1583 – Hugo Grotius, Dutch writer, poet, playwright, historian, lawyer, politician, diplomat, theologian, and philosopher who was imprisoned for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped, hidden in a chest of books, and wrote most of his major works in exile in France.
1734 – Eleonore von Grothaus, German poet, writer, and musician.
1778 – William Hazlitt, English writer, drama, literary critic, painter, social commentator, and philosopher.
1817 – Konstantin Aksakov, Russian writer, poet, playwright, linguist, literary and social critic, and philosopher; he is especially remembered for his histories of the ancient Russian social order.
1822 – James Monroe Whitfield, U.S. African-American poet, writer, abolitionist, and political activist.
1826 – Mustafa Celalettin Pasha (born Konstanty Borzecki), Polish writer, cartographer and military officer who was a participant in the Polish and Ottoman uprisings and immigrated to Turkey, converted to Islam, and changed his name; he is considered one of the “fathers of modern Turkish patriotism.”
1826 – Pamelia Sarah Yule (née Vining; also known as Mrs. J. C. Yule), U.S.-born Canadian writer, poet, novelist, religious writer and teacher; she also used several pen names, including Emillia, Xenette, and the initals P.S.V.
1827 – Lew Wallace, U.S. writer, autobiographer, novelist, lawyer, politician, and territorial governor who was a Union general in the American Civil War, but whose most important contribution was as the author of the bestselling historical adventure novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, which has been called “the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century” and was later adapted for stage and film.
1835 – Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster, Scottish novelist, essayist, and author who was noted as a collector of folklore, especially in the Highland county of Sutherland, though she spent much of her life in France.
1835 – Louise Chandler Moulton, U.S. poet, short-story writer, journalist, children’s author, travel writer, and literary critic.
1835 – Henry Villard, German-born U.S. journalist, financier, and railroad president.
1838 – Nicolás Salmerón y Alonso, Spanish writer, politician, university teacher, and philosopher who was Prime Minister of Spain and President of the First Spanish Republic.
1838 – Maria Margaret Pollen (also known as Mrs. John Hungerford Pollen), English writer who specialized in the history of textiles and the decorative arts; her most influential book was Seven Centuries of Lace.
1842 – Marcos Ezequiel Antonio Cabral y Figueredo, Haitian-born Dominican military officer who was a renowned writer and speaker and who became president of the Dominican Republic.
1843 – Ramchandra Bhikaji Gunjikar, Indian Marathi writer, magazine editor, linguist, and literary critic who wrote Mochangad, the first historic novel in Marathi literature; the 1871 book vividly describes life in Maharashtra in the first half of the 17th century.
1847 – Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-born U.S. newspaper publisher; the Pulitzer Prize is named after him.
1854 – Ramón Subercaseaux Vicuña, Chilean writer, painter, politician, and diplomat.
1867 – George William Russell, Irish poet, theosophist, artist, and political activist.
1876 – Avrom Reyzen (Abraham Reisen), influential Belarusian writer, poet, autobiographer, short-story writer, and editor who wrote in Yiddish.
1887 – Pavel Golia, Slovenian writer, poet, playwright, and children’s author.
1890 – George Wallace Bollinger, New Zealand writer, diarist, and soldier.
1890 – Mary Buff, U.S. children’s book author who, with wrote with her illustrator husband Conrad; the two were four-time runners-up for the Caldecott or Newbery medals.
1891 – Hans Rehfisch, German writer, dramatist, screenwriter, short-story writer, and lawyer who was best known as the most famous German playwright of the 1920s. In 1933, he was arrested in Dresden after the premiere of a play that was anti-Nazi; after spending time in a prison camp, he was released on the condition that he never return to Germany, so he escaped first to Vienna and then to London. He also published works under the pseudonyms H.G. Tennyson Holmes, René Kestner, Sydney Phillips, Georg Turner-Krebs, José Rehfisch, and Georg Turner.
1892 – Nils Hasselskog, Swedish poet, writer, humorist, and teacher who created the parody language Transpiranto.
1896 – Julio Jiménez Rueda, Mexican writer, playwright, author, lawyer, educator, philosopher, and diplomat.
1899 – Ewa Szelburg-Zarembina, prolific Polish novelist, poet, children’s author, short-story writer, screenplay writer, and philanthropist who was instrumental in raising money to found a pediatric medical center, but was best known as the author of numerous works for children.
1901 – Consuelo de Saint Exupéry (officially Consuelo Suncín, comtesse de Saint Exupéry), Salvadoran and French writer, memoirist, and artist who married French writer and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who probably based on her the character of The Rose in his book, The Little Prince, the prince’s petulant, vain, but fragile “flower,” whom he protects under glass.
