1007 – Ouyang Xiu (courtesy name Yongshu), Chinese writer, poet, historian, essayist, philosopher, calligrapher, and statesman; he was also known by his art names Zuiweng (Old Drunkard) and Liu Yi Jushi (Retiree Six-One).
1180 – Go-Toba (born Takahira-shinnō), Japanese emperor who ascended to the throne at the age of three; after his abdication to his son in 1198, he had time to pursue his other interests, becoming a calligrapher, painter, musician, poet, critic, editor, archer, and swordsman.
1644 – Louise de La Vallière, French writer, autobiographer, duchess, and lady-in-waiting who was the mistress of Louis XIV.
1735 – Lady Hyegyeong, Korean author and queen who was the wife of Crown Prince Sado and mother of King Jeongjo; she is best known for her book, The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyeong, detailing her life as the ill-fated Crown Princess, her husband’s descent into madness, and the deeds for which he was eventually put to death.
1746 – Vasily Alekseyevich Lyovshin, Russian writer and novelist who wrote on agricultural and economic subjects; his utopian novel Noveysheye Рuteshestviye (The Newest Voyage) contains the first Russian flight to the moon.
1772 – Félix Torres Amat (or Félix Torres i Amat de Palou), Spanish Bishop who was also a writer, politician, translator, philologist, and literary historian; he is best known for translating the Sagrada Bible into vernacular Spanish and for publisheding a record of leading authors in Catalan.
1804 – Maria Webb (née Lamb), Irish philanthropist and author who wrote on religious and Quaker history.
1809 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet who was Poet Laureate of the U.K. during Queen Victoria’s reign and is still one of Britain’s most popular poets; his poems draw on a wide range of subject matter, ranging from medieval legends to classical myths and from domestic situations to nature.
1828 – Charlotte “Lotten” Louise von Kræmer, Swedish baroness who was a writer, poet, philanthropist, women’s rights activist, and founder of a literary society.
1829 – Henriette Guizot de Witt, prolific French writer, novelist, and history writer who wrote under the name Mme de Witt, née Guizot.
1831 – Henning Frederik Feilberg, Danish pastor, author, and folklorist; his research and publications represent significant contributions to the field of Danish folklore.
1832 – Khurshidbanu Natavan, Azerbaijani writer and poet who wrote in Persian and Azerbaijani; she is considered one of the best lyrical poets of Azerbaijan.
1848 – Susie King Taylor, U.S. African-American writer and nurse who was the first Black U.S. Army nurse; despite her service, like many African-American nurses, she was never paid for her work. As the author of Reminiscences of My Life in Camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, Late 1st S.C. Volunteers, she was the only African-American woman to publish a memoir of her wartime experiences. She was also the first African-American to teach openly in a school for former slaves in Georgia.
1850 – Henri Chantavoine, French writer, poet, and teacher.
1855 – Adam Mahrburg, Polish writer, psychologist, translator, and philosopher of Poland’s Positivist period.
1865 – Käthe Schirmacher, German writer, author, journalist, and politician who was one of the leading advocates of her day for women’s rights and the international women’s movement.
1874 – Charles Hoy Fort, U.S. journalist, writer, and researcher who specialized in “anomalous phenomena,” the use of the scientific method for finding rational explanations for phenomena that defy explanation; in his honor, the terms Fortean and Forteana are sometimes used to characterize such phenomena, with his admirers calling themselves “Forteans.” His books sold well, are still in print, and have influenced modern science-fiction authors.
1879 – Clodagh de la Poer Beresford, Anglo-Irish author, memoirist, philanthropist, and activist who was an advocate for the poor; she wrote books to raise money and awareness of the issue of homelessness.
1881 – Luella Parsons, U.S. newspaper columnist, radio host, and memoirist.
1884 – Meta Kraus-Fessel (born Meta Kraus), German journalist, anarchist, Communist, welfare ministry official, and behavioral researcher.
1888 – Yoshirō Nagayo, Japanese writer, playwright, literary critic, and novelist; he is best known in the West for his screenplay Seido no Kirisuto (Christ in Bronze), a story about religious persecution in Edo period Japan.
