1753 – Phyllis Wheatley, American poet who was the first African-American woman to be published, she wrote poetry while a slave, with her owners’ encouragement; George Washington was a fan of her work.
1858 – J. Meade Falkner, English novelist, poet, and arms manufacturer executive.
1915 – Milton Meltzer, American author and historian, known for children’s nonfiction books.
1920 – Sloan Wilson, American magazine writer and author, best known for his classic novel, Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.
1922 – Mary Q. Steele, Newbery Honor-winning American author and naturalist.
1930 – Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet of the Beat Generation.
1937 – Thomas Pynchon, National Book Award-winning American author known for writing dense, complex novels, and for protecting his privacy.
1940 – Peter Benchley, American author, editor, and screenwriter best known for his novel Jaws.
1943 – Pat Barker, English author of historical fiction.
1952 – Beth Henley, Pulitzer Prize-winning and Oscar-nominated American playwright and screenwriter; her works often deal with Southern women.
1958 – Roddy Doyle, Irish novelist, playwright, and screenwriter; most of his work is set in working-class Dublin.
1963 – Robin Jarvis, British author of young-adult and children’s dark fantasy & supernatural thrillers.
1970 – Naomi Klein, Canadian activist and nonfiction author known for criticisms of corporate globalization.