1826 – Princess Alexandra Amalie of Bavaria, German writer and translator who was a member of the royal House of Wittelsbach but devoted her life to literature.
1874 – Zona Gale (also known as Zona Gale Breese), U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama; her books were based on her hometown of Portage, Wisconsin, and were found to be charming, with an intimate sense of realism, in which she captures the underlying feelings and motivations of her characters.
1875 – Sir John Buchan (1st Baron Tweedsmuir), Scottish writer, novelist, historian, and politician who served as Governor General of Canada.
1876 – Jakob Lestschinsky, Ukrainian Jewish statistician and sociologist who wrote in Yiddish, German, and English; he specialized in Jewish demography and economic history.
1880 – Guillame Apollinaire, Italian-born French poet, playwright and novelist who coined the term Surrealism.
1884 – Earl Biggers, U.S. novelist and playwright who is remembered primarily for his novels, especially those featuring the fictional Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan.
1885 – Jules Romains, French novelist, playwright, and poet who was the founder of the Unanimism literary movement.
1892 – Elizebeth Smith Friedman, U.S. cryptanalyst and author; she is considered America’s first female cryptanalyst.
1901 – Eleanor Dark, Australian author whose best known work is the historical novel, The Timeless Land; she also wrote under the name Patricia O’Rane.
1902 – On Watanabe, influential Japanese author who was inspirational to upcoming Japanese authors.
1903 – Caroline Pafford Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author who gathered folktales, stories, and archaic dialects of the rural communities of her home state of Georgia and wove them into her work.
1904 – Christopher Isherwood, English-U.S. novelist, playwright, screenwriter, autobiographer, and diarist.
1910 – Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu), Albanian/Macedonian Catholic nun, humanitarian, teacher, activist, and Nobel Prize winner whose name has become synonymous with selfless works of charity; a book published after her death, Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light – The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta compiled her letters and reflections.
1914 – Julio Cortázar, Brussels-born Argentine novelist and poet.
1914 – Albert Manoempak Sipahoetar, Indonesian journalist who was one of the founders of the state news agency Antara.
1922 – Elizabeth Brewster, prolific Canadian novelist, short-story writer, and poet.
1922 – Irving R. Levine, U.S. journalist, nonfiction author, and longtime television news correspondent whose three books about life in the Soviet Union were bestsellers.
1928 – Andrew Brian Porter, South African-born British music critic, scholar, organist, and opera director.
1938 – David Bambatha Maphgumzana Sibeko, South African journalist, activist, and politician who began his political career as a journalist for the black South African Magazine Drum and was known as the “Malcolm X of South Africa.” He became a leading figure within the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa).
1941 – Barbara Ehrenreich, U.S. author, political journalist, essayist, activist, and historian who is best known for her book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America, a memoir of her three-month experiment surviving on minimum wage as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing-home aide, and Wal-Mart clerk that was described by Newsweek as “jarring” and “full of riveting grit,” and by The New Yorker as an exposé that put “human flesh on the bones of such abstractions as ‘living wage’ and ‘affordable housing.'”
1949 – Virginia Vallejo, Colombian author, journalist, television anchor, and media personality who was given asylum in the U.S. after she publicly accused several Colombian politicians of being beneficiaries and accomplices of the leading cocaine cartels.
1952 – Will Shortz, iconic U.S. puzzle creator and crossword puzzle editor for the New York Times.
1952 – Yun Young-su, South Korean writer who is well known for her short stories; much of her work deals with characters who are cast out from Korean society, such as the sick, gangsters, the disabled, and women, as well as with relationships of families that are on the brink of breakdown.
1954 – Heloisa Braz de Oliveira Prieto, award-winning Brazilian writer, cultural researcher, teacher, novelist, short-story writer, fantasy author, children’s and young-adult author, and translator; she is especially known for her retellings of fairy tales, myths, and legends.
1957 – Nikky Finney, National Book Award-wining U.S. poet and professor.
1959 – Rahamat Tarikere, Indian Kannada essayist, critic, travel writer, political writer, and professor; one of the most noted Kannada writers of his generation, he has been praised for his sharp insights and critical view on culture.
1961 – Ato Quayson, Ghanaian literary critic and professor whose writings on African literature, postcolonial studies, disability studies, urban studies, and literary theory have been widely published; he is President of the African Studies Association.
1963 – Stephen J. Dubner, U.S. journalist, author, and radio host who co-wrote, with economist Steven Levitt, the bestselling book Freakonomics.
1964 – Balabhadrapatruni Ramani, award-winning Indian Telugu novelist, sshort-story writer, playwright, and screenwriter.
1968 – Florina Ilis, Romanian writer who has published both haiku volumes and novels.
1969 – Michael M. Coroza, award-winning Filipino writer and translator.
1978 – Eva Baltasar, award-winning Catalan poet and novelist.
1983 – Alia Trabucco Zerán, Chilean writer whose debut novel, La Resta (The Remainder), was chosen as one of the ten best debut novels of the year.
1992 – Miyonse Amosu, Nigerian journalist, media personality, and professional chef.