1402 – Ichijo Kaneyoshi (also known as Ichijo Kanera), writer, kugyo (Japanese court noble), regent, and renowned scholar who was known for owning one of the finest libraries of his time”; his best known book was Bummei itto-ki (On the Unity of Knowledge and Culture), which deals with political ethics and the duties of a prince.
1757 – Georgiana Cavendish (Duchess of Devonshire), English writer, novelist, political organizer, activist, socialite, style icon; she was the great-great-great-grand aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and has often been compared to her.
1807 – Tómas Sæmundsson, Icelandic writer and priest who was one of the Fjölnismenn, a group of Icelandic intellectuals who spearheaded the revival of Icelandic national consciousness and gave rise to the Icelandic Independence Movement.
1812 – Antonio Bachiller y Morales, Cuban lawyer, historian, and bibliographer who is known as the father of Cuban bibliography.
1825 – Richard Dodderidge Blackmore, English poet novelist of the Romantic school, best known for the book Lorna Doone; he was often referred to as “the Last Victorian.”
1954 – Grada Hermina Marius (G.H. Marius), Dutch writer, painter, art critic, biographer, translator, and children’s writer; she trained under the Dutch artist and teacher August Allebé.
1879 – Knud Rasmussen, Danish anthropologist, author, ethnologist, and polar explorer who was the first European to cross the Northwest Passage via dog sled.
1899 – Elizabeth Bowen, Irish novelist and short-story writer, best remembered for her fiction about wartime London.
1904 – Adolf Leo Oppenheim, Austrian writer, historian, Assyriologist, professor, and editor who was an expert in ancient Mesopotamia; he was editor-in-charge of the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute. It was said that he could read more cuneiform than any other living person.
1907 – Mascha Kaléko (born Golda Malka Aufen), award-winning German-language poet born in what is now Poland; after the Nazis began to censor her poetry in the 1930s, she moved to the United States and eventually to Israel.
1909 – Roberto Gavaldón, award-winning Mexican screenwriter and film director.
1914 – Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (popularly known as K.A. Abbas), award-winning Indian film director, screenwriter, novelist, autobiographer, journalist, and columnist who wrote in Urdu, Hindi, and English; he is considered one of the pioneers of Indian neo-realistic cinema and is credited with opening up the overseas market for Indian films in the Soviet Union.
1917 – Gwendolyn Brooks, influential Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. African-American poet, author, and teacher who was U.S. Poet Laureate; her work often dealt with the personal celebrations and struggles of ordinary people. She won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, making her the first African-American to receive a Pulitzer.
1931 – Okot p’Bitek, Ugandan poet, writer, and university teacher who achieved international recognition with his breakthrough work, Song of Lawino, a long poem dealing with the tribulations of a rural African wife whose husband has taken up urban life and wishes everything to be westernized; he originally wrote it in the Acholi language and self-translated it into English.
1933- Elizabeth Irene Cullinan, acclaimed U.S. short-story writer and novelist who was known for her fiction about Irish-Americans; many of her stories were published in The New Yorker.
1933 – Noémia Delgado, Portuguese screenwriter, film editor, and director.
1933 – Slobodan Selenic, Serbian writer, literary critic, playwright, and university professor.
1935 – Harry Crews, U.S. novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist, known for his Southern Gothic literature.
1938 – Laila Hirvisaari (also known as Laila Hietamies), bestselling, award-winning Finnish novelist, playwright, and short-story writer.
1938 – Gu Long (pen name for Xiong Yaohua), Hong Kong-born Taiwanese novelist, screenwriter, and film director who started his own studio to produce film adaptations of his works.
1941 – Nína Björk Árnadóttir, Icelandic playwright, poet, and novelist.
1941 – Georgess McHargue, U.S. author, poet, and editor who was best known for her fiction for children, but who also wrote nonfiction, most notably about history, archaeology, mythology, and paranormal studies.
1943 – Barbara Watson Andaya, Australian author, historian, and professor who specializes in Indonesia and Maritime Southeast Asia, with an interest in women’s history in the region.
1943 – Nikki Giovanni, influential U.S. poet, writer, professor, commentator, children’s book author, and Civil Rights activist; she was one of the foremost authors of the Black Arts Movement.
1947 – T.J. MacGregor (real name Patricia Janeshutz MacGregor), Venezuelan-born U.S. mystery novelist, astrologer, and nonfiction writer who has also written books under the pseudonyms Alison Drake, Tish Janeshutz, and Trish MacGregor.
1952 – Orhan Pamuk, bestselling Nobel Prize-winning Turkish novelist. and professor.
1954 – Louise Erdrich, award-winning U.S. author of novels, poetry, short stories, and children’s books, generally featuring Native American characters; she is also known as a nonfiction writer and a bookseller. She is an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, a federally recognized tribe of the Anishinaabe (also known as Ojibwa and Chippewa). She was married to novelist and professor Michael Dorris.
1957 – Fred Vargas (pseudonym for Frédérique Audoin-Rouzeau), award-winning French writer, historian, archaeologist, and novelist; she was especially known for her crime novels.
1959 – Mohsen Kadivar, Iranian author, philosopher, intellectual reformist, and professor of Islamic Studies.
1964 – Ayman Zohry, Egyptian demographer, geographer, author, and professor who is an expert on human migration.
1972 – Kim Hyun-seok, South Korean screenwriter, film director, and actor.
1974 – Bear Grylls, British television personality and author of memoirs and survival guides.
1974 – Jan Roar Leikvoll, award-winning Norwegian novelist.
1976 – Atwar Bahjat, popular Iraqi journalist and television correspondent; she was posthumously awarded the International Press Freedom Award after she and two colleagues were hunted down and murdered in 2006 while covering a story.