1621 – Giovanni Antonio Cavazzi da Montecuccolo, Italian writer, historian, memoirist, explorer, and Capuchin missionary, noted for his travels in Portuguese Angola and his lengthy account of the local history and culture, as well as a history of the Capuchin mission there.
1747 – Ange-François Fariau, French poet, writer, journalist, teacher, linguist, and translator who gained fame for his translations of Ovid’s works, especially Metamorphoses.
1759 – Francisco Eduardo Tresguerras, Mexican writer, architect, poet, author, satirist, painter, and sculptor.
1788 – Isaac Baer Levinsohn, notable Ukrainian Hebrew scholar, satirist, writer, and Haskalah leader who was called “the Ukrainian Mendelssohn”; he is remembered for describing Jewish contributions to civilization in an effort to promote Judeo-Christian understanding.
1796 – Coralie Adèle van den Cruyce, Belgian writer, poet, playwright, and feminist who defended the right of women to express themselves.
1797 – Thomas Haynes Bayly, English poet, songwriter, and dramatist.
1835 – Agnes of Württemberg (full name Herzogin Pauline Louise Agnes von Württemberg), German writer and duchess who wrote under the pseudonym of Angela Hohenstein.
1862 – Mary Henrietta Kingsley, bestselling English author, ethnographer, scientific writer, travel writer, and explorer whose travels throughout West Africa, the work she did there, and her writings about what she saw and learned there helped shape European perceptions of African cultures and British imperialism. She was the focus of controversy for her criticism of missionaries for attempting to convert the people of Africa and corrupt their religions, and for her refusal to accept the notion, widely held in Britain, that Africans were a lesser race.
1867 – Guy Newell Boothby, prolific Australian novelist and writer who lived mainly in England and is noted for sensational fiction published in magazines; his best known creations are the Dr. Nikola series (about an occultist criminal mastermind who is a Victorian forerunner to Fu Manchu) and Pharos (a tale of Gothic Egypt, mummies’ curses, and supernatural revenge); Rudyard Kipling was his friend and mentor, and his books were remembered with affection by George Orwell.
1871 – Janis Poruks, Latvian poet and writer who is considered one of the founders of romantic Latvian literature.
1876 – Ivande Kaija (pen name of Antonija Lukina, née Antonija Meldere-Millere), Latvian writer and feminist who fought for the independence of Latvia.
1885 – Elise Johnson McDougald (also known as Gertrude Elise McDougald Ayer), U.S. African-American educator, writer, essayist, and activist who was the first African-American woman principal in New York City public schools.
1890 – Conrad Richter, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. fiction writer, best known for his young-adult classic, The Light in the Forest.
1902 – Arnaud “Arna” Wendell Bontemps, U.S. African-American poet, novelist, and librarian who was a noted member of the Harlem Renaissance movement.
1903 – Takiji Kobayashi (小林 多喜二), Japanese author of proletarian literature, best known for his 1929 short novel Kanikōsen (Crab Cannery Ship) about the movement to unionize fishing workers; two years later, at the age of 29, he was arrested and allegedly tortured to death by police.
1904 – Daw Mya Sein, Burmese author, educator, and historian.
1906 – Aloha Wanderwell (real name: Idris Galcia Hall née Welsh), Canadian writer, photographer, adventurer, actress, cinematographer, documentary filmmaker, lecturer, and explorer.
1913 – Igor Torkar, pen name of Boris Fakin, a Slovenian writer, playwright, and poet, best known for literary descriptions of Communist repression in Yugoslavia after World War II.
1916 – Galina Shatalova (Галина Сергеевна Шаталова), Turkmenistan-born Russian neurosurgeon and author of many popular books on health, nutrition, and healthy lifestyles, best known for her Natural Health Improvement System, which incorporates a very low calorie diet; she was chief of the Astronauts Training Sector of the Institute of Space & Aviation Biology. She lived to be 95 years old.
1923 – Iona Margaret Balfour Opie, English author, folklorist, researcher, children’s writer, authority on children’s rhymes and playground games, and collector of fairy tales who — along with her husband, folklorist Peter Mason Opie — applied modern techniques to children’s literature. They are well known for their books The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (still considered the quintessential work on the subject) and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. They were also noted anthologists, and assembled large collections of children’s literature, toys, and games; their collection of children’s books and ephemera covers the 16th to 20th century and is regarded as the richest library of children’s literature.
1924 – Moturu Udayam, Indian writer, politician, and women’s rights activist.
1926 – Dejazmatch Zewde Gebre-Sellassie, prominent Ethiopian writer, historian and politician who was the deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
1929 – Adalet Agaoglu (née Sümer), Turkish author, memoirist, essayist, playwright, and short-story writer; she is also considered one of the foremost novelists of 20th-century Turkish literature.
1929 – Richard Howard, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, literary critic, essayist, teacher, and translator.
1931 – Dritëro Agolli, Albanian poet, novelist, essayist, writer, screenwriter, playwright, journalist, and politician.
1933 – Abburi Chayadevi, Indian Telugu author, short-story writer, folklore collector, translator, and children’s writer.
1938 – Dalene Matthee, bestselling South African author, known for her four Forest Novels, written in and around the Knysna Forest.
1939 – Han Seung-won, South Korean writer who writes mainly about people who struggle against their fate in Jangheung, a county situated off the southern coast of the Korean peninsula where Han himself was born; the setting and local dialect give his work a strong sense of place.
1945 – George Ayittey, Ghanaian economist, author, professor, and activist; in his work, he calls for democratic government, debt reexamination, modernized infrastructure, free market economics, and free trade to promote development.
1945- Selima Hill, award-winning British poet; one critic calls her, “arguably the most distinctive truth teller to emerge in British poetry since Sylvia Plath.”
1950 – Mollie Katzen, U.S. chef, cookbook author, and children’s writer, best known as the author of the popular Moosewood series of vegetarian cookbooks.
1957 – Chris Carter, U.S. television and film producer, director, and writer, best known as creator of The X-Files.
1957 – Chae Ho-ki, award-winning modernist South Korean poet who is considered to be one of the major voices in Korean literature.
1963 – Colin Channer, Jamaican author of novels, short stories, and poetry that focus on his home country; he is sometimes called “Bob Marley with a pen.”
1981 – Emily Gould, U.S. novelist, short-story author, bookstore owner, and blogger.