1633 – Johann Heinrich Heidegger, Swiss theologian, philosopher, and Hebrew professor who wrote in Latin, mainly against the Catholic church.
1646 – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, German mathematician, philosopher, lawyer, geologist, physicist, historian, and logician, known for his Discourse on Metaphysics as well as his contributions to formal logic and the invention of calculus; he was also one of the founders of library science.
1804 – George Sand (pen name for Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin), prolific French novelist who is remembered for her progressive views, behavior that was considered scandalous in her day, and her romantic involvement with Frédéric Chopin.
1869 – William Strunk, Jr., professor and English grammarian, known for the grammar handbook The Elements of Style, which was revised by his student, Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White.
1878 – Waldemar Young, American screenwriter who wrote many screenplays for popular films of the time, including for Cecil B. DeMille; he was also a grandson of Brigham Young.
1885 – Isobel Marion Dorothea Mackellar (better known as Dorothea Mackellar), Australian poet and fiction writer.
1887 – Amber Reeves, New Zealand-born British feminist writer and scholar, known also for her relationship with the married (and often unfaithful) H.G. Wells, by whom she had a child, and who based the character Ann Veronica Stanley on her; she sometimes published under her full name, Amber Reeves Blanco White.
1892 – James M. Cain, American author and journalist, associated with the “hardboiled” crime fiction genre; best known as author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Mildred Pierce; he wanted to be a singer but turned to writing when his opera singer mother told him his voice wasn’t good enough; music and singing are common motifs in his work; he was married for a time to opera singer Florence Macbeth.
1901 – Irna Phillips, actress and screenwriter who created and scripted many of the first American soap operas and is credited with creating the soap opera genre.
1903 – Abul Fazal, Bangladeshi writer and university vice-chancellor.
1909 – Juan Carlos Onetti, Uruguayan novelist and short-story writer who is considered the founder of the “new Latin American novel”; imprisoned by his country’s military dictatorship for choosing an anti-regime story as winner in a contest he was judging, on his release, he and his wife, violinist Dorotea Mühr, fled to Spain, where he lived until his death.
1915 – Jean Stafford, Pulitzer Prize-winning American short-story writer and novelist who married poet Robert Lowell.
1918 – Ahmed Hoosen Deedat, South African writer, public speaker, and Muslim missionary who was of Indian descent but wrote in English.
1926 – Robert Fogel, Nobel Prize-winning economist and historian.
1939 – Emily Arnold McCully, Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator of children’s books.
1941 – Sally Quinn, American author and journalist who writes a blog for the Washington Post; she was married to the late Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee.
1945 – Susham Bedi, Indian-born novelist, short-story writer, poet, and professor who writes (mainly in Hindi) about the experiences of Indians in the South Asian diaspora, focusing on psychological and ‘interior’ cultural conflicts.
1955 – Lisa Scottoline, Edgar Award-winning bestselling author of legal thrillers; she also writes columns, many of which have been collected and published in book form.
1958 – Louise Penny, award-winning Canadian author of mystery novels set in Quebec.
1981 – Genevieve Valentine, American science-fiction and fantasy author, critic, and comic-book author.