1350 – Manuel II Palaiologos, Byzantine emperor from present-day Constantinople who was also a writer, poet, letter writer, religious writer, theologian, rhetorician, and monk.
1539 – Lionardo Salviati, Italian writer, orator, grammarian, philologist, comedy writer, linguist, and translator.
1741 – Marie-Madeleine Jodin, French actress and writer who is best known as the author of a feminist treatise.
1817 – Marie Louise von François. German writer who was best known for her historical novel Die letzte Reckenburgerin.
1831 – Jane Elizabeth Conklin, U.S. poet, journalist, and religious writer.
1841 – Milorad Popovic Šapcanin, Serbian Realist poet, writer, dramatist, and educational reformer who was also artistic director of the National Theatre in Belgrade.
1848 – Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Baucke, New Zealand linguist, ethnologist, journalist, and interpreter.
1850 – Louise Hume Creighton (née von Glehn), British author of books on historical and sociopolitical topics who was an activist for a greater representation of women in society, including women’s suffrage, and in the Church of England.
1851 – Lillien Jane Martin, U.S. pioneer in the field of psychology, especially in her work with children and the elderly; she wrote 12 books, but her contributions were ignored in her own time because women were not accepted in her field.
1854 – Abdul Hafiz Mohamed Barakatullah, Indian writer, orator, and revolutionary for Indian independence, with sympathy for the Pan-Islamic movement; he was also Prime Minister of the first Provisional Government of India, established at Afghanistan in 1915.
1858 – José Leite de Vasconcelos, Portuguese author, university teacher, archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnographer, philologist, and linguist who wrote extensively on Portuguese philology and prehistory.
1860 – Florence Beatrice Emery (née Farr), British West End novelist, journalist, women’s right’s activist, educator, actress, singer, composer, theater director, and leader of the occult group, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. She was a friend and collaborator of Nobel laureate William Butler Yeats, poet Ezra Pound, playwright Oscar Wilde, and many other artists and literati of London’s Fin de siècle era; even by their standards she was “the bohemian’s bohemian.”
1863 – Marguerite Audoux, award-winning French novelist and memoirist; she is best remembered for her novel Marie-Claire; the women’s magazine Marie Claire was named after its main character.
1873 – Cynthia Stockley, South African novelist whose bestselling romance novels were usually set in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) or South Africa.
1875 – Froylán Turcios, Honduran writer, author, journalist, diplomat, and politician who is considered one of the most important Honduran intellectuals of the early 20th century.
1891 – General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, Japanese writer, haiku poet, diplomat, and commanding officer of the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff; he is best known for being overall commander of the Japanese garrison during the Battle of Iwo Jima.
1892 – Luisa Victoria Anabalón Sanderson, Chilean poet and writer who published her first two books before she was twenty-one; she was better known by her pen name Winétt de Rokha, but she also wrote under the pen name Juana Inés de la Cruz.
1898 – Yehudis (Yudis) Tsik (better known by her pen name Yudika), Lithuanian-born Canadian Yiddish poet who spent time in a German concentration camp during World War I before eventually settling in the Ukraine and then Canada.
1900 – Mabel Florence Lethbridge, English writer and businesswoman who was the youngest person to receive the British Empire Medal, for her services in the Great War as a munitions factory worker, where she was severely injured, losing a leg, when a shell she was packing exploding. She described her experiences in a series of autobiographies.
1901 – János Székely, Hungarian novelist and screenwriter who sometimes wrote under the screen names John Pen, John S. Toldy, and Hans Székely; in Germany and then the United States, he wrote numerous screenplays for silent movie stars including Marlene Dietrich, and won an Academy Award.
1904 – Simone Beck, French cooking teacher and cookbook author who collaborated with Julia Child.
1906 – Helene Johnson, U.S. Harlem Renaissance poet who was cousin to author Dorothy West.
