1402 – Nezahualcoyotl (meaning “Coyote who fasts”), poet, philosopher, warrior, and architect who ruled the city-state of Texcoco in pre-Columbian era Mexico. He is best remembered for his poetry.
1882 – L. Onerva (real name Hilja Onerva Lehtinen), Finnish poet, novelist, translatopr, critic, and short-story writer whose works often dealt with the tension in women’s lives concerning freedom and commitment.
1919 – Antonio Frasconi, Caldecott Honor-winning Uruguayan-American artist and author of children’s books.
1926 – Harper Lee, Pulitzer Prize-winning American author known for her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird; in 2007 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature. The book was loosely based on events that happened in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, when she was 10. The character Dill is based on author Truman Capote, her childhood friend; she also helped him research his acclaimed true-crime novel In Cold Blood.
1934 – Lois Duncan, American writer, novelist, poet, and journalist, best known as a bestselling author of children’s and young-adult books and a pioneer in the development of the young-adult fiction genre.
1934 – Diane Johnson (born Diane Lain) American satirical novelist and essayist whose novels often feature American heroines living abroad in France; she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
1944 – Alice Waters, American chef, restaurateur, activist, and author who is a national public policy advocate for school lunch reform and universal access to healthy, organic foods.
1946 – Kit Williams, English author, artist, and illustrator best known for his treasure-hunt picture book Masquerade, with illustrations that included clues to the location of a real-life treasure, a golden, jeweled pendant hidden somewhere in the U.K.
1947 – Christian Jacq, French Egyptologist and author who has written novels set in ancient Egypt, as well as nonfiction.
1948 – Terry Pratchett (Sir Terence David John Pratchett), British author of satire and humorous fantasy, particularly the Discworld series and (with Neil Gaiman) Good Omens. The U.K.’s bestselling author of the 1990s, he received the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 2010.
1950 – Carolyn Forché, award-winning American poet, editor, professor, translator, and human-rights advocate.
1953 – Roberto Bolaño, Chilean novelist, short-story writer, poet, and essayist; The New York Times described him as “the most significant Latin American literary voice of his generation.”
1953 – Abena Busia, Ghanaian writer, poet, feminist, professor, and diplomat who is Ghana’s ambassador to Brazil, daughter of former Prime Minister Kofi Abrefa Busia, and sister of actress Akosua Busia.
1960 – Ian Rankin, Scottish crime writer, television presenter, and singer.
1965 – Jennifer Rardin, American author of urban fantasy novels.