1417 – Sin Sukju, Korean writer, poet, philosopher, linguist, and politician; he served twice as Prime Minister.
1632 – Kaspar von Stieler (also called Caspar Stieler), German writer, poet, linguist, and soldier; in his writing, he expressed the feelings of the soldiers fighting in the Thirty Years War.
1799 – Mariano Gómez de los Ángeles, Filipino writer, author, and Catholic priest who along with two other clergymen was falsely accused of mutiny by the Spanish colonial authorities, placed in a mock trial, and executed.
1804 – Gabrielle Anne Cisterne de Courtiras, vicomtesse de Saint-Mars, prolific French writer and novelist who used the pseudonym Countess Dash; Dash was the name of her favorite dog.
1841 – Bijoy Krishna Goswami, prominent Indian Hindu writer, social reformer, and religious figure during the Colonial period.
1846 – Lucy Clifford (also known as Mrs. W.K. Clifford), English novelist and journalist who was married to the philosopher William Kingdon Clifford.
1851 – Alice Lucas, British writer, poet, and translator who helped establish the Jewish Study Society; she is best known for her translations of poetry from medieval Hebrew and Talmudic sources.
1852 – Mathilda Roos, Swedish writer and novelist who used the pen name Ms. Rs and was not afraid to address subjects that were considered sensitive in her time, including rape, feminism, educational reform, and lesbian love; her work exposing the living conditions of teachers led to a government decision that raised teachers’ salaries.
1865 – Irving Babbitt, U.S. academic and literary critic; a founder of the New Humanism movement.
1867 – Ernest Christopher Dowson, English poet, novelist, and short-story writer associated with the Decadent movement.
1870 – Marianne Weber (born Marianne Schnitger), German writer, legal historian, sociologist, women’s rights activist, and politician; she married well-known social theorist Max Weber.
1878 – Aino Krohn Kallas, Russian-born Finnish-Estonian author whose novellas are considered to be prominent pieces of Finnish literature; a recurring theme in her work is what she termed “the slaying Eros,” a love that often leads to death.
1878 – Amy Roberta Ruck (better known as Berta Ruck), Indian-born (now Pakistan) Welsh author of more than 90 romance novels as well as short stories, an autobiography, and two memoirs; Bernard Darwin, the golf writer and grandchild of Charles Darwin, was her cousin.
1884 – Rómulo Ángel del Monte Carmelo Gallegos, Venezuelan novelist and politician who was the first cleanly elected president in his country’s history.
1890 – Pauline Hall, Norwegian composer, musician, music critic, and translator who was president of the International Society for Contemporary Music.
1894 – Bertha Lutz, Brazilian writer, zoologist, botanist, herpetologist, politician, diplomat, and leading figure in the Pan American feminist movement and human-rights movement, who helped gain women’s suffrage in Brazil. She was also a naturalist at the National Museum, specializing in poison dart frogs; three frog species and two lizard species are named after her.
1894 – Francis James Westbrook Pegler, U.S. journalist and columnist famed for his opposition to the New Deal and labor unions.
1900 – Holling C. Holling, U.S. children’s book author and illustrator best known for the book Paddle-to-the-Sea, a Caldecott Honor book; he also wrote and illustrated a comic strip.
1901 – Maysie Coucher Greig, Australian author of thrillers and romance novels who was also a columnist, and journalist; she wrote under the names Jennifer Ames, Ann Barclay, and Mary Douglas Warren and was considered the most prolific woman novelist of the time.
1907 – Mary Hamman, U.S. writer, magazine editor, and book editor who held editorial positions on such magazines as LIFE, Good Housekeeping, Mademoiselle, and Bride & Home.
1924 – James Baldwin, important, prolific, and influential U.S. African-American author and civil-rights activist, known for novels, plays, poetry, short stories, and essays, and considered one of the greatest writers of his generation.
1929 – Kateb Yacine, Algerian Berber writer, poet, playwright, journalist, and activist for the Berber cause; he wrote in both French and Algerian Arabic.
1934 – Stephen Sandy, U.S. poet and professor whose meditative and observant poems scrutinize the natural and human world.
1938 – Dariush Ashoori. Iranian author, essayist, translator, literary critic, encyclopedist, philosopher, and lexicologist.
1942 – Isabel Allende, award-winning Chilean novelist best known for her works of magic realism; she is considered the most widely read Spanish-language author, but is also fluent in English. Awards include Chile’s National Literature Prize and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her father was first cousin to Salvador Allende, President of Chile from 1970 to 1973.
1942 – Nell Irvin Painter, U.S. historian, author, and university professor who specializes in 19th-century history of the southern U.S.
1943 – Rose Tremain, British novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and chancellor of the University of East Anglia
1946 – James Howe, U.S. author of children’s and young adult books, notably the Bunnicula series, about a vampire rabbit who sucks the juice out of vegetables.
1946 – Kenji Nakagami, Japanese novelist, poet, essayist, and literary critic who is best known as the first, and so far the only, post-war Japanese writer to identify himself publicly as a Burakumin, a member of one of Japan’s long-suffering outcaste groups; his works depict the intense life-experiences of people struggling to survive in a Burakumin community in western Japan. He has been called “the first writer from the ghetto to make it into the mainstream and to attempt to tell other Japanese, however fictively or even fantastically, about life at the rough end of the economic miracle.”
1947 – Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author and screenwriter best known for his book The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.
1946 – Neva Krysteva, Bulgarian organist, professor, composer, musicologist, and writer.
1948 – Robert Holdstock, English author who was best known for his Celtic, Nordic, Gothic, and Pictish fantasy novels.
1949 – Bei Dao (aka Zhao Zhengkai) Beijing-born poet now living in exile in the U.S.; he is one of the few Chinese writers to have an international audience.
1952 – Jeffrey Lau Chun-Wai, award-winning Hong Kong film director, screenwriter, actor, and producer who is famous for writing and directing “mo lei tau” comedies.
1954 – Ken MacLeod, Scottish science-fiction writer of space opera and hard sci-fi who has been nominated for Hugo and Nebula Awards.
1955 – Caleb Carr, U.S. novelist, screenwriter, and military historian.
1956 – Narisa Chakrabongse, Thai writer, publisher, environmental activist, and princess, whose work focuses on South Asian art, culture, and language, as well as the environment; born in the U.K., she is the daughter of Prince Chula Chakrabongse of Thailand and his English wife Elizabeth Hunter; her paternal grandfather was Prince Chakrabongse Bhuvanath, who was the son of King Rama V (Chulalongkorn) of Siam.
1959 – Oleg Chilap, Russian poet, author, lyricist, and rock musician who leads the rock band Optimalny Variant.
1960 – Vijayalakshmi, influential, award-winning Malayalam–language poet and short-story writer from the south Indian state of Kerala; much of her work focuses on gender equality.
1961 – Dmitry Yuryevich Puchkov (also known as Starshiy Operupolnomocheniy Goblin), Ukrainian screenwriter, author, film critic, video game writer, translator, blogger, and activist.
1963 – Russell Claude Smith, South African-born Canadian novelist, short-story writer, and newspaper columnist.
1968 – Christina Alexandra “Chrystia” Freeland, Canadian writer, journalist, nonfiction book author, and politician who is serving as the tenth and current Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and the thirteenth Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.
1979 – Akane Chihaya, award-winning Japanese novelist and short-story writer.
1981 – Asako Yuzuki, award-winning Japanese writer; her novels have been adapted for television, radio, and film.