1627 – Catharina Wallenstedt (née Wallia), Swedish writer, courtier, and noblewoman known for about 350 letters she wrote to her husband and daughter; her letters have provided researchers with valuable historical information about life at the Swedish court, where she was maid of honor to Queen Christina.
1746 – Gajaman Nona (real name Donna Isabella Koraneliya), Sri Lankan author and poet who was noted for her ability to write and recite impromptu Sinhala poetry; today, a statue of her stands at Ambalantota, Nonagama Junction (the name derived from Gajaman Nona).
1747 – Iolo Morganwg (bardic name for Edward Williams), Welsh poet, antiquarian, and literary forger. He had been widely seen as a leading expert and collector of Medieval Welsh literature, but it emerged after his death that he had forged several manuscripts; nonetheless, he had a lasting impact on Welsh culture and a huge impact on the early neo-Druid movement.
1749 – Lorenzo Da Ponte, Italian opera librettist for Mozart, best known for The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni; he was also a poet and a Catholic priest.
1772 – Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel, German Romantic writer and critic.
1779 – Frances Milton Trollope, English novelist and writer who published as Mrs. Trollope or Mrs. Frances Trollope; she is well known for her first book, Domestic Manners of the Americans.
1780 – Éva Takács, Hungarian writer, publisher, feminist, and educational reformer who was the first female publisher in Hungary, a progressive feminist, and a theorist of women’s education. She was also the mother of writer, memoirist, and women’s rights activist Teréz Karacs.
1784 – María del Pilar Acedo y Sarriá (Marchioness de Montehermoso), Spanish writer, poet, painter, and musician who was also known for her liberal, anticlerical views, for her opposition to the Inquisition, and for her romantic liaison with King Joseph Bonaparte.
1788 – Joseph Karl Benedikt (Freiherr von Eichendorff), German poet, novella writer, and autobiographer, whose folksong-style poetic lyrics were set to music by Schumann, Brahms, and others.
1817 – Marie Nathusius (née Scheele), bestselling German author, philanthropist, and music composer who was one of Germany’s most-read novelists of the second half of the 19th century.
1832 – Mary Bigelow Ingham, U.S. writer, professor, and temperance activist.
1833 – Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, Spanish novelist, memoirist, short-story writer, essayist, and travel writer; his novel El sombrero de tres picos — an adaptation of a popular traditions that provides a lively picture of village life in the poet’s native region of Andalusia — was the basis for Hugo Wolf’s opera Der Corregidor and Manuel de Falla’s ballet The Three-Cornered Hat.
1840 – Fanny Stevenson (full name Frances Matilda Van de Grift Osbourne Stevenson), U.S. magazine writer who married Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson.
1841 – Ina Coolbrith, U.S. poet, writer, journalist, librarian, and prominent figure in the San Francisco Bay literary community. Called the “Sweet Singer of California,” she was the first California Poet Laureate and the first poet laureate of any American state; her poetry was praised by Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, and Alfred Lord Tennyson and was known for sensuous descriptions of natural scenes that brought greater accuracy to the art of Victorian poetry, without trite sentiment. She was the niece of Mormon Church founder Joseph Smith but left the Mormon community as a child.
1842 – Virginia Durant Young, U.S. author, newspaper owner and editor, suffragist, and temperance activist.
1848 – Katherine Wilson Sheppard (née Catherine Wilson Malcolm), prominent English-born New Zealand writer and editor who is considered her country’s most famous activist for women’s suffragist. In 1887 she was appointed the National Superintendent for Franchise and Legislation, a position she used to advance the cause of women’s suffrage.
1849 – Hallie Quinn Brown, U.S. and Canadian educator, writer, and activist who was the daughter of former slaves, yet went on to graduate from college and earn a Master’s degree.
1861 – Pauline Johnson (full name Emily Pauline Johnson), popular Canadian First Nations poet, short-story writer, and performer who was also known by her Mohawk stage name Tekahionwake (“Double-Life”); her father was a Mohawk chief of mixed ancestry, and her mother was an English immigrant. Jones was one of a generation of widely read writers who began to define modern Canadian literature.
1865 – Tan Sitong, Chinese writer, poet, politician, journalist, philosopher, and reformist who occupies a place of tremendous importance in modern Chinese history; when the Reformation Movement failed, he was executed at the age of 33, leading the intellectual class to seek violent and hostile means, through revolution, of overthrowing the Qing Dynasty.
1873 – Jakob Wassermann, German novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, autobiographer, theater critic, and editor whose books were banned in Germany because of his Jewish ancestry.
1903 – Clare Boothe Luce, U.S. author, screenwriter, playwright, journalist, politician, ambassador, journalist, and anti-Communist activist.
1904 – Enid Moodie Heddle, Australian poet, children’s writer, editor, educational researcher, and teacher.
1904 – Margot Arce de Vázquez, Puerto Rican writer, essayist, literary critic, and educator who founded the Puerto Rican Academy of the Spanish Language.
1906 – Alejandro G. Abadilla (pen name AGA), Filipino poet, essayist, magazine editor, and fiction writer who has been called the Father of Modern Philippine Poetry because of the way he challenged established forms of rhyme and meter.
1906 – Lâm Tấn Phác (pen name Đông Hồ), Vietnamese poet and journalist; he was married to poet Mộng Tuyết.
1907 – Momoko Ishii, distinguished Japanese novelist, children’s author, and translator; she was the first member of the Japanese Art Academy from the field of children’s literature.
1910 – Michael Bazzebulala Nsimbi, Ugandan writer, educator, and textbook author who is considered the Father of Ganda literature and a pioneer of Luganda language, culture, and education.
1915 – Dayachand Mayna, Indian poet and playwright who wrote in the Haryanvi language and was one of the most important poets and folklore artists that the state of Haryana ever produced.
1916 – Pak Tu-jin (also transliterated as Park Dujin), prolific Korean nature poet and writer; he is best known for making his natural subjects symbols of the newly emerging national situation of Korea in the second half of the 20th century.
1920 – Jack Kent, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books; he created the King Aroo cartoon strip.
1920 – Boris Vian, French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor, and engineer.
1921 – Ruth Reese, U.S. African-American and Norwegian writer, poet, singer, and civil-rights activist; she was one of the first prominent Black singers in Norway, was actively involved in the international fight against racism, and contributed significantly to the understanding in Norway of African-American history and music.
1923 – Manoranjan Das, influential Indian Odia writer, playwright, and pioneer of Modernism in Odia literature; he was known for his experimentalism and deep socio-political awareness, with Kathagodha (The Wooden Horse) and Aranya Fasal (The Wild Harvest), as some of his most popular works.
1924 – Judith Jones, award-winning U.S. writer, book editor, memoirist, translator, and cookbook author best known for having rescued The Diary of Anne Frank from a publishing house’s reject pile, and for championing Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
1928 – Elda Grin (real name Elda Ashoti Grigoryan), Armenian short-story writer, psychologist, professor, and legal expert.
1930 – Justinas Marcinkevičius, Lithuanian writer, poet, politician, playwright, translator, and journalist.
1932 – Marcia Falkender (Baroness Falkender), British author and Labour politician.
1932 – Marilyn Yalom, pioneering, award-winning U.S. author, lecturer, and scholar in gender studies who was one of the U.S.’s leading cultural historians; she studied the history of women as partners in marriage and examined such provocative topics as the history of the female breast and the role women played in the French Revolution and its aftermath.
1933 – Elizabeth Azcona Cranwell, Argentine poet, storyteller, writer, translator, teacher, and literary critic.
1933 – Allister Sparks, South African journalist, writer, editor, and political pundit.
1934 – Teresa Izquierdo, acclaimed Peruvian chef, food writer, and restauranteur who was known as “the mother of Peruvian food” and as a key proponent of traditional coastal criollo cuisine; a contest for the top soup-kitchen chefs is named after her.
1936 – Iraida Vladimirovna Vinogradova (née Matryokhina; Ираида Владимировна Виноградова née Матрёхина), Soviet and Russian Sámi poet, linguist, children’s writer, teacher, and lexicographer who wrote in both Kildin and Ter Sámi, singer of Sámi songs, and scholar of the Ter Sámi language; she was born into a reindeer herding family.
1937 – María Kodama Schweizer, Argentine writer, translator, and professor who married author Jorge Luis Borges.
1940 – Imdad Hussaini, Pakistani poet, short-story writer, scholar, translator, and lyricist who writes in Sindhi and Urdu.
1942 – Virginia Guedea Rincón Gallardo, Mexican writer, translator, historian, researcher, and academic who has specialized in the political history of the Mexican War of Independence and the viceregal period of New Spain.
1944 – Samares Mazumdar, prominent, award-winning Indian Bengali author and children’s writer.
1945 – Katharine Houghton, U.S. actress, writer, award-winning playwright, and children’s author. She is best known for portraying Joanna “Joey” Drayton, a white woman who brings her black fiancé home to meet her parents (played by Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy) in the 1967 film Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner; Hepburn was, in real life, Houghton’s aunt.
1949 – Agop Melkonyan, influential Bulgarian writer, translator, journalist, editor, and scholar of Armenian descent, best known as an author of science-fiction novels and short stories; he popularized in Bulgaria recent discoveries in physics, astronomy, and mechanics.
1952 – Johanna Lindsey, U.S. author of bestselling historical romance novels.
1953 – Åke Edwardson, Swedish author of crime fiction.
1968 – Felice Arena, Australian children’s author and illustrator, playwright, and actor.
1970 – A.S. King (Amy Sarig King), award-winning U.S. writer of short fiction, fantasy, poetry, and young-adult novels.
1986 – Summer Edward, Trinidadian writer, children’s editor, educator, literary activist and children’s literature specialist, now based in the U.S.