1733 – Mikhailo Mikhailovich Shcherbatov, Russian prince who was a statesman, historian, writer, and philosopher.
1807 – Karolina Pavlova, Russian poet, novelist, and translator known for her unusual use of rhyme and imagery; she was a friend of Tolstoy and translated his works into German.
1849 – Emma Lazarus, American poet, novelist, and playwright, best known for her sonnet “The New Colossus,” which appears on the base of the Statue of Liberty (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free….”)
1881 – Margery Williams Bianco, Newbery Medal-winning English/American author of children books who began writing professionally when she was still in her teens and is best known for the classic book The Velveteen Rabbit.
1884 – Odell Shepard, Pulitzer Prize-winning American professor, poet, and biographer who was also Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut.
1886 – Hella Wuolijoki, Estonian-born Finnish novelist and playwright, often known by her pen name Juhani Tervapää; she was imprisoned for allegedly being a Soviet spy but released after a year; later she became a member of the Finnish Parliament.
1898 – Stephen Vincent Benét, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet, novelist, and short-story writer, best known for John Brown’s Body, a book-length poem about the Civil War.
1900 – Edward Dahlberg, American novelist, biographer, and essayist who was nominated for a National Book Award.
1902 – Daniel Mainwaring, American mystery novelist and screenwriter who sometimes used the pen name Geoffrey Homes; before he became a writer, he worked as a journalist and a private detective.
1908 – Amy Vanderbilt, bestselling American author, journalist, and television host who was best known as an authority on etiquette.
1915 – Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, Indian-born Pakistani author, translator, and politician who was ambassador to Morocco and the first female representative in the First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan; she wrote a biography of her uncle, Pakistani Prime Minister Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, and other works dealing with Pakistani history, women in Islam, and literary criticism.
1925 – Jack Matthews, American professor who was also a novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and playwright.
1931 – Patricia Calvert, American author of fiction and nonfiction books for children.
1936 – Tom Robbins, American author, essayist, art reviewer, and journalist whose poetic, irreverent novels have been a counterculture favorite; Writer’s Digest named him one of the 100 Best Writers of the 20th Century. His novel-writing process has been described like this: “First he writes a sentence. Then he rewrites it again and again, examining each word, making sure of its perfection, finely honing each phrase until it reverberates with the subtle texture of the infinite. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes an entire day is devoted to one sentence, which gets marked on and expanded upon in every possible direction until he is satisfied. Then, and only then, does he add a period.”
1941 – David M. Kennedy, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian and author.
1947 – Albert Brooks, American comedian, novelist, screenwriter, actor, and director.
1948 – S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton, American author and screenwriter whose work includes novels for children, adults, and teenagers; she is best known for her young-adult novel The Outsiders, written when she was still in her teens.
1971 – Akhil Sharma, Indian-born American professor, novelist, and short-story writer.