1398 – Francesco Filelfo, Italian writer, teacher, poet, diplomat, translator, and university teacher who was a scholar of ancient Latin and Greek literature; he is thought to have been a third cousin of Leonardo da Vinci.
1517 – Jacques Peletier du Mans – French Renaissance poet, translator, mathematician, and humanist who tried to reform French spelling to correct its inconsistencies.
1626 – Geeraerdt Brandt, Dutch poet, playwright, preacher, biographer, church historian, and naval historian who was a well-known writer in his time.
1734 – Ueda Akinari (also known as Ueda Shusei) prominent Japanese author, scholar, waka poet, and physician who was a key literary figure in 18th-century Japan; he was an early writer in the yomihon genre, and his two masterpieces, Ugetsu Monogatari (Tales of Rain and the Moon) and Harusame Monogatari (Tales of Spring Rain), are central to the canon of Japanese literature.
1761 – Charlotte Von Kalb (Baroness Marshal of Ostheim), German writer and Friedrich Schiller biographer whose books were published only after her death; she associated with poets Friedrich Schiller, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Friedrich Hölderlin, and Jean Paul. Her contemporaries said Von Kalb was judged unfavorably by women, but fascinated nearly every man she knew.
1829 – Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall (commonly known as Lizzie), influential English artist, poet, and artists’ model who was painted and drawn extensively by artists of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, including her husband, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Her poetry often had dark themes about lost love or the impossibility of true love. According to one critic: “Her verses were as simple and moving as ancient ballads; her drawings were as genuine in their medieval spirit as much more highly finished and competent works of Pre-Raphaelite art.”
1840 – Flora Adams Darling, U.S. author and short-story writer who is now known primarily for her part in founding the Daughters of the American Revolution.
1884 – Rafael Arévalo Martínez, Guatemalan poet, novelist, journalist, biographer, and short-story writer who was director of Guatemala’s national library for more than 20 years.
1886 – Bror von Blixen-Finecke, Swedish baron who was a writer, autobiographer, and big-game hunter but is best known for his marriage to Danish writer Karen Blixen (née Dinesen) and figures prominently in her memoir Out of Africa, written under her pseudonym, Isak Dinesen; in the movie based on the book, he was played by Klaus Maria Brandauer.
1887 – Kumaratunga Munidasa, pioneering Sri Lankan (Sinhalese) linguist, grammarian, commentator, writer, poet, and journalist; he founded the Hela Havula movement, which sought to remove Sanskrit influences in the Sinhala language and promote its correct usage.
1892 – Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyaya, Indian Bengali author who was best known for his biography of poet and playwright Rabindranath Tagore.
1896 – Elizabeth Mackintosh, influential Scottish author who wrote mystery novels under the pen name Josephine Tey and history-themed plays under the pen name Gordon Daviot.
1900 – Enrique Amorim, Uruguayan novelist and writer best known for his story “Las quitanderas,” whose plot centres on rural prostitution; he was also known for his left-wing politics.
1901 – Ruth Krauss, U.S. author of children’s books and theatrical poems for adults; she is best known for her classic children’s book, The Carrot Seed.
1902 – Eric Hoffer, U.S. author and social philosopher.
1905 – Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize-winning Bulgarian-born Swiss, British, and Austrian modernist writer of novels, plays, memoirs, and nonfiction.
1905 – Denys Watkins-Pitchford, British naturalist, children’s writer, and illustrator who wrote under the pseudonym BB.
1906 – Irène Hamoir, Belgian novelist and poet, who was one of the leading members of the Belgian surrealist movement; her works have been described as “highly fantastical.”
1906 – Nhất Linh, Vietnamese writer, journalist, editor, politician, and publisher; he published many of the influential realism-influenced novels of the 1930s.
1912 – Myint Swe, award-winning Burmese physician and writer who is especially known for his bestselling memoir, The Japanese Era Rangoon General Hospital, which chronicles the events at the only hospital in Yangon (Rangoon) open to non-Japanese during the Japanese occupation of Burma.
