1342 – Julian (or Juliana) of Norwich, (also known as Dame Julian or Mother Julian), influential British Catholic nun, theologian, and mystic who wrote the earliest surviving English-language book to be written by a woman, Revelations of Divine Love.
1491 – Teofilo Folengo, Italian poet who also used the name Merlino Coccajo (or Cocajo); he was one of the principal Italian macaronic poets (macaronic literature uses a mixture of languages, particularly bilingual puns); his most famous work, the epic poem Baldo, blends Latin with various Italian dialects, in hexameter verse.
1626 – César-Pierre Richelet, French writer, translator, romanist, linguist, lexicographer, and grammarian who edited the first dictionary of the French language.
1710 – Sarah Fielding, British author who was responsible for the first English language novel written specifically for children (The Governess); she was the sister of novelist Henry Fielding.
1711 – Mikhail Lomonosov, Russian polymath who was a writer, poet, linguist, philosopher, astronomer, politician, physicist, mathematician, historian, inventor, mosaicist, artist, geologist, chemist, geographer, painter, and university teacher.
1755 – Dorothea Viehmann, German writer, storyteller, children’s author, and collector of fairy tales. Her stories were an important source for the fairy tales collected by the Brothers Grimm; most of her tales were published in the second volume of Grimms’ Fairy Tales.
1806 – Roger de Beauvoir (pen name for Eugène Auguste Roger de Bully), French Romantic novelist, poet, playwright, and journalist.
1824 – Annie Chambers Ketchum (religious name, Sister Amabilis), U.S. poet, writer, lecturer, educator, high-school principal, and magazine editor.
1835 – Concepción Lombardo Gil de Partearroyo, Mexican writer who was First Lady of Mexico. She was born Maria de la Concepcion Josefa Ramona Ignacia Severa Lombardo, but was better known as Concepción or Concha Lombardo Miramon. She began writing her 1,000-page memoir at the age of 80; the book is regarded as one of the best primary sources on some of the most tragic episodes in the history of Mexico.
1837 – Martha Gay Masterson, U.S. writer who kept a diary throughout her life, beginning with her family’s journey west on the Oregon Trail when she was 13; published after her death, it offers a firsthand account of life for girls and women in the Pacific Northwest during the second half of the 19th century.
1838 – Herculine Barbin, French memoirist who was an intersex person assigned female at birth and raised in a convent, but later reclassified as male by a court of law.
1847 – Bram Stoker, Irish novelist and short-story writer who wrote the Gothic horror vampire novel Dracula; in his day, he was better known as personal assistant of actor Sir Henry Irving and business manager of the Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned.
1852 – Lin Shu (also known as Qinnan), Chinese writer, poet, painter, and intellectual who was most famous for introducing Western literature to a generation of Chinese readers.
1854 – Teófilo Dias, Brazilian poet, writer, journalist, lawyer, and politician.
1869 – Zinaida Gippius, Russian poet, playwright, novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, literary critic, editor, and religious thinker who was a major figure in Russian Symbolism; after openly criticizing the tsar and denouncing the October Revolution, she emigrated to Poland, France, and then Italy, where she sometimes wrote on the topic of exile, as well as exploring mystical and covertly sexual themes.
1875 – Qiu Jin, Chinese poet, writer, revolutionary, and feminist who was also known as Xuanqing and Jianhu Nüxia (which, when translated literally into English, means “Woman Knight of Mirror Lake”); she was executed after a failed uprising against the Qing dynasty, and is considered a national heroine in China.
1887 – René Maran, French poet and novelist who was the first black writer to win the French Prix Goncourt.
1897 – Dorothy Day, U.S. journalist, novelist, editor, autobiographer, nonfiction writer, social activist, and anarchist; the Catholic Church has begun exploration of naming her a saint, giving her the interim title, Servant of God.
1898 – Katharine Mary Briggs, British folklorist and writer, who wrote The Anatomy of Puck, as well as the four-volume A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language and various other books on fairies and folklore.
1900 – Margaret Mitchell, U.S. author of the Civil War classic Gone With the Wind, which won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and which was made into the Academy Award-winning film of the same name; the book and film have been criticized for their romanticized depiction of slavery.
