1479 – Giglio Gregorio Giraldi, Italian scholar and poet; his Historia de deis gentium marked a step forward in the systematic study of classical mythology; other writings of his helped to bring about the reform of the calendar.
1796 – Mathilda Valeria Beatrix d’Orozco, Swedish poet, writer, composer, singer, salonist, actress, and harpsichordist. (By marriage, she also used the surnames Cenami, Montgomery-Cederhjelm, and Gyllenhaal.)
1804 – František Sušil, Czech poet, writer, translator, linguist, musicologist, collector of regional songs, theologist, and Roman Catholic priest who is most noted for his published collection of traditional Moravian folk music.
1811 – Harriet Beecher Stowe, U.S. abolitionist, writer, novelist, and memoirist who is best known for the bestselling novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which shined a light on the harsh conditions experienced by enslaved African Americans” and galvanized support in the North for abolishing slavery. When she met President Lincoln in 1862, he reportedly greeted her, “so you are the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”
1825 – Mary Elizabeth Beauchamp (pen names Filia Ecclesia and M.E. Beauchamp), British-born writer, poet, and teacher. She wrote about the Haudenosaunee, an Iroquoian-speaking confederacy of First Nations peoples, as well as Handbook of Wells Cathedral, a variety of short stories, religious works, and a series of papers collected in one volume as The Emigrant’s Quest.
1837 – Isabella Harwood, British writer, novelist, and playwright who wrote dramas in blank verse.
1850 – Eliza Margaret Jane Humphreys (born Gollan), prolific Scottish novelist, short-story writer, and autobiographer who wrote under the pen names Rita and E. Jayne Gilbert.
1890 – Elizaveta Polonskaya, Polish Soviet writer, physician, poet, translator, journalist, and linguist.
1899 – George Călinescu, Romanian writer, academic, historian, biographer, journalist, literary critic, and literary historian.
1899 – Yasunari Kawabata, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese novelist and short-story writer.
1904 – Margaret Bourke-White, U.S. photographer, documentary photographer, and autobiographer.
1908 – Kathleen Raine, British poet, literary critic, and translator who often wrote about literary figures William Blake, W.B. Yeats, and Thomas Taylor; she was also known for her interest in various forms of spirituality, most prominently Platonism and Neoplatonism.
1911 – Irene Brin (born Maria Victoria Rossi), Italian fashion journalist, writer, and art dealer.
1917 – Maeve Patricia Mary Theresa Gilmore, British painter, sculptor, and writer.
1918 – T.M. Aluko (full name Timothy Mofolorunso Aluko), Nigerian novelist, autobiographer, and engineer whose books are satirical in tone and deal with the clash of new and old values in a changing Africa.
1917 – Lise Nørgaard, Danish author, screenwriter, autobiographer, and journalist.
1920 – Acharya Shri Mahapragya (or Mahāprajña), Indian author, orator, poet, philosopher, yogi, and spiritual leader.
1923 – Anne Judith Kerr, German-born British writer and illustrator of children’s picture books and teen novels.
1925 – Dalton Jérson Trevisan, award-winning Brazilian short-story writer who has been described as an “acclaimed short-story chronicler of lower-class mores and popular dramas”; his concise and refined tales have been called “Haikus in prose” and often are based on dialogue and underline the torturing and absurd aspects of everyday life.
1928 – Che Guevara, Argentine Marxist revolutionary, physician, guerrilla leader, diplomat, and military strategist who chronicled his travels in a memoir.
1928 – Janice May Udry, U.S. author of children’s books.
1929 – Lensey Chao Namioka, Chinese-born mathematician and writer of children’s books.
1933 – Jerzy Kosiński (born Józef Lewinkopf), bestselling, controversial National Book Award-winning Polish-born U.S. novelist; he was Jewish, but his family survived the Holocaust with the help of local Catholic priest who forged fake baptismal certificates. Some of Kosiński’s most famous work was inspired by the war, especially his harrowing novel, The Painted Bird. Critic Jonathan Yardley said, “Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosiński’s The Painted Bird. A magnificent work of art, and a celebration of the individual will. No one who reads it will forget it; no one who reads it will be unmoved by it.”
1935 – Kirsten Sødal, Norwegian author and children’s writer.
1936 – Rut Irmelin Sandman Lilius, Swedish-speaking Finnish writer who has written picture books and novels for children as well as poetry, books for adults, autobiography, reviews, and translations.
1939 – Penelope Farmer, British author known especially for her children’s fantasy novels; her best known books is Charlotte Sometimes, a boarding-school story that features a multiple time slip.
1939 – Peter Mayle, British author best known for his semi-autobiographical novels about living in Provence.
1939 – Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Spanish writer, poet, politician, professor, journalist, and restaurateur.
1941 – John Edgar Wideman, award-winning U.S. African-American author of novels, memoirs, short stories, essays, and other works; among the most critically acclaimed American writers of his generation, he was the first person to win the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction twice. His writing is known for experimental techniques and a focus on the African-American experience.
1942 – Mila Haugová, Slovak poet and editor who also wrote under the name Mila Srnková.
1943 – Dorete Bloch (also known as Dorete Bloch Danielsen), Faroese Danish writer, biologist, zoologist, and museum director who wrote numerous books on the animals and plants of the Faroe Islands.
1945 – Joan Silber, U.S. novelist and short-story writer.
1947 – Kat Martin, U.S. romance novelist who also writes under the pen names Kathy Lawrence and Kasey Marx.
1948 – Laurence Yep, Newbery Award-winning Chinese-American U.S. author of novels for children and teens.
1949 – Harry Turtledove, U.S. novelist known for his historical fiction, alternate history, science fiction, and fantasy.
1953 – Lieve Joris, Belgian journalist and nonfiction author who writes about the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa.
1957 – Zhang Da-chun, prolific Taiwanese author and literary critic.
1957 – Mona Simpson, U.S. novelist and PEN/Faulkner Award finalist who first met her brother, the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, when she was 25 years old.
1971 – Kathrin Röggla, award-winning Austrian author, playwright, essayist, and translator.
1972 – Adrian Tchaikovsky (also spelled Czajkowski), British fantasy and science-fiction author.
1978 – Diablo Cody, U.S. author and Oscar-winning screenwriter.
1984 – Cielo Latini, Argentine writer best known for Abzurdah, an autobiography she wrote as a teenager detailed her struggles with anorexia and bulimia.