1553 – Jacques Auguste de Thou, French writer, poet, historian, book collector, diplomat, and politician.
1712 – Alison Cockburn (also known as Alison Rutherford, or Alicia Cockburn), Scottish poet, satirist, lyricist, and wit who collected a circle of eminent friends in 18th-century enlightenment Edinburgh, including Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and David Hume.
1773 – Sophie Bawr, French novelist, playwright, children’s writer, memoirist, textbook writer, and composer; she was born Alexandrine-Sophie Goury de Champgrand, and was also known as Comtesse de Saint-Simon, Baronne de Bawr, and M. François.
1797 – Eeltsje Hiddes Halbertsma, Dutch Frisian writer, poet, and physician, and the youngest of the three Halbertsma Brothers, all of whom were published writers.
1807 – Harriet Taylor Mill (born Harriet Hardy), British writer, essayist, poet, philosopher, and women’s rights advocate; her frequent collaborations with her second husband, philosopher and politician John Stuart Mill, make it difficult at times to tell which works were hers, which were his, and which were co-authored. She was a controversial figure because she chose to live apart from her first husband, John Taylor, after she fell in love with Mill, though it is likely that her relationship was not a sexual one until after Taylor passed away.
1845 – Louise Elisabeth Bachofen-Burckhardt, Swiss art collector, art critic, and philanthropist who wrote a catalog of her substantial art collection, which she bequeathed to the city of Basel’s art museum.
1847 – Rose Scott, influential Australian writer, salonnière, suffragist, and women’s rights activist; she is especially remembered for founding the Women’s Political Education League and for campaigning successfully to raise the age of consent to sixteen.
1872 – John Cowper Powys, British novelist, lecturer, philosopher, literary critic, and poet.
1876 – Cécile Tormay, two-time Nobel Prize-nominated Hungarian writer, translator, novelist, feminist, and social theorist.
1879 – Chen Duxiu, Chinese, writer, philosopher, journalist, professor, and politician who was the first General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.
1886 – Pedro Prado, award-winning, innovative Chilean writer and poet. His first book of poetry, Flores de Cardo, introduced free verse in Chilean poetry; his novels were philosophical and infused with creative and poetic imagery.
1886 – Isamu Yoshii, Japanese writer, tanka poet, playwright, novelist, and radio scriptwriter whose early work was influenced by European romanticism.
1892 – Marina Tsvetaeva, Russian writer, poet, translator, and diarist whose work is considered among the greatest in 20th century Russian literature.
1895 – Adivi Baapiraju, Indian Telugu-language novelist, poet, playwright, short-story writer, painter, newspaper editor, and art director; he was jailed for about a year for his participation in Mahatma Gandhi’s Indian independence movement, and later wrote the book Tolakari about his experiences in jail.
1897- Etelvina Villanueva y Saavedra, Bolivian poet and educator who was a leader in the struggle for equality for Bolivian women.
1903 – Colette Peignot, French author, poet, and social crusader who is most known by the pseudonym Laure, but who also wrote under the name Claude Araxe. She was profoundly affected during her childhood by the deaths of her father and three uncles during World War I, by her failing health (tuberculosis nearly killed her at age 13), and by sexual abuse from a priest; as a result, her writings are full of fury and suffering.
1909 – Yemima Avidar-Tchernovitz, award-winning Lithuanian-born Israeli author and translator who is best known for her children’s books, which have become classics of modern Hebrew children’s literature.
1914 – Thomas St. Germain Whitecloud II, U.S. Chippewa writer and doctor whose most famous story, “Blue Winds Dancing,” is about a young man’s struggle to exist in ancient and modern America; it stands out in contemporary literature for its lyrical prose, vivid imagery, and social observations. As a doctor, he is known for developing innovative techniques in spinal surgery.
1917 – Walter Lord, bestselling U.S. author of popular history books; he is best known for his account of the Titanic’s sinking, A Night to Remember, which was made into a movie.
1919 – Teresa Pàmies, award-winning Spanish Catalan writer, biographer, journalist, and political activist.
1920 – Maria Beig, award-winning German author, autobiographer, and educator.
1920 – Victoria Garrón de Doryan, Costa Rican writer, poet, biographer, and educator who was the first female Vice President of Costa Rica.
1920 – Frank Herbert, U.S. science-fiction writer whose Dune saga is a classic of the genre.
1924 – Orlanda Amarílis (full name Orlanda Amarílis Lopes Rodrigues Fernandes Ferreira), Cape Verdean short-story writer, children’s author, and translator whose many literary themes include the lives of Cape Verdean women as well as depictions of the Cape Verdean diaspora; she has been described as “indisputably one of Cape Verde’s most talented writers.”
1925 – Iraj Afshar, Iranian writer, screenwriter, librarian, historian, university teacher, bibliographer, editor, and linguist who is an iconic figure in the field of Persian studies.
1926 – Lars Fredrik Jansson, Finnish author and cartoonist.
1930 – Faith Ringgold, U.S. African-American author and children’s book author.
1930 – Toru Takemitsu, Japanese composer, teacher, guitarist, and influential writer on aesthetics and music theory
1933 – Michael Korda, English-born writer, novelist, and editor.
1938 – William Corlett, English author known for his The Magician’s House set of children’s novels.
1939 – Harvey Pekar, U.S. comic-book writer best known for his American Splendor series of autobiographical graphic novels.
1941 – Martin Florian van Amerongen, Dutch journalist, publisher, columnist, biographer, author, editor, and literary critic.
1943 – Catherine Hermary-Vieille, award-winning French novelist and biographer.
1943 – R.L. Stine, popular U.S. author of children’s horror series, notably Goosebumps and Fear Street.
1945 – Ewa Lipska, Polish poet and writer associated with Poland’s New Wave literary movement. According to a critic: “While her verse may have some connections with politics, it always documents concrete personal experiences without reaching for grand generalizations. As it unmasks the language of propaganda, her poetry also indicates the weaknesses of language in general as an instrument of human perception and communication.”
1948 – Benjamin Cheever, U.S. writer who is the son of noted author John Cheever.
1949 – Marjorie Hope van Heerden, award-winning South African writer and illustrator of children’s books.
1953 – Julia Navarro, Spanish journalist, nonfiction author on current affairs and politics, and bestselling novelist.
1958 – Steve Coll, U.S. journalist and author, recipient of two Pulitzer Prizes, on of them for the 2004 book Ghost Wars.
1958 – Bret Lott, award-winning U.S. author, professor, and editor who is best known for the novel Jewel, an Oprah’s Book Club selection that was made into a movie.
1963 – Ha Joon Chang, South Korean economist and author who has been listed in Prospect magazine as one of the top 20 World Thinkers.
1966 – Claire Messud, award-winning U.S. author and professor.
1968 – Jaclyn Moriarty, Australian novelist, most known for her young-adult literature; her sisters Liane and Nicola are also authors.
1971 – Pınar Selek, Turkish sociologist, feminist, writer, editor, children’s author, sociologist, and human rights activist; she is known for her work on the rights of vulnerable communities in Turkey, including women, the poor, street children, sexual minorities, and Kurdish communities.
1975 – Tahmima Anam, award-winning Bangladeshi-born writer, novelist, journalist, and columnist.