1540 – Pantaleon Candidus, Austrian writer, historian, and theologian of the Reformed Church.
1773 – Caroline Philippine von Briest (better known as Caroline de la Motte Fouqué), prolific German writer of the Romantic period who was one of the most accomplished women of Germany of her time; she wrote novels, short stories, travelogues, fairy tales, poetry, and essays, on a wide range of topics ranging from Greek mythology to the history of fashion.
1775 – Jaygopal Tarkalankar, Indian Bengali writer, Sanskrit scholar, educator, and translator; he devoted his career to the goal of uplifting the Bengali language and rescuing it from Persian and Arabic influences.
1783 – Augustus Bozzi Granville (born Augusto Bozzi), Italian writer, physician, author, and gynecologist; he is credited with performing the first medical autopsy on an ancient Egyptian mummy, which he described to the Royal Society of London in 1825.
1795 – Elizabeth Pope Whately, English writer who wrote and edited fictional, religious, and educational works, both for adults and children; little of her writing appeared under her own name, some of it carrying the byline of her husband, the Archbishop Richard Whately.
1821 – Tristão Gonçalves de Alencar (later Araripe), Brazilian writer, judge, politician, and magistrate.
1839 – Anna “Annie” Brassey (Baroness Brassey, née Allnutt), English adventurer and travel writer whose bestselling memoir, A Voyage in the Sunbeam, our Home on the Ocean for Eleven Months describes a voyage she made around the world with friends and family; it was only one of many trips she made to far-flung destinations and wrote about. She was also an accomplished photographer; her 70 albums filled with photographs and artifacts from her voyages are said to exemplify the best of historical travel albums.
1844 – Adèle Wilhelmina Weman, Finnish writer, journalist, poet, playwright, educator, and children’s author who wrote in Swedish under the pen names Parus Ater, Inga Storm, and Zakarias. She was a pioneer in youth education and in the development of youth associations.
1949 – Francisco Bauzá, Uruguayan writer, journalist, essayist, political writer, historian, literary historian, politician, and diplomat.
1849 – James Whitcomb Riley, U.S. writer and poet whose 1885 poem “Little Orphant Annie” was the basis for the later character.
1855 – Louis Léon Théodore Gosselin, French writer, historian, and playwright who wrote under the pen name G. Lenotre; he wrote articles for the leading publications of his day, and produced numerous works dealing with the French Revolution, especially the Reign of Terror, constructed from his research into primary documents of the era.
1864 – Ellen Wright Blackwell, English writer, botanist, and photographer who made a lasting impact on the field of botany in New Zealand. She coauthored the groundbreaking book, Plants of New Zealand, which is now a classic and was the first popular, well-illustrated, and authoritatively written account of New Zealand plants; the book is also notable in that it attempts to integrate aspects of New Zealand culture (including Maori culture) into a botanical framework.
1867 – Irvine Garland Penn, U.S. African-American journalist, educator, and lay leader in the Methodist Episcopal church; he was the author of The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, and one of several coauthors (some of the others were Frederick Douglass and Ida B. Wells) of The Reason Why the Colored American Is Not in the World’s Columbia Exposition.
1873 – Clementine Sophie Krämer (née Cahnmann), German writer of poetry, novellas, and short stories who was also an activist in the German Jewish community; she was killed in 1942 in a Nazi concentration camp.
1873 – Josep Esteve i Seguí, Spanish Catalan folklorist and pharmacist who published traditional songs and proverbs, as well as articles about the geography and folklore of his region.
1878 – Mikhail Andreyevich Osorgin (real last name Ilyin), Russian writer, journalist, and essayist.
1883 – Racho Stoyanov Genov-Dufev, Bulgarian writer, playwright, and translator.
1893 – Alice Dalgliesh, three-time Newbery Medal-winning Trinidad-born U.S. author of children’s historical fiction.
1900 – Ganti Jogi Somayaji, Indian writer, poet, linguist, and teacher who was a scholar in Sanskrit, Telugu, English and other languages.
1907 – Helen MacInnes, award-winning Scottish-born author of espionage novels who was also a librarian and a translator; several of her books were made into films. The New York Times praised MacInnes for her, “unfailing eye for vivid backgrounds, her deft control of complex story lines, and her clear-cut presentation of each important member of her casts,” and said her books had “a kind of grandeur, a romantic overtone suggesting knights in mortal combat.”
1909 – Anni Blomqvist, award-winning Finnish novelist, short-story writer, autobiographer, and nonfiction author; much of her work, both fiction and nonfiction, deals with the difficult lives of people on her native Åland Islands.
1914 – Mihailo Lalic, Montenegrin and Serbian writer and journalist.
1914 – Armonía Liropeya Etchepare Locino (sometimes referred to as Armonía Etchepare de Henestrosa, or by her pseudonym Armonía Somer), Uruguayan novelist, short-story writer, feminist, and pedagogue who was a member of the literary movement Generación del 45.
1915 – Margarita Aliger, Ukrainian Soviet writer, poet, translator, linguist, and journalist.
1922 – Reina Prinsen Geerligs, East Indies-born Dutch writer and poet who became a member of the Dutch Resistance during World War II; she was executed in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp at age 21.
1922 – William Zinsser, influential U.S. writer, editor, and journalist, many of whose books deal with the craft of writing.
1928 – Sohrab Sepehri, Iranian poet, writer, and painter who is considered one of the top five Iranian poets of the modern era.
1928 – Lorna Wing, award-winning British psychiatrist and author who made significant contributions to research on autism and introduced the idea of the autism “spectrum”; she was also the mother of a daughter with autism.
1933 – Ajith Thilakasena, Sri Lankan Sinhala short-story writer who is known for his unconventional use of language.
1934 – Amiri Baraka (born Everett LeRoi Jones; also known as LeRoi Jones and Imamu Amear Baraka), U.S. 6African-American writer of poetry, drama, fiction, essays, and music criticism.
1935 – Thomas Keneally, award-winning Australian writer whose book Schindler’s Ark was adapted into the film Schindler’s List.
1939 – Clive James, Australian-born British literary critic, poet, lyricist, novelist, and memoirist, and television personality.
1942- José Ensch, award-winning Luxembourgian poet and professor; she wrote in French.
1943 – Nasr Abu Zayd, Egyptian writer, theologian, philosopher, university teacher, and Muslim reformer.
1946 – Anita Shreve, award-winning bestselling U.S. author, magazine writer, and editor.
1948 – Diane Ackerman, U.S. author, poet, and naturalist best known for her work A Natural History of the Senses.
1951 – Natsuo Kirino (pen name of Mariko Hashioka), Japanese author of detective novels.
1953 – Robab Moheb, Iranian and Swedish poet, author, translator, and short-story writer.
1955 – Wu Jiaxiang, Chinese scholar, nonfiction writer, and public intellectual.
1958 – Mulenga Kapwepwe, Zambian author and playwright who co-founded the Zambian Women’s History Museum; she is also known for building libraries in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, to give children more access to education.
1960 – Kevin Boyle, National Book Award-winning U.S. historian and author.
1961 – Hanaa Al-Ramli, Jordanian and Palestinian writer, researcher, lecturer, engineer, and activist in Information technology and Internet culture.
1964 – Sharmila Rege, award-winning Indian sociologist, professor, feminist scholar, and author of Writing Caste, Writing Gender whose work was considered pivotal in opening up dialogue in India on questions of class, caste, religion, gender, and sexuality; her focus on alternative history writing gave new life to the local and oral traditions of knowledge and cultural practice by bringing them into public attention through translation projects that built archives of national memory.
1964 – Dan Savage, U.S. author, columnist, and media pundit who writes an advice column about relationships.
1965 – Paula McLain, U.S. novelist, poet, and memoirist who is best known for her novel The Paris Wife, a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway’s first marriage.
1966 – Sherman Alexie, U.S. author, short-story writer, poet, and filmmaker whose work focuses on his experiences growing up on the Spokane Indian reservation.
1979 – Muhammad Aladdin (also known as Alaa Eddin), award-winning Egyptian novelist, short-story writer, and scriptwriter who is often described as “an innovator in the Arabic literature.”
1980 – Andreea Iacob, Romanian theater director and playwright.