1617 – Roshanara Begum, Indian poet and Mughal princess who was the daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal; after her brother took the throne, she became the First Lady of the Mughal Empire; today she is best known for the Roshanara Bagh, a pleasure garden located in present-day north Delhi and named in her honor.
1653 – Roger North, English writer, lawyer, biographer, autobiographer, music theorist, musician, and politician; his writings on musical performance have proven helpful for musicologists researching the Baroque style in England.
1791 – Francisco Esteban Acuña de Figueroa, Uruguayan poet, writer, and theater director; he is particularly known for writing the lyrics of the national anthems of both Uruguay and Paraguay.
1804 – Mykhaylo Oleksandrovych Maksymovych, Ukrainian writer, historian, and professor of plant biology who contributed to the life sciences, especially botany and zoology, and to linguistics, folklore, ethnography, history, literary studies, cartography, and archaeology.
1849 – Sarah Orne Jewett, U.S. novelist, poet, and short-story writer, much of whose work was set along the southerncoast of Maine.
1855 – Alexander Pavlovich Chekhov, Russian novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and memoirist who was the elder brother of the more famous writer Anton Chekhov.
1859 – Lucreția Suciu-Rudow, Romanian poet and magazine editor who was known for her love poems, which were charged with sincerity, spontaneity, delicacy, and grace.
1863 – Hans Aanrud, Norwegian author, playwright, short-story writer, and poet whose works depicted rural life in his native Gudbrandsdal, Norway.
1868 – Mary Parker Follett, U.S. writer, social worker, management consultant, philosopher, and pioneer in the fields of organizational theory and organizational behavior; she has been called the “Mother of Modern Management.” Instead of emphasizing industrial and mechanical components, she advocated for what she saw as the far more important human element, regarding people as the most valuable commodity in any business.
1878 – Madeleine Vernet, French teacher, writer, pacifist, and activist who work attacked abuses in the state system of foster homes, where children were often used for their labor; eventually, she founded an orphanage.
1883 – António Sérgio de Sousa, influential Portuguese educationist, philosopher, journalist, sociologist, and essayist.
1885 – Mahjoor (pen name for Ghulam Ahmad), Indian poet especially noted for introducing a new style into Kashmiri poetry and for expanding Kashmiri poetry into previously unexplored thematic realms.
1890 – Yvonne Allendy (born Alice Yvonne Nel-Dumouchel) French women’s writer and art critic.
1897 – Sally Benson (née Sara Smith, and she also wrote under the pen name Esther Evarts), U.S. screenwriter, journalist, and author of short stories who is best known for her humorous tales of modern youth and her semi-autobiographical stories, but who also wrote some high-profile movie scripts. Her screenplay for Anna and the King of Siam was nominated for an Academy Award.
1897 – James (Joseph) Hanley, British novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In the 1930s and 1940s his novels and short stories focused on seamen and their families, and included Boy, which was set around an obscenity trial; after World War II, his works showed less emphasis on the sea.
1900 – Risto Krle, Macedonian playwright and shoe maker.
1906 – Lawrence Clark Powell, U.S. librarian, literary critic, bibliographer, and prolific author who made a significant contribution to the library profession, and whose own works showcase his interests in the American Southwest, rare books, libraries and librarianship, the book trade, and book collecting.
1907 – Pavel Dan, award-winning Romanian short-story writer, educator, librarian, and literary critic.
1911 – Naomi Lewis, British poet, teacher, literary critic, and children’s literature anthologist.
1914 – Dixy Lee Ray (born Marguerite Ray), brilliant, eccentric U.S. biologist, zoologist, writer, researcher, professor, television host, politician, and museum director; in 1976 she was elected as the first female governor of Washington state, despite her blunt style and lack of political experience. After her death, a journalist who co-authored two books with her summed up her political career by saying, “she should have never gone into politics. We thought it was time for someone in politics who tells the truth all the time. It didn’t work.” The name Dixy was a shortened form of her childhood nickname “Little Dickens,” an idiom for “devil.”
1915 – Adegoke Adelabu, Nigerian writer, merchant, journalist, and politician who served as Nigeria’s Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services.
1916 – Alexander Koblencs, Latvian chess champion, trainer, chess journalist, and author of books about chess.
1920 – Irena Bobowska, Polish poet and member of the Polish resistance during World War II; her call sign was “Otter.” Though paralyzed from the waist down by a childhood illness, she participated in the resistance to the German occupation and served as chief editor of the underground newspaper Pobudka (Awakening) until she was captured by the Nazis; while imprisoned she smuggled poems out, some of which — including “Bo ja się uczę,” a poem that advised women on mental survival in German captivity — reached Polish women in Auschwitz and other prisons. She was executed at the age of 22.
1920 – Marguerite Higgins Hall, U.S. reporter, war correspondent, and columnist who covered World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and in the process advanced the cause of equal access for female war correspondents; she was the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Foreign Correspondence.
1922 – Björn Theodor Björnsson, Icelandic writer of popular historical fiction.
1923 – Mort Walker, U.S. cartoonist best known for the long-running comic strips “Beetle Bailey” and “Hi and Lois”. He also wrote an autobiography and The Lexicon of Comicana, a satirical look at the devices cartoonists use, and founded the Museum of Cartoon Art.
1925 – Gabriel Mora i Arana, award-winning Spanish Catalan writer, poet, author, and mechanic who was active in the Esperantist movement.
1925 – Ángel González Muñiz, award-winning Spanish poet and literary critic who is considered one of the key Spanish poets of the twentieth century
1926 – Alison Lurie, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist, nonfiction writer, children’s writer, literary critic, and academic.
1930 – Cherry Barbara Grimm (née Lockett), New Zealand author of science fiction and fantasy who was better known by the pseudonym Cherry Wilder.
1938 – Caryl Churchill, British playwright, screenwriter, and author known for her dramatization of abuses of power, for her use of non-naturalistic techniques, and for her exploration of sexual politics and feminist themes.
1940 – Eduardo Galeano, Uruguayan journalist, novelist, political activist who once said, “I’m a writer obsessed with remembering, with remembering the past of America and above all that of Latin America, intimate land condemned to amnesia.”
1941 – Sergei Dovlatov, Soviet author and journalist who was one of the most popular Russian writers of the late 20th century.
1958 – Kettly Mars, Haitian poet and novelist who writes in French.
1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, British-born Canadian journalist and author of popular nonfiction books.
1964 – Spike Feresten, U.S. television comedy writer, best known for the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.
1969 – Olivera Ćirković, Serbian writer, painter, professional basketball player, and convicted felon; she was part of the international jewel thief network The Pink Panthers.
1969 – Joy Chinwe Eyisi, Nigerian author, professor, and philanthropist who was the first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Nnamdi Azikiwe University; she has written or edited academic articles, journals, and textbooks, and is particularly known for her books on English language usage, especially Common Errors in the Use of English.
1969 – Adriana Trigiani, bestselling U.S. novelist, television writer, film director, playwright, and entrepreneur whose works draw upon her background as an Italian-American and her southwestern Virginia upbringing.
1971 – Kiran Desai, influential, award-winning Indian novelist whose work uses magic realism, whimsical elements, and humor to explore themes of identity, migration, alienation, and loss.
1980 – Jenny Han, U.S. author of fiction for children and young adults.