1591 – Jean Bagot, French writer, college teacher, and Jesuit theologian.
1764 – Anne Radcliffe, English author and pioneer of the Gothic novel; she was the most popular author of her day, but not much is known about her life because she was so reclusive. Poet Christina Rossetti tried to write her biography but abandoned the project because so little information was available.
1766 – Johanna Schopenhauer, bestselling popular German novelist, travel writer, art critic, biographer, autobiographer, and salonnière who was the first German woman to publish books without a pseudonym
1775 – Matthew Lewis, English Gothic novelist and playwright whose novel, The Monk, was wildly successful, earning him the nickname “Monk Lewis,” though critics condemned its horror, violence, and eroticism.
1779 – Isabelle Morel (née de Gélieu), French-speaking Swiss writer, translator, and women of letters who was most notable for her novel Louise et Albert.
1833 – Florence Marryat, British novelist, short-story writer, playwright, children’s author, and actress; she was particularly known for her sensational novels and for her involvement with several celebrated spiritual mediums of her time.
1833 – Josipina Turnograjska (pen name for Josipina Urbancic Toman), Slovenian short-story writer, letter writer, poet, songwriter, and music composer; her themes were inspired by the history of Slovenes and other Slavic peoples, as well as by popular legends. She was also known for her poetical descriptions of nature.
1855 – Abd al-Rahman al-Kawakibi, Syrian writer, book author, theologian, politician, and philosopher.
1874 – Anne Ceridwen Rees, Welsh writer, poet, and physician.
1876 – Brahmachari Walisinghe Harischandra, Sri Lankan author, historian, social reformer, and revivalist of Sri Lankan Buddhism; he is also regarded as a national hero and the savior of the citadel of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Anuradhapura.
1887 – Samuel Eliot Morison, U.S. maritime historian who won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of Christopher Columbus and John Paul Jones and was also a U.S. Navy Rear Admiral.
1887 – Anton Novačan, Yugoslav writer, poet, playwright, politician, and diplomat; in the late 1920s, he published his best-known work, the play Herman Celjski (Hermann of Cilli), based on the story of the Renaissance Styrian nobleman Hermann II of Cilli, whom Novacan portrayed as a Nietzschean Übermensch in tragic conflict with his environment. He opposed the Communist regime and left his country in 1948 to settle permanently in Argentina.
1888 – Ryuko Kawaji (pen name of Kawaki Makoto), Japanese writer, poet, and literary critic.
1890 – Efrén Núñez Mata, Mexican teacher, poet, writer, academic, and medical doctor.
1893 – Dorothy Thompson, U.S. journalist, political commentator, columnist, women’s suffrage activist, and radio broadcaster who was the first U.S. journalist expelled from Nazi Germany; in 1939, Time magazine named her the second most influential woman in America (after Eleanor Roosevelt); her husbands included American Noble Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis and Hungarian writer Joseph Bard; Thompson was often called “The First Lady of American Journalism” and was the model for the title character in Woman of the Year, played by Katharine Hepburn in the film and Lauren Bacall in the stage production.
1901 – Barbara Cartland, English romance author who held the Guinness Book records for most novels written in a year and for bestselling author of all time; she also wrote cookbooks and nonfiction books about nutrition and vitamins; in addition, she was an advocate for the rights of the Roma people, and for better wages and working conditions for midwives and nurses, and she helped create the first aeroplane-towed glider airmail, earning an award for her contributions to the development of aviation.
1903 – Arthur Walworth, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. biographer of Woodrow Wilson; he also wrote about China and Japan.
1907 – Yulia Neiman, Russian Jewish poet, writer, essayist, and translator.
1910 – Patrícia Rehder Galvão (pseudonym Pagu), Brazilian writer, poet, playwright, journalist, and translator who was a key figure in the Brazilian Modernist movement.
1910 – Govan Archibald Mvuyelwa Mbeki, South African writer, journalist, nonfiction author, and politician who was the son of Chief Sikelewu Mbeki and Johanna Mahala and the father of the former South African president Thabo Mbeki and political economist Moeletsi Mbeki. He was arrested and convicted with Nelson Mandala on political charges, and served 24 years in prison.
1911 – Mervyn Peake, Chinese-born English writer and illustrator, best known for his Gormenghast series, a work of dark fantasy, and his illustrations for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
1917 – Barbara Winifred Matthews (née Silver), New Zealand newspaper and magazine editor, gardening writer, and horticulturist.
1920 – Ragnhild Magerøy, award-winning Norwegian novelist, essayist and poet who is principally known as a historical novelist.
1926 – Ivone Aida Lopes Fernandes Ramos, Cape Verdean writer, children’s author, and tailor; her stories and books drew on the folklore of Cape Verde.
1933 – Oliver Sacks, British neurologist, professor, and writer whose books explore the science of the brain.
1936 – June Millicent Jordan, Jamaican-U.S. poet, columnist, teacher, memoirist, and activist.
1939 – Ihor Kalynets, Ukrainian poet, writer, painter, and Soviet dissident who was sentenced to nine years in a labor camp for his anti-Soviet activities, though his works do not contain glaring political criticisms, but reflect pride in his Ukrainian culture, folklore, and heritage.
1941 – Nancy Farmer, three-time Newbery Honor-winning U.S. author of children’s and young-adult books, as well as science fiction.
1944 – Vibeke Vasbo, Danish writer, poet, and activist for women’s rights and LGBT rights.
1945 – Dean R. Koontz, bestselling U.S. author known for his suspense novels.
1946 – Kjellaug Steinslett, prolific Norwegian writer and novelist; she eventually moved to Spain.
1948 – Ikram Antaki, Syrian-born writer who eventually moved to Mexico and became a Mexican citizen; she is known for the lightheartedness of her writings and lectures, the profundity of her investigations, and her originality.
1949 – Louise Dupré, Canadian writer, poet, playwright, journalist, novelist, editor, and educator.
1952 – Sandra Petrignani, award-winning Italian journalist, novelist, editor, short-story author, and writer
1953 – Thomas Ligotti, U.S. horror writer and editor.
1966 – Nayan Raj Pandey, Nepali novelist, short-story writer, and screenwriter who is known for his depictions of contemporary Nepalese society, presented in a figurative style.
1967 – John Rocco, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books, best known for illustrating the Percy Jackson series.
1972 – Hiro Arikawa, award-winning Japanese light novelist; one of her books has been adapted to film.