1497 – William Neville, English poet and author who wrote the allegorical work, The Castell of Pleasure; in 1532 he was accused of treason and of dabbling in magic, in particular, for trying to make an invisibility cloak.
1613 – Gu Yanwu (also known as Gu Tinglin), Chinese writer, geographer, poet, philologist, historian, philosopher, and linguist.
1761 – Gwallter Mechain, Welsh poet, editor, translator, and clergyman who was known for his survey of the agriculture and economy of North Wales, published in two volumes in 1810 and 1813,.
1779 – Clement C. Moore, U.S. professor who wrote the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” which later became famous as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
1796 – Thomas Bulfinch, U.S. writer and banker best known as the author of Bulfinch’s Mythology.
1818 – Adolphe Siret, Belgian poet, writer, biographer, essayist, and historian.
1858 – Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden) British political activist, writer, and feminist who is best remembered for organizing the U.K. movement for gaining women the right to vote, though she was criticized for her militant tactics and was arrested seven times; in 1999, Time named her as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
1868 – Emma Ritoók, award-winning Hungarian novelist, poet, critic, philologist, philosopher, and librarian.
1871 – Doppo Kunikida, Japanese writer, Romantic poet, novelist, editor, diarist, and journalist.
1871 – José Enrique Rodó, Uruguayan writer, poet, essayist, and philosopher who is known as the preeminent theorist of the Modernista school of literature. He is best known for his essay “Ariel,” in which the character Ariel, from The Tempest, representing the positive in human nature, debates the future course of history with Caliban, representing the negative; Rodó intended the work to be a secular sermon to Latin American youth, championing the cause of the classical western tradition.
1886 – Jacques Rivière, French writer, critic, and editor who was a major force in the intellectual life of France in his day.
1891 – Yelizaveta Tarakhovskaya, Russian writer, poet, playwright, translator, and children’s author.
1895 – Irina Vladimirovna Odoyevtseva (real name Iraida Heinike), Latvian poet, novelist, and memoirist who was the wife of poet Georgy Ivanov.
1900 – Enrique Cadícamo, award-winning Argentine writer, poet, composer, lyricist, and film director of Italian parentage.
1901 – Zlatko Gorjan, award-winning Serbian writer, poet, novelist, essayist, journalist, editor, and translator who was best known for his translations.
1902 – Donald Creighton, Canadian historian, author, and professor.
1903 – Walter D. Edmonds, U.S. author of historical novels for children and adults, notably the popular title Drums Along the Mohawk; he won a Newbery Medal and a National Book Award.
1904 – Dorothy Fields, U.S. librettist and lyricist who wrote more than 400 songs for Broadway musicals and films, including “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and many of the songs for “Annie Get Your Gun”; Fields’ lyrics were known for their strong characterization, clarity in language, and humor.
1913 – Hammond Innes, British author of novels, children’s books, and travel books.
1913 – Abraham Sutzkever, Belarus-born Yiddish poet; the New York Times called him “the greatest poet of the Holocaust.”
1914 – Gavin Maxwell, Scottish naturalist and author, best known for his work with otters.
1917 – Robert Conquest, British-born poet and historian, known for writing about Soviet history.
1919 – Iris Murdoch, award-winning Irish-born British novelist and poet who is ranked 12 on the Times’ list of the 50 Greatest Modern British writers; her best known works include The Black Prince, The Good Apprentice, and The Sea, the Sea. The film Iris is based on her husband’s (writer John Bayley) memories of her as she developed Alzheimer’s disease later in life, with Murdoch portrayed by Kate Winslet and Judi Dench.
1931 – Clive Cussler, bestselling U.S. adventure novelist who has also written nonfiction books; he founded a nonprofit organization for the preservation of U.S. naval history.
1946 – Rifat Hoxha, Albanian author, essayist, and historian.
1946 – Issa Gulamhussein Shivji, Tanzanian author, columnist, and academic who is one of Africa’s leading experts on law and development issues.
1947 – Lydia Davis, Man Booker Prize-winning U.S. short-story writer whose stories are said to have “the brevity and precision of poetry” and are sometimes called “essayist poems.”
1947 – Eiki Matayoshi, Japanese novelist whoses books are set in the Okinawa archipelago; he is considered one of the most important contemporary novelists from Okinawa.
1949 – Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and teacher.
1950 – Arianna Huffington (born Arianna Stassinopoulos or, in Greek, Αριάννα Στασσινόπουλος), U.S. Greek-American author, editor, syndicated columnist, and media group president.
1954 – Jeff Jarvis, U.S. journalist, editor, television critic, and professor who writes about technology.
1955 – Derega Yaroslav, Ukrainian writer, linguist, educator, and journalist; one of his best known books is the award-winning Chinese for Grown-ups, the first Chinese language textbook written for Ukrainians.
1958 – Marcia Thornton Jones, U.S. children’s author, best known for her “Bailey School Kids” books, with such titles as Zombies Don’t Play Soccer and Werewolves Don’t Go To Summer Camp.
1961 – Jean-Christophe Grangé, French mystery writer, journalist, and screenwriter.
1962 – Nahoko Uehashi, award-winning Japanese writer, primarily of fantasy novels; she is also a professor whose academic study focuses on the Yamatji, an indigenous Australian people.
1972 – Margarita Maratovna Meklina, award-winning Russian novelist and short-story writer who is widely recognized as a groundbreaking writer who helped redefine Russian literature as it emerged from under the Soviet shadow; many of her stories are built around themes of marginalized sexuality and combine with postmodernist and New Sincerity-like elements to create a new Russian lexicon. She now divides her life between Ireland, the U.K., and the San Francisco Bay Area.
1976 – Tatiana Vedenska, popular Russian writer and novelist.
1979 – Karim Khudsiani, Iranian writer, screenwriter, announcer, and actor.
1985 – Liz Howard, award-winning Canadian writer and poet who is of Anishinaabe Indian descent.
1993 – Mari Ellis Dunning, award-winning Welsh writer and poet.