1721 – Mark Akenside, 18-century poet and physician.
1731 – Benjamin Banneker, African-American author, almanac editor, mathematician, inventor, and astronomer who was the son of an ex-slave and a former indentured servant; he corresponded with Thomas Jefferson.
1732 – Jeanne Julie Éléonore de Lespinasse, French writer, artist, and prominent salon holder who is best known today for her letters, which offer compelling accounts of two tragic love affairs.
1745 – William Hayley, English author, poet, essayist, and biographer; he is most remembered as the best friend and biographer of poet William Cowper.
1818 – Ivan Turgenev, Russia, novelist, poet, and playwright who was a key figure in Russian Realism.
1854 – Maud Howe Elliott, American writer and daughter of Julia Ward Howe (social activist, poet, and author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic) Maud won a Pulitzer Prize for a biography of her mother.
1877 – Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistani poet, writer, children’s author, philosopher, and politician who was a leader in the Pakistan Movement; he wrote in Urdu, Persian, and English and was named the National Poet of Pakistan.
1880 – Yordan Yovkov, Bulgarian writer, teacher, poet, playwright, and editor.
1885 – Viktor Vladimirovich Khlebnikov, influential poet and playwright who was a central part of the Russian Futurist movement.
1903 – Josefina Pla, Spanish-born Paraguayan poet and author who was also known for her artwork and her human-rights activism.
1909 – Kay Thompson, American author, composer, musician, actress, and singer who is best known as creator of the Eloise children’s books.
1911 – Diná Silveira de Queirós, award-winning Brazilian writer, biographer, journalist, children’s author, short-story writer, and novelist who was only the second woman ever elected to the Brazilian Academy of Letters.
1918 – Su Beng (born Lin Chao-hui), Taiwanese writer, historian, dissident, historian, and political activist of the Taiwan independence movement; she was also known as Shih Chao-hui
1920 – Shafiq-ur-Rahman, influential Pakistani writer, short-story author, humorist, and physician who is considered a key figure in Urdu literature.
1922 – Maja Boškovic-Stulli, Croatian slavicist and folklorist, literary historian, writer, publisher, and academic, noted for her extensive research into Croatian oral literature.
1923 – James Schuyler, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet of the New York School.
1928 – Anne Sexton, Pulitzer Prize-winning American poet who was known for her highly personal confessional verse.
1929 – Imre Kertész, Nobel Prize-winning Hungarian author.
1934 – Lois Ehlert, Caldecott Medal-winning American children’s author and illustrator.
1934 – Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist, science writer, and science-fiction novelist who helped popularize scientific topics.
1937 – Roger McGough, British poet, children’s author, playwright, and broadcaster.
1946 – Marina Sarah Warner, English novelist, short-story writer, historian, mythographer, and professor; she is known for her many nonfiction books relating to feminism and myth.
1947 – Oh Jung-Hee, award-winning South Korean writer and children’s author, some of whose work is non-imagistic and centered on family life as something like a trap for women.
1955 – Janet Fitch, American author and professor who is best known for her novel White Oleander.
1958 – C.J. Box, bestselling author of 18 novels, including his two 2014 novels Stone Cold and Shots Fired, both part of his well-known Joe Pickett series.
1960 – Michael Robotham, bestselling Australian author of crime fiction who began his career as a ghost writer.
1978 – Matt Gibson, Canadian writer, world traveler, photographer, blogger, and social anthropologist.