1389 – Muhammad ibn Arabshah (full name Abu Muhammad Shihab al-Din Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd Allah ibn Ibrahim), Syrian Arab writer, historian, and translator who worked in the court of Sultan Muhammad Uthman translating Arabic books to Turkish and Persian; the famous Muslim scholar, Abd al-Wahhab ibn Arabshah, was his son.
1439 – Joseph Volotsky (also known as Joseph of Volotsk or Joseph of Volokolamsk; secular name Ivan Sanin), prominent Russian theologian, writer, and monk who was an early proponent of tsarist autocracy; the Russian Orthodox Church considers him a saint. Some accounts give his birth year as 1440.
1569 – Guillén de Castro y Bellvis, Spanish writer and playwright of the Golden Age of Spanish literature.
1717 – Alexander Sumarokov, Russian writer, poet, playwright, librettist, and literary critic who is credited with singlehandedly creating classical theatre in Russia, helping to inaugurate the reign of classicism in Russian literature.
1769 – Jens Rathke, Norwegian writer, professor, theologian, botanist, zoologist, and entomologist.
1828 – Susannah Valentine Aldrich, U.S. author, poet, and hymnwriter; she was still a schoolgirl when she began publishing, when a director of the academy she attended took an interest in her writing and began successfully submitting her work for publication in magazines.
1831 – Rita Lecumberri, award-winning Ecuadorian writer, poet, essayist, and educator.
1836 – Nikka Vonen, award-winning Norwegian author, folklorist, educator, and mountaineer who published some of her earliest folktales anonymously; she made hiking trips along with leading mountaineers of the day, and was among the first women to ascend Galdhøpiggen, the highest mountain in northern Europe.
1861 – Frederick Jackson Turner, influential Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, and professor who was known primarily for his “Frontier Thesis” and who promoted interdisciplinary and quantitative methods, often with an emphasis on the Midwest.
1864 – Herbert Macaulay, Nigerian writer, engineer, journalist, architect, politician, and musician who is considered by many to be the founder of Nigerian nationalism.
1877 – René de Clercq, Flemish (Belgian) poet, writer, political activist, composer, and museum curator.
1878 – Julie Manet, French writer, painter, diarist, autobiographer, artists’ model, and art collector who was the daughter and only child of artist Berthe Morisot and Eugène Manet (younger brother of painter Édouard Manet). She is best known for her teenage diary, published in English as Growing up with the Impressionists, which provides insights into the lives of French painters.
1907 – Astrid Lindgren, bestselling Swedish author of fiction, children’s books, fantasy, and screenplays, beloved for her Pippi Longstocking books.
1907 – William Steig, U.S. cartoonist, children’s author and illustrator, and sculptor, now best known as the creator of the character Shrek.
1910 – Eric Malpass, English novelist of humorous and historical fiction.
1922 – Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian politician and diplomat who was Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt; he was also a professor, essayist, memoirist, and nonfiction author who wrote in both English and French.
1927 – George Bizos, Greek-born South African human rights lawyer and author who campaigned against apartheid in South Africa; he wrote several books about South Africa, including 65 Years of Friendship, about his long-term friendship with Nelson Mandela.
1929 – Bhamidipati Radhakrishna, Indian Teluga playwright and author.
1932 – Schoschana Rabinovici (née Suzanne Weksler), Lithuanian-Jewish Holocaust survivor and author of the memoir Dank meiner Mutter, which was published in the United States under the title Thanks to My Mother.
1939 – Anna Margherita Cataldi, Italian author, journalist, humanitarian, and film producer who is best known for having been Executive Producer for the Oscar-winning film Out of Africa; she was also a Goodwill Ambassador for the World Health Organization and one of the original United Nations Messengers of Peace.
1939 – Kenizé Hussain de Kotwara (better known as Kenizé Mourad), French journalist and bestselling novelist, some of whose works are based on her own family history.
1944 – Karen Armstrong, British former nun and author of memoirs and of books about comparative religion.
1944 – Nazlı Ilıcak, Turkish journalist, writer, and politician
1946 – Nancy Tafuri, U.S. children’s author, most well known for Have You Seen My Duckling? The New York Times has called her, “the queen mother of warmly soothing bedtime stories.”
1947 – P.J. O’Rourke, U.S. political satirist, “gonzo journalist,” and author.
1948 – Gunhild Bricken Kristina Lugn, Swedish poet, writer, and playwright.
1949 – Musaemura Bonas Zimunya, one of Zimbabwe’s most important contemporary writers of short stories, poetry, and literary criticism in both English and Shona; his poetry deals with the beauty of Zimbabwe, but also with its poverty and history of suffering, and with urban alienation from spiritual heritage.
1951 – Cara Black, bestselling U.S. mystery writer whose most popular novels feature Aimée Léduc, a Paris-based private investigator.
1963 – Gail Anderson-Dargatz, award-winning Canadian novelist, short-story writer, and university teacher; her first novel, the bestselling The Cure for Death by Lightning, was an experimental yet accessible work whose story unfolded partly through narrative and partly through a collection of recipes and household tips.
1963 – Cat Rambo, award-winning U.S. science-fiction and fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and editor
1984 – Olga Grjasnowa, award-winning Azerbaijan-born German writer.