1486 – Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, German writer, astronomer, occultist, philosopher, physician, lawyer, theologian, alchemist, feminist, magician, and astrologer; his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, published in 1533, drew heavily upon Kabbalah, Hermeticism, and neo-Platonism.
1584 – Francisco de Quevedo, Spanish writer, Baroque poet, and politician who was one of the prominent Spanish poets of his time. He was well known for always wearing pince-nez for his myopia, so much so that his name in the plural, “quevedos,” came to mean “pince-nez” in Spanish.
1605 – Brynjólfur Sveinsson, Icelandic writer, bishop, priest, and scholar of ancient Icelandic poetry and folklore; he is credited with playing a key role in popularizing Old Norse literature.
1728 – Mercy Otis Warren, Massachusetts-born poet, playwright, author, and political writer and propagandist of the American Revolution; in 1790, she published a collection of poems and plays under her own name, which was highly unusual for a woman at the time; in 1805, she published the three-volume History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, one of the earliest published histories of the American Revolution, and the first that was authored by a woman.
1792 – Ivan Ivanovich Lazhechnikov, Russian writer, novelist, playwright, and librettist who was one of the originators of the Russian historical novel.
1843 – Lola Rodríguez de Tió, Puerto Rican poet, author, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist who was the first Puerto Rican-born woman poet to establish herself a literary reputation throughout Latin America.
1860 – Hannibal Hamlin Garland, U.S. novelist, poet, essayist, biographer, short-story writer, and researcher into the supernatural; he is best remembered for his fiction involving farmers in the Midwest.
1862 – Louis Malteste, French writer, novelist, illustrator, artist, and printmaker who was best known for his illustrations of people being spanked.
1869 – Lyubov Fyodorovna Dostoevskaya, Russian author, short-story writer, and memoirist whose father was the famous novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky; she was also known as Aimée Dostoyevskaya.
1879 – Margaret Higgins Sanger (also known as Margaret Sanger Slee), U.S. birth-control activist, sex educator, writer, and nurse who popularized the term “birth control,” opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States, and established organizations that evolved into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
1883 – Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall, English-born Canadian writer, poet, and novelist who was commonly considered to be the best Canadian poet of her generation.
1886 – Sigurður Nordal, Icelandic writer, poet, editor, diplomat, philologist, and university professor who was influential in forming the theory of the Icelandic sagas as works of literature composed by individual authors.
1886 – Dorothy Shakespear, British writer, poet, and painter who was the daughter of British novelist Olivia Shakespear and the wife of American poet Ezra Pound.
1890 – Theodora McCormick Du Bois, U.S. author of genre fiction, including mysteries, children’s literature, historical romances, fantasy, and science fiction. She also wrote plays and short stories. About half of her books feature the characters Jeffrey McNeill, a forensic scientist, and his wife Anne McNeill, who narrates their mystery-solving adventures. Du Bois’s unflattering depiction of the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings in her novel Seeing Red caused her publisher, Doubleday, to stop publishing her books.
1891 – George Tsimbidaros-Fteris, Greek journalist, foreign correspondent, critic, author, poet, translator, and lyricist.
1892 – Berta Geissmar, German writer, musicologist, and autobiographer. Before she was forced to flee Germany for England in the 1930s because of her Jewish heritage, she was secretary to several prominent orchestra conductors; she held a similar position in London. Her autobiography, The Baton and the Jackboot, gives an account of the personalities of the musicians she worked with, and provides insights into the lives and persecution of German Jews and others who opposed Nazi ideals.
1895 – Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Argentine writer, poet, essayist, biographer, and literary critic; often political in his writings, he was a confirmed anti-Peronist.
1903 – Mart Raud, Estonian poet, playwright, and writer. For a time, he was part of the literary movement Arbujad, a group of eight poets who represented new directions in Estonian poetry; after the 1940 Soviet occupation of Estonia, he distanced himself from his previous literary companions, many of whom were deported to Siberia.
1904 – Consuelo Reyes-Calderon (also known as Consuelo Reyes), Costa Rican-born author, feminist, and activist who became a naturalized U.S. citizen. She wrote and created audiovisual materials about the Costa Rican and Guatemalan people and cultures.
1906 – Eve Sutton (née Breakell), award-winning English-born New Zealand author of children’s books; most of her books were for older children, including a series of novels about the experiences of immigrants to New Zealand, but she also wrote a picture book, illustrated by her cousin, the artist Lynley Dodd.
1908 – Tsendiin Damdinsüren, Mongolian author, translator, and linguist who wrote the text to one version of the national anthem of Mongolia.
1910 – Edith Thacher Hurd, prolific U.S. children’s author who coauthored several of her books with famed writer Margaret Wise Brown; Hurd’s husband, Clement Hurd, illustrated many of her books.
1911 – William Howard Armstrong, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and educator, best known for the classic novel, Sounder, about an African-American sharecropping family in the southern U.S.
1920 – Mario Benedetti, Uruguayan journalist, novelist, playwright, poet, and journalist who is not well known in the English-speaking world, but who, in the Spanish-speaking world, is considered one of Latin America’s most important writers of the latter half of the 20th century.
1924 – Alexander Artemiev, Russian Chuvash poet, prose writer, translator, and literary critic.
1929 – Suheil Badi Bushrui, Israeli writer, poet, literary critic, translator, professor, and peace activist, well known for bringing Yeats’s poetry to an Arab-speaking audience; he was also prominent scholar of the life and works of the Lebanese-American author and poet Kahlil Gibran.