1914 – Prem Nath Dar, Indian Urdu-language short-story writer whose work was influenced by socio-political movements.
1918 – José María Sánchez Borbón, Panamanian writer, poet, and politician.
1919 – Carl Keilhau, Norwegian journalist and poet who was widely known by his pen name, “Pirat.”
1920 – Rosalind Elsie Franklin, English chemist, X-ray crystallographer, and writer whose work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite.; her contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA were largely unrecognized during her lifetime, for which she has been referred to as the “wronged heroine,” “the dark lady of DNA,” “the forgotten heroine,” a “feminist icon,” and “the Sylvia Plath of molecular biology.” After her death, a male team member received the Nobel Prize for work she began.
1922 – Antonio Alatorre, Mexican writer, novelist, philosopher, and translator; he was best known for his influential academic essays about Spanish literature, and for his book Los 1001 años de la lengua española (The 1001 Years of the Spanish Language).
1923 – Maria Gripe (born Maja Stina Walter), Swedish author of fantasy and folklore-based books for children and young adults; she was also a screenwriter, adapting many of her own books for television, radio, and film.
1924 – Síle Ní Chéileachair, Irish short-story writer and teacher who wrote in the Irish language; her work has been praised for its concise style and broad range of subject matter.
1928 – Joyce Mansour (nee Joyce Patricia Adès), English-born Egyptian-French author who became well known as an important surrealist poet; she was also a prose writer and playwright.
1932 – Esther Streit-Wurzel, Israeli writer, children’s author, and educator who wrote her first book at age 12, under the pen name Zvi Hadas.
1943 – Osvaldo Rodríguez (also called Gypsy Rodriguez), Argentine-born Chilean poet essayist, novelist, and short-story writer.
1947 – Clyde Watson, U.S. author of children’s books, many of them illustrated by her sister Wendy Watson; they are two of many authors and illustrators in their family.
1948 – Milan Richter, Slovak writer, playwright, translator, publisher, and diplomat.
1954 – Anetta Kahane, German journalist, author, and activist against antisemitism, racism, and right-wing extremism.
1955 – Miguel Vicente Esteves Cardoso, Portuguese writer, translator, critic, and journalist.
1955 – Carole David, award-winning Canadian poet, novelist, and editor who writes in French; one critic said of her work, “Carole David’s poems exude the smell of life in the raw. She excavates the human landscape. She goes for the jugular. Softly.”
1961 – Darren Bennett Star, U.S. screenwriter, producer, and director; best known as the creator of popular television series Sex & the City and Beverly Hills 90210.
1963 – Ian Usher, English author, traveler, travel writer, and speaker.
1964 – Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. journalist, columnist, and author who has written extensively about Communism and Central and Eastern Europe.
1965 – Ina Müller, German author and television presenter who is also an actress, singer, comedian, film score composer, and cabaret artist.
1965 – Olivier Py, French actor, playwright, and theater and film director who is known for his emphasis on Catholic and homoerotic themes.
1966 – Rachel Vail, award-winning U.S. short-story writer and author of books for children and teens.
1967 – Karen Lynch, bestselling Canadian author of young-adult urban-fantasy novels.
1967 – Annette Pehnt, award-winning German author, university teacher, and literary critic.
1968 – Shi Tao, award-winning Chinese journalist, writer and poet who in 2005 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for releasing a document of the Communist Party to an overseas Chinese democracy site.
1971 – Elizabeth Haynes, British writer of bestselling crime fiction.
1973 – Mur Lafferty, U.S. podcaster and author of speculative fiction, known for her comic travel fantasies.
1980 – Kajsa Ekis Ekman, Swedish journalist, writer, columnist, and women’s rights activist who is the author of books about the financial crisis, women’s rights, and critiques of capitalism.