1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian, politician, philosopher, and writer who is widely considered the founder of modern political science and is best known for his handbook for unscrupulous politicians, The Prince.
1843 – Edward Dowden, Irish critic and poet.
1849 – Jacob Riis, Danish-born “muck-raking” journalist, photographer, and social reformer who shocked his readers by shining a spotlight on the squalid living conditions in New York City tenements.
1853 – Edgar Watson Howe, American novelist who was also a newspaper and magazine editor.
1859 – Andy Adams, American author of western fiction about cowboys.
1896 – Dorothy Gladys “Dodie” Smith, English children’s novelist and playwright, known best for the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
1907 – Harvey Earl Wilson, American journalist, gossip columnist, and author,
1912 – May Sarton, pen name of Belgian-born Eleanore Marie Sarton, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.
1917 – Betty Comden, American screenwriter, songwriter, playwright, lyricist, and memoirist who began writing musicals with her working partner Adolph Green because they couldn’t find work as actors; their work includes some of the most celebrated musicals in history, including Singing in the Rain, Peter Pan, Auntie Mame, and On the Town.
1924 – Yehuda Amichai, German-born Israeli poet who is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest modern poet
1947 – Mavis Jukes, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s fiction and nonfiction books who often writes on health-related issues.
1948 – Leslie Marmon Silko, Native American novelist, poet, and essayist.
1951 – Tatyana Nikitichna Tolstaya, Russian writer, televisoion host, publicist, novelist, and essayist who is the granddaughter of famous writer Leo Tolstoy.
1959 – Ben Elton, English comedian, author, actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright, known for political satire; his work includes writing for television series such as Blackadder and a sequel to Phantom of the Opera.
1965 – Ninotchka “Nina” García, Colombian fashion journalist, editor, and critic
1972 – Reza Aslan, Iranian-born American author, commentator, and religious scholar.