1803 – George Henry Borrow, English writer of novels and travel books based on his personal experiences in Europe; during his travels, he had developed a close affinity with the Romani people of Europe, and he featured them prominently in his work.
1857 – Clara Zetkin, German Marxist writer, theorist, communist activist, and advocate for women’s rights who was an organizer of the first International Women’s Day.
1879 – Wanda Aleksandra Landowska, Polish and French harpsichordist and pianist whose writings, teaching, performances, and recordings played a large role in reviving the popularity of the harpsichord in the early 20th century; she was also the first person to record Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations on the harpsichord.
1885 – Rose Lindsay (née Rosa Soady), Australian author, printmaker, and artist’s model.
1888 – Louise Freeland Jenkins, U.S. astronomer, researcher, writer, and educator who compiled a catalogue of stars within 10 parsecs of the sun, as well as editing the 3rd edition of the Yale Bright Star Catalogue and co-editing the Astronomical Journal; the crater Jenkins on the Moon is named after her.
1889 – Jean Cocteau, French poet, novelist, and playwright, best known for his films; Les Enfant terribles is his most famous novel.
1894 – Margarita Nelken, Spanish writer, art critic, and politician who was a well-known intellectual and a central figure in the earliest Spanish women’s movement of the 1930s.
1899 – Anna Arnold Hedgeman, U.S. African-American writer, civil rights leader, politician, and educator who was executive director of Harry Truman’s 1948 presidential campaign; she was a major advocate for minorities and the poor in New York City.
1901 – Kaijin Akashi (pen name of Shotaro Noda), Japanese poet whose writing was inspired by his diagnosis of leprosy and confinement to a leper colony.
1901 – Len Lye, New Zealand writer, poet, artist, film maker, and film producer, best known for his experimental films and kinetic sculpture.
1920 – Hwang Hye-seong, award-winning Korean food writer, professor, and researcher of Korean royal court cuisine.
1921 – Ioannis (Nanos) Valaoritis, bestselling Greek poet, novelist, and playwright.
1923 – Naomi Long Madgett, U.S. African-American poet, educator, and publisher who was a longtime Detroit poet laureate and played a key role in introducing African American literature into school classrooms; she also wrote under the names Naomi Cornelia Long and Naomi Long Witherspoon.
1927 – Malek Haddad, Algerian poet and writer who wrote in French.
1933 – Carmen Alardín, award-winning Mexican poet and magazine editor.
1935 – John Schoenherr, U.S. illustrator whose collaboration with Jane Yolen on the book Owl Moon won a Caldecott Medal.
1941 – Barbara Frischmuth, Austrian writer, screenwriter, poet, translator, children’s writer, and science-fiction author.
1946 – Balakumaran, prolific Indian Tamil novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter.
1946 – Daniela Hodrová, Czech writer, editor, and academic whose novels typically incorporate topics from her work as a literary scholar.
1946 – John J. Nance, U.S. pilot and author of thrillers, often involving flying and airplanes.
1947 – Sony Lab’ou Tansi (born Marcel Ntsoni), Congolese novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and poet.
1948 – Liliana Abud, Mexican screenwriter, writer, and actress.
1948 – Nancy Springer, prolific, award-winning U.S. author of fantasy, young-adult literature, mystery, and science fiction.
1949 – Jill Murphy, British writer and illustrator of children’s books, best known for the Worst Witch novels and the “Large Family” picture books; she has been called “one of the most engaging writers and illustrators for children in the land.”
1952 – Moisés Naím, Venezuelan columnist and author who has been ranked among the top 100 influential global thought leaders.
1955 – Mia Couto (born António Emílio Leite Couto), award-winning Mozambican novelist, short-story writer, journalist, poet, and environmental activist; his novel Terra sonâmbula (Sleepwalking Land), about the Mozambican Civil War, is considered one of the best 20th-century African novels.
1957 – Jody Lynn Nye, U.S. fantasy and science-fiction novelist and short-story writer, nonfiction writer, game writer, and screenwriter.
1958 – Veronica Guerin, Irish investigative journalist
1958 – Bill Watterson, U.S. cartoonist best known as the author of Calvin & Hobbes.
1964 – Bärbel Mohr, bestselling German children’s author, short-story writer, and author of self-help books.
1964 – Ronald D. Moore, U.S. screenwriter, actor, television director, television producer, and blogger; some of his best known programs include Star Trek, the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, and Outlander.
1969 – Armin Kõomägi, Estonian novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter.
1970 – Tanja Börzel, German writer, author, and professor, and political scientist whose work focuses on the fields of European integration, governance, and diffusion.
1970 – Sara Margrethe Oskal, Norwegian writer, poet, film director, and actress.
1971 – Aamir Liaquat Hussain, Pakistani writer, columnist, television presenter, and politician.
1972 – Scarlett Thomas, British novelist, children’s author, and professor who writes contemporary postmodern fiction.
1977 – Ndalu de Almeida (pen name Ondjaki), Angolan poet, children’s author, short-story writer, novelist, playwright, and screenwriter.
1977 – Clare Azzopardi, Maltese author who writes books, short stories, plays, and poetry for both adults and younger readers; she is also a professor and translator.