1723 – Hedvig Strömfelt, Swedish writer, psalm writer, church historian, and baroness who was an important leader in the Moravian Church Stockholm congregation.
1727 – Elizabeth Griffith (sometimes credited as Elizabeth Griffiths), Welsh-born, Irish-based dramatist, fiction writer, essayist, and actress.
1782 – Steen Steensen Blicher, Danish poet, short-story writer, and failed clergyman.
1825 – Maria Firmina dos Reis, Brazilian writer, poet, novelist, teacher, and abolitionist; her novel Úrsula described life for Afro-Brazilians under slavery.
1854 – Adela Zamudio (full name Paz Juana Plácida Adela Rafaela Zamudio Rivero), Bolivian poet, feminist, and educator; she is considered the most famous Bolivian poet ever, and is credited as founding the country’s feminist movement. She also used the pen name Soledad.
1864 – Rosa de Eguílaz y Renart, Spanish playwright, writer, and journalist.
1871 – Harriet Boyd Hawes, pioneering U.S. archaeologist, author, university teacher, nurse, and relief worker who is best known as the discoverer and director of Gournia, one of the first archaeological excavations to uncover a Minoan settlement and palace on the Aegean island of Crete.
1876 – Gertrud von Le Fort (full name Baroness Gertrud Auguste Lina Elsbeth Mathilde Petrea Freiin von Le Fort), German writer of novels, poems, and essays.
1884 – Eleanor Roosevelt, U.S. politician, diplomat, writer, journalist, columnist, autobiographer, feminist, peace activist, human-rights activist, and longest-serving First Lady of the United States, through her marriage to her fifth cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1885 – François Mauriac, Nobel Prize-winning French novelist, dramatist, critic, poet, and journalist, lauded “for the deep spiritual insight and the artistic intensity with which he has in his novels penetrated the drama of human life.”
1887 – Stefán Sigurðsson (also known as Stefán frá Hvítadal), Icelandic poet and author. Some sources give his birthday as October 16, 1887.
1891 – Kim Seong-su, South Korean writer, journalist, calligrapher, educator, independence activist, politician, and entrepreneur who founded Korea University and was Vice President of South Korea.
1894 – Albert Jakob Welti, award-winning Swiss writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and painter who was known for his intellectual independence and often took a stand on cultural, literary, and political questions of his time.
1911 – Changampuzha Krishna Pillai, celebrated and influential Indian Malayalam poet, writer, and playwright who was known for his bestselling romantic elegy Ramanan, a play written in the form of verse and based based on the life of his friend Edappally Raghavan Pillai; it was adapted for film. He is credited with bringing poetry to the masses with his simple romantic style; his style influenced the next few generations of Malayalam poets.
1913 – Lieselotte “Lilo” Fürst-Ramdohr, German writer, memoirist, and World War II resistance fighter who was a member of the student resistance group White Rose in Nazi Germany.
1913 – Dorothy Woolfolk (née Dorothy Roubicek), U.S. comic-book editor and writer who was one of the first women in the U.S. comic-book industry; as an editor at DC Comics during the 1940s golden age of comic books, she is credited with helping to create the fictional metal Kryptonite in the Superman mythos. She also wrote science-fiction stories and young-adult novels. The author Donna Woolfolk Cross is her daughter.
1915 – Thomas Llewelyn Jones (generally known as T. Llew Jones), prolific Welsh writer, poet, and author of popular children’s books; he wrote in Welsh.
1921 – Joan Olivia Wyndham, British writer and memoirist who rose to literary prominence late in life through the diaries she had kept more than 40 years earlier, which were an account of her romantic adventures during World War II, when she was a teenager who had strayed into London’s Bohemian set.
1922 – G.C. Edmondson (full name “José Mario Garry Ordoñez Edmondson y Cotton), Mexican author and translator who is best remembered for his science fiction but who also wrote westerns; some of his work was written under pseudonyms C.M. Kotlan, Kelly P. Gast, J. B. Masterson, and Jack Logan.
1923 – Ahmet Hromadžić, Bosnian writer, journalist, novelist, short-story writer, children’s writer, and editor who was best known for his writing for children, including Dwarf from the Forgotten Land, Dwarf Tells You, and Petrified Wolves; he was also one of the founders of a children’s library.
1925 – Elmore Leonard, U.S. novelist who started out writing westerns but is better known for his suspense and mystery books, many of which have been made into movies.
1926 – Thích Nhất Hạnh (born Nguyễn Xuân Bảo), prolific Vietnamese author, Thiền Buddhist monk, peace activist, and founder of the Plum Village school of Buddhism.
1929 – Annette Baier, New Zealand writer and philosopher who focused on feminist philosophy and was a scholar of the works of Enlightenment philosopher David Hume.
1929 – Russell Freedman, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and biographer.
1930 – Michael Owen Edwardes, South African business executive and author.
1932 – Suresh Parshottamdas Dalal, award-winning Indian Gujarati poet, essayist, writer, editor, and university professor.
1932 – Saul Friedländer, Pulitzer Prize-winning Israeli historian and author of The Years of Extermination.
1934 – Jose N. Nolledo, Filipino lawyer, constitutional law expert, and author.
1935 – Daniel Quinn, award-winning U.S. author, environmentalist, cultural critic, and publisher of educational texts; he is best known for his novel Ishmael.
1936 – James M. McPherson, Puliter Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, essayist, and professor who specializes in American history of the Civil War and civil rights eras; he is best known for the book Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era.
1936 – Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa, bestselling Spanish novelist, screenwriter, film director, and inventor.
1942 – Else Annika Hagström, Swedish journalist, author, documentary filmmaker, television presenter, and singer.
1944 – Margaret Busby, Ghanaian-born publisher, editor, writer, and broadcaster who now lives in the UK, where she was Britain’s youngest and first black female book publisher in the 1960s when she co-founded the London-based publishing house Allison and Busby.
1946 – Silvia Molina, award-winning Mexican author, playwright, editor, and essayist.
1952 – B.M. Suhara, award-winning Indian Malayalam novelist and short-story writer.
1962 – Anne Enright, Irish novelist, short-story writer, and nonfiction author whose novel The Gathering won the Man Booker Prize; much of her work deals with issues of family, love, identity, and motherhood.
1962 – Richard Paul Evans, U.S. author best known for his novel The Christmas Box.
1963 – Juanita Phillips, Australian journalist, author, children’s writer, autobiographer, and television news presenter.