1605 – Simon Dach, Prussian/German lyrical poet and hymn writer.
1805 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian, political thinker, and author, best known for his two-volume work Democracy in America.
1849 – Max Nordau, Hungarian-born author, physician, social critic, and Zionist leader.
1869 – Booth Tarkington, American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams.
1878 – Don Marquis, American poet, humorist, journalist, novelist, playwright, and columnist.
1900 – Eyvind Johnson, Nobel Prize-winning Swedish author.
1900 – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (short for Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger, comte de Saint Exupéry), French aristocrat, writer, poet, and aviation pioneer, best known for his children’s book, The Little Prince; the idea for the book came to him in dehydration-induced hallucinations after the plane he was piloting crashed in the Sahara Desert, stranding him and his navigator with no food and water except for the coffee and wine they had been carrying, until their rescue four days later.
1905 – Stanley Kunitz, National Book Award-winning American poet who was twice named U.S. Poet Laureate.
1909 – Samm Sinclair Baker, American author of many how-to and self-help books; notably The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet; he also wrote books on gardening.
1909 – Chester Himes, African-American writer who wrote a series of mystery novels with an African-American detective, a groundbreaking choice for the time; his books dealt with racism, and two of them have been made into movies.
1918 – Edwin O’Connor, American radio personality, journalist, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist.
1918 – Mary Lee Settle, National Book Award-winning American author who was founder of the PEN/Faulkner Award.
1927 – Jean Karl, American author and editor, best known for science-fiction books for young adults.
1938 – Peter Jennings, Canadian/American journalist, author, and television news anchor.
1941 – Goenawan Mohamad, Indonesian poet, columnist, and magazine editor.
1945 – Sharon Creech, American author of children’s fiction who has won both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal.
1951 – Susan Blackmore, British writer, lecturer, and broadcaster on topics dealing with psychology and the paranormal.
1952 – Kathleen Krull, American author and editor of children’s books, best known for biographies.
1959 – Connie Porter, American author of books for children and young adults; she wrote the “Addy” books in the American Girl series.
1960 – Didier Van Cauwelaert, bestselling French author and libretto writer.
1963 – Caroline Paul, American firefighter, journalist, and author of fiction and nonfiction; her identical twin sister is Baywatch actress Alexandra Paul; her brother Jonathan Paul is an activist who is considered a domestic terrorist by the U.S. government for his militant animal-rights activities.
1965 – Chang-Rae Lee, Korean-American novelist and professor whose books often deal with the experiences of Asian immigrants in America.
1969 – Nathalie Handal, Haitian-born American writer, poet, and playwright.
1970 – Adele Griffin, two-time National Book Award finalist American author of young-adult fiction.
1970 – Lisi Harrison, Canadian author of young-adult novels.
1972 – Wil Wheaton, American actor, writer, memoirist, web-series host, and general internet good guy; he is best known for the roles of Wesley Crusher in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Gordie in the Rob Reiner film, Stand By Me.