1593 – George Herbert, Welsh poet, orator, and priest who was a key figure in devotional lyrics; he is also associated with metaphysical poetry.
1756 – Carl Gustaf af Leopold, Swedish poet, writer, librarian, and translator.
1758 – Manuel del Socorro Rodríguez, Cuban writer, journalist, essayist, poet, and librarian who is considered he founder of journalism in Colombia.
1772 – Olivia Serres (known as Olive), British novelist, poet, biographer, and painter who deceptively tried to pass herself off as royalty, claiming to be Princess Olive of Cumberland.
1776 – Mary Anne Clarke, English diarist, memoirist, writer, and salonnière who was best known as the mistress of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany; she was an ancestor of author Daphne du Maurier, who wrote the novel Mary Anne about her life.
1783 – Washington Irving, influential U.S. author, essayist, biographer, historian, and diplomat, best known for his short stories, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle.”
1807 – Mary Carpenter, British philanthropist, educator, author, social reformer, and founder of free schools for poor children, the “ragged schools,” including schools for Hindu girls; she wrote pamphlets and books on ragged schools, reformatories, juvenile delinquency, and Indian social reform, which led to legislation and increased awareness about reformatories and industrial schools.
1815 – Clotilde de Vaux (born Clotilde Marie), French writer, poet, and short-story author who inspired the French philosopher Auguste Comte’s Religion of Humanity.
1817 – Mathilde Franziska Anneke, German writer, politician, journalist, educator, revolutionary socialist, and activist for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery.
1822 – Augusta Elizabeth Frederica Stanley, British writer and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria; her letters were published in Letters of Lady Augusta Stanley: A Young Lady at Court 1849-1863.
1832 – Marie Calm, German novelist, nonfiction author, poet, educator, feminist, and advocate for women’s suffrage.
1837 – John Burroughs, U.S. naturalist and essayist; a key figure in the U.S. conservation movement.
1856 – Narcisa Amália de Oliveira Campos, Brazilian poet, journalist, and women’s rights activist.
1871 – José Juan Tablada, Mexican poet, writer, journalist, art critic, and diplomat who was a pioneer of oriental studies and champion of Mexican art; as a poet, he was known for both his haiku and his avant-garde experimentalism.
1876 – Rachel Annand Taylor, Scottish poet, biographer, and literary critic who was prominent in the Celtic Revival.
1877 – Simone Le Bargy, French writer, novelist, memoirist, salonnière, and actress who was better known by her pen name and stage name, Madame Simone.
1878 – Hiraide Shu, Japanese novelist, poet, and lawyer who was one of the founding members of the literary journal Subaru; as a lawyer, he received widespread fame for his defense of anarchist author Ōsugi Sakae and feminist poet Yosano Akiko.
1878 – Manuel de Jesús María Ulpiano Troncoso de la Concha, Dominican author, editor, professor, intellectual, and law school dean who was President and Vice-President of the Dominican Republic and who wrote books on Dominican history and law.
1879 – Agha Hashar Kashmiri, Urdu Indian poet, writer, and playwright; several of his plays were Indian Shakespearean adaptations.
1879 – Takashi Nagatsuka, Japanese writer, poet, literary critic, novelist, and tanka poet.
1880 – Otto Weininger, Austrian philosopher and author (now widely considered misogynistic and antisemitic); he fatally shot himself in the chest at the age of 23 in the same room where Beethoven died.
1882 – Dwarkanath Madhav Pitale (pen name Nath Madhav), Indian Marathi author who wrote historical and social novels, the latter dealing with encouragement of women’s education and remarriages of widows, condemnation of the abhorrent practice of arranged marriages of children with adults, and similar social issues of his times.
1883 – Ikki Kita, Japanese author, intellectual, Esperantist, and political philosopher who was a harsh critic of the Emperor system and the Meiji Constitution, asserting that the Japanese were not the emperor’s people, rather the Emperor was the “people’s emperor.”
1884 – Akke Kumlien, Swedish author, artist, calligrapher, typographer, graphic designer, and type designer who wrote the book Bokstav och ande (The Letter and the Spirit).
1886 – Nikolay Gumilyov, Russian writer, poet, translator, literary critic, explorer, military officer, and africanist.
1894 – Dora Black Russell, British countess who was an author, feminist, and birth-control activist; she married author and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
1898 – Henry Luce, U.S. journalist, editor, and magazine magnate; the founder of Time, Life, and Fortune magazines, he has been called “the most influential private citizen in the America of his day.”
1900 – Anica Černej, Slovenian author, poet, and teacher who in was arrested with many other academics by German occupying armed forces and died in a concentration camp.
1912 – Dorothy Enid Eden, New Zealand novelist, short-story writer, and magazine writer who is best known for her writings in the historical, suspense, and Gothic genres.
1916 – Herb Caen, U.S. San Francisco-based journalist and columnist for almost 60 years.
