1478 – Thomas More, English Renaissance writer and humanist who coined the term “utopia.”
1559 – Catherine de Bourbon, French Navarrese poet, writer, and princess who was the daughter of Queen Joan III and King Anthony of Navarre and who ruled the principality of Béarn in the name of her brother, King Henry III of Navarre; her writings consist prrimarily of sonnets and letters.
1777 – Dinicu Golescu (full name Constantin Radovici Golescu), Romanian author, travel writer, journalist, translator,and politician.
1812 – Charles Dickens, English writer and social critic; one of the major novelists of the Victorian age, his works are still widely read today.
1833 – Manuel Ricardo Palma Soriano, Peruvian author, scholar, librarian, historican, and politician.
1837 – James Murray, Scottish lexicographer, philologist, and primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.
1867 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American writer and journalist whose “Little House” book series for children was based on her childhood as a pioneer on the American frontier.
1874 – Olive Eleanor Custance (also known as Lady Alfred Douglas), British poet and writer who was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s and a contributor to the quarterly literary periodical The Yellow Book.
1885 – Sinclair Lewis, Nobel Prize-winning American novelist, playwright, and magazine writer lauded for his “vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”; he was offered the Pulitzer Prize for his book Arrowsmith, but he turned it down.
1908 – Fred Gipson, American author best known for his 1956 novel Old Yeller.
1909 – Anna Swirszczynska, Polish poet, playwright, and children’s author, much of whose works deal with themes including her experiences during World War II, motherhood, the female body, and sensuality.
1922 – Marion Cunningham, American food writer best known for her work on editions of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
1925 – Liu Binyan, Chinese author, journalist, and political dissident who recounted his life in the memoir A Higher Kind of Loyalty.
1926 – Guggari Shanthaveerappa Shivarudrappa, Indian Kannada poet, writer, and researcher who was awarded the title of Rashtrakavi (Poet Laureate) by the Government of Karnataka.
1929 – José Ramón Larraz, Spanish writer, comic book artist, film director, and screenwriter best known for his comic book series Paul Foran, and his horror films, including the erotic and bloody Vampyres.
1932 – Gay Talese, American author, memoirist, and literary journalist.
1943 – Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning American historian.
1944 – Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler (known as Witi Ihimaera), New Zealand author who was the first published Maori novelist.
1950 – Karen Joy Fowler, American author of science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction, best known for The Jane Austen Book Club.
1955 – Steven Charles Gould, American science-fiction writer, novelist, children’s author, and teacher.
1959 – Christine Angot, French writer, novelist, and playwright.
1974 – Emma McLaughlin, American novelist who wrote The Nanny Diaries with Nicola Krau.
1979 – Lebogang Mashile, South African author, poet, musician, and actor.