1814 – Taras Shevchenko, Ukrainian poet, playwright, painter, anthropologist, and ethnographer.
1866 – Benedetto Croce, Italian writer, philosopher, politician, art historian, and literary critic.
1900 – Marina Yurlova, Russian child soldier and author who fought in World War I and later in the Russian Civil War; wounded several times, she won the Cross of Saint George for bravery three times before making her way to Japan and finally the US, where she performed as a dancer and published an autobiography in three volumes.
1905 – Perry Miller, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and author who specialized in the history of early America; Margaret Atwood dedicated her book The Handmaid’s Tale to him.
1906 – Mary Coyle Chase, American playwright, screenwriter, journalist, and children’s novelist, best known for her Broadway play Harvey, which was adapted into a popular film starring James Stewart.
1915 – Sinnathamby Rajaratnam, Sri Lankan-born Singaporean short-story writer and Deputy Prime Minister who wrote the Singapore National Pledge.
1917 – Anthony Burgess, English author, comic writer, and composer; he is best known as the author of the dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange.
1930 – Sister Wendy Beckett, South African-born, Scottish-raised Roman Catholic nun, writer, educator, translator of Medieval Latin, and hermit who presented a series of programs and books on the meaning of art for the BBC.
1942 – John Saul, bestselling American author of suspense and horror novels.
1942 – Cynthia Voigt, Newbery Award-winning American educator and writer of young-adult novels; many of her books are realistic in tone and center around young people who are isolated from society.
1945 – Shiva Naipaul (born Shivadhar Srinivasa Naipaul), Trinidadian and British novelist and journalist who was the younger brother of novelist V.S. Naipaul.
1949 – Amin Maalouf, Lebanese-born French author who writes in French and is a winner of the Prix Goncourt for his novel The Rock of Tanios.
1949 – Jack Handey, American humorist best known for “Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey” — a large body of surrealistic one-liners popularized by National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live — and for his deadpan delivery. Although many people assume otherwise, Handey is a real person, not a pen name or character.
1960 – Joyce Tyldesley, British archaeologist, egyptologist, anthropologist, writer, and broadcaster whose work focuses on women in Ancient Egypt.