1804 – Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short-story writer who is known for his classic books The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, and Twice-Told Tales.
1883 – Rube Goldberg, American cartoonist, author, sculptor, engineer, and inventor, known for drawings of overly complex devices that came to be named after him.
1896 – Mao Dun, Chinese novelist, short-story writer, and journalist.
1901 – Agnes Newton Keith, American author best known for her three autobiographical accounts of life in North Borneo (now Sabah) before, during, and after the Second World War; the second of these, Three Came Home, tells of her time in Japanese POW and civilian internee camps in North Borneo and Sarawak, and was made into a film.
1905 – Lionel Trilling, American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, literary critic, university teacher, and journalist who was one of the leading 20th century U.S.
critics who traced the contemporary cultural, social, and political implications of literature.
1918 – Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren (real names Esther “Eppie” Lederer and Pauline Phillips), American twin sisters who were wildly successful American advice columnists with their syndicated columns “Ask Ann Landers” and “Dear Abby.” Abigail’s daughter Jeanne now writes the “Dear Abby” column.
1927 – Neil Simon, influential Pulitzer Prize-winning and three-time Tony Award-winning American playwright, screenwriter, and memoirist whose style ranged from farce to romantic comedy to more serious dramatic comedy.
1931 – Sébastien Japrisot, pen name (and anagram) of French author Jean-Baptiste Rossi; not well known outside of France, he has nevertheless been called “the French Graham Greene” and has won numerous awards there.
1934 – Colin Welland, U.K. actor and screenwriter who won an Oscar for his screenplay Chariots of Fire.
1934 – Guram Rcheulishvili, novelist and short-story writer from the Republic of Georgia; he died in 1960 saving the life of a drowning child.
1937 – Richard Rhodes, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, historian, and author who wrote The Making of the Atomic Bomb.
1944 – Jaimy Gordon, Baltimore-born National Book Award-winning American novelist and professor.
1945 – Aswathi Thirunal Gowri Lakshmi Bayi, Indian-born writer, poet, and novelist who is the niece of the last King of Travancore, Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma.
1949 – Slavenka Drakulic, Croatian journalist, novelist, and essayist whose works on feminism, communism, and post-communism have been translated into many languages.