – Rieko “Rie” Yasumi, Japanese writer and senryū poet (senryū poems are constructed similarly to haiku, but tend to be cynical or darkly humorous, and to focus on human foibles, while haiku tend to be about nature).
1977 – Abigail “Aby” King, British novelist best known as the author of the Adventures of a Royal Dog fantasy series, beginning with the first book in the series, Lupo and The Secret of Windsor Castle; the books are based on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s cocker spaniel, Lupo.
1979 – Dana Goldberg (Hebrew: דנה גולדברג), Israeli poet, filmmaker, screenwriter, and playwright.