1588 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher, physicist, and historian who laid the foundations of western political philosophy.
1837 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English lyric poet, playwright, novelist, and contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
1856 – Booker T. Washington, author, educator, orator, Tuskegee Institute founder, activist, and African-American leader who was born into slavery and was considered a leading voice of former slaves and their descendants.
1866 – Rosemonde Gérard (real name Louise-Rose-Étiennette Gérard), French writer, poet, and playwright who married Cyrano de Bergerac author Edmond Rostand and was a granddaughter of French Prime Minister Étienne Maurice Gérard.
1904 – Richard Eberhart, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning American poet.
1917 – Robert Bloch, American writer of horror and science fiction; best known as the author of Psycho, the basis of the Hitchcock film.
1920 – Arthur Hailey, bestselling British/Canadian novelist known for his meticulously researched books.
1923 – Ernest Mandel, Belgian revolutionary Marxist theorist and writer.
1926 – Liang Yusheng (pen name for Chen Wentong), influential Chinese novelist who pioneered the “New School” of the wuxia genre in the 20th century.
1929 – Hugo Claus, Belgian novelist, poet, and playwright; also a painter and theatrical director.
1937 – Joseph Lelyveld, American journalist, NY Times Executive Editor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author who often set his books in South Africa.
1944 – Lurlene McDaniel, American author who has written more than 70 young-adult books; her work often deals with young people who struggle with mortality and chronic illness, a career that began as a therapeutic way to deal with the trauma when her son, then 3, was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes.
1950 – Ann Carol Crispin, American science-fiction writer who authored 23 published novels, including several Star Trek and Star Wars novelizations as well as original work.
1956 – Anthony Horowitz, English novelist and screenwriter, known for children’s novels and his work for British television.
1957 – Anu Garg, Indian-American author whose works explore the intricacies of the English language; founder of Wordsmith.org.
1965 – Deborah Harkness, American novelist, scholar, and wine expert, best known as a historian and as the author of the bestselling “All Souls Trilogy,” which consists of the novel A Discovery of Witches and its sequels Shadow of Night and The Book of Life.
1971 – Charles Cumming, Scottish author of spy fiction.
1975 – Caitlin Moran, British broadcaster, television critic, journalist, columnist, and author.