1918 – Park Nam-su, South Korean poet who eschewed the lyrical naturalism that was in vogue and instead pioneered poetry that celebrated and explored mundane reality and common human experiences; his post-war poetry, such as Sea Gull Sketches (Galmaegi somyo), acutely depicted the toll that warfare wreaked upon the daily lives of ordinary citizens, especially the lingering hardships refugees faced.
1923 – Galo René Pérez, Ecuadorian writer, poet, literary critic, biographer, college teacher, and government minister.
1924 – Roza Georgiyevna Shanina, highly decorated Soviet sniper and diarist during World War II who was credited with 59 confirmed kills and was praised for her shooting accuracy; she was called “the unseen terror of East Prussia.” She was killed in action during the East Prussian Offensive while shielding the severely wounded commander of an artillery unit; her combat diary was first published in 1965. (Some sources give her patronymic as Yegorovna.)
1924 – Ada Škerl, Slovenian poet, writer, children’s author, and translator.
1928 – Cheikh Hamidou Kane, Senegalese writer best known for his award-winning novel L’Aventure ambiguë (Ambiguous Adventure), about the interactions of western and African cultures, centered on a Fulani boy who goes to study in France, where he loses touch with his Islamic faith and his Senegalese roots.
1928 – Jennifer Paterson, British celebrity chef, food columnist, cookbook author; with Clarissa Dickson Wright, she is one of television’s “Two Fat Ladies.”
1928 – Laila Samad, Bangladeshi journalist, writer, and actress.
1934 – Jane Goodall, British primatologist, anthropologist, author, and animal-rights activist; the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, she is the only human ever known to be accepted in chimpanzee society.
1935 – Harold Kushner, U.S. rabbi and bestselling nonfiction author.
1936 – Nader Ebrahimi, Iranian novelist, screenwriter, writer, playwright, translator, songwriter, journalist, photographer, and film director; he is best known for his fiction writing.
1936 – Reginald Hill, award-winning British crime writer who is best known for his crime novels about Dalziel and Pascoe, which were adapted for BBC television.
1943 – Carlos Alberto Montaner, Cuban novelist, nonfiction author, columnist, and journalist; some of his books are devoted to explaining the true nature of the Cuban dictatorship, including his book, Journey To The Heart of Cuba.
1946 – Lil Milagro Ramírez, Salvadoran poet and revolutionary leader who was a founding member of the first guerrilla organizations that would come together to form the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN); she was captured by agents of the National Guard in 1976 and was considered “disappeared” until she was murdered in 1979, after being tortured for three years.
1947 – Srikrishna Alanahalli, Indian novelist and poet, most of whose works are written in the Kannada language; all of his novels were adapted into films.
1948 – Arlette Cousture, bestselling Canadian writer of historical fiction in French whose books and stories often depict the lives of women in Quebec; some of her books and stories have been adapted for television.
1948 – Monique LaRue, Quebecois Canadian writer, literary critic, novelist, and educator.
1949 – Grace Kujur, Indian Adivasi poet, playwright, comedy writer, and radio writer.
1950 – Ahmet Abakay, Turkish journalist, author, and biographer.
1950 – Marguerite Poland, award-winning South African writer, nonfiction author, novelist, children’s author, social worker, and ethnologist who is an expert in Zulu folklore but is best known as the author of children’s books.
1952 – Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Iranian author, film director, and legal anthropologist who specializes in Islamic law, gender, family, and development.
1953 – Sandra Keith Boynton, award-winning, bestselling American humorist, writer, children’s author, illustrator, songwriter, director, and music producer who has written and illustrated more than fifty books for both children and adults, as well as greeting cards, music albums, calendars, bedding, stationery, clothing, and plush toys, many of them featuring her signature whimsical animal drawings and clever rhymes.
1957 – Unni Lindell, Norwegian novelist, poet, and children’s book writer.
1958 – Vanna Bonta, Italian-born U.S. science-fiction novelist, poet, and actress; she invented a spacesuit that was tested in zero-gravity on the History Channel; a haiku she wrote is on a NASA spacecraft headed to Mars.
1958 – Bia Corrêa do Lago (real name Maria Beatriz Fonseca Corrêa do Lago), award-winning Brazilian writer, journalist, art historian, author, researcher, screenwriter, and television presenter.
1959 – Hanne Bramness, award-winning Norwegian poet, writer, translator, editor, children’s writer, and publisher.
1960 – Yu Hua, Chinese novelist, essayist, and short-story writer associated with the avant-garde and Post New Wave movements regarded as a champion of Chinese meta-fictional or postmodernist writing.
1968 – Ričardas Šileika, Lithuanian writer, poet, essayist, and photographer.
1974 – Miled Faiza (Arabic: ميلاد فايزه), Tunisian-born writer, poet, editor, and translator.