70 BC – Virgil, influential Roman poet of the Augustan period, best known for his epic The Aeneid.
1801 – Rifa’a al-Tahtawi, Egyptian writer, economist, historian, translator, journalist, archaeologist, academic, teacher, and philosopher who was among the first Egyptian scholars to write about Western cultures in an attempt to bring about a reconciliation and an understanding between Islamic and Christian civilizations; he was influential in the development of science, law, literature, and Egyptology in 19th-century Egypt.
1830 – Helen Hunt Jackson (born Helen Maria Fiske; pen name, H.H.), American poet, bestselling writer, novelist, nonfiction author, journalist, and activist for the rights of Native Americans.
1831 – Isabella Bird, British writer, photographer, geographer, explorer, and naturalist who was the first woman elected Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
1844 – Friedrich Nietzsche, German writer, philosopher, poet, composer, cultural critic, classical philologist, pedagogue, music critic, university teacher, and linguist whose work has exerted a profound influence on modern intellectual history.
1876 – Jean Price-Mars, Haitian teacher, diplomat, writer, historian, anthropologist, and ethnographer who served as Haitian ambassador at the United Nations and Haitian ambassador to France.
1880 – Marie Stopes, British writer, paleontologist, botanist, academic, curator, and newsletter editor whose important contributions to the field of plant paleontology are overshadowed by her work as an activist for women’s suffrage and access to birth control; her sex manual Married Love was controversial and influential, bringing the subject of birth control into public discourse, and much later was later mentioned in several episodes of the television show Downton Abbey.
1881 – P.G. Wodehouse, English humorist, best known for his Jeeves novels.
1916 – George Turner, Australian novelist who wrote mainstream fiction as well as science-fiction novels and stories.
1917 – Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian, author, and social critic; much of his work explored the history of 20th-century American liberalism.
1920 – Mario Puzo, bestselling Italian-American author known for his books about the Mafia, notably The Godfather and its sequels.
1922 – Agustina Bessa-Luís, Portuguese novelist, screenwriter, playwright, biographer, and theater director.
1923 – Italo Calvino, award-winning Italian neorealist and post-modernist author who wrote short stories and novels and was also a journalist.
1926 – Ed McBain, the main pen name of Evan Hunter (who was born Salvatore Albert Lombino) and who was known for his bestselling crime fiction.
1934 – Wang Meng, Chinese author, translator, and politician who served as Minister of Culture.
1943 – Xi Murong, Chinese poet, writer, and painter.
1949 – Laurie McBain, American author of historical romance novels.
1950 – Nina Mikhailovna Sadur (born Nina Kolesnikova, and also known as Nína Mikháilovna Sadúr), Russian novelist, screenwriter, and playwright who was a leading proponent of the “new drama” of the 1980s, with an avant-garde vision that has been described as “dark, mystic, and absurdist.”
1953 – Walter Jon Williams, multiple Nebula Award-winning American science-fiction author, who has written in the Star Wars universe, as well as many of his own books; he also wrote nautical adventure fiction under the name Jon Williams.
1954 – Hans Lindahl, Swedish comic-book illustrator and author
1957 – Yumi Hotta, award-winning Japanese manga artist, writer, and animator; she is best known as the author of the bestselling manga and anime series Hikaru no Go.
1958 – Stephen Clarke, British author whose novels tend to focus on ex-pat life in France.
1959 – Sarah, Duchess of York (born Sarah Margaret Ferguson) British writer, children’s author, charity patron, public speaker, film producer, and television personality who was married to Prince Andrew, the second son of Queen Elizabeth II.
1970 – Biljana Srbljanović, award-winning Swedish/Serbian playwright, screenwriter, actress, and activist.
1972 – Linda Boström Knausgård, Swedish writer, poet, novelist, and short-story author.