1902 – Mercedes Carvajal de Arocha (known as Lucila Palacios), Trinidadian and Venezuelan writer, politician, and diplomat. She was the first woman member of the Academia Venezolana de la Lengua.
1908 – Agustí Bartra i Lleonart, Spanish Catalan poet, writer, translator, and university professor.
1908 – Martha Gellhorn, U.S. novelist, journalist, and travel writer who is considered one of the great war correspondents of the 20th century; she was also the third wife of Ernest Hemingway.
1910 – Elfriede Brüning, award-winning German writer, journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer; she sometimes used the pseudonym Elke Klent. She often wrote about social injustices and women’s struggles for equality in marriage.
1912 – Monica Edwards (née Monica le Doux Newton), English writer, novelist, children’s author, short-story writer, and nonfiction author; she was best known for her children’s books.
1916 – Ursula Isabel d’Abo (née Manners), English socialite who served as a maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, worked as a nurse, managed a munitions factory, had relationships with Maharajah Man Singh II and oil magnate J. Paul Getty, and published an autobiography, The Girl with the Widow’s Peak: The Memoirs. Winston Churchill nicknamed her “The Cygnet.”
1916 – Peter Weiss, German-born Swedish novelist, dramatist, film director, and painter.
1919 – Purushottam Laxman ‘Pu La’ Deshpande, noted Marathi Indian writer, humorist, orator, screenwriter, composer, professor, classical musician, and actor.
1932 – Ben Bova, six-time Hugo Award-winning U.S. science-fiction novelist, short-story writer, science writer, screenwriter, essayist, and editor.
1937 – Michiko Kanba, Japanese writer, essayist, and activist who was a 22-year-old college student when she died in clashes between demonstrators and police during the 1960 Anpo Protests. Her personal writings and political essays were published under the title The Smile Nobody Knows.
1942 – Vijay Nahar, Indian author and historian known for his reference books on Indian history and political leaders.
1954 – Natalka Bilotserkivets, award-winning Ukrainian poet, editor, and translator.
1954 – Timothy Egan, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. nonfiction author, biographer, and journalist.
1954 – Ko Hyeong-ryeol, award-winning modern Korean poet, writer, and essayist.
1954 – Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize-winning Japanese-born British novelist who, “in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world.”
1955 – Che Husna Azhari, prominent Malaysian author, short-story writer, and engineer; her fiction is generally set in Kelantan, Malaysia, and her best known short stories are used as standard teaching texts in Malaysia.
1955 – Jeffrey Ford, U.S. author of fantasy, science fiction and mystery.
1961 – Chin Wan (pen name for Horace Chin Wan-kan), Chinese Hong Kong writer, professor, and advocate for Hong Kong autonomy; for his work toward Hong Kong home rule, he has been called the “godfather of localism.”
1962 – Oriza Hirata, Japanese author, playwright, film director, and academic; he is best known for his work in theater and for creating what he has coined, “contemporary colloquial theater,” or as theater critics call it, “quiet drama.”
1970 – Péter Zilahy, Hungarian, author, poet, journalist, photographer, and performer whose prose and poetry has been widely translated; he has often used photography, interactive media, and performance art in his work.
1971 – Carlos Atanes, award-winning Spanish author, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, film director, and film producer.
1974 – Joshua Ferris, U.S. novelist and nonfiction author best known for his debut novel Then We Came to the End.
1976 – Karolina Ramqvist (full name Annika Karolina Virtanen Ramqvist), prominent Swedish journalist and best-selling author; her novels explore contemporary issues of sexuality, commercialization, isolation, and belonging.
1979 – Valentin Popov, Bulgarian novelist and short-story writer who writes in the genres of horror, fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, and mystery.
1985 – Julie Murphy, bestselling U.S. author for adults and young adults; she wrote her first novel, Side Effects May Vary, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) while working as a librarian, and is best known for Dumplin’, which was made into a film.
1989 – Silvia Núñez del Arco Vidal, Peruvian novelist, some of whose works are erotic.
1991 – Samantha Shannon, British writer of dystopian, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.