1703 – Jonathan Edwards, American theologian, educator, philosopher, scholar, and journalist whose writings helped shape the course of Protestantism; he is best known for his sermon about “sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
1713 – Denis Diderot, French philosopher, art critic, encyclopedia editor, and Enlightenment Era writer.
1840 – John Addington Symonds, British historian and writer.
1859 – Helen Churchill Candee, novelist, nonfiction author, and journalist who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
1911 – Flann O’Brien, Irish novelist whose work combines folklore, poetry, and humor.
1916 – Stetson Kennedy, American folklorist and author whose most famous work is an expose of the Ku Klux Klan.
1917 – Magda Szabó, Hungarian writer who is considered Hungary’s foremost woman novelist; she also wrote dramas, essays, studies, memoirs, and poetry.
1922 – Bil Keane, American cartoonist best known for his long-running comic strip, “The Family Circus.”
1924 – Frederic Morton (pen name Fritz Mandelbaum), Austrian Jewish writer who emigrated to the U.S.
1928 – Louise Fitzhugh, American author and illustrator of children’s literature, notably Harriet the Spy.
1936 – Václav Havel, playwright who in 1989 became the president of Czechoslovakia, continuing on after the country became the Czech Republic.
1943 – Michael Morpurgo, English author, poet, playwright, and librettist who is best known for his children’s novels; he was a British Children’s Laureate.
1948 – Zoran Živković, Serbian author and professor who has written both fiction and nonfiction books; his fiction is known for fantasy and surrealism and has won him the World Fantasy Award.
1949 – Bill James, American baseball writer and statistician.
1951 – Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, best known for his book The Known World.
1952 – Clive Barker, English author known for his fantasy and horror fiction.
1958 – Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, television personality, and science popularizer who has written books about space.
1960 – David Shannon, American author and illustrator of children’s books; his bestselling Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, No, David! was based on one he wrote when he was five years old in which every page showed a picture of him misbehaving and contained the only words he knew how to spell at the time: “No, David!”
1963 – Nick Robinson, British political journalist and editor.
1983 – Jesse Eisenberg, American actor and playwright.