1623 – Blaise Pascal, French child prodigy who grew up to be a writer, mathematician, physicist, inventor, and Catholic theologian; he made important contributions to the study of fluids, clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum, and wrote in defense of the scientific method.
1861 – Jose Rizal, journalist, fiction author, poet, and revolutionary who heralded as a national Filipino hero after his execution.
1900 – Laura Z. Hobson, American author best known for Gentleman’s Agreement, a novel that explored antisemitism in the United States.
1909 – Osamu Dazai (太宰 治) one of the foremost fiction writers of 20th-century Japan.
1919 – Pauline Kael, American author and New Yorker magazine film critic.
1945 – Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Prize-winning Burmese political leader, writer, and human rights activist.
1945 – Tobias Wolff, American novelist and memoirist.
1947 – Salman Rushdie, Booker Prize-winning British Indian author who sparked worldwide controversy with his magic realist novel The Satanic Verses.
1947 – John Ralston Saul, Canadian novelist and essayist; president of the writer’s association PEN International.