1256 – Gertrude the Great (or Gertrude of Helfta), German Benedictine nun, mystic, and theologian who wrote numerous works grounded in the themes and rites of Catholic Liturgy; she is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church.
1878 – Carl Sandburg, three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, author, biographer, journalist, and editor, best known for his poetry and his biography of Abraham Lincoln.
1883 – Khalil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet and visual artist, remembered most for his 1923 book The Prophet.
1905 – Idris Davies, Welsh poet whose early works are in Welsh, but who later wrote exclusively in English.
1910 – Wright Morris, two-time National Book Award-winning American author and photographer.
1915 – Alan Watts, British-born author and philosopher, known for popularizing Eastern religions in the West.
1931 – E.L. Doctorow, American novelist, short-story writer, editor, playwright, and professor, known especially for his historical fiction and considered one of the most important American novelists of the 20th century.
1932 – Kamleshwar, important Hindi writer and scriptwriter for cinema and television.
1945 – Allen Appel, American novelist best known for his stories about time traveler Alex Balfour.
1945 – Barry Lopez, Pulitzer Prize-winning American nonfiction writer.
1949 – Carolyn D. Wright, National Book Award-winning American poet who was also a Guggenheim and MacArthur fellow.
1954 – Anthony Minghella, Academy Award-winning English film director, playwright, and screenwriter.
1956 – Elizabeth Strout, bestselling Pulitzer Prize-winning American author of such literary novels as Olive Kitteridge and My Name Is Lucy Barton.
1960 – Nigella Lawson, British food writer, broadcaster, television personality, and cookbook author.
1969 – Ree Drummond, American blogger and cookbook author known as the “Pioneer Woman.”
1971 – Karin Slaughter, bestselling American crime writer whose fiction series are mostly based in the southern United States.