1331 – Gaston Fébus (also spelled Phoebus), French count who was one of the most renowned hunters of his day. His book Livre de chasse (Book of the Hunt), the classic treatise on Medieval hunting, has been described as “one of the most influential texts of its era”; it records different stages of hunting various animals, describes animal behavior, offers advice to less well-off gentry about how to enjoy hunting without bankrupting themselves, and is even sympathetic to the peasant poacher, because he too has the hunting instinct. Fébus was also known as Gaston III, Count of Foix and Viscount of Béarn (as Gaston X).
1523 – Alonso de Góngora Marmolejo, Spanish conquistador, writer, and historian who chronicled the early conquest and settlement of Chile and the start of the Arauco War. His book Historia de Todas las Cosas que han Acaecido en el Reino de Chile y de los Que lo Han Gobernado (History of All the Things that Have happened in the Kingdom of Chile and of Those Who Had Governed It) is significant to historians because it was based on his own personal witnessing of the events and on reports of others who witnessed them, and because of his attempts to show all sides.
1704 – Jean Adam (or Adams), working-class Scottish poet whose best-known work is “There’s Nae Luck Aboot The Hoose,” a tale of a sailor’s wife and the safe return of her husband from the sea, a work admired by national poet Robert Burns; nonetheless, her poems did not sell well, forced her to turn first to teaching and then to domestic labor.
She died penniless in Glasgow’s Town’s Hospital poorhouse at the age of sixty.
1830 – Sardar Ghulam Muhammad Khan Tarzi, Afghan Pashtun poet, scholar, soldier, politician, and military leader.
1850 – Ieronim Ieronimovich Yasinsky, Russian novelist, poet, journalist, literary critic, translator, essayist, and science-fiction author; among the numerous pseudonyms he used were Maxim Belinsky, Nezavisimy (The Independent One), and M. Tchunosov.
1864 – Juhan Liiv, Estonian writer, teacher, and journalist who was also one of Estonia’s greatest poets.
1866 – Augusta Klein (also known, using her mother’s maiden name, as Augusta Kirby), English author and travel writer.
1877 – Alice B. Toklas, U.S.-born member of the early 20th century Parisian avant-garde literary scene and lifelong companion of Gertrude Stein; Stein wrote the mock-memoir The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which became her bestselling book, and thirty years later Toklas wrote her own autobiography, What Is Remembered, which ends abruptly with the death of Stein. She also wrote articles and several cookbooks.
1883 – Annie O’Meara de Vic Beamish, Irish author, playwright, and translator who wrote under the names John Bernard and Noel de Vic Beamish; she also taught English at a Berlitz school in Cannes, and founded several schools of language in Europe. She was a friend of playwright Samuel Beckett and inspired the character “Old Miss McGlone” in his play Krapp’s Last Tape. Beamish was considered a local character, wearing men’s clothing, going by the name Noel, and using a monocle for reading.
1883 – Jaroslav Hašek, Czech novelist, humorist, satirist, journalist, and bohemian; his best known work, the World War I novel The Fate of the Good Soldier Švejk — an unfinished collection of farcical incidents about a soldier, which satirizes the ineptitude of authority figures — has been translated into 60 languages, making it the most translated novel in Czech literature.
1886 – Jadwiga Vuyk (née Jadwiga Reich Rosenblatt), Polish-born Dutch art historian, writer, and art dealer who is known for her publications about the Dutch Masters.
1888 – John Crowe Ransom, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet, educator, scholar, literary critic, essayist, and editor who is considered a founder of the New Criticism school of literary criticism.
1907 – Nadezhda Abramova (also spelled Nadzieya Abramava), Belarusian nationalist writer, doctor, and politician who was the founder of the Union of Belarusian Youth.
1909 – Theresa Wallach, English motorcyclist, adventurer, engineer, mechanic, and author. In 1935, with Florence Blenkiron, another experienced motorcyclist, she rode a 600cc single-cylinder Panther motorcycle from London to Cape Town, South Africa, crossing the Sahara desert, reportedly without a compass; the 13,500-mile journey took nearly eight months; Wallach captured their exploits in her book The Rugged Road. In 2003, she was inaugurated into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
1910 – Sri Sri, Indian poet, author, and lyricist in the Telugu language.