1892 – Kazimiera Iłłakowiczówna, Polish author, poet, philosopher, playwright, and translator; she was one of the most acclaimed and celebrated poets during Poland’s interwar period.
1894 – Iseult Lucille Germaine Gonne, Irish poet and Bengali translator; the poet William Butler Yeats was widely known to be in love with her mother, and was rumored to be Iseult’s father and often referred to her as his darling child; nevertheless, in his fifties, he proposed to the 22-year-old Iseult, who refused his advances.
1902 – Kim Sowol, Korean writer and poet who is famous for his contributions to early modern poetry, writing in a style reminiscent of traditional Korean folk songs.
1909 – Norma Farber, National Book Award-winning U.S. poet and children’s author; in her honor, the Poetry Society of America presents the Norma Farber First Book Award, which is awarded for a first book of original poetry written by a U.S. poet.
1911 – Constance Heaven, British romance author who won the Romantic Novel of the Year in 1976 for her title The House of Kuragin.
1915 – Rina Lasnier, award-winning Canadian writer, poet, and playwright who is best known for her poetry.
1916 – Richard Hofstadter, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, professor, and nonfiction author.
1917 – Barbara Cooney, two-time Caldecott Medal-winning U.S. writer and illustrator of more than 200 children’s books.
1921 – Alfredo Armas Alfonzo, Venezuelan writer, critic, editor, journalist, and historian who was a master of the modern fable, a precursor of what soon would be called Magic Realism. His writing is known for its impressionistic quality, with the reader exposed to Alfonzo’s world only through brief and fragmentary windows; his characters were not the great and powerful, but were modest people living in a typically rural Venezuelan setting and demonstrating. He was also known as a master of dialogue.
1926 – Janet Opal Asimov, U.S. science columnist, science-fiction author, psychiatrist, and psychoanalyst who usually wrote under the name J.O. Jeppson; she was married to author Isaac Asimov.
1926 – Elizabeth Beresford, British author of children’s books, best known for creating The Wombles.
1934 – Piers Anthony, English and U.S. science-fiction and fantasy writer, best known for his long-running series set in the realm of Xanth.
1941 – Kojin Karatani, Japanese writer, philosopher, professor, and literary critic who writes in both Japanese and English.
1948 – Mary Elizabeth Schaps (also known as Malka Elisheva Schaps), American-born Israeli mathematician and professor who has written novels under the pseudonym Rachel Pomerantz.
1951 – Hans-Joachim Lang, German journalist, historian, and professor who researched and authored the award-winning book Die Namen der Nummern (The Names of the Numbers), which identified all of the victims murdered in the gas chamber of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp during World War II.
1961 – Kjell Westö, Finnish author, journalist. poet, novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and newspaper columnist; he writes in Swedish and is best known for his epic novels set in Helsinki.
1962 – Jayanti Naik, prolific, award-winning Indian Konkani short-story writer, folklorist, children’s writer, playwright, and translator.
1963 – Xurxo Borrazás Fariña, Spanish Galician poet, novelist, short-story writer, and translator; his fiction has been described as experimental and transgressive.
1964 – Sara Blædel, Danish author and journalist who is best known for her crime novels featuring Louise Rick.
1965 – Yuki Kajiura, Japanese poet, composer, arranger, musician, music producer, and ethnomusicologist.
1970 – M. Night Shyamalan (Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan), Indian-born U.S. screenwriter and director, best known for The Sixth Sense and other science-fiction and supernatural thrillers.
1972 – Paolo Bacigalupi, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist and short-story writer; much of his work explores the effects of bioengineering and a world in which fossil fuels are no longer viable.
1981 – Linda Maria Baros, French-language Romanian poet, translator, linguist, and literary critic who is considered a powerful new voice in poetry today.
1981 – Natalia Borges Polesso, Brazilian author, journalist, and comic strip writer who was named as one of the Bogota39, a list of the most promising young writers in Latin America.
1983 – Tamara De Anda Prieto (pen name Plaqueta), Mexican blogger and journalist who received death and rape threats after she was sexually harassed by a male taxi driver and reported him to police.
1984 – Kelly Williams Brown, bestselling U.S. journalist, writer, and nonfiction author who is commonly credited with inventing the word “adulting,” which refers to the small actions that together comprise maturity.