1661 – Takarai Kikaku (also known as Enomoto Kikaku), influential Japanese writer and poet best known for his haiku poetry.
1694 – Giorgio Baffo, Italian poet and politician who was a prolific writer of licentious sonnets and one of the major writers in the Venetian language.
1729 – Ponce Denis Écouchard Lebrun, French writer and lyric poet who was a disciple of the poet Louis Racine.
1763 – Teresa Landucci Bandettini (also known by her Arcadian name, Amarilli Etrusca), Italian writer, poet, and composer of extemporaneous verse who was also a ballet dancer; she is remembered as the Figurante Poetesca (Literary Ballerina).
1823 – Charlotte Mary Yonge, English novelist who wrote religious books that helped spread the influence of the Oxford Movement.
1867 – Alice Moderno, Portuguese writer, poet, novelist, journalist, teacher, bookseller, editor, literary magazine founder, and activist for women’s rights and animal rights. She was also an insurance agent and the owner of a pineapple farm.
1885 – Sophia Parnok, Russian poet, writer, journalist, linguist, and translator whose work explores her own sense of Russianness, Jewish identity, and lesbianism; she has been called “Russia’s Sappho,” for writing openly about her lesbian relationships. She worked as a journalist under the pen name of Andrei Polianin.
1892 – Hugh MacDiarmid, pen name of Scottish poet Christopher Murray Grieve, whose most well-known work is the book-length poem A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle.
1892 – Eiji Yoshikawa, award-winning Japanese historical novelist, screenwriter, poet, writer, and journalist; among his best-known novels are revisions of older classics.
1897 – Enid Blyton, British children’s author also known as Mary Pollock; she is best known for the Character Noddy, and for such series as “The Famous Five” and “The Secret Seven.”
1897 – Louise Bogan, U.S. writer, poet, and literary critic who was the fourth U.S. Poet Laureate and the first woman to hold the position.
1898 – Luang Wichitwathakan (also known as Wichit Wichitwathakan), Thai major general who was a novelist, historian, playwright, politician, and diplomat; he was largely responsible for changing the name of the country from Siam to Thailand.
1905 – Roger Mais, award-winning Jamaican writer, poet, playwright, author, journalist, and novelist who played a key role in the development of political and cultural Jamaican nationalism.
1906 – Kanhu Charan Mohanty, prolific, award-winning Indian Odia-language novelist who is considered as one of the most popular and celebrated novelists of Odisa.
1908 – Don Freeman, U.S. children’s book author and illustrator; author of the classic Corduroy.
1909 – Uku Masing, Estonian writer, poet, translator, author, folklorist, theologian, philosopher, and linguist; he was was a significant figure in Estonian religious philosophy. He was awarded the Righteous Among The Nations by the Israeli Supreme Court for his helping a Jew in Estonia escape capture from 1941 during the Holocaust.
1912 – Eva Ahnert-Rohlfs, German astronomer, astrophysicist, and writer who made key observations of variable stars.
1913 – Angus Wilson (full name Angus Frank Johnstone-Wilson), English novelist and short-story writer.
1915 – Suzanne Césaire (née Roussi), French writer, teacher, scholar, anti-colonial and feminist activist, and Surrealist; she married poet and politician Aimé Césaire.
1917 – Inge Scholl, German writer whose brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, were core members of the White Rose student resistance movement in Nazi Germany and were executed by the Nazis. Inge Scholl wrote several books about the White Rose after the war.
1921 – Alex Haley, U.S. African-American novelist, screenwriter, and biographer who co-authored The Autobiography of Malcolm X but was best known as the author of the novel Roots: The Saga of an American Family, for which he traced his own ancestry back to Africa. Roots was made into a seminal television miniseries and is credited for touching off Americans’ interest in studying their family histories.
1922 – Mavis Gallant (Mavis Leslie de Trafford Gallant, née Young), Canadian short-story writer who was also a novelist, playwright, journalist, and essayist; she spent much of her life in France.
1927 – Atsuko Anzai, award-winning Japanese novelist and short-story writer; her works are often set in historical China or are contemporary stories that incorporate traditional Chinese motifs.
1929 – Geeta Suryakant Parikh, Indian poet, writer, translator, and literary critic; she writes in Gujarati.
1926- Stella Díaz Varín (also known as La Colorina, or “The Redhead”), Chilean poet of her country’s Generation of ’50 literary movement; she is celebrated for her unprecedented deep and philosophical style.
1931 – Delia Domínguez Mohr, award-winning Chilean poet who was a member of her country’s Generation of ’50 literary movement; Nobel Laureate poet Pablo Neruda said that her work “is bold and barefoot, knows how to walk without fear among thorns and pebbles, wade through torrents, bind animals, join the chorus of southern birds without submitting to the tremendous natural power to converse with sadness or love with all objects and beings.”
1931 – George F.R. Ellis, award-winning South African nonfiction writer, physicist, mathematician, and professor; he co-authored The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time with physicist Stephen Hawking, and is considered one of the world’s leading theorists in cosmology.
1932 – Keiko Kishi, Japanese writer, actress, and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador.
1934 – Paulo Fernando Craveiro, Brazilian writer, journalist, columnist, and art critic.
1936 – Andre Dubus II, U.S. short-story writer and essayist who was hailed as one of the best American short-story writers of the twentieth century; he was the father of the author Andre Dubus III.
1938 – Bapsi Sidhwa, Pakistani-born novelist and screenwriter of Gujarati Parsi descent who writes in English. A documentary about her life called Bapsi: Silences of My Life is expected to release 2021.
1944 – Joanna Cole, prolific U.S. children’s book author, writer, and librarian who is best known as the author of the beloved Magic School Bus series, which was also made into a television program and video games. She passed away in July 2020.
1944 – Güney Dal, Turkish-born Turkish and German writer, journalist, and broadcaster.
1946 – Marilyn vos Savant, U.S. magazine columnist, author, playwright, journalist, and lecturer who is listed as having the highest recorded I.Q. (intelligence quotient) and is best known for her Parade magazine column, “Ask Marilyn.” She was born Marilyn Mach but adopted her mother’s maiden name; Savant means “learned person.” She married Dr. Robert Jarvik, who invented the Jarvik-7 artificial heart.
1951 – Fina Casalderrey, Spanish writer, children’s author, journalist, and educator who is considered to be one of the most important writers of Galician children’s literature.
1953 – Qian Gang, Chinese nonfiction writer and journalist; in 1976 he took part in the relief effort following the Tangshan earthquake, an event that deeply affected him and became the subject of many of his later works.
1954 – Christiane Tchotcho Akoua Ekué, Togolese writer, novelist, and publisher who writes in French.
1959 – Taraki Sivaram (or Dharmeratnam Sivaram), popular Sri Lankan Tamil journalist who was kidnapped and murdered in 2005.
1961 – David Brooks, U.S. political and cultural commentator who writes for the New York Times, and has authored several books on American culture.
1964 – Jim Lee, Korean-born comic-book writer, artist, editor, and publisher; he is Publisher and Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics.
1969 – Johanna Cecilia Westman, Swedish writer, children’s book author, and television host.
1971 – Lidija Dimkovska, award-winning Macedonian poet, novelist, and translator.
1972 – Park Hyoung-su, award-winning South Korean novelist and short-story writer who often sets his works outside of Korea; Korean critics have had a difficult time pigeonholing him, variously describing him as a “storyteller,” “metamorphic,” and “self-aware.”
1974 – Nihad Hasanovic, Bosnian writer, poet, essayist, and translator.