1821 – Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Russian novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and journalist best known for his later novels, including Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamozov; his literary works explore human psychology in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia, with a variety of philosophical and religious themes.
1846 – Anna Katharine Green, American novelist who was one of the country’s first writers of detective fiction; because of her well-plotted, legally accurate stories, she has been called “the mother of the detective novel.”
1888 – Abul Kalam Azad, Saudi Arabian-born Indian scholar, writer, politician, and journalist who was a senior leader of the Indian Independence movement; after independence, he became the first Minister of Education in the Indian government. His birthday is celebrated across India as “National Education Day.”
1896 – Kostas Karyotakis, influential Greek poet, writer, translator, and civil servant whose poetry includes traces of expressionism and surrealism; he belongs to the Lost Generation literary movement.
1914 – Howard Fast, American novelist, screenwriter, poet, playwright, short-story writer, biographer, autobiographer, and nonfiction author who also wrote under the pen names E. V. Cunningham, Walter Ericson, and Behn Boruch.
1919 – Kalle Päätalo, One of the most popular Finnish authors of the 20th century; his autobiographical series is 26 books long.
1922 – Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., American novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and nonfiction author known for his darkly satirical novels, including Cat’s Cradle and Slaughterhouse Five.
1928 – Carlos Fuentes, award-winning Mexican novelist, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, and essayist who is one of the most admired and influential in the Spanish-speaking world.
1933 – Miriam Tlali, South African novelist who was the first black woman in South Africa to publish a novel; she was also one of the first to write about Soweto, although most of her writing was originally banned by the South African apartheid regime.
1937 – Alicia Ostriker, American poet and scholar who writes Jewish feminist poetry and has been called “America’s most fiercely honest poet.”
1942 – Diane Wolkstein, American children’s author who was New York City’s official storyteller.
1948 – Vincent Schiavelli, American writer, journalist, food writer, and cookbook author, who was also considered one of the best character actors in Hollywood.
1950 – Mircea Dinescu, Romanian poet, journalist, and editor.
1952 – Kama Sywor Kamanda, award-winning Congolese poet, playwright, novelist, nonfiction writer, and storyteller
1954 – Mary Gaitskill, American author of novels, short stories, and essays whose fiction is typically about female characters dealing with inner conflicts; her subject matter matter-of-factly includes controversial subjects such as prostitution, addiction, and sado-masochism.
1958 – Kathy Lette, Australian-British author of bestselling books and humor; she has also been a newspaper columnist and a television writer.
1968 – Douglas Rogers, Zimbabwean travel writer and memoirist.
1968 – Kim Young-ha, South Korean novelist and screenwriter noted for his skill in rendering 1990s urban sensibilities.