1236 – Wen Tianxiang, Chinese poet and politician who is a popular symbol of patriotism and righteousness in China.
1539 – Catherine Vasa, Swedish writer, poet, and Princess who was also Regent of East Frisia.
1606 – Pierre Corneille, French playwright who has been called the father of French tragedy; he also wrote many comedies.
1646 – Hortense Mancini (Duchesse de Mazarin), Italian-born French writer who was the fourth of the five famous Mancini sisters, who, along with two of their female Martinozzi cousins, were known at the court of King Louis XIV of France as the Mazarinettes; Hortense was one of the first French women to put her memoirs into print.
1799 – Alexander Pushkin, Russian playwright, Romantic poet, writer, historian, translator, literary critic, children’s writer, novelist, librettist, prosaist, opinion journalist, and book collector who is considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet ever and the founder of modern Russian literature.
1826 – Sarah Parker Remond, U.S. African-American lecturer, autobiographer, physician, and international activist for abolition and for women’s rights; she was born a free woman, made her first public speech against the institution of slavery when she was 16 years old and toured with her brother, Charles Lenox Remond, who was also a well-known orator. At the age of 42, she moved permanently to Italy, where she began attended medical school and became a physician.
1828 – Milica Stojadinovic-Srpkinja, Serbian writer, poet, and diarist whose work was largely forgotten under Communist rule, as an unacceptable expression of Serbian patriotism. Later, awareness of her work was revived, and she is now considered one of the greatest Serbian poets of the 19th century.
1841 – Eliza Orzeszkowa, Polish novelist who was a leading writer of the Positivism movement during the Partitions of Poland (three partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth toward the end of the 18th century that eliminated sovereign Poland and Lithuania for 123 years).
1875 – Thomas Mann, Nobel Prize-winning German novelist, short-story writer, and social critic.
1888 – Ichiko Kamichika, Japanese journalist, feminist, writer, translator, and critic who served in the Japanese House of Representatives; her pen names included Ei, Yo, and Ou Sakaki.
1890 – Dorothy Heyward (née Kuhns), U.S. playwright who wrote several works of her own and coauthored the play Porgy with her husband DuBose Heyward, adapting it from his novel by the same name. Their work is now known best in its adaptation as the opera Porgy and Bess, with music by George Gershwin.
1890 – Leo Vaz, Brazilian satirical novelist, short-story writer, teacher, and journalist.
1891 – Maasthi Venkatesha Iyengar, well-known, award-winning Indian short-story writer in the Kannada language; he was popularly referred to as Maasti Kannadada Aasti, which means “Maasti, Kannada’s Treasure,” but wrote under the pen name Srinivasa.
1892 – Will James, Newbery Medal-winning French-Canadian artist and writer of the American West; he is known for writing Smoky the Cowhorse and numerous cowboy stories for adults and children.
1894 – Violet Trefusis (née Keppel), English novelist, nonfiction author, and diarist who wrote in both English and French; she was the inspiration for Lady Montdore in Nancy Mitford’s book Love in a Cold Climate and for Muriel in Harold Acton’s The Soul’s Gymnasium, and her longtime affair with the poet Vita Sackville-West was featured in novels by both women and in Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando: A Biography.
1897 – Vicente Rama, Filipino writer, poet, journalist, publisher, and politician; he is considered the father of Cebu City.
1898 – Ninette de Valois (born Edris Stannus), Irish-born British dancer, teacher, choreographer, author, memoirist, and director of classical ballet; most notably, she danced professionally with Serge Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, and established the Royal Ballet, one of the leading ballet companies in the world. She also founded the Royal Ballet School and the touring company that became the Birmingham Royal Ballet. She wrote her memoirs as well as books about ballet, and is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of ballet and as the Godmother of English and Irish Ballet.
1901 – Jan Struther (real name Joyce Anstruther), English writer who is best remembered for her character Mrs. Miniver, whom she initially created in columns she wrote for The Times, and then included in a book. The character was the basis for the Oscar-winning World War II homefront film Mrs. Miniver. Struther also lectured, wrote hymns for children, and was a frequent guest panelist on the popular American radio quiz show Information Please.
1905 – Óndra Lysohorsky (pseudonym of Ervín Goj), Czech poet of Silesian origin and awareness who is known for his works written in the Lach language (an intermediate dialect between Czech and Polish) which he is credited with systematizing and practically creating as a literary language. He also wrote in German.
1906 – Gopal Mittal, Indian Urdu poet, writer, critic, and journalist.
1909 – Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher, political theorist, educator, and essayist.
1909 – Sophie Deroisin (real name Marie de Romrée de Vichenet), award-winning Belgian writer.
1911 – Nihar Ranjan Gupta, popular Indian Bengali novelist and dermatologist who created the fictional detective character Kiriti Roy; some of his writings were made into films in Bengal and Bollywood.
1913 – Yechiel Granatstein, Polish-born Jewish author and writer in Yiddish and Hebrew who was a partisan fighter in World War II and a Jewish refugee activist.
1918 – Mariana Sansón Argüello, Nicaraguan writer who was one of the foremost poets in the history of Nicaragua; she created a personal and metaphysical poetry that is recognized as a type of Hispanic American surrealism.
1923 – V.C. Andrews, bestselling U.S. author whose works, including the wildly popular novel, Flowers in the Attic, often combined Gothic horror, family secrets, and forbidden love.
1925 – Pieter Goemans, Dutch writer, composer, and songwriter.
1925 – Maxine Kumin, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and author who was U.S. Poet Laureate.
1926 – Wieslaw Adam Berger, Polish short-story writer and electrician who is connected with the Zaolzie region of Cieszyn Silesia; he often called for Polish and Czech cooperation, and also used French themes in his works.
1927 – Peter Spier, Dutch-born U.S. author and illustrator of more than 30 children’s books; he was a Caldecott Medal winner and a National Book Award finalist.
1929 – Nader Naderpour, Iranian poet who is considered the Father of New Persian Poetry.
1932 – Elisa Lerner Nagler, National Book Award-winning Venezuelan playwright and essayist.
1934 – Taichi Yamada, Japanese screenwriter, writer, novelist and screenwriter whose real name is Taichi Ishizaka.
1941 – William Folorunso Kumuyi, Nigerian author, academic, and clergyman.
1948 – Illène Pevec, Brazilian author, journalist, children’s activist, and educator who works in developing youth gardens at schools and community centers.
1954 – Cynthia Rylant, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author, poet, nonfiction writer, autobiographer, illustrator, and librarian; many of her books deal with the joys and hardships of family life, with animals and the outdoors, especially in the Appalachian region.
1955 – Rauno Esa Nieminen, Finnish writer, book author, researcher, university teacher, guitar maker, musician, and musicologist.
1964 – Yoram Hazony, Israeli philosopher, author, translator, journalist, and opinion journalist.
1970 – Sarah Dessen, award-winning U.S. author of young-adult and women’s fiction.
1973 – Patrick Rothfuss, U.S. author of epic fantasy books, game writer, and podcaster.
1983 – Guo Jingming (also known as Edward Guo), bestselling Chinese novelist, writer, film director, children’s author, and businessperson;
1987 – Akwaeke Emezi, award-winning Nigerian novelist and short-story writer.