1907 – Robert Heinlein, U.S. novelist and short-story writer who was one of the most influential science-fiction authors of his time; he was a four-time Hugo Award winner and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America; before he turned to writing, he was a Naval officer and Annapolis graduate.
1907 – Shin Seok-jung, Korean poet who began his career as a member of the ‘Simunhak’, or ‘poetic literature’, a monthly magazine specializing in poetry.
1910 – Doris McCarthy, award-winning Canadian artist and writer, known for her abstract landscapes and her three autobiographies.
1914 – Deolinda da Conceição, Chinese Macanese writer and journalist.
1915 – Margaret Walker, U.S. African-American poet and novelist (full name Margaret Abigail Walker Alexander); Langston Hughes read some poetry she wrote at age 16 and urged her to move north (from her native New Orleans) to become a writer.
1919 – María Luisa García, Spanish Asturian chef, cookbook author, and leading expert on Asturian cuisine and the culinary traditions of Asturias in northern Spain; her debut Asturian cookbook, El arte de cocinar (The Art of Cooking) remains remains the best-selling Asturian cookbook in history.
1923 – Roža Pišcanec, award-winning Slovene painter and writer espeically known for her illustrations in children’s books and magazines.
1929 – Kwesi Abotsia Dickson, Ghanaian author, priest, theologian, and professor who was President of the Methodist Church Ghana.
1931 – David Eddings, U.S. author of epic fantasy novels, including his popular series, The Belgariad; some of his books were coauthored with his wife, Leigh Eddings.
1932 – Vince Sulyok, Hungarian-born Norwegian poet, translator, nonfiction writer, and librarian.
1933 – David McCullough, U.S. author, narrator, historian, and lecturer; best known for his presidential biographies; he is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
1937 – Nanami Shiono, Japanese author and novelist known for her works on the history of Italy, especially those dealing with ancient Rome and the Renaissance period.
1941 – Nancy Farmer, U.S. author, best known for her children’s books, YA fiction, and science fiction; she wrote three Newbery Honor books and won the National Book Award.
1942 – Juan Luis Martínez Holger, Chilean avant-garde poet, writer, and visual artist.
1943 – Rein Põder, Estonian novelist, short-story writer, travel writer, children’s author, journalist, and critic whose work has been described as romantic and lyrical.
1945 – Natsuki Ikezawa, Japanese poet, novelist, essayist, and translator who draws upon the relationship between civilization and nature in his writing.
1948 – Kathy Reichs, U.S. crime writer, forensic anthropologist, academic, and television producers; the television series Bones is adapted from her novels featuring the character Temperance Brennand, also a forensic anthropologist.
1952 – Nevzat Tarhan, Turkish author, university teacher, medical scientist, psychiatrist and neuropsychology expert, and founding rector of Uskudar University.
1958 – Safaa Fathy, Egyptian poet, documentary filmmaker, playwright, and essayist who is best known for her film Derrida’s Elsewhere, a documentary that focuses on the life and concepts of controversial philosopher Jacques Derrida.
1958 – Jill McCorkle, U.S. short-story writer and novelist who has seen five of her books named New York Times notable books.
1965 – Zoë Heller, award-winning English journalist and novelist.
1965 – Lesego Rampolokeng, South African playwright, poet, and novelist.
1968 – Jeff VanderMeer, award-winning U.S. author, editor, and literary critic who was initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, but crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy; he also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction. The New Yorker has named him “the King of Weird Fiction.”
1971 – Melissa de la Cruz, bestselling Filipina-born author known for her work in young adult fiction.
1977 – Abdulkareem Baba Aminum, Nigerian journalist, poet, cartoonist, comic-book artist, screenwriter, culture critic, and painter.
1983 – Renée Ahdieh, U.S. author of young-adult fantasy novels.
1987 – Victoria (V.E.) Schwab, U.S. fantasy author best known for her novel Vicious and for her children’s and young-adult fiction.