1709 – Samuel Johnson, English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor, and lexicographer and who has been called, “arguably the most distinguished man of letters in English history.”
1854 – Eufemia von Adlersfeld-Ballestrem, German novelist who was one of the few female writers in 19th century Germany who did not use a pseudonym.
1864 – Itō Sachio (pen name of Ito Kojiro), Japanese writer, poet, literary critic, novelist, and tanka poet.
1869 – Jagadananda Roy, eminent Indian Bengali author of popular science articles and science-fiction books and short stories; most of his fiction was written for teens.
1893 – William March, American author and US Marine, known for his novel Company K.
1916 – Mercedes Salisachs, award-winning Spanish Catalan writer and novelist who began writing as a teenager and published her final novel at the age of 97.
1920 – Doris Mühringer, award-winning Austrian poet, literary editor, short-story author, and children’s writer who is considered a major Austrian poet.
1921 – Maria Judite de Carvalho, Portuguese novelist, short-story writer, poet, and playwright.
1927 – Noel Perrin, American columnist, rural essayist, and professor whose interests included poetry, children’s literature, farming, and the environment.
1933 – Sir Christopher Bruce Ricks, British literary critic and scholar whose books include Dylan’s Visions of Sin, Milton’s Grand Style, and Tennyson.
1934 – Richard Kluger, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and author who writes on society, politics, and history.
1938 – Olga Nolla (full name Olga Nolla Ramírez de Arellano), Puerto Rican poet, writer, journalist, and professor.
1947 – Drew Gilpin Faust, American historian and first female president of Harvard; her books have been finalists for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. She has been ranked by Forbes as the 33rd most powerful woman in the world.
1948 – Lynn Abbey, American fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and computer programmer who is best known for her bestselling fantasy adventure series, “Thieves’ World.”
1949 – Lâm Thị Mỹ Dạ (born Lệ Thủy, Quảng Bình), award-winning Vietnamese poet.
1950 – Anna Deavere Smith, American playwright, professor, and actor.
1954 – Steven Pinker, Canadian-born experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist, and author of popular science books such as The Language Instinct and The Better Angels of Our Nature.
1956 – Chris Hedges, American war journalist and author.
1959 – Maria João Mira, Portuguese screenwriter who has authored many successful telenovelas.
1968 – Kim Thúy, award-winning Vietnamese-born writer, lawyer, and restaurateur who fled Vietnam with her family as a child after the fall of Saigon, joining more than one million Vietnamese boat people and spending months at a refugee camp in Malaysia before emigrating to Canada.
1992 – Jidanun Lueangpiansamut, award-winning Thai author of fantasy stories and yaoi novels (in Asia, yaoi refers to manga that features sexual romance between men, specifically as created by and for women).