1821 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and journalist best known for his later novels, including Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamozov; his literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.
1846 – Anna Katharine Green, U.S. novelist who was one of the country’s first writers of detective fiction; because of her well-plotted, legally accurate stories, she has been called “the mother of the detective novel.”
1888 – Abul Kalam Azad, Saudi Arabian-born Indian scholar, writer, politician, and journalist who was a senior leader of the Indian Independence movement; after independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government. His birthday is celebrated across India as “National Education Day.”
1896 – Shirley Graham DuBois (born Lola Shirley Graham), award-winning African-American U.S. author, playwright, composer, educator, and activist for African-American causes. She married author and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois. In 1932 she composed the opera Tom-Tom: An Epic of Music and the Negro which premiered in Cleveland, Ohio and featured an all-Black cast and orchestra, it was structured in three acts; Act One took place in an indigenous African tribe, Act Two portraying an American Slave plantation, and the final act was set in 1920s Harlem. The music features elements of blues and spirituals, as well as jazz with elements of opera. The score of this opera was considered lost, until it was rediscovered in 2001 at Harvard University.
1896 – Kostas Karyotakis, influential Greek poet, writer, translator, and civil servant whose poetry includes traces of expressionism and surrealism; he belongs to the Lost Generation literary movement.
1910 – Frida Stewart Knight (born Frideswide Frances Emma Stewart), English author, biographer, nonfiction writer, and communist activist; in 1940 she was arrested in France by the Gestapo and sent to a German internment camp, but escaped with the help of the French Resistance.
1914 – Howard Fast, U.S. novelist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, short-story writer, biographer, autobiographer, and nonfiction author who also wrote under the pen names E.V. Cunningham, Walter Ericson, and Behn Boruch.
1915 – Anna Jacobson Schwartz, U.S. economist and author who worked at the National Bureau of Economic Research and as a writer for The New York Times; economist Paul Krugman has called her “one of the world’s greatest monetary scholars.”
1919 – Kalle Päätalo, one of the most popular Finnish authors of the 20th century; his autobiographical series is 26 books long.
1922 – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., U.S. novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and nonfiction author known for his darkly satirical novels, including Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five.
1928 – Carlos Fuentes, award-winning Mexican novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist who is one of the most admired and influential in the Spanish-speaking world.
1933 – Claude Rolley, French archaeologist, writer, and professor who wrote about the art and archaeology of Greece and Gaule.
1933 – Miriam Tlali, South African novelist who was the first black woman in South Africa to publish a novel; she was also one of the first to write about Soweto, although most of her writing was originally banned by the South African apartheid regime.
1937 – Alicia Ostriker, U.S. poet and scholar who writes Jewish feminist poetry and has been called “America’s most fiercely honest poet”; she was also one of the first women poets in the U.S. to write and publish poems discussing the topic of motherhood.
1942 – Ali Babachahi, prolific Iranian poet, writer, literary critic, and Persian lexicographer who is one of Iran’s most prominent postmodern writers and poets.
1942 – Diane Wolkstein, U.S. children’s author who was New York City’s official storyteller.
1944 – Nanda Hangkhim, award-winning Nepalese poet and short-story writer.
1947 – Trevor Ferguson, bestselling Canadian literary writer, crime novelist, and playwright who has written under the pen name John Farrow; The Vancouver Sun called his detective novel City of Ice the book the best ever produced in Canada in genre fiction.
1948 – Marit Christensen, Norwegian journalist, author, and television presenter who has been called “Moskva-Marit” because of her time spent as a broadcast news correspondent in Moscow.
1948 – Vincent Schiavelli, U.S. writer, journalist, food writer, and cookbook author; he was also considered one of the best character actors in Hollywood.
1950 – Mircea Dinescu, Romanian poet, journalist, and editor.
1950 – Abel Prieto, Cuban politician and published fiction writer who serves as Cuba’s Minister of Culture.
1950 – Susana Sivestre, award-winning Argentine novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer whose work has been praised for its “fluid, clean, graceful prose,” and its “intelligent, complex and playful structure.”
1952 – Shamim Azad, award-winning Bangladeshi-born British poet, storyteller, essayist, short-story writer, folklorist, and writer.
1952 – Judith Ariana Fitzgerald, Canadian poet, journalist, and biographer who wrote more than twenty books of poetry, as well as biographies of musician Sarah McLachlan and writer Marshall McLuhan.
1952 – Kama Sywor Kamanda, award-winning Congolese poet, playwright, novelist, nonfiction writer, and storyteller
1954 – Mary Gaitskill, U.S. author of novels, short stories, and essays whose fiction is typically about female characters dealing with inner conflicts; her subject matter matter-of-factly includes controversial subjects such as prostitution, addiction, and sado-masochism.
1958 – Kathy Lette, Australian-British author of bestselling books and humor; she has also been a newspaper columnist and a television writer.
1959 – Kazumi Yumoto, award-winning Japanese screenwriter, novelist, and children’s author; several of her books have been adapted for film.
1968 – Douglas Rogers, Zimbabwean travel writer and memoirist.
1968 – Kim Young-ha, South Korean novelist and screenwriter noted for his skill in rendering 1990s urban sensibilities.
1980 – Inés Gallo de Urioste (better known by her pseudonym Lola or Lolita Copacabana), Argentine writer, book author, novelist, blogger, translator, publisher, and editor.
1981 – Tânia Teresa Tomé, award-winning Mozambican author, poet, lyrist, economist, public speaker, and television personality.
1982 – Anne Pätzke, German author, illustrator, and children’s writer who has also created art for board games and video tutorials for comic artists.