1469 – Niccolò Machiavelli, Italian historian, politician, philosopher, and writer who is widely considered the founder of modern political science and is best known for his handbook for unscrupulous politicians, The Prince.
1533 – Cheng Dawei, Chinese writer and mathematician who is known as “the most illustrious Chinese arithmetician,” mainly because he was the author of Suanfa Tongzong (General Source of Computational Methods).
1829 – Ellen Elizabeth Ellis, English-born New Zealand feminist and writer.
1843 – Edward Dowden, Irish critic, biographer, and poet, noted for his critical work on Shakespeare.
1849 – Jacob Riis, Danish-born “muck-raking” journalist, photographer, and social reformer who shocked his readers by shining a spotlight on the squalid living conditions in New York City tenements.
1853 – Edgar Watson Howe, American novelist who was also a newspaper and magazine editor.
1859 – Andy Adams, American author of western fiction about cowboys.
1873 – Nini Roll Anker, Norwegian novelist and playwright whose books often concerned the lives of women within different social classes, as well as the women’s rights movement and the rights of the working class.
1896 – Dorothy Gladys “Dodie” Smith, English children’s novelist and playwright, known best for the novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians.
1907 – Harvey Earl Wilson, American journalist, gossip columnist, and author,
1912 – May Sarton, pen name of Belgian-born Eleanore Marie Sarton, an American poet, novelist, and memoirist.
1913 – William Motter Inge, Pulitzer Prize-winning American playwright and novelist whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s he had a string of memorable Broadway productions, including Picnic, Come Back Little Sheba, and Bus Stop.
1914 – Itsuo Tsuda, influential Korean-born Japanese philosopher, author, and teacher of aikido and Seitai.
1917 – Betty Comden, American screenwriter, songwriter, playwright, lyricist, and memoirist who began writing musicals with her working partner Adolph Green because they couldn’t find work as actors; their work includes some of the most celebrated musicals in history, including Singing in the Rain, Peter Pan, Auntie Mame, and On the Town.
1924 – Yehuda Amichai, German-born Israeli poet who is considered by many to be Israel’s greatest modern poet.
1929 – Jahanara Imam, Indian Bangladeshi writer and political activist; for her efforts to bring those accused of committing war crimes in the Bangladesh Liberation War to trial, she has been called “Shaheed Janani” (Mother of Martyrs).
1931 – Hamlet Bareh Ngapkynta, Indian writer, historian, and film director who was the first person from the Khasi tribe, an indigenous ethic group of the state, to secure a doctoral degree; he also made the first feature film in the Khasi language, Ka Synjuk Ri ki Laiphew Syiem (The Alliance of Thirty Kings).
1935 – Sujatha, pen name of S. Rangarajan, prolific Indian Tamil writer of novels, short stories, books on science, plays, columns, and poetry; he was one of the most popular authors in Tamil literature.
1937 – Mohammad Hoghooghi, Iranian poet, author, and critic; his book Modern Poetry, From Beginning Until Today is one of the leading encyclopedic sources on modern Iranian poetry.
1944 – Twins Seven Seven (born Omoba Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyelale Osuntoki), Nigerian painter, sculptor, writer, dancer, and musician who was one of the best known artists of the Osogbo School.
1947 – Aino Hivand, Norwegian-Sami visual artist and children’s book writer with an expressionist and abstract style.
1947 – Mavis Jukes, Newbery Medal-winning American author of children’s fiction and nonfiction books who often writes on health-related issues.
1948 – Leslie Marmon Silko, Native American novelist, poet, and essayist.
1951 – Tatyana Nikitichna Tolstaya, Russian writer, television host, publicist, novelist, and essayist who is the granddaughter of famous writer Leo Tolstoy.
1955 – Hailji, South Korean writer and poet whose series of “Racetrack” novels created controversy in Korea; many of his works have been made into movies or plays, making him a key figure in the development of modern Korean cinema.
1959 – Ben Elton, English comedian, author, actor, director, screenwriter, and playwright, known for political satire; his work includes writing for television series such as Blackadder, as well as a sequel to Phantom of the Opera.
1962 – Shukri Mabkhout, Tunisian writer, academic, and literary critic
1965 – Ninotchka “Nina” García, Colombian fashion journalist, editor, and critic
1972 – Reza Aslan, Iranian-born American author, commentator, and religious scholar.