1659 – Yamamoto Tsunetomo (also called Yamamoto Jocho), Japanese writer, philosopher, and samurai of the Saga Domain in Hizen Province.
1749 – Louise-Élisabeth de Croÿ de Tourzel (full name Louise Élisabeth Félicité Françoise Armande Anne Marie Jeanne Joséphine de Croÿ de Tourzel), French writer, memoirist, duchess, lady-in-waiting, and courtier who held the title Governess of the Children of France; her memoirs present a unique perspective on the royal family during the French Revolution.
1752 – Gerasim Zelic, Serbian writer, traveler, and Orthodox Church abbot whose chief work is a three-volume work about his travels throughout western Europe, Russia, and Asia Minor and the famous personalities he encountered, including Napoleon, Leopold II, Catherine the Great, Alexander I of Russia, and others; he left behind invaluable original notes on the people, religions, manners, customs, and trade of his era.
1769 – Anne Royall, U.S. writer and newspaper editor who was one of the first professional woman journalists in the United States.
1795 – Apollonius Freiherr von Maltitz, German writer, poet, and diplomat.
1815 – Julia Margaret Cameron (née Pattle), British photographer and author who is considered one of the most important portraitists of the 19th century. She is known for her soft-focus close-ups of famous Victorian men and for illustrative images depicting characters from mythology, Christianity, and literature.
1847 – Millicent Garrett Fawcett, English writer, politician, suffragist, feminist, and educator.
1851 – Mary Augusta Ward (née Arnold), Australian-born British novelist who wrote as Mrs. Humphry Ward.
1854 – Bertha Vyver, Scottish writer and biographer who was best known as the caretaker of Scottish poet Charles Mackay and the companion of writer Marie Corelli; when Corelli died, Vyver became executor of her literary estate and wrote her biography.
1867 – Einar Þorkelsson, Icelandic writer and editor who was one of the founders of an animal-welfare association; his best known work is Ferfætlingar , a collection of animal stories.
1876 – Angela Selina Bianca Forbes (née St Clair-Erskine) British novelist who was best known for organizing soldiers’ canteens in France during the First World War.
1877 – Renée Vivien (born Pauline Mary Tarn), British Symbolist poet who wrote in the French language.
1889 – Anna Andreyevna Gorenko (better known by the pen name Anna Akhmatova), was one of the most significant Soviet Russian poets of the 20th century; she was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in 1965 and received the second-most nominations for the award the following year. Her work ranges from short lyric poems to intricately structured cycles, such as Requiem, her tragic masterpiece about the Stalinist terror.
Her style, characterized by economy and emotional restraint, was strikingly original, and the strong and clear female voice struck a new chord in Russian poetry. Her work was censored by Stalinist authorities.
1894 – Eulalie Spence, award-winning British West Indian-born writer, playwright, teacher, director, and actress who was an influential member of the Harlem Renaissance, writing fourteen plays; she described herself as a “folk dramatist” and received more recognition than other Black playwrights.
1897 – Ram Prasad Bismil, Indian nationalist poet and revolutionary who struggled against British imperialism; he wrote patriotic poetry Hindi and Urdu, using the pen names Ram, Agyat, and Bismil.
1899 – Yasunari Kawabata, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese novelist, best known for Snow Country.
1900 – Kuźma Čorny, Belarusian-born Soviet writer, poet, playwright, journalist, children’s writer, translator, and opinion journalist.
1900 – Leopoldo Marechal, Argentine writer, poet, playwright, and university teacher who is regarded as one of the most important Argentine writers of the 20th century.
1906 – N.P. van Wyk Louw, South African Afrikaans poet, writer, linguist, and university teacher.
1910 – Jacques Cousteau, French oceanographer, filmmaker, author, and conservationist.
1910 – Hu Qiuyuan, Taiwanese-born Chinese writer, historian, academic, and politician.
1920 – Conxita Julià i Farrés (also known as Conxita de Carrasco), Spanish Catalan writer and poet.
1921 – Ib Spang Olsen, Danish writer, children’s author and illustrator, graphic artist, and cartoonist who won the Hans Christian Andersen Medal.
1925 – William Styron, U.S. author who won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
1928 – Felix Krivin, Ukrainian-born Israeli poet, author, screenwriter, humorist, and children’s writer
1932 – Athol Fugard, South African playwright and novelist, known for his opposition to apartheid.
1933 – Gene Wilder (born Jerome Silberman), popular U.S. actor, screenwriter, director, producer, singer-songwriter, and author.
1937 – Hemang Dixit (also known by his pseudonym, Mani Dixit), Nepalese writer, novelist, children’s author, textbook author, pediatrician, and principal of Kathmandu Medical College.
1939 – Christina Crawford, U.S. writer and actress, daughter of actress Joan Crawford, and author of the book Mommie Dearest, which chronicled their abusive relationship.
1943 – Iain Sinclair, Welsh/British writer and filmmaker.
1944 – Marjorie B. Garber, U.S. professor who has authored a variety of books, most notably about William Shakespeare and popular culture.
1945 – Robert Munsch, U.S.-born Canadian children’s author.
1947 – Bill Findlay, Scottish playwright and translator.
1947 – Israel Sham (also known as Jöran Jermas and Adam Ermash), a Siberian-born Swedish/Israeli writer and journalist who comments on Arab/Israeli relations and Jewish culture.
1955 – Duncan Steel, British and Australian scientist and author of popular works on science.