1929 – Larry Collins, U.S. novelist, journalist, editor, and nonfiction author.
1929 – Ferdinand Oyono, Cameroonian writer, politician, and diplomat; his literary work, written in French, is recognized for a sense of irony that reveals how easily people can be fooled.
1930 – Anne Bernays, U.S. novelist, nonfiction author, editor, and professor; her book What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers (coauthored with Pamela Painter) is one of the most widely used guides to creative writing.
1930 – Anton Nikolov Donchev, Bulgarian politician who is also a popular writer of historical novels and a screenwriter for Bulgarian historical drama films.
1931 – Ivan Klíma, award-winning Czech novelist and playwright.
1933 – Hans Faverey, award-winning Dutch poet, psychologist, and lecturer of Surinamese descent; his poetry was more popular among critics than readers, who thought of it as dense and difficult, but Favery usually laughed at such remarks, insisting that it really is not that hard.
1934 – Sarah Kofman, French writer, philosopher, autobiographer, and university teacher.
1934 – Kate Millett (full name Katherine Murray Millett), U.S. feminist writer, educator, artist, and activist, best known as the author of Sexual Politics.
1937 – Radu Klapper, Romanian-born Israeli writer, poet, author, librarian, and critic; his book, “Jews Against their Will,” dealt with the relationship between famous figures and their Jewish identity.
1938 – Tiziano Terzani, Italian journalist and author, best known for his extensive knowledge of East Asia and for being one of the few western reporters to witness and write about both the fall of Saigon to the hands of the Viet Cong and the fall of Phnom Penh at the hands of the Khmer Rouge.
1939 – Aslan Gahraman oglu Gahramanly, Azerbaijani playwright, short-story writer, and scholar.
1942 – Bernard MacLaverty, award-winning Irish novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer; two of his novels, Lamb and Cal, have been made into major films, for which he wrote the screenplays.
1946 – Dida Drăgan, Romanian poet, musician, and pop star.
1947 – Park Yeonghan, South Korean novelist and short-story writer whose award-winning bestselling book The Distant Ssongba River was based on his experiences as fighting in the Vietnam War.
1948 – Marc Reisner, U.S. environmentalist and writer best known for his book Cadillac Desert, a history of water management in the American West, which was included on a list of the 100 most notable English-language works of nonfiction of the 20th century.
1949 – Kodavatiganti Rohini Prasad, Indian Telugu-language author, writer, physicist, nuclear physicist, and expert in Hindustani classical music; he wrote books on science, music, and other subjects. He was the son of well known Telugu writer Kodavatiganti Kutumbarao.
1950 – Juan Carlos Boveri, award-winning Argentine author of novel and short stories whose works are characterized by originality and depth, as well as criticisms of society; he is also a psychologist, sociologist and cultural anthropologist.
1950 – John Steptoe, U.S. African-American author and illustrator of children’s books that illuminate the African-American experience; his best known book, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, was considered a breakthrough in African history and culture.
1952 – Sudhir V. Shah, Indian neurologist, professor, and writer who is known for his research on brain cells and for articles and bestselling books on neurology and spirituality; he donates to charity the earnings from his books.
1954 – Wu Chin-fa, Taiwanese writer and politician of Hakka and indigenous descent; his writing often explores ethnic conflict in Taiwan from the perspective of youths.
1955 – Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning Australian-born journalist and author whose best known book is the novel March, which focuses on the absent father of the March family that is the subject of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, Little Women.
1955 – Pier Vittorio Tondelli, Italian author and journalist who wrote a small but influential body of work and was controversial for his use of homosexual themes.
1957 – Grażyna Wojcieszko, award-winning Polish writer and poet.
1958 – Garikipati Narasimha Rao, Indian writer, lecturer, and Telugu-language Avadhani (literary performer). Avadhanis are respected for their abilities to spin out verses conforming to Telugu grammar on literally any subject an audience suggests, and
display extreme powers of memorization.
1964 – Martín Hahn, Venezuelan writer, screenwriter, and playwright best known for writing telenovelas of mystery and suspense.
1965 – Aline Poulin, award-winning Canadian writer, poet, archivist, and literary reporter.
1966 – Jolita Herlyn, Lithuanian novelist, university teacher, and television presenter.
1967 – Michael Schmidt-Salomon, German author, philosopher, journalist, and children’s writer.
1968 – Shūichi Yoshida (吉田 修), award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, and lyricist.
1971 – Henrietta Rose-Innes, award-winning South African novelist and short-story writer.
1973 – Asieh Amini, Iranian poet and journalist currently residing in Norway; she is an activist for women’s rights and against the death penalty, especially against the stoning of women and minors in Iran.
1976 – Adelle Stripe, award-winning English writer, poet, and blogger whose debut novel, Black Teeth and a Brilliant Smile, was based on the life and work of playwright Andrea Dunbar.
1978 – Gabriel Torrelles, Venezuelan writer and filmmaker who is editor-in-chief of Urbe, Venezuela’s first youth newspaper.
1987 – Ekiwah Adler Beléndez, Pushcart Prize-nominated Mexican poet and editor; after traveling far from his remote mountain village home in Mexico to receive lifesaving spinal surgery, he returned to Mexico, where he established writing workshops for students, including those with cerebral palsy and other movement-related disabilities, to help them to tell their stories in their own words.