1802 – Alexandre Dumas, French adventure novelist whose famous works include The Three Musketeers and The Count of Monte Cristo his son, also named Alexandre Dumas, was also a historical novelist and playwright.
1842 – Ambrose Bierce, American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer, fabulist, and satirist, best known for his short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”; he also wrote a satirical reference book called The Devil’s Dictionary.
1857 – Henrik Pontoppidan, Nobel Prize-winning Danish realist writer of novels and short stories.
1878 – Edward Plunkett (Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany), Irish novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and playwright who sometimes wrote under the pseudonym Lord Dunsany; many of his works are fantasies, set in a land called Pegāna; he was also the chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland.
1886 – Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, popular novelist who was a major figure in modern Japanese literature.
1895 – Robert Graves, English poet, novelist, mythographer, critic, historican, and classical translator, best known for his historical novel I, Claudius, which has been adapted to film, radio, and theater.
1899 – Chief Dan George, chief of the Salish Band in Burrard Inlet, British Columbia who was also an author, poet, spokesman for native rights, and Oscar-nominated actor; as a writer, he is best known for the book My Heart Soars.
1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald, best known as the wife of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, she published a novel of her own, Save Me the Waltz, and has been called the Muse of the Jazz Age.
1916 – John D. McDonald, American crime and suspense novelist whose best known works include the Travis McGee series and The Executioners (which was adapted into the film Cape Fear); he also wrote under various pen names, including John Wade Farrel, Robert Henry, John Lane, Scott O’Hara, Peter Reed, and Henry Reiser.
1935 – Aaron Elkins, American author of mysteries featuring forensic anthropologist Gideon Oliver; he is married to romance novelist Charlotte Elkins, who writes under the pen name Emily Spenser.
1935 – Patrick Bruce (Pat) Oliphant, Pulitzer Prize-winning Australian editorial cartoonist.
1936 – Albert Marrin, National Book Award-winning American historian and prolific author of children’s nonfiction books.
1939 – Barry N. Malzberg, American science-fiction author who published in other genres under various pseudonyms, including Nathan Herbert and K.M. O’Donnell.
1950 – Arliss Ryan, American novelist of historical fiction.
1955 – Brad Watson, American novelist and short-story writer who was a finalist for the National Book Award.