0121 – Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and influential Stoic philosopher who was the last emperor of the Pax Romana, an age of relative peace and stability for the Roman Empire. One of his best known books was his Meditations, written in Greek; the book has been read and admired by many world leaders and is considered one of the world’s greatest works of philosophy.
1602 – José Pellicer de Ossau y Tovar, Spanish writer, poet, historian, genealogist, publicist, and literary critic.
1640 – Willem Godschalck van Focquenbroch, Dutch poet, writer, and playwright; in addition to satirical and burlesque plays and poetry, he also wrote more serious works in a Petrarchic tradition.
1711 – David Hume, Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, essayist, economist, and librarian.
1711 – Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, French writer, journalist, children’s writer, and folklorist; she is most remembered for writing the best-known version of Beauty and the Beast.
1785 – John James Audubon, French and U.S. ornithologist, writer, painter, and naturalist who is best known for his book The Birds of America, which is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed; the National Audubon Society, a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the conservation of birds and their habitats, was named in his honor.
1814 – Mary Lundie Duncan, Scottish poet, hymnwriter, and children’s writer.
1829 – Eva Brag, award-winning Swedish journalist, writer, poet, editor, and literary critic who was one of the first pioneering women journalists in Sweden; she always wrote under pseudonyms.
1836 – Erminnie A. Smith (née Erminnie Adele Platt), U.S. anthropologist, geologist, ethnographer, and writer who worked at the Smithsonian Institution’s Bureau of American Ethnology; she is considered the first woman field ethnographer and was the first female member of the New York Academy of Sciences. She is best known for her work on the Iroquois culture.
1872 – Ľudmila Podjavorinská (pen name for Ludmila Riznerová), Slovak poet, writer, translator, and children’s author who was considered to be the first important woman poet for her country, but who was best known for her children’s books; she also wrote under various other pen names, including Božena, Damascena, L. Šeršelínová, L. Špirifangulínová, Ludka, and Ludmila.
1885 – Dakotsu Iida (real name, Takeji Iida; commonly referred to as, simply, Dakotsu), prominent Japanese editor and haiku poet.
1886 – Ğabdulla Tuqay, Turkic poet, critic, and publisher who is considered the founder of modern Tatar literature.
1889 – Anita Loos, prolific, Oscar-winning U.S. author, screenwriter, and playwright who wrote both fiction and nonfiction and was the first-ever female scriptwriter in Hollywood.
1889 – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Austrian-British philosopher, teacher, and logician who wrote about the philosophy of mathematics and about language.
1892 – Adrienne Monnier, French writer, poet, publisher, bookseller, and businesswoman.
1898 – Vincente Aleixandre (full name Vicente Pío Marcelino Cirilo Aleixandre y Merlo), Nobel Prize-winning Spanish poet.
1908 – Mir Jalal Pashayev, Azerbaijani writer, poet, playwright, translator, and literary critic; he was the grandfather of Azerbaijan’s current First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva.
1911 – A.H. Raskin, Canadian-born journalist, labor reporter, editorial writer, and editor who worked for the New York Times for more than 40 years.
1912 – A.E. van Vogt, popular Canadian “Golden Age” science-fiction writer and nonfiction author who influenced later writers with his fragmented, bizarre narrative style.
1914 – Bernard Malamud, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist and short-story writer who also won two National Book Awards; his baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a film starring Robert Redford.
1920 – Padú del Caribe, Aruban poet, composer, and musician; he wrote “Aruba Dushi Tera,” a waltz that is now the national anthem for Aruba.
1922 – Jeanne Mathilde Sauvé (née Benoît), Canadian journalist, radio broadcaster, television host, and politician who served as Governor General of Canada.
1924 – Solomon Mangwiro Mutswairo (also spelled Mutsvairo), Zimbabwean novelist and poet who wrote both in English and in Zezuru.
1932 – Birgitta Stenberg, Swedish screenwriter, writer, translator, illustrator, journalist, and children’s writer
1933 – Carol Burnett, U.S. actress, comedian, humor writer, playwright, and memoirist who has won many awards, including multiple Golden Globe and Emmy Awards.
1935 – Patricia Reilly Giff, prolific U.S. children’s and young-adult author who is a two-time Newbery Honor winner and was also a teacher.
1936 – Jagannath Prasad Das (sometimes known as, simiply, J.P.), award-winning Indian Odia writer, poet, novelist, essayist, translator, playwright, children’s writer, short-story writer, actor, and painter.
1937 – Vladimir Ivanovich Firsov, Soviet and Russian poet, writer, translator lyricist, and songwriter.
1944 – Per Aage Brandt, Danish writer, poet, linguist, translator, and musician who has published a large number of books on the subjects of semiotics, linguistics, culture, and music, as well as books of poetry.
1946 – Kris Alan Hemensley, award-winning English-born Egyptian and Australian poet and editor.
1946 – Marilyn Nelson, award-winning U.S. poet, translator, professor, and children’s author who has also published under the name Marilyn Nelson Waniek; much of her fiction is on historical subjects, but she has also written a memoir.
1948 – Rigoberto Paredes, award-winning Honduran poet, essayist, and publisher.
1950 – Carl Tighe, prolific British writer, academic, essayist, novelist, and poet.
1954 – Muhammad Yusuf (born Muhammadjon Yusupov), Uzbek and Soviet poet and prolific author.
1966 – Natasha Trethewey, Pulitzer Prize winning U.S. poet and professor who was U.S. Poet Laureate; she has been called “a poet of exquisite delicacy and poise who is always unveiling the racial and historical inequities of our country and the ongoing personal expense of these injustices.”
1991 – Bartika Eam Rai is a Nepali poet, blogger, singer, and songwriter.