1779 – Clement C. Moore, American professor who wrote the poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” which later became famous as “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
1796 – Thomas Bulfinch, American writer and banker best known as the author of Bulfinch’s Mythology.
1858 – Emmeline Pankhurst (née Goulden) British political activist, writer, and feminist who is best remembered for organizing the U.K. movement for gaining women the right to vote, though she was criticized for her militant tactics and was arrested seven times; in 1999, Time named her as one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
1886 – Jacques Rivière, French writer, critic, and editor who was a major force in the intellectual life of France in his day.
1902 – Donald Creighton, Canadian historian, author, and professor.
1903 – Walter D. Edmonds, American author of historical novels for children and adults, notably the popular title Drums Along the Mohawk; he won a Newbery Medal and a National Book Award.
1913 – Hammond Innes, British author of novels, children’s books, and travel books.
1913 – Abraham Sutzkever, Belarus-born Yiddish poet; the New York Times called him “the greatest poet of the Holocaust.”
1914 – Gavin Maxwell, Scottish naturalist and author, best known for his work with otters.
1917 – Robert Conquest, British-born poet and historian, known for writing about Soviet history.
1919 – Iris Murdoch, award-winning Irish-born British novelist and poet who is ranked 12 on the Times’ list of the 50 Greatest Modern British writers; her best known works include The Black Prince, The Good Apprentice, and The Sea, the Sea. The film Iris is based on her husband’s (writer John Bayley) memories of her as she developed Alzheimer’s disease later in life, with Murdoch portrayed by Kate Winslet and Judi Dench.
1931 – Clive Cussler, bestselling American adventure novelist who has also written nonfiction books; he also founded a nonprofit organization for the preservation of American naval history.
1946 – Rifat Hoxha, Albanian author, essayist, and historian.
1946 – Issa Gulamhussein Shivji, Tanzanian author, columnist, and academic who is one of Africa’s leading experts on law and development issues.
1947 – Lydia Davis, Man Booker Prize-winning American short-story writer whose stories are said to have “the brevity and precision of poetry” and are sometimes called “essayist poems.”
1947 – Eiki Matayoshi, Japanese novelist whoses books are set in the Okinawa archipelago; he is considered one of the most important contemporary novelists from Okinawa.
1949 – Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter, and teacher.
1950 – Arianna Huffington (born Arianna Stassinopoulos or, in Greek, Αριάννα Στασσινόπουλος), Greek-American author, editor, syndicated columnist, and media group president.
1954 – Jeff Jarvis, American journalist, editor, television critic, and professor who writes about technology.
1955 – Derega Yaroslav, Ukrainian writer, linguist, educator, and journalist; one of his best known books is the award-winning Chinese for Grown-ups, the first Chinese language textbook written for Ukrainians.
1958 – Marcia Thornton Jones, American children’s author, best known for her “Bailey School Kids” books, with such titles as Zombies Don’t Play Soccer and Werewolves Don’t Go To Summer Camp.
1961 – Jean-Christophe Grangé, French mystery writer, journalist, and screenwriter.
1962 – Nahoko Uehashi, award-winning Japanese writer, primarily of fantasy novels; she is also a professor whose academic study focuses on the Yamatji, an indigenous Australian people.
1972 – Margarita Maratovna Meklina, award-winning Russian novelist and short-story writer who is widely recognized as a groundbreaking writer who helped redefine Russian literature as it emerged from under the Soviet shadow; many of her stories are built around themes of marginalized sexuality and combine with postmodernist and New Sincerity-like elements to create a new Russian lexicon. She now divides her life between Ireland, the U.K., and the San Francisco Bay Area.
1976 – Tatiana Vedenska, popular Russian writer and novelist.
1979 – Karim Khudsiani, Iranian writer, screenwriter, announcer, and actor.
1985 – Liz Howard, award-winning Canadian writer and poet who is of Anishinaabe Indian descent.
1993 – Mari Ellis Dunning, award-winning Welsh writer and poet.