1221 – Salimbene di Adam (often known as Salimbene of Parma), Italian Franciscan friar, theologian, and chronicler whose work is a key source for 13th century Italian history.
1741 – Gaspar de Molina y Zaldívar, Spanish writer, poet, architect, painter, and engineer.
1772 – Mary Tighe, Irish poet and novelist; poet John Keats was one of her admirers and paid tribute to her in his poem, “To Some Ladies.”
1791 – Amalie Schoppe (born Amalie Weise, and also known by her pseudonyms Adalbert von Schonen, Amalia, and Marie), German writer, journalist, and prolific author of books for children and young adults.
1799 – Louisa Stuart Costello, Anglo-Irish novelist, poet, historian, and artist who lived in Paris and often wrote on travel and French history.
1823 – Mary Ann Shadd Cary, U.S. and Canadian anti-slavery activist, journalist, publisher, teacher, and lawyer; she was the first Black woman publisher in North America, the first woman publisher in Canada, and the first Black woman to attend law school in the U.S.
1825 – Clementine Helm Beyrich, popular German author of books for children and young adults; she also wrote poems, songs, short stories, and fairy tales, and was an anthologist and a teacher.
1854 – Mihaljo Pupin, Pulitzer Prize-winning Serbian-born physicist, chemist, autobiographer, and author; he was also a diplomat who helped determine the borders of Yugoslavia.
1862 – Fatma Aliye Topuz (often known as Fatma Aliye or Fatma Aliye Hanım), Turkish novelist, columnist, essayist, women’s rights activist, and humanitarian who was one of the first published female novelists in Turkish literature and the Islamic world.
1863 – Edward Bok, Pulitzer Prize-winning Dutch-born U.S. magazine editor, author, and autobiographer.
1876 – Sol Plaatje (full name Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje), South African writer, journalist, translator, linguist, and politician who was a founding member and the first General Secretary of the South African Native National Congress, which became the African National Congress.
1881 – Victor Klemperer, Polish writer, diarist, autobiographer, linguist, university teacher, politician, and scholar of romance languages; his journals, published in Germany in 1995, detailed the hardships of his life under the Third Reich as the son of a Rabbi, though he avoided deportation through the intervention of his Aryan wife. His journals covering the period of the Third Reich have become standard historical sources on the period. He was a cousin to the conductor Otto Klemperer and to Otto’s son, the actor Werner Klemperer.
1887 – Saroj Nalini Dutt (née De), Indian writer, social worker, and activist for the rights of women.
1892 – Ivo Andrić, Nobel Prize-winning Yugoslavian novelist and short-story writer.
1894 – Agnes von Krusenstjerna, controversial Swedish writer whose books challenged the moral standards of the day; she was at the center of a great literary controversy over freedom of speech.
1898 – Tawfiq al-Hakim, prominent and prolific Egyptian novelist, playwright, journalist, and visionary who is considered one of the pioneers of the Arabic novel and drama.
1899 – Bruce Catton, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning U.S. historian and journalist who wrote popular histories of the American Civil War, including the book A Stillness at Appomattox.
1906 – Sayyid Qutb, prolific Egyptian author, educator, Islamic theorist, poet, journalist, philosopher, nonfiction author, and politician who wrote on the social and political role of Islam. He was convicted of plotting the assassination of Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser and executed by hanging.
1906 – Léopold Sédar Senghor, Senegalese poet and cultural theorist who was the first president of Senegal; he is regarded as one of the most important African intellectuals of the 20th century.
1915 – Belva Plain, bestselling U.S. novelist whose books were often multigenerational Jewish-American family sagas featuring strong-willed women.
1916 – Mars Ravelo, Filipino comic-book cartoonist and graphic novelist.
1918 – Marianne Alopaeus, award-winning Finnish novelist who wrote in Swedish; her best known novel, Mörkrets kärna (“The Dark Core”) is about a woman who rejects the priorities of her children to concentrate on intellectual pursuits, and is thought to be influenced by the style and approach of the existentialist author Simone de Beauvoir.
1927 – Lokenath Bhattacharya, prolific Indian Bengali writer, poet, and translator.
1929 – Julia Elena Fortún, Bolivian author, historian, anthropologist, musicologist, and pioneering ethnomusicologist.
1937 – Joanna Hurwitz, U.S. librarian and author of bestselling children’s books; she has written novels, biographies, and short stories.
1938 – Gwendoline Chomba Konie, Zambian writer, poet, diplomat, and politician who was a candidate for president of Zambia in 2001.
1941 – Jean-Jacques Schuhl, French author who won the Prix Goncourt for his novel Ingrid Caven, which was named for his partner, a German actress and singer.
1942 – Michael Palmer, U.S. doctor and bestselling author of medical thrillers.
1946 – Anne-Marie Garat, award-winning French novelist and educator whose books are psychological in nature and focus on female characters.
1946 – Edgardo Rodríguez Juliá, Puerto Rican essayist and novelist.
1950 – Jody Williams, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. writer, professor, and activist.
1951 – Svyatoslav Vladimirovich Vitman (mostly known by his pen name, Svyatoslav Loginov), award-winning Russian novelist, short-story writer, and poet who writes mostly science fiction.
1951 – María Negroni, awarad-winning Argentinian poet, essayist, novelist, translator, and professor.
1953 – Jordan Plevnes, Macedonian writer, poet, politician, and diplomat.
1960 – Laura Ruohonen, Finnish writer, playwright, professor, and theatre director.
1962 – Eduardo del Llano Rodriguez, Russian-born Cuban writer, screenwriter, university professor, and film director; his short film Monte Rouge — a satire on the work of Cuban state security — cemented his reputation as a critic of the Cuban government.
1964 – Jacqueline Carey, U.S. fantasy author, known for her “Kushiel” series set in the fictional land of Terre d’Ange.
1964 – Guillermo del Toro, Mexican movie director and novelist, known for his works of fantasy, suspense, and horror.
1976 – William Joseph Alexander, National Book Award-winning U.S. author of young-adult fantasy novels.
1981 – Liu Di, Chinese writer and dissident whose pen name is “Stainless Steel Rat,” after a series of science-fiction novels by Harry Harrison; she became a symbol for democracy and free speech in China after her detention in November 2002.