1797 – Christian Johann Heinrich Heine, German journalist, essayist, and literary critic who was also one of the most significant German poets of the 19th century; some of his early lyric poetry was set to music by such composers as Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert.
1871 – Emily Carr, Canadian artist and writer who was heavily inspired by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast; her autobiography is still considered the finest example of Canadian autobiographical literature.
1890 – Mary Franeis Butts, British modernist writer whose work found recognition in literary magazines such as The Bookman and The Little Review, as well as from fellow modernists including T. S. Eliot.
1902 – Yevgeny Petrov (Евгений Петров), pen name of Yevgeny Petrovich Katayev (Евгений Петрович Катаев), a popular Soviet author and war correspondent; he is best known for satirical novels written with his coauthor Ilya Ilf.
1903 – Shibram Chakraborty (শিবরাম চক্রবর্তী), popular Bengali writer, poet, playwright, humorist, novelist, nonfiction author, and revolutionary whose humorous stories are noted for their unique use of puns, alliteration, and irony.
1906 – Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, prolific Afrikaner book author, journalist, educator, philosopher, explorer, and conservationist who was also a farmer, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Britain’s Prince Charles, and godfather of Prince William.
1915 – Ross McDonald, Pen name of American-Canadian crime fiction writer Kenneth Millar, known for his Lew Archer series.
1916 – Leonard Weisgard, American illustrator whose work on Margaret Wise Brown’s The Little Island won him the 1948 Caldecott Medal.
1925 – John Ehle, Jr., American writer best known for fiction set in the Appalachian Mountains; he has been described as “the father of Appalachian literature.”
1927 – James Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet.
1949 – R.A MacAvoy, American fantasy author whose books draw on Celtic and Zen themes.
1952 – Jean Rouaud, French author who won the Prix Goncourt for the novel Fields of Glory (Les Champs d’honneur.)
1954 – Emma Bull, influential American science fiction and fantasy author; her novel War for the Oaks is a pioneering work in urban fantasy.
1954 – Tamora Pierce, popular and prolific award-winning American author of young adult fantasy fiction.
1959 – Todd Stanley Purdum, American writer, reporter, editor, and political correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine