1585 – Baltasar Elisio de Medinilla, Spanish poet and author who was a friend of the playwright Lope de Vega.
1695 – Christiana Mariana von Ziegler, German poet, writer, salonnière, and librettist; she is best known for the texts of nine Bach cantatas.
1712 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, influential Swiss philosopher, political theorist, writer, and composer known for many wide-ranging works, much of which explore the challenges of preserving human freedom in a world where people are increasingly dependent on one another.
1736 – Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel, French-German writer, poet, playwright, and translator, whose texts were put to music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert; he is also known as Amédée or Théophile Conrad Pfeffel, which is the French translation of Gottlieb (Godlove).
1808 – Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso, Italian writer, journalist, salonnière, and princess who played a key role in Italy’s fight for independence.
1832 – Juan León Mera Martínez, Ecuadorian essayist, novelist, politician, and painter whose best-known works are the Ecuadorian National Hymn and the novel Cumandá.
1837 – Hasan bey Zardabi, Azerbaijani writer, journalist, publicist, and intellectual who founder of the first Azeri-language newspaper, Akinchi (The Ploughman).
1846 – Marie Huot, French poet, writer, feminist, and animal-rights activist who was famous for a number of spectacular activist actions. For example, she interrupted a lecture by Louis Pasteur to protest his use of dogs in animal testing, hit Mauritian scientist Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard over the head with a parasol for having performed a vivisection on a monkey, and helped Swedish anarchist Ivan Aguéli in his attack on two matadors at a French bullfight.
1867 – Luigi Pirandello, Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, poet, novelist, and short-story writer who was best known for his plays.
1869 – Lydia Katarina Wahlström, Swedish historian, author, social reformer, and feminist who was one of the founders of the National Association for Women’s Suffrage.
1872 – Winifred Mary Hunter-Brown Harper, New Zealand author of adventure books for children.
1890 – Vera Inber, Soviet writer, poet, translator, and journalist.
1891 – Esther Forbes, Pulitzer Prize and Newbery Medal-winning U.S. novelist, historian, and children’s writer, best known for her biography of Paul Revere and for the children’s novel Johnny Tremain, set during the American Revolutionary War.
1902 – Philip Peter Ross Nichols, English historian, poet, academic, artist, and neo-Druid who founded the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids and wrote prolifically on Druidism and Celtic mythology.
1909 – Eric Ambler, British author of thrillers, spy novels, and screenplays and is best known for The Mask of Dimitrios (or A Coffin for Dimitrios), which was the basis for several films, including Topkapi and The Pink Panther; he also wrote under the pen name Eliot Reed.
1913 – Marie Joan Lyons Killilea, U.S. author, activist, and lobbyist for the rights of people with cerebral palsy. She wrote a bestselling biography called Karen about her daughter, who had cerebral policy, which increased public awareness of the condition; she went on to write several other books about her daughter. Her work culminated in the formation of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Westchester County and her co-founding of The National United Cerebral Palsy Foundation.
1916 – Virgilio Rodríguez Macal, award-winning Guatemalan writer, novelist, journalist, and diplomat.
1919 – Ion Dezideriu Sîrbu (also known as Ion Desideriu Sârbu), Romanian philosopher, novelist, essayist, dramatist, theater critic, and professor; he spent 6 years as a political prisoner of the Communist regime. his best known work, the novel Adio, Europa! (Goodbye, Europe!), was published posthumously.
1920 – A.E. Hotchner, U.S. novelist, playwright, editor, and biographer who co-founded the company Newman’s Own foods with actor Paul Newman.
1920 – Mohammad Abul Kashem, Indian-born Bengali author, politician, and educator who is generally considered the architect of the Historic Language Movement of Bangladesh.
1922 – Terje Stigen, award-winning Norwegian author, short-story writer, playwright, travel author, and writer of radio plays.
1925 – Lloyd Searwar, Guyanese author, anthologist, diplomat, and supporter of literature and culture in Guyana; his best known publication is the book, They Came in Ships: an Anthology of Indo-Guyanese Writing.
1929 – Kenneth Jinghwa Hsu, Chinese scientist, geologist, paleoclimatologist, oceanographer, government advisor, author, inventor, and entrepreneur.
1931 – Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, Indian Telugu screenwriter, author, songwriter, lyricist, and film producer who was known for his humorous writer and for creating memorable characters.
1934 – Bette Greene (née Evensky), award-winning U.S. author of books for children and young adults; she is best known for Summer of My German Soldier, but was also a journalist and short-story writer.
1936 – Gisela Kraft, German author, poet, and translator whose work has often been called idiosyncratic.
1938 – Yōko Sano, Japanese novelist, translator, and writer and illustrator of children’s picture books.
1948 – Jana Witthedová, Czech writer, poet, and journalist who was given political asylum in Sweden, where she still lives today.
1952 – Ahmet Enis Batur, prolific Turkish poet, essayist, novelist, and editor who is one of the leading figures in contemporary Turkish literature.
1952 – Jean-Christophe Rufin, French physician, historian, diplomat, and novelist who is one of the founders of the relief organization Doctors without Borders.
1956 – Amira Hass, Israeli journalist, columnist, and author.
1956 – Achy Obejas, Cuban-born writer, poet, short-story author, translator, journalist, and novelist who focuses on issues of personal and national identity and frequently writes on her sexuality and nationality.
1959 – Meralda Warren, British poet, writer, politician, artist, and nurse who writes in both English and Pitkern, the Creole language of the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, a British Territory where she lives; she has also published a cookbook of Pitcairn cuisine.
1966 – Åsa Larsson, award-winning Swedish author of crime novels; she is the granddaughter of the Olympic skier Erik August Larsson.
1969 – Aimee Bender, U.S. novelist and short-story writer whose work often features surreal elements; she is best known for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
1970 – Tom Merritt, U.S. journalist, tech writer, podcaster, and science-fiction novelist.
1971 – Sophie Hannah, British crime novelist, children’s writer, and poet.