1743 – Johann David Wyss, Swiss author best remembered for his novel The Swiss Family Robinson, one of the most popular books of all time; he was inspired by
Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, but Wyss wrote about a marooned family because he wanted the book to teach important lessons to children.
1873 – Olga Forsh, Russian and Soviet novelist, screenwriter, playwright, and memoirist.
1908 – Ian Fleming, English naval intelligence officer best known for his spy novels, which introduced the character James Bond.
1912 – Patrick White, Nobel Prize-winning English-born Australian writer, praised for his “epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.”
1913 – May Swenson, American poet who has been called one of the most important and original poets of the 20th century.
1918 – Mary Vaughan Jones, celebrated Welsh children’s writer and teacher.
1929 – Stephen Birmingham, American writer of social history books about rich people, including the nonfiction book Our Crowd about the Jewish elite in New York
1916 – Walker Percy, National Book Award-winning American novelist, essayist, and educator whose works were set in the American South.
1940 – Maeve Binchy, bestselling award-winning Irish novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, playwright, journalist, columnist, and essayist whose fiction often revolved around life in small-town Ireland.
1946 – K. Satchidanandan, Malayalam Indian poet, critic, and translator who was a pioneer of modern poetry in the Malayalam language. (Some sources give his birth year as 1948.)
1947 – Zahi Hawass, Egyptian archaeologist and politician who authored many books on Egyptology.
1947 – Richard White, American historian and author specializing in the history of the American West.
1953 – Silvana De Mari, Italian children’s writer, fantasy author, blogger, and surgeon.
1955 – Geoffrey A. Landis, American NASA aerospace engineer, professor, and author of hard science fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; he has won a Nebula Award and two Hugo Awards, and holds nine patents, mostly for improvements to solar cells and photovoltaic devices.
1955 – Laura Amy Schlitz, Newbery Medal-winning American children’s librarian, children’s literature author, and storyteller, best known for her picture book Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices From a Medieval Village.
1967 – Priya A.S., Indian Malayalam writer of short stories, children’s literature, translations, and memoirs.
1969 – Muriel Barbery, French novelist, best known for her book The Elegance of the Hedgehog.