1816 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist who wrote under the pseudonym Currer Bell; her Gothic romance Jane Eyre is one of the most popular novels of all time and revolutionized fiction by focusing on the protagonist’s moral and spiritual development through an intimate first-person narrative while also incorporating psychological intensity and social criticism and addressing issues of feminism, sexuality, class, and religion. Brontë has been called the “first historian of the private consciousness”, and the literary ancestor of writers like Proust and Joyce and was also an artist who illustrated an edition of Jane Eyre; she was the oldest of three sisters who all wrote some of the key works of English literature.
1828 – Hippolyte Adolphe Taine, influential French writer, critic, historian, art historian, and philosopher who was the chief theoretical influence of French naturalism and the originator of the literary historicism movement; he is also remembered for his attempts to provide a scientific account of literature.
1920 – T.R. Subba Rao (full name Taluku Ramaswami Subba Rao, and sometimes known as TaRaSu), Indian novelist and scholar in Kannada language; he is considered as a harbinger of the Navya movement of Kannada literature.
1922 – Alistair MacLean, bestselling Scottish novelist who wrote thrillers and adventure stories, sometimes under the pen name Ian Stewart.
1923 – John Mortimer (Sir John Clifford Mortimer) was an English barrister, dramatist, poet, screenwriter, and novelist.
1932 – Elaine May (nee Elaine Berlin) comedienne, screenwriter, and director who wrote Heaven Can Wait and adapted the script for The Birdcage, among others.
1939 – Helene Prejean, American Roman Catholic nun and activist against the death penalty; she wrote the book Dead Man Walking based on her work as a spiritual adviser to death-row inmates in Louisiana.
1943 – Thomas McMahon, American scientist, professor of applied mechanics and biology, science writer, and novelist.
1943 – Kole Omotoso (born Bankole Ajibabi Omotoso), Nigerian playwright and novelist.
1946 – Patrick Rambaud, award-winning French author of satirical novels and magazine founder.
1947 – Barbara Park, bestselling American author of children’s books, best known for her popular Junie B. Jones series.
1960 – Jeannette Walls, American author, journalist, gossip columnist, and memoirist who is best known for her book, The Glass Castle, a memoir of her chaotic childhood.
1971 – Selina Tusitala Marsh, writer, poet, and academic who was the New Zealand Poet Laureate.