1737 – Thomas Paine, influential English-American political activist, writer, philosopher, and revolutionary, best known for his pamphlets, “Common Sense,” which demanded the American colonies’ independence from Britain, and “The Age of Reason,” which argued in favor of free thought and against organized religion, and which got him arrested in Paris.
1860 – Anton Chekhov, Russian dramatist, author, and doctor, widely considered one of the greatest short-story writers who ever lived.
1866 – Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize-winning French novelist, playwright, art historian, and mystic.
1867 – Vicente Blasco Ibáñez, Spanish politician, journalist, and bestselling novelist.
1895 – Muna Lee, American/Puerto Rican poet, author, translator, and activist, best known for her writings promoting Pan-Americanism and feminism.
1915 – Bill Peet, American children’s book author and illustrator who also wrote for Disney.
1923 – Paddy Chayefsky, American screenwriter, playwright, and novelist; he is the only person to win three solo Oscars for Best Screenplay.
1927 – Edward Abbey, American novelist, nonfiction author, essayist, and anarchist who wrote on environmental issues.
1930 – Christopher Collier, Pulitzer Prize-nominated American historian who is also a Newbery Honor-winning author of history-based novels for children and teens.
1939 – Germaine Greer, Australian journalist, professor, social commentator, and bestselling author of books on feminist issues.
1943 – Rosemary Wells, beloved National Book Award-nominated American author and illustrator of children’s books; creator of the “Max & Ruby” series.
1954 – Oprah Winfrey, American media magnate, television personality, philanthropist, author, magazine publisher, actress, and inspiration for book clubs all over the country.
1957 – Grazyna Miller, Polish/Italian poet and translator.