1927 – Luísa Dacosta (born Marie Louise Pinto Saraiva dos Santos), Portuguese short story writer, poet, and anthologist.
1927 – David Bryon Davis, American historian and authority on slavery and abolition in the Western world.
1927 – Shahidullah Kaiser, Bangladeshi novelist and writer.
1944 – Richard Ford, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author, best known for his book Independence Day.
1953 – Roberta Williams, American video game-designer and writer.
1954 – Iain Banks, Scottish author of fiction and science fiction.
1956 – Paul Gilroy – British author, professor, and historian of black culture.
1331 – Coluccio Salutati, Tuscan humanist, writer, orator, and man of letters who was one of the most important political and cultural leaders of Renaissance Florence; he amassed a collection of 800 books, at the time the largest library in Florence.
1829 – Sarah Anne Ellis Dorsey, an American novelist, historian, and biographer from the prominent southern Percy family.
1831 – Nikolai Semyonovich Leskov (Никола́й Семёнович Леско́в), Russian novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who also wrote under the pseudonym M. Stebnitsky; he was praised for his unique writing style and innovative experiments in form and was admired by Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Gorky.
1834 – Ernst Haeckl, German natural philosopher and promoter of Darwin’s ideas in Germany.
1838 – Henry Adams, American historian and novelist whose posthumously published autobiography won the 1919 Pulitzer Prize; he was descended from two U.S. presidents.
1883 – Elizabeth Craig, Scottish journalist and cookbook author.
1886 – Van Wyck Brooks, American historian and biographer, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in History and the National Book Award for The Flowering of New England.
1904 – George F. Kennan, American diplomat and Cold War figure, ambassador to the Soviet Union, and author of seventeen books, including a Pulitzer and National Book Award winner.
1915 – Elisabeth Eybers, South African poet who wrote mainly in Afrikaans and translated some of her own work into English.
1957 – Levar Burton (Levardis Robert Martyn Burton Jr.), American actor, director, author, and TV host for the PBS children’s series about books, Reading Rainbow; he is also well known as an actor for his roles as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and the young Kunta Kinte in the seminal television miniseries Roots.
1958 – Natalie Angier, American science journalist and nonfiction author.
1968 – Warren Ellis, English author of fiction and comic books.
1973 – Maureen Johnson, American author of young-adult fiction.