1737 – Edward Gibbon, English historian and politician, known for his major work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
1759 – Mary Wollstonecraft, British writer and woman’s rights pioneer; mother of author Mary Shelley.
1898 – Ludwig Bemelmans, Austria-Hungary born American writer, known for the Madeline children’s books.
1904 – Cecil Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish poet (pen name Nicholas Blake) who was U.K. Poet Laureate; father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
1913 – Irving Adler, American author of science books, primarily for children, some under the name Robert Irving.
1920 – Edwin Morgan, Scottish Renaissance poet and translator.
1927 – Coretta Scott King, author, activist, and civil rights leader; wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.
1934 – Jean Valentine, National Book Award-winning poet and New York Poet Laureate.
1937 – Adam Clymer, American journalist and political reporter.
1942 – Ruth Glick, American author of cookbooks, romances, and young-adult novels, some under the pseudonym Rebecca York.
1945 – August Wilson, American playwright who won two Pulitzer Prizes.
1959 – Nicholas D. Kristof, American journalist, columnist, and author who won two Pulitzer Prizes.
1963 – Russell T. Davies (real name Stephen Russell Davies), British screenwriter best known for his 2005 revival of Doctor Who.