480 BC – Euripides, Greek playwright who was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens; his theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times, include representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.
1605 – Daniel Czepko (full name Daniel Czepko von Reigersfeld), Polish poet, author, playwright, and lawyer.
1783 – Jane Taylor, English poet and novelist whose most famous work is the poem that provided the words to the song “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
1791 – Carl Theodor Körner, German poet, playwright, lyricist, and soldier who fought in the Lützow Free Corps in the German uprising against Napoleon, where he encouraged his comrades with his fiery patriotic song lyrics.
1823 – Sara Jane Lippincott, U.S. feminist writer, poet, lecturer, journalist, children’s writer, author, lecturer, journalist, and newspaper founder who was one of the first women to gain access into the Congressional press galleries.
1831 – Charles Letourneau, French anthropologist, sociologist, writer, translator, and philosopher.
1838 – Victoria Claflin Woodhull (later Victoria Woodhull Martin), U.S. writer, stockbroker, newspaper editor, reformer, and leader of the women’s suffrage movement who in 1872 was the first woman to run for President of the United States.
1849 – Stine Andresen (née Jürgens), German poet and lyricist from the North Frisian island of Föhr, whose works often refer to her native island; in addition to poems in German, she also wrote in Fering North Frisian.
1854 – Abel Botelho, Portuguese writer, playwright, historian, novelist, journalist, politician, and diplomat.
1855 – Ellen Fries, Swedish writer, historian, journalist, and teacher who in 1883 became Sweden’s first female Ph.D.
1857 – Lina Dorina Johanna Eckenstein, British writer, historian, philosopher, translator, travel writer, author, reformer, and polymath who was a scholar in the struggle for women’s rights.
1861 – Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, British novelist, poet, essayist, and literary critic who wrote poetry under the pseudonym Anodos; Robert Bridges, the British Poet Laureate, described her poems as “wonderously beautiful… but mystical, rather, and enigmatic.”
1863 – Mary Church Terrell, U.S. writer, journalist, educator, politician, suffragist, and civil-rights activist who was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree and the first African-American woman to serve on the school board of a major city (Washington, D.C.); as a writer, she sometimes used the pen name Euphemia Kirk.
1865 – Emmuska Orczy (Baroness Emma Magdolna Rozália Mária Jozefa Borbála ‘Emmuska’ Orczy de Orci), Hungarian-born British novelist, artist, and playwright who is best known for her series of novels featuring The Scarlet Pimpernel.
1888 – Mary Edith Scott, notable New Zealand novelist, playwright, autobiographer, and teacher who specialized in romantic comedies set in rural New Zealand, but also wrote detective novels.
1892 – Geneviève Tabouis, French writer, historian, journalist, and radio personality.
1901 – Jaroslav Seifert, Nobel Prize-winning Czech writer, poet, and journalist known for his innovative poetry; he was a key figure of the Czechoslovakian artistic avant-garde.
1903 – Jorge Cuesta, Mexican writer, poet, editor, journalist, literary critic, short-story writer, magazine founder, and chemist.
1907 – Anne Desclos, French journalist, translator, editor, and controversial novelist who wrote under the pseudonyms Dominique Aury and Pauline Réage; her explicit sadomasochistic novel, Histoire d’O (Story of O) was an enormous commercial success.
1908 – Ramdhari Singh (known by his pen name Dinkar), Indian Hindi poet, writer, essayist, politician, translator, journalist, literary critic, and academic who is considered one of the most important modern Hindi poets.
1919 – Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Nepali poet and scholar who was honored as the Rashtrakavi (National Poet) of Nepal.
1919 – Tota Kaneko, award-winning Japanese writer, poet, and peace activist, particularly known for his haiku.
1921 – Tarzie Vittachi, award-winning Sri Lankan journalist, author, editor, and columnist.
1923 – Mohamed Hassanein Heika, Egyptian writer, journalist, and politician who was controversial for his criticism of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
1924 – Olga Kirsch, South African poet, writer, translator, and linguist who wrote mostly in Afrikaans, though some of her work was in English, especially after she relocated to Israel.
1930 – Çelik Gülersoy, Turkish writer, art historian, poet, lawyer, and historical preservationist who published books about historic sites in Istanbul.
1931 – Édouard Joseph Marc Maunick, award-winning Mauritian poet, critic, librarian, and translator who often wrote on themes of isolation and the persecution of his people, stemming from the discrimination he faced, as a mulatto, from both Blacks and Whites.
1942 – Benedetta Craveri, Italian writer, historian, translator, university teacher, and literary critic whose work has been praised for its “stunning originality” and for having “the subtlety of a novelist and the precision of a scholar.”
1946 – Jan Ormerod (born Janet Louise Hendry), award-winning Australian author and illustrator of children’s books; her work was noted for its ability to remove clutter to tell a simple story that young children could enjoy.
1947 – Morteza Avini, Iranian photographer, author, journalist, and film director who made more than 80 films on the Iran–Iraq War.
1947 – Ayshe Talay-Ongan, Turkish-born Australian author, psychologist, and professor; she has written books of both fiction and nonfiction.
1947 – Blanca Wiethüchter López, Bolivian writer, poet, essayist, short-story writer, historian, and publisher of German descent; she is one of the most enigmatic and recognized authors of Bolivian literature in the 20th and 21st centuries.
1949 – Floella Benjamin, Trinidan-born British author, memoirist, children’s writer, politician, businesswoman, university chancellor, actress, television presenter, and baroness.
1949 – Jerry B. Jenkins, U.S. author of biographies, young-adult novels, romances, mysteries, science fiction, religious writing, and self-help books; he is best known as co-author, with Tim LaHaye, of the “Left Behind” series.
1950 – Bruce Brooks, U.S. author of young-adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction.
1950 – Andrey Borisovich Sholokhov, Russian author and biographer who is a newspaper founder and editor.
1953 – Neil Peng, award-winning and controversial Taiwanese screenwriter, filmmaker, writer, journalist, and political activist.
1956 – Peter David, prolific U.S. author of comic books, screenplays, and science-fiction novels, especially known for his work in the Star Trek universe; he jokingly describes his occupation as “Writer of Stuff.”
1957 – Zsófia Bán, Brazilian writer, literary historian, essayist, and art and literature critic.
1959 – Frank Cottrell Boyce, British screenwriter and novelist, best known for his children’s fiction.
1959 – Jennie Shortridge, bestselling U.S. novelist, magazine writer, and musician.
1967 – Justine Larbalestier, Australian writer of young adult fiction, including her best known novel, Liar.
1972 – Ana Marie Cox, U.S. journalist, political blogger, and novelist.
1973 – Shahzada Ja’far us Sadiq Imaduddin (previously known as Jafar us Sadiq Mufaddal Saifuddin), Indian poet, scholar, and university rector.
1976 – Wesley Chu, bestselling Taiwanese-born science-fiction author.
1976 – Shion Miura, award-winning Japanese novelist and nonfiction writer; much of her work has been adapted for films and television.
1982 – Joshua Foer, award-winning U.S. journalist and science writer, best known for his book Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.
1982 – Han Han, Chinese screenwriter, novelist, blogger, musician, music producer, film director, and race car driver.