1707 – Henry Fielding, English novelist and playwright known for his earthy humor and satire; his most famous novel is Tom Jones.
1724 – Immanuel Kant, German philosopher whose major work was Critique of Pure Reason; he is well known for synthesizing early modern rationalism and empiricism, and continues to exercise significant influence in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields.
1817 – Germaine de Staël, influential French “woman of letters,” novelist, travel writer, political theorist, revolutionary, and opponent of Napoleon who stimulated the political and intellectual life of her times; her works emphasized individuality and passion and popularized the notion of Romanticism.
1873 – Ellen Glasgow, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who chronicled the changing world of the American South.
1887 – James Norman Hall, American novelist and essayist best known for historical novels; with war buddy Charles Nordhoff he wrote Mutiny on the Bounty.
1887 – Kurt Wiese, Newbery Medal-winning German writer and illustrator of children’s books; his style was influenced by his travels in the Orient.
1899 – Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-American novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, and lepidopterist, best known for his 1955 novel Lolita; he wrote in both Russian and English, sometimes translating his own works back and forth between the two languages. He is considered one of the leading prose stylists of the 20th century.
1933 – Paula Fox, Newbery Medal-winning American novelist, children’s author, and memoirist, best known for her children’s book The Slave Dancer.
1940 – Ron Koertge, American poet and young-adult novelist.
1943 – Eileen Christelow, American author and illustrator of children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction.
1943 – Janet Evanovich, bestselling American writer of romance and mysteries.
1943 – Louise Glück, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning American poet and essayist who was U.S. Poet Laureate; she is often described as an autobiographical poet, and her work is known for emotional intensity and for frequently drawing on myth, history, and nature.
1944 – Damien Broderick, Australian science and science-fiction author.
1946 – Paul Davies, English physicist, professor, popular science author, and broadcaster.
1951 – Andrew Hudgins, American poet and essayist who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
1951 – Ana Maria Shua, Argentinian novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, children’s author, folklorist, anthologist, humorist, and essayist.
1985 – Kseniya Simonova, Ukrainian writer, artist, sand animation artist, and filmmaker.