1554 – Fulke Greville (1st Baron Brooke), English poet, dramatist, biographer, and statesman who was one of the principal courtly writers of the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras; he is remembered chiefly for his dark, thoughtful, and distinctly Calvinist views on art, literature, beauty, and other philosophical matters.
1814 – Mikhail Lermontov, influential Russian romantic poet, novelist, and painter whose prose began the tradition of the Russian psychological novel.
1853 – Stephan G. Stephansson, Icelandic, poet, essayist, letter writer, and farmer who lived for decades in the U.S. but wrote only in Icelandic; he was greatly influenced by transcendentalist writer Ralph Waldo Emerson.
1885 – Sophie Anita Treadwell, American playwright and journalist who is best known for her play Machinal, which is often included in drama anthologies as an example of expressionism or modernism.
1886 – Alain-Fournier (pseudonym for Henri Alban-Fournier), French author whose one novel, Le Grand Meaulnes, is considered a classic of French literature.
1897 – Louis Aragon, French poet, novelist, and editor who was one of the founders of the Surrealist movement; he once described his love of literature: “I like beautiful poems, moving poetry, and all the beyond of that poetry. I am extraordinarily sensitive to those poor, marvelous words left in our dark night by a few men I never knew.”
1897 – Ilya Ilf (pseudonym of Iehiel-Leyb Arnoldovich Faynzilberg), popular Soviet journalist, writer, novelist, science-fiction author, screenwriter, and satirist who often worked in collaboration with writer Yevgeni Petrov during the 1920s and 1930s under the joint byline “Ilf and Petrov”; together they published two popular comedy novels, The Twelve Chairs and The Little Golden Calf , as well as a satirical book Odnoetazhnaya Amerika (often translated as Little Golden America) that documented their journey through the United States in 1935 and 1936.
1900 – Thomas Wolfe, influential American novelist known for mixing highly original, poetic, and impressionistic prose with autobiographical writing; after Wolfe’s death, author William Faulkner said that Wolfe may have had the best talent of their generation.
1905 – Taiko Hirabayashi (pen name of Hirabayashi Tai), award-winning Japanese novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and social commentator who sometimes based her writings on her own life but who also wrote fiction about organized crime; she was known for her socialist views.
1906 – Natalie Savage Carlson, Newbery Honor-winning American children’s book author who published her first story at age eight on the children’s page of the Baltimore Sunday Sun; her heritage was French-Canadian, and she worked many old family stories and folktales into some of her books, including The Talking Cat and Other Stories of French Canada.
1907 – Mansukhlal Maganlal Jhaveri, Indian Gujarati-language language writer, poet, litlerary critic, and literary historian who was deeply interested in classical Sanskrit poetry and authored The History of Gujarati Literature; he had several pen names, including Devaki Ayodhya, Punarvasu, Madilant, Samintiyajak, and Siddhartha.
1916 – James Herriott, pen name for British veterinarian James Alfred Wight, who wrote the autobiographical book, All Creatures Great & Small and its sequels.
1925 – Gore Vidal, National Book Award-winning American novelist, nonfiction author, essayist, screenwriter, playwright, politician, and political commentator.
1928 – Alvin Toffler, American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution.
1931 – Kwasi Wiredu, Ghanaian philosopher, writer, author, and professor whose work challenges outsiders’ preconceived ideas about African belief systems.
1937 – Jesús Martín-Barbero, Spanish and Colombian author, philosopher, and professor who is a specialist in culture and media; he has also published under the name Jesús Martin B.
1948 – Amnon Jackont, Israeli writer, historian, literary editor, and author of bestselling thrillers.
1950 – John Patrick Shanley, Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning American playwright, screenwriter, and director; he won an Oscar for writing the film Moonstruck.
1950 – Zelda Jongbloed (née Erasmus), South African journalist and politician.
1954 – Julie Elizabeth McCrossin, Australian radio broadcaster, journalist, comedian, political commentator, and activist for women’s and gay rights; she is best known for her role as a team captain on news-based television comedy quiz show.
1961 – Bang Hyeon-seok, award-winning South Korean writer, editor, and professor, much of whose work explores Korea’s troubled past, including the plight of laborers and factory workers.
1962 – Simon Scarrow, bestselling Nigerian-born author who is now based in the U.K.; he is known for historical fiction series, including the Eagles of the Empire books, set in 1st Century Roman Europe.
1970 – Sara Zarr, American novelist whose first book, Story of a Girl, was a National Book Award finalist.
1978 – Inger Bråtveit, award-winning Norwegian novelist, writer, and children’s author.
1978 – Yusaku Igarashi, Japanese writer of light novels.
1980 – Lindsey Kelk, British novelist, children’s writer, journalist, blogger, and children’s book editor; she said she was inspired to write her own series when she read the Sweet Valley High books as a teen.
1984 – Japheth Omojuwa, Nigerian columnist, journalist, blogger, public speaker, political commentator, and social media expert.
1991 – OluTimehin Adegbeye, Nigerian writer, editor, and activist; her work focuses on questions of gender, sexuality, poverty, and feminism.