1533 – Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, Spanish writer, poet, explorer, and soldier; his epic poem La Araucana is considered one of the greatest Spanish historical poems.
1831 – Frederic William Farrar, Indian-born cleric, schoolteacher, author, and poet; he was a pallbearer at the funeral of Charles Darwin in 1882.
1848 – Alice James, American diarist; she was the daughter of theologian Henry James, Sr., and sister of psychologist William James and novelist Henry James,
1890 – Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, American labor leader, activist, and feminist who played a leading role in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and was Chair of the Communist Party USA; she was a founding member of the American Civil Liberties Union and a visible proponent of women’s rights, birth control, and women’s suffrage.
1894 – Maria Martins, Brazilian writer, poet, designer, musician, and visual artist who was particularly well known for her modern sculptures.
1899 – Anna Lacková-Zora, Slovak novelist, poet, and historical writer whose work often concerned the lives of women; she also published under the pseudonyms Zora-Lacková and Aunt Zora.
1899 – Dimbeswar Neog (also known as the Indradhenu Poet), prolific and renowned Indian writer, poet, critic, literary historian, playwright, and educator who is an important figure in Assamese literature.
1903 – Louis Leakey, British archaeologist and author who helped establish the theories of early human evolution beginning in Africa.
1920 – Beyle (or Bella) Schaechter-Gottesman, award-winning Austrian-born Yiddish poet, children’s writer, and songwriter.
1921 – Bohumila Grögerová, Czech experimental poet, writer, children’s author, playwright, and translator.
1928 – James Randi, Canadian-American stage magician and skeptic, whose writings debunk pseudoscience and paranormal subjects.
1928 – Betsy Byars, American author of children’s fiction who has won a Newbery Medal, the National Book Award, and an Edgar Award; she is best known for her novel Summer of the Swans.
1933 – Jerry Pournelle, American scientist, essayist, journalist, and science-fiction writer who also wrote in the technology and computer field; he is best known for his collaborations with Larry Niven, including The Mote in God’s Eye.
1933 – Wilma Johanna Stockenström, South African writer, translator, and actress who is one of the leading writers in the Afrikaans language.
1942 – Garrison Keillor, American author, poet, and radio personality, best known for his long-running show A Prairie Home Companion.
1944 – Nancy Morejón, award-winning Cuban poet, critic, and essayist whose work is known for its playful observations about her own people, her effective use of particularly Cuban forms of humor, and her regular “indulgence” in highly lyrical, intimate, spiritual, or erotic poetry; she writes on a wide range of themes including the mythology of the Cuban nation, the lives of Black Cubans, women’s experiences, and the fusion of Spanish and African cultures into a new, Cuban identity.
1948 – Vilmundur Gylfason, Icelandic politician, historian, and poet.
1949 – Matthew Francis Parris, South African/British journalist and politician.
1950 – Alan Lee Keyes, American conservative political activist, author, diplomat, and perennial candidate for public office.
1950 – Terry Randolph Hummer, American poet, critic, essayist, editor, and professor.
1952 – Larry J. Sabato, American political scientist, analyst, and prognosticator who is a University of Virginia professor.
1953 – Anne Fadiman, National Book Critics Circle Award-winning American author.
1955 – Vladimir Sorokin, popular Russian poet and dramatist.
1955 – Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, award-winning Liberian-born poet, writer, and professor who is a survivor of the Liberian Civil War; she is now based in the United States.
1957 – Paul Dini, American comic-book author, screenwriter and producer who works in the television and comic-book industries.
1958 – Rieko Matsuura, award-winning Japanese novelist and short-story writer.
1959 – Shigeko Uchida (better known by her pen name, Shungicu Uchida), Japanese manga artist, novelist, essayist, actress, and singer.
1960 – David Duchovny, American actor, writer, producer, director, and novelist; he is best known for his role as Fox Mulder in the TV series, The X-Files.
1960 – Deborah Ellis, bestselling Canadian author and anti-war activist who often writes about the children coping with difficult decisions in troubled parts of the world; her best known book is The Breadwinner.
1963 – Rochelle Alers, American writer of romance novels who has also written under the pen names Susan James and Rena McLeary.
1967 – Leroy Young, Belizean poet and musician whose nickname is “The Grandmaster.”
1968 – Francesca Gregorini (born Countess Francesca McKnight Donatella Romana Gregorini di Savignano di Romagna), Italian screenwriter and film director; she is the daughter of former Bond girl Barbara Bach and the stepdaughter of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
1969 – Idris Azad, Pakistani author, philosopher, novelist, poet, journalist, dramatist, columnist, critic, and educator.
1969 – Scott Hanford Stossel, American journalist and author who is editor of The Atlantic magazine.
1970 – Yu Godai, Japanese writer, fantasy novelist, short-story writer, and game writer.
1974 – Mohd Faizal Musa (also known under the pen name Faisal Tehrani), award-winning Malaysian author and playwright whose writer has been called, “full of vision.”
1978 – Yulia Dmitrievna Chicherina (often known as, simply, Chicherina), Russian pop-rock singer, guitarist, composer, poet, and writer who is part of the wave of Uralic rock.
1983 – Brit Heyworth Marling, American actress, screenwriter, and film producer.
1984 – Yun Hyon-seok, South Korean poet, writer, autobiographer, columnist, singer, and LGBT activist who committed suicide in 2003 in protest against discrimination against homosexuals in South Korea; he also wrote under several pen names: Yook Woo Dang, Seolheon, Midong, and Donghwa. His death led to the passage of the South Korean Youth Protection Act, which took steps to protect homosexual and transgender people.