1712 – Jean-Jacques Rousseau, influential Swiss philosopher, political theorist, writer, and composer known for many wide-ranging works, much of which explore the challenges of preserving human freedom in a world where people are increasingly dependent on one another.
1736 – Gottlieb Konrad Pfeffel, French-German writer, poet, playwright, and translator, whose texts were put to music by Ludwig van Beethoven, Joseph Haydn and Franz Schubert; he is also known as Amédée or Théophile Conrad Pfeffel, which is the French translation of Gottlieb (“Godlove”).
1808 – Cristina Trivulzio Belgiojoso, Italian writer, journalist, princess, and salonnière who played a key role in Italy’s fight for independence.
1867 – Luigi Pirandello, Nobel Prize-winning Italian playwright, poet, novelist, and short-story writer who was best known for his plays.
1890 – Vera Inber, Soviet writer, poet, translator, and journalist.
1891 – Esther Forbes, Pulitzer Prize and Newbery Medal-winning American novelist, historian, and children’s writer, best known for her biography of Paul Revere and for the children’s novel Johnny Tremain, set during the American Revolutionary War.
1909 – Eric Ambler, British author of thrillers, spy novels, and screenplays and is best known for The Mask of Dimitrios (or A Coffin for Dimitrios), which was the basis for several films, including Topkapi and The Pink Panther; he also wrote under the pen name Eliot Reed.
1920 – A. E. Hotchner, American novelist, playwright, editor, biographer, and co-founder of the company Newman’s Own foods with actor Paul Newman.
1931 – Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, Indian Telugu screenwriter, author, songwriter, lyricist, and film producer who was known for his humorous writer and for creating memorable characters.
1934 – Bette Greene, American author of books for children and young adults, best known for Summer of My German Soldier.
1952 – Jean-Christophe Rufin, French physician, historian, diplomat, and novelist who is one of the founders of the relief organization Doctors without Borders.
1956 – Amira Hass, Israeli journalist, columnist, and author.
1956 – Achy Obejas, Cuban-born writer, poet, short-story author, translator, journalist, and novelist who focuses on issues of personal and national identity and frequently writes on her sexuality and nationality.
1959 – Meralda Warren, British poet, writer, politician, artist, and nurse who writes in both English and Pitkern, the Creole language of the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific, a British Territory where she lives; she has also published a cookbook of Pitcairn cuisine.
1966 – Åsa Larsson, award-winning Swedish author of crime novels; she is the granddaughter of the Olympic skier Erik August Larsson.
1969 – Aimee Bender, American novelist and short-story writer whose work often features surreal elements; she is best known for The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
1970 – Tom Merritt, American journalist, tech writer, podcaster, and science-fiction novelist.
1971 – Sophie Hannah, British crime novelist, children’s writer, and poet.