1911 – Clara Kathleen “Kay” Smith, award-winning Canadian poet who published her first poem at the age of 14.
1913 – Edith Fowke, award-winning Canadian folklorist, author, and radio host who is particularly noted for recording folk songs of traditional singers.
1919 – Åke Hodell, Swedish author, poet, book publisher, graphic artist, painter, composer, and fighter pilot.
1920 – Gerda Lerner, Austrian-born U.S. women’s history scholar, writer, poet, screenwriter, playwright, professor, historian, and autobiographer who was one of the founders of the academic field of women’s history.
1926 – Taeko Kono, highly influential Japanese novelist, essayist, playwright, short-story writer, and literary critic whose work often dealt with dark themes, and who was one of Japan’s most important writers of the 20th century and a leading presence in Japan’s literary establishment; her work has been described as “lucidly intelligent,” and she has been called “one of the truly original voices of the twentieth century, beyond questions of gender or even nationality.” She is known to readers in English mostly through the collection of short stories Toddler-Hunting and Other Stories, which draws together some of her best writing from the 1960s.
1926 – Ángel A. Rama, Uruguayan writer, academic, and literary critic who was known for his work on modernismo and for his theorization of the concept of transculturation.
1926 – Alda Neves da Graça do Espírito Santo, São Toméan poet, writer, and politician from (São Tomé and Príncipe is an African island nation close to the equator); she wrote in Portuguese.
1932 – Umar Kayam, Indonesian sociologist, writer, actor, and politician.
1933 – Þorgeir Þorgeirson, Icelandic writer, poet, novelist, essayist, journalist, translator, and filmmaker who in 1987 was found guilty of defaming the Icelandic police in two newspaper articles and fined; he then sued the Icelandic state and achieved an influential ruling found in his favor.
1933 – Karla Erbová (born Fremrová, but she also uses the pseudonym K. Papežová), Czech poet, prose writer, and journalist; many of her writings are historical or mythological in subject matter, often including works on Ancient Greece.
1938 – Yahya Taher Abdullah, award-winning Egyptian novelist and short-story writer; his novella The Collar and the Bracelet was made into a major film. Some sources give his birth year as 1942.
1938 – Larry Niven, U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter, best known for his Ringworld novels, and — with Jerry Pournelle — the novels The Mote in God’s Eye and Lucifer’s Hammer; his work features big science concepts, theoretical physics, and elements of detective fiction and adventure stories. He has been named a Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
1943 – Ly Seppel, Estonian writer, poet, author, and translator.
1945 – Annie Dillard, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of novels, nonfiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and literary criticism; she is best known for her book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
1949 – Nadia Wheatley, Australian writer of novels, children’s books, picture books, biography, and history.
1955 – Jacqueline Winspear, award-winning English author of mystery novels and a memoir; she is best known for her Maisie Dobbs series of books, which explore the aftermath of World War I through the cases of private investigator Dobbs.
1956 – Nguyen Quang Lap, award-winning Vietnamese writer, playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and politician whose political publications led to his arrest in 2014.
1961 – Eva Illouz, award-winning Moroccan-born Israeli author, sociologist, and professor whose research explores the sociology of emotions, of culture, and of capitalism; in 2009, the newspaper Die Zeit chose her as one of the 12 thinkers most likely to “change the thought of tomorrow.”
1964 – Alexandra Gennadievna Petrova, award-winning Russian poet, novelist, and short-story writer.
1971 – John Boyne, Irish author of novels for both adults and younger readers.
1973 – Naomi Novik, Nebula Award-winning U.S. science-fiction and fantasy writer best known for her Temeraire series, an alternate history of the Napoleonic Wars in which dragons are used for aerial combat.
1976 – Aatish Kapadia, Indian television writer, producer, lyricist, and actor.