1544 – Torquato Tasso, Italian poet, author, and playwright who died a few days before the Pope was to crown him as The King of Poets; his work was widely translated and adapted, and until the 20th century, he remained one of the most widely read poets in Europe.
1549 – Henric Spieghel, Dutch Renaissance poet whose unusual spiritual beliefs set him apart from his contemporaries; his strong religious faith was based on both Christian and Platonic ideas, combined with an underlying pantheism that saw God in all things. He died at the age of 62 of chicken pox because he could not bear to be separated from his children when they contracted it and insisted on being with them, despite his wife’s efforts to keep him away.
1884 – Ömer Seyfettin, Turkish writer who is considered to be one of the greatest modern Turkish authors and is praised for his contributions to the development of the Turkish language.
1893 – Wanda Gág, American children’s author and illustrator, artist, printmaker, and translator; she is best known for the Newbery Medal-winning Millions of Cats, which is the oldest American picture book still in print.
1911 – Alba de Céspedes y Bertini, Cuban-Italian novelist, journalist, radio broadcaster, resistance member, and feminist who was jailed for anti-fascist activities in Italy and saw several of her books banned.
1916 – Ezra Jack Keats, Caldecott Medal-winning American children’s book writer and illustrator, best known for his beloved picture book, The Snowy Day.
1923 – Alice von Hildebrand, Belgian philosopher, author, professor, and Catholic theologian.
1952 – Douglas Adams, English writer, science-fiction author, radio writer, humorist, screenwriter, and dramatist, best known for his influential “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series of humorous science-fiction books; he also wrote for Monty Python and Doctor Who.
1952 – Norah McClintock, Canadian author who was known for crime or detective fiction and for her work for children and young adults.
1955 – D.J. MacHale, American television writer, director, and producer who has also authored several popular young-adult book series.
1955 – Myriam Moscona, Mexican journalist, writer, translator, and poet who comes from a Bulgarian Sephardi Jewish family.
1956 – Jean “Binta” Breeze, Jamaican poet, novelist, screenwriter, storyteller, theater director, choreographer, actor, and teacher.
1964 – Libba Bray, American author of young-adult novels, including the popular Gemma Doyle trilogy, and short stories.
1964 – Lea Hernandez, American comic-book author and web comic creator, known for her manga-influenced style.
1964 – Leena Lehtolainen, award-winning Finnish author and literary critic who is best known for her crime novels about policewoman Maria Kallio; her first novel was released when she was 12 years old.
1967 – John Barrowman, award-winning Scottish-born writer, actor, singer, dancer, television host, and competitor in a celebrity ice skating show; he is best known for the role of Captain Jack Harkness in the Doctor Who and Torchwood franchises, but has also written novels, comic books, children’s books, and memoirs.
1969 – Eran Ben-Shahar, Israeli author, philosopher, journalist, lecturer, and inventor who now lives in New Zealand.
1972 – Eugenia Romanelli, Italian novelist, essayist, and journalist who founded and directs the Writers Factory, a writer’s school dedicated to American author Ursula Le Guin.
1973 – Sylvia Day, bestselling Japanese-American romance author who also writes under the pseudonyms S.J. Day and Livia Dare.
1974 – Kate Brian, Pen name of Kieran Scott, American chick-lit and young-adult novelist.
1978 – Christopher Rice, American author of suspense, crime novels, supernatural thrillers, and erotic romance; he is the son of bestselling vampire novelist Anne Rice.
1983 – Yasir Jaswal, Pakistani screenwriter, photographer, writer, composer, singer, songwriter, music director, film director, and music journalist who was lead singer for the bands Irtaash and Call.