1682 – Claudine Alexandrine Guérin de Tencin (Baroness of Saint-Martin-de-Ré), French novelist, writer, and salonnière.
1737 – Edward Gibbon, English historian and politician, known for his major work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
1759 – Mary Wollstonecraft, British writer and woman’s rights pioneer who was also the mother of author Mary Shelley.
1853 – Margaret Moyes Black, Scottish novelist and biographer who used the pseudonym M.B. Fife.
1855 – Margaret Wolfe Hungerford (née Hamilton), Irish novelist whose light romantic fiction was popular throughout the English-speaking world.
1866 – Pencho Slaveykov, Bulgarian poet, writer, librarian, translator, and journalist who was one of the participants in the Misal (“Thought”) circle.
1877 – José María Zeledón Brenes, award-winning Costa Rican poet, journalist, author, children’s writer, and politician who is best known as the author of Costa Rica’s national anthem; some of his work was written under the pen name Billo Zeledón.
1882 – Jessie Redmon Fauset, African-American editor, novelist, poet, essayist, and educator who was a key figure of the Harlem Renaissance, credited with shaping African-American literature both by discovering and encouraging many writers, and through her own work, in which she focused on portraying a true image of African-American life and history, including Black characters who were working professionals and story lines related to racial discrimination, “passing,” and feminism.
1886 – Pura Villanueva Kalaw, Filipina feminist nonfiction author, journalist, columnist, editor, and cookbook author.
1889 – Arnulf Øverland, Norwegian writer, poet, and artist; he is principally known for his poetry, which inspired the Norwegian resistance against the German occupation of Norway during World War II.
1898 – Ludwig Bemelmans, Austria-Hungary born American writer, known for the Madeline children’s books.
1899 – S. Kanapathipillai, Sri Lankan Tamil writer, literary figure, and Hindu revivalist.
1904 – Cecil Day-Lewis, Anglo-Irish poet (pen name Nicholas Blake) who was U.K. Poet Laureate; he was the father of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
1911 – Rambha Manmohan Gandhi, prolific Indian writer of plays, short stories, songs, and essays who wrote in the Gujarati language.
1913 – Irving Adler, American author of science books, primarily for children, some under the name Robert Irving.
1920 – Edwin Morgan, Scottish Renaissance poet and translator.
1927 – Coretta Scott King, American author, activist, and civil rights leader; wife of Martin Luther King, Jr.
1933 – N. Mohanan, award-winning Indian short-story writer and novelist who wrote in the Malayalam language.
1934 – Jean Valentine, National Book Award-winning American poet and New York Poet Laureate.
1937 – Adam Clymer, American journalist and political reporter.
1937 – Zhang Jie, award-winning Chinese novelist and short-story writer who is one of China’s first contributors to feminist fiction.
1938 – Marie-Jose Fauvelle Ripert (better known as Miyó Vestrini), French-born Venezuelan poet, journalist, and scriptwriter.
1942 – Ruth Glick, American author of cookbooks, romances, and young-adult novels, some of them under the pseudonym Rebecca York.
1945 – Helen Hodgman, award-winning Scottish-born Australian novelist.
1945 – August Wilson, American playwright who won two Pulitzer Prizes.
1947 – Astrid Roemer, award-winning Surinamese novelist, poet, playwright, children’s author, and teacher who now lives in the Netherlands.
1951 – Luis Zapata Quiroz, Mexican novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who is one of the most prominent gay writers in Mexican literature.
1955 – Pija Lindenbaum (born Pia Margareta Lindenbaum), Swedish author, illustrator, children’s writer, and designer.
1959 – Nicholas D. Kristof, American journalist, columnist, and author who won two Pulitzer Prizes.
1963 – Russell T. Davies (real name Stephen Russell Davies), British screenwriter best known for his 2005 revival of Doctor Who.
1973 – Yemisi Aribisala, award-winning Nigerian writer, essayist, and food memoirist who has been described as having a “fearless, witty, and unapologetic voice”; she is renowned for her work in documenting Nigerian food as an entry point to thinking and understanding the culture and society. She is now based in South Africa.
1974 – Laura Malin, Brazilian novelist, biographer, journalist, and screenwriter.
1977 – Chiara Gamberale, Italian writer, television presenter, and radio presenter.