1483 – Martin Luther, German priest and theological scholar whose writings sparked the Protestant Reformation.
1577 – Jacob Cats, Dutch poet, humorist, autobiographer, and politician; in his time, he was enormously popular in his own country, where he is still referred to as Father Cats.
1730 – Oliver Goldsmith, Irish novelist and playwright, best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield and his comedic drama She Stoops To Conquer.
1759 – Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller, German poet, philosopher, historian, lyricist, and playwright.
1835 – Amalia Domingo Soler, Spanish writer, poet, novelist, essayist, editor, short-story writer, and feminist who also wrote an autobiography, Memorias de una mujer (Memories of a Woman); her writings are characterized by a poetic and delicate style. She is also remembered for her involvement in the Spanish spiritist movement, and founded and edited a spiritualist weekly, La Luz del Porvenir, characterized by its radical views and feminist orientation.
1838 – Mkirtich Achemian, Turkish-born ethnic Armenian poet and translator; he was a poet of the romantic school, but kept traces of classicism in his work.
1861 – Amy Judith Levy, British essayist, poet, and novelist best remembered as the first Jewish woman at Cambridge University; her feminist positions; her friendships with others living what later came to be called a “New Woman” life, some of whom were lesbians; and her relationships with both women and men in literary and politically activist circles in London during the 1880s.
1828 – Wang Tao, Chinese scholar, writer, columnist, fiction author, newspaper publisher, politician, translator, author, journalist, and Bible translator.
1870 – Andrés Mata, Venezuelan poet, writer, and journalist of the modernist movement.
1871 – Winston Churchill (not THAT Winston Churchill, though the two actually did know each other), U.S. novelist, poet, essayist, and artist who was one of the bestselling authors of the early 20th century; he was also elected to the state legislature of New Hampshire and ran unsuccessfully for governor.
1879 – Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, U.S. poet who is considered the father of modern singing poetry.
1879 – Andrea Evangelina Rodríguez Perozo, Dominican writer and poet who was the first woman medical school graduate in the Dominican Republic; she published poetry and nonfiction, and also wrote a novel but destroyed the manuscript in a fit of anger.
1884 – Zofia Nałkowska, Polish poet, prose writer, dramatist, journalist, essayist, diarist, and politician.
1893 – John P. Marquand, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author of spy stories, satirical fiction, and more serious novels that often explored the confining nature of life in America’s upper class and among those who aspired to join it.
1894 – Lisa Tetzner, German-born writer, poet, and children’s author who was best known for her work with fairy tales; she fled to Switzerland to escape the Nazis, but the Swiss censored her work, fearing it could antagonize the German government.
1899 – Greta Knutson, Swedish modernist artist, writer, poet, translator, short-story writer, painter, essayist, linguist, and art critic.
1899 – Kate Seredy, Hungarian-born writer and illustrator of children’s books who won the Newbery Medal once, the Newbery Honor twice, the Caldecott Honor once, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award. Most of her books were written in English, which was not her first language.
1901 – José Gorostiza Alcalá, Mexican poet, educator, and diplomat.
1910 – Bhashyam Iyengar (pen name Sandilyan or Chandilyan), Indian Tamil author who wrote historical romance and adventure novels.
1910 – Kothamangalam Subbu (born S.M. Subramanian), Indian poet, lyricist, author, actor, and film director who wrote the cult classic Tamil novel Thillana Mohanambal, which was adapted into a popular movie; he also wrote several novels using the pen name of Kalaimani, and penned Gandhi Mahan Kathai, which told of the life of Mahatma Gandhi in folklore form.
1913 – Karl Shapiro, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet and national Poet Laureate who was also a novelist, editor, and professor; his early work, praised as “fresh and young and rash and live,” was traditional in form but with a modern sensibility that viewed such topics as automobiles, house flies, and drug stores as worthy of a poet’s attention, while his later work experimented with more open forms and with social criticism.
1918 – Marita Elisabeth Lindquist (née Gustafson), prolific, award-winning Finnish children’s author, songwriter, poet, editor, and translator.
1919 – J. Clifford Ashby (generally known as Cliff Ashby), British poet and novelist.
1929 – W.E.B. Griffin (pen name of William Edward Butterworth III), U.S. author of military and crime fiction.
1931 – Evan Lloyd Jones, Australian poet, professor, and literary critic.
1933 – James D. Houston, award-winning U.S. novelist, poet, editor, and professor; one of his best known books is Farewell to Manzanar, coauthored with his wife, Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, about her family’s forced internment at a camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II, when she was a child; he also wrote Snow Mountain Passage, about the Donner Party.
1935 – Marilyn Duckworth, award-winning New Zealand novelist, poet, screenwriter, radio writer, and short-story writer.
1937 – Nikola Gigov, award-winning Bulgarian poet and writer.
1938 – Jiří Gruša, Czech writer, poet, novelist, politician, diplomat, translator, playwright, and children’s writer. He came under the scrutiny of the communist regime of then Czechoslovakia in 1969 because of his writings, and was banned from publishing, but arrested in 1974 for the crime of “initiating disorder” after distributing nineteen copies of his first novel, Dotazník (The Questionnaire) and voicing his intention to have it published in Switzerland; after worldwide protest, he was released after two months.
1944 – Mark E. Neely Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. author, professor, Civil War historian, and Lincoln biographer.
1944 – Sir Tim Rice, award-winning British lyricist and author, best known for Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and other musicals; some of his most famous works are his collaborations with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.
1954 – Joy Goswami, Indian poet who is widely considered as one of the most important Bengali poets of his generation.
1954 – Marlene van Niekerk, award-winning South African author, poet, and academic who is best known for her satirical novel Triomf.
1958 – Maria Galina, award-winning Soviet and Russian writer, novelist, poet, translator, columnist, literary critic, and marine biologist; some of her work was published under the name Maxim Golitsyn.
1960 – Neil Gaiman, prolific English-born author of award-winning science fiction, fantasy, graphic novels, children’s books, short stories, TV scripts, and films; some of his more popular works include the comic book series “The Sandman” and novels Stardust, Good Omens, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won many awards, including the Newbery Medal and multiple Hugo and Nebula Awards.
1963 – Natalie Jane Prior, award-winning Australian author of children’s books, including picture books, fantasy, and crime fiction.
1966 – Aka Morchiladze (გიორგი ახვლედიანი), bestselling Georgian Republic author, columnist, soap writer, journalist, sports journalist, short-story writer, literary historian, and essayist.
1969 – Khalaf Ali Alkhalaf, Syrian-born Swedish poet and writer.
1971 – Holly Black (née Riggenbach), bestselling and award-winning U.S. fantasy novelist, poet, editor, young-adult novelist, children’s author, short-story writer, screenwriter, and video game writer.
1988 – Godspower Oboido, Nigerian poet and cultural activist who founded the Nigerian Council for Cultural Diplomacy and Research.