1475 – Sebastiano Serlio, Italian Mannerist architect, who was part of the Italian team building the Palace of Fontainebleau; his I sette libri dell’architettura (Seven Books of Architecture) helped canonize the classical orders of architecture.
1634 – Thomas Tryon, English merchant who was the author of popular self-help books and an advocate of vegetarianism.
1728 – Christian Braunmann Tullin, Norwegian businessman and poet who was considered one of Denmark and Norway’s most important poetic talents in his day.
1729 – Moses Mendelssohn, German Jewish philosopher, writer, rabbi, translator, and Bible translator whose work influenced the ‘Jewish enlightenment’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; his descendants include composers Fanny and Felix Mendelssohn.
1795 – Frances Wright (widely known as Fanny Wright), Scottish-born lecturer, writer, freethinker, feminist, utopian socialist, abolitionist, social reformer, and Epicurean philosopher.
1800 – Catharine Esther Beecher, U.S. educator and textbook author known for her forthright opinions on female education as well as her vehement support for the incorporation of kindergarten into children’s education; she published the advice manual The American Woman’s Home with her sister, the novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe.
1811 – Joanna Courtmans (born Joanna-Desideria Berchmans), award-winning and prolific Belgian Flemish novelist and poet whose criticism of Catholic schools earned her the wrath of local clergy.
1829 – Marie Elisabeth Zakrzewska, German-born Polish physician, medical book author, and memoirist who made her name as a pioneering female doctor in the United States and established the New England Hospital for Women and Children, as well as the first general training school for nurses in the U.S.
1957 – Zelia Maria Magdalena Nuttall, U.S. archaeologist, anthropologist, essayist, writer, and book author who specialized in pre-Aztec Mexican cultures and pre-Columbian manuscripts.
1860 – Jane Addams, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. writer, essayist, suffragist, human-rights activist, journalist, sociologist, philosopher, social worker, social critic, peace activist, public administrator, and autobiographer who was a co-founder of both Chicago’s Hull House, one of America’s most famous settlement houses, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union; she is also considered the creator of social work as a profession.
1860 – Lorentzos Mavilis, Greek poet, writer, translator, chess problem composer, chess player, and soldier who is best known for his sonnets. After enlisting in the army at the age of 52, he was killed in action during the Battle of Driskos in the First Balkan War; his last words were, “I was expecting honours from this war, but not the honour to sacrifice myself for Greece!”
1861- William Lane, British-born Australian and New Zealand journalist, writer, novelist, publisher, and trade unionist who moved to Paraguay with a group of utopian acolytes to found New Australia, with the intention of building a new society based on his utopian ideals; following disagreements with the colony and the legality of miscegenation and alcohol consumption, he left to found the nearby colony Cosme, which failed. After his death he was both celebrated as a champion of utopian socialism and condemned as the arrogant leader of a failed new society. His novels reflected his political philosophy, including The Workingman’s Paradise, an allegorical novel written in sympathy with the 1891 shearers’ strike and published under his pseudonym John Miller; in it, he articulated the belief that anarchism is the noblest social philosophy.
1862 – Mary Frances Billington, English journalist, columnist, and writer who collected some of her articles and published them as the books Woman in India, The Red Cross in War, and The Roll-Call of Serving Women. She was one of the founders and was president of the Society for Women Journalists, and was the only woman delegate to the 1920 Imperial Press Congress in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
1864 – Ida Bertha Trotzig (née Magnét), Swedish author, photographer, ethnographer, Japanologist, and painter.
1869 – Felix Salten, Austrian author and literary critic best known for the novel Bambi: Ein Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde (a Life in the Woods.)
1878 – Henry Seidel Canby, U.S. critic, editor, and professor who was one of the founders and editors of the Saturday Review of Literature.
1885 – Uzeyir Hajibeyov, Soviet Azerbaijani composer, writer, playwright, journalist, opinion journalist, teacher, musicologist, ethnomusicologist, politician, conductor, music pedagogue; he composed the music of the national anthem of Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (which was re-adopted after Azerbaijan regained its independence from the Soviet Union) and the anthem used by Azerbaijan during the Soviet period, and was the first composer of an opera in the Islamic world. He is considered the father of Azerbaijani-composed classical music and opera.
1890 – John Weldon (also known as A.E. Weldon, and as Brinsley MacNamara), Irish writer, novelist, playwright, actor and the registrar of the National Gallery of Ireland; his best known work is his controversial first novel, The Valley of the Squinting Windows.
1900 – Irene Harand, Austrian writer and human rights activist who was named Righteous Among Nations by the state of Israel for her work against the Nazi regime; born a Roman Catholic in Vienna, she was an early organizer of protests against Nazi Germany’s persecutions of Jews, campaigned throughout Europe against racial hatred, and countered Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf with her own book, Sein Kampf – Antwort an Hitler (His Struggle – the Answer to Hitler). When Nazi Germany invaded Austria, Harand was in London lecturing; it saved her life, as the Nazis had set a price for her capture of 100,000 Reichmarks.
