1632 – John Locke, English philosopher best known for his works on government and education, and for “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.”
1809 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr., American physician, poet, author, and medical reformer who was one of the Fireside Poets group and who was considered to be one of the best writers of his day; he was also the father of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.
1815 – Anna Ella Carroll, American writer, Constitutional theorist, propagandist, anti-slavery activist,pamphleteer, and advisor to President Lincoln; she sometimes wrote under the pseudonym “Hancock” and was influential in crafting Union strategy during the American Civil War.
1862 – Maurice Maeterlinck, Nobel Prize-winning Belgian writer lauded for his “many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations.”
1863 – Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy, Indian Telugu writer who was one of the earliest modern Telugu linguists and social visionaries during the British rule; he championed the cause of using a language comprehensible to the common people as opposed to more scholastic language.
1881 – Valery Nicolas Larbaud, French novelist, poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator who also used the pseudonyms A.-O. Barnabooth, L. Hagiosy, and XM Tourmier de Zamble.
1891 – Marquis James, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, author, and biographer of Sam Houston and Andrew Jackson.
1898 – Preston Sturges, Oscar-winning American screenwriter, film director, and playwright, known for taking the 1930s screwball comedy genre to another level, writing dialogue that even today sounds surprisingly naturalistic and mature.
1922 – John Edward Williams, National Book Award-winning American author, editor, and professor.
1926 – René Depestre, Haitian poet, novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and Communist activist who lived in Cuba as an exile.
1929 – Thom Gunn, award-winning English poet who spent part of his career in the U.S.
1941 – Kioumars Saberi Foumani, Iranian satirist, writer, poet, journalist, and teacher who is also known by his pen name Gol-Agha.
1942 – Gordana Kuić, award-winning Serbian novelist; she is best known for her first novel, The Scent of Rain in the Balkans, an unexpected hit that was later made into a ballet, a play, and a television series.
1945 – Galit Hasan-Rokem, Israeli poet, linguist, professor, translator, and literary theorist whose research interests include proverbs, folklore, and culture of the Middle East.
1947 – Temple Grandin, American zoologist, doctor of animal science, author, professor, screenwriter, consultant to the livestock industry, and autism activist who was one of the first people on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience of autism; she invented the “hug box” device to calm people on the spectrum, and made the Time 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. She was also the subject of the Emmy-winning biographical film, Temple Grandin.
1952 – Karen Hesse, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s and YA books, known especially for her historical fiction.
1953 – Diana Ferrus, South African writer, poet, and storyteller of mixed Khoisan and slave ancestry.
1953 – Nancy Holder, four-time Bram Stoker Award-winning American writer, editor, and author of science-fiction novels and short stories, known for her numerous tie-in books based on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other TV series; she also wrote the “Wicked” series, about a family feud between a coven of witches and a coven of warlocks; she also contributed to the design of the game, Dungeon Master.
1954 – Michael P. Kube-McDowell, American science-fiction novelist who has written books in the Star Wars universe, as well as his own works.
1950 – Sue Harrison, American novelist best known for her “Ivory Carver” trilogy, which focuses on prehistoric Aleut tribes.