1508 – Primož Trubar, Slovenian author and religious reformer who was a key figure of the Reformation in his country; he is best known as the author of the first printed books in the Slovene language.
1573 – Hendrik Hondius I (born Hendrik de Hondt), Flemish-born Dutch engraver, cartographer, and publisher.
1580 – Daniel Heinsius (or Heins), Belgian-born Dutch writer, poet, political scientist, classicist, editor, and professor who was one of the most famous scholars of the Dutch Renaissance; he sometimes used the pseudonym Theocritus à Ganda.
1588 – Johann Andreas Herbst, German composer and music theorist of the early Baroque era; he was one of the most important German music theorists of the first half of the 17th century, and his two books, Musica practica and Musica poetica, were hugely influential.
1837 – Anne Isabella Thackeray (Lady Ritchie), English novelist and short-story writer who was the eldest daughter of writer William Makepeace Thackeray; her novels were highly regarded in their time and made her a central figure on the late Victorian literary scene. She is also remembered as the custodian of her father’s literary legacy, and for her short fiction that places traditional fairy-tale narratives in a Victorian milieu.
1843 – Bertha von Suttner (Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicitas Freifrau von Suttner, née Countess Kinsky von Wchinitz und Tettau), Austrian-Bohemian novelist and peace activist who was the second female Nobel laureate (after Marie Curie).
1877 – Rudolf Borchardt, German writer, poet, translator, and speaker who was a proponent of the classics and against literary modernism.
1888 – Ida Rentoul Outhwaite (also known as Ida Sherbourne Rentoul and Ida Sherbourne Outhwaite), Australian illustrator of children’s books whose drawings mostly depicted fairies, she worked predominantly with pen and ink, and watercolor.
1898 – Curzio Malaparte (born Curt Erich Suckert), Italian writer, filmmaker, war correspondent, and diplomat; he is best known for his books Kaputt and La pelle, about the Eastern Front during World War II and the immediate post-war period in Naples.
1903 – Marcia Davenport, American novelist, Mozart biographer, and music critic.
1925 – Keith Laumer, American science-fiction author, short-story writer, comic book author, Air Force officer, and diplomat.
1931 – Nandini Satpathy, Indian politician, award-winning author, and translator.
1938 – Juan Balboa Boneke, Equatorial Guinean writer and politician.
1939 – Charles Webb, American author best known for the novel The Graduate, which was made into the popular movie of the same name.
1943 – Joe Haldeman, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American science-fiction author who has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and has been inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame; some of his books, including his best known novel The Forever War, were inspired by his experiences serving in the Vietnam War.
1945 – Nike Wagner, German playwright, author, biographer, and arts administrator who is the great-granddaughter of composer Richard Wagner, and great-great‑granddaughter of composer Franz Liszt; some of her books are about the Wagner family and its cultural and political influence.
1946 – James Kelman, Booker Prize-winning Scottish novelist, short-story writer, playwright, and essayist.
1948 – André Juillard, award-winning French comic-book author.
1949 – Kiran Bedi, Indian author, politician, social activist, retired police officer, and 1966 National Junior Tennis Champion; she was also the first female officer in the Indian Police Service.
1954 – Gregory Maguire, American novelist and children’s writer whose best known work is Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, loosely based on the Wizard of Oz character; the book was also adapted into a smash hit Broadway musical. Many of his books take inspiration from fairy tales and other classic children’s stories.
1955 – Velly Joonas, Estonian poet, songwriter, and musician.
1956 – Patricia Cornwell, American crime writer known for her best-selling novels featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, of which the first was inspired by a series of sensational murders in Richmond, Virginia.
1958 – Tony Horwitz, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist and author.
1961 – Michael J. Fox, popular, award-winning American actor, author, and memoirist whose early-onset Parkinson’s Disease has inspired him to be an advocate for research toward finding a cure.
1961 – Aaron Sorkin, American playwright, screenwriter, actor, television writer, television producer, and film director; he is particularly well known for his Broadway play To Kill a Mockingbird, his hit television series West Wing, and his screenplays for the films A Few Good Men and The American President. His work is known for memorable one-liners and intelligent, fast-paced dialogue.