1904 – Maria Krüger , Polish writer, screenwriter, children’s author, and journalist who participated in the Warsaw Uprising; several of her children’s books received radio and television adaptations, and have been required reading in Polish schools.
1906 – Mendel Elefant (also Emanuel Elefant), Jewish Romanian and Czechoslovakian poet, writer, artist, editor, and journalist who wrote in Yiddish. He was captured by the Germans and murdered. His wife and son were caught and transported to a concentration camp; his wife was killed, but his son — who was about 10 years old, had blonde hair and blue eyes, and was a talented violinist — caught the eye of a Nazi officer, who took him home to be a companion to his own son. After the war, the boy’s aunt hired investigators to search for her nephew, but he was never found, and was presumed to have been killed.
1906 – Carlos Salazar Herrera, award-winning Costa Rican short-story writer, poet, essayist, journalist, and wood sculptor.
1912 – Mitra Mitrovic, Serbian politician, feminist, author, memoirist, newspaper editor, antifascist activist, and writer.
1915 – Ingebjørg Kasin Sandsdalen, award-winning Norwegian poet, prose writer, filmmaker, television journalist, and politician who wrote twenty poetry collections and eight books of poetic prose.
1921 – Carmen Laforet, important Spanish author whose works contributed to the school of Existentialist Literature.
1926 – Shinichi Hoshi, Japanese mystery novelist, science-fiction author, and illustrator who is best known for writing more than 1,000 “short-short” science-fiction stories, often no more than three or four pages in length.
1927 – Monique Corriveau, award-winning Canadian writer who was best known for her books for young people.
1928 – Robert M. Pirsig, U.S. writer and philosopher, well known for his bestselling novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
1930 – Kyotaro Nishimura (pseudonym of Kihachiro Yajima), award-winning Japanese novelist who specializes in police procedurals; he is best known for his “train series” mysteries, most of which feature police detectives Shozo Totsugawa, Sadao Kamei and Tokitaka Honda.
1931 – Bud Shrake, U.S. novelist, journalist, sports writer, screenwriter, and biographer whose books of advice for golfers were bestsellers.
1932 – Acharya Godwin Samararatne, Sri Lankan teacher, researcher, and writer of books on Buddhist meditation.
1934 – Sardana Platonova Oyunskaya, Russian-born Yakut folklorist, literary critic, and philologist who published numerous works on Yakut folklore, language, culture, literature, and folk songs; she also published memoirs about her father, Platon Oyunsky, one of the founders of modern Yakut literature. (The Yakut are a Turkish ethnic group of Siberia.)
1935 – Isabelle Collin Dufresne (stage name Ultra Violet), French-U.S. artist, author, autobiographer, biographer, and actress who worked with both Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.
1936 – Goldie Alexander, award-winning Australian author and children’s writer.
1936 – Addepalli Ramamohana Rao, prolific Indian poet, author, and literary critic who wrote in Telugu.
1942 – Zhang Yihe, Chinese writer and historian who is the author of a history of early figures in the Republic of China, and of a history of Peking opera stars; she is well known for her campaign against book censorship in China.
1949 – Efua Dorkenoo (affectionately known as “Mama Efua”), Ghanaian writer and activist against female genital mutilation who pioneered the global movement to end the practice.
1950 – Robyn Davidson, Australian author, cultural anthropologist, and travel writer whose book Tracks recounts her 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of Western Australia using camels.
1954 – Yolande Mukagasana, award-winning Rwandan writer, playwright, autobiographer, short-story writer, nurse, and anesthetist who fled to Belgium during the Rwandan genocide; her husband, her children and many of the people she knew were killed. Afterward, she returned to Rwanda with a photographer and documented witness accounts of the genocide in a travelling exhibition, Les Blessures du Silence. Many of her written works also serve to remind the world of the genocide and commemorate the victims.
1955 – Raymond Benson, U.S. author of James Bond novels.
1956 – Dušan Ninić, Serbian novelist whose books are mostly philosophical and political texts that draw on magical realism, Alexandrian syncretism, and neuro-linguistic programming.
1958 – Amelie Fried, German writer, screenwriter, children’s author, journalist, and television presenter.
1961 – Jessica Durlacher, Dutch literary critic, columnist, and novelist whose father, the sociologist and writer Gerhard Durlacher, survived Auschwitz.
1962 – Khady Hane, Senegalese author whose novels are written in French.
1963 – Alice Sebold, award-winning U.S. novelist whose book The Lovely Bones is narrated by the ghost of a murdered teenage girl.
1964 – Douglas A. Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. writer whose Slavery By Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II explores the history of peonage and convict lease labor in the South after the American Civil War.
1968 – Christopher Brookmyre, Scottish writer whose novels mix comedy and action with social commentary, politics, and a strong narrative; his work has been referred to as Tartan Noir.
1969 – Tony DiTerlizzi, U.S. children’s author, fantasy artist, and film producer.
1971 – Vendela Vida, U.S. novelist, journalist, and editor.
1972 – China Miéville, award-winning English fantasy novelist and short-story writer often associated with the New Weird literary movement; he has also written children’s picture books, comic books, essays, and nonfiction books.