1903 – Clare Boothe Luce (born Ann Clare Boothe), U.S. playwright, author, short-story writer, essayist, journalist, war correspondent, U.S. Congresswoman, U.S. Ambassador to Italy, and managing editor of Vanity Fair magazine; she was famous for her acid wit, and coined such often-quoted lines as “No good deed goes unpunished.” She was also the first female winner of the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1903 – Clare Turlay Newberry, U.S. children’s book author of four Caldecott Honor books.
1905 – Norma Lochlenah Davis, Australian poet who wrote under a variety of pseudonyms; her house in Perth, Tasmania, is now the Jolly Farmer Inn.
1906 – Kathleen Major, British historian, researcher, author, and educator who specialized in Medieval cathedrals.
1910 – Margaret Clapp, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. scholar, author, and biographer.
1910 – Omar Abu-Riche, influential Syrian poet, writer, librarian, and diplomat who was known for his pioneering poetry.
1912 – Jeanine Moulin (née Jeanine Rozenblat), Belgian poet, editor, literary scholar, and researcher; critics have praised her work for its strong imagery, including one critic who said, “words are little colorful balls the poet can juggle with.”
1914 – Maria Banuș, Romanian poet, essayist, writer, diarist, anthologist, translator, and anti-fascist activist.
1914 – Nyo Mya (real name Maung Thein Tin), Burmese novelist, poet, essayist, editor, lecturer, journalist, and politician; he also wrote news news articles under the pen name Bonkyi Kyaungtha Maung Thumāna.
1922 – Vesna Parun, Croatian writer, poet, children’s author, illustrator, and translator who has written romantic lyrical poetry as well as erotic poetry and satiric verses directed at politics.
1924 – Jónas Kristjánsson, Icelandic scholar and novelist; as director of the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, he played a crucial role in the return of important Icelandic manuscripts to Iceland from Denmark.
1925 – Mongush Borakhovitch Kenin-Lopsan, Russian writer, poet, historian, archaeologist, and shamanism researcher.
1928 – Seydou Badian Kouyaté, award-winning Malian writer, novelist, and politician who is best known for writing the lyrics to the Malian national anthem, “Le Mali.”
1933 – Park Jaesam (박재삼), Korean poet, journalist, and editor whose poetry “expressed the eternal and delicate beauty of nature and the hidden dignity of humble human daily life through the medium of traditional Korean lyrics.”
1934 – David Halberstam, U.S. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose nonfiction featured politics and sports.
1934 – Richard Peck, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. young-adult novelist; after leaving a job teaching junior-high English, he began writing, and wrote 41 books over the next 41 years.
1937 – Bella Akhmadulina, Soviet and Russian poet, short-story writer, screenwriter, translator, and actress who was part of the Russian New Wave literary movement; poet and essayist Joseph Brodsky called her the best living poet in the Russian language.
1939 – Claudio Magris, Italian scholar, translator, and writer who was popular in much of Europe.
1939 – Penny Vincenzi, bestselling British novelist and short-story writer whose books include Old Sins and Wicked Pleasures.
1940 – Clark Blaise, Canadian/U.S. author, professor, essayist, and short-story writer; he is married to novelist Bharati Mukherjee.
1941 – Paul Theroux, U.S. travel writer and novelist; some of his works of fiction have been adapted as feature films.
1941 – Martin Waddell, Hans Christian Andersen Medal-winning Northern Irish author who is best known as a writer of picture books that feature anthropomorphic animals, especially the Little Bear series; he also writes under the pen name Catherine Sefton, for older children, primarily ghost stories and mystery fiction.
1947 – David Adler, U.S. author of children’s and young-adult books, most notably the Cam Jansen series.
1947 – Mirela Roznoveanu, Romanian novelist, poet, essayist, literary critic, columnist, nonfiction author, and journalist who was part of the dissident group of journalists who took over the Romania libera newspaper from the Communist government, making it the first independent and anti-communist newspaper in Romania.
1953 – Pamela Wallin, Canadian journalist, politician, diplomat, and autobiographer.
1954 – Anne Lamott, U.S. novelist, nonfiction writer, essayist, memoirist, and political activist.
1957 – John Michael Ford, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy writer and poet.
1962 – Dani Shapiro, novelist, memoirist, and magazine writer.
1963 – Peter Morgan, British playwright and screenwriter.
1966 – Chido Onumah, Nigerian journalist, author, and rights activist; he was once arrested and detained by Nigeria’s State Security Services on his arrival from Spain for wearing a T-shirt with the inscription, “We Are All Biafrans.”
1970 – Micheline Maylor, award-winning Canadian poet, academic, critic, anthologist, and editor.
1972 – Kojo Baffoe (full name Frank Kojo Baffoe, Jr.), German-born South African writer, poet, blogger, media consultant, columnist, journalist, and editor.