1588 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher whose work Leviathan set the foundations of western political philosophy.
1813 – Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, and social critic widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.
1818 – Karl Marx, German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist, and socialist revolutionary who was the founder of modern Communism and coauthor of Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto.
1837 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, novelist, playwright, critic, and encyclopedia writer.
1864 – Nellie Bly (real name Elizabeth Cochrane), pioneering U.S. investigative journalist, industrialist, inventor, and social reformer who was widely known for her record-breaking trip around the world in 72 days, in emulation of the Jules Verne novel, and an exposé in which she worked undercover, pretending to be a mental patient to report from within on conditions at a mental institution.
1898 – Lise Deharme, influential French writer, poet, and novelist of the Surrealist movement; she also used the pen name Lisa Hirtz.
1901 – Madeleine Ley, Belgian poet, writer, and children’s author.
1904 – Richard Eberhart, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning American poet who was called “a modern stylist with romantic sensibilities.”
1906 – Louise Aslanian, Iranian/Armenian/French writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, and French Resistance fighter who died in a Nazi concentration camp.
1906 – Iasyr Shivaza, Kyrgyzstani writer, poet, translator, editor, linguist, textbook author, scholar, and social activist who wrote under the pseudonym Xianma; he founded Soviet Dungan literature and made significant contributions to Dungan art and culture; his first book, The Morning Star, is the first printed book in the history of the Dungan people, a group of Muslim people of Hui origin.
1917 – Robert Bloch, American writer of horror, fantasy, and science fiction; he is best for his book Psycho, which was the basis for the Hitchcock film.
1919 – Richard Scarry, bestselling American children’s author and illustrator whose characters are anthropomorphic animals.
1920 – Arthur Hailey, British/Canadian author of meticulously researched novels, each set inside a single industry.
1937 – Joseph Lelyveld, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, newspaper editor, nonfiction author, biographer, and critic; much of his work centers on South Africa.
1943 – Michael Palin, British screenwriter, actor, singer, comedian, television presenter, children’s writer, television actor, film actor, diarist, and travel writer who was also president of the Royal Geographical Society; he came to international prominence as a member of the Monty Python comedy group.
1945 – Teresa Porzecanski, award-winning Uruguayan anthropologist, author, poet, and professor whose work focuses on the Jewish communities of Uruguay, African-descended minorities, prejudice, and ethnic issues.
1947 – Linda Fairstein, American author, attorney, and former New York City prosecutor whose work focuses on violent crimes against women and children.
1956 – Anthony Horowitz, English novelist and screenwriter, known for his suspense novels and children’s books.
1957 – Anu Garg, Indian author, columnist, and website founder whose works explore the intricacies of the English language; his website Wordsmith.org, for word lovers, has subscribers from nearly 200 countries.
1964 – Efrat Mishori, Israeli poet, author, essayist, filmmaker, and performance artist.
1976 – Déborah Heissler, award-winning French poet, writer, researcher, and literary critic.
1979 – Catherynne M. Valente (born Bethany Thomas), award-winning American science-fiction and fantasy novelist, poet, essayist, short-story writer, and literary critic.