1703 – Jonathan Edwards, American theologian, educator, philosopher, scholar, and journalist whose writings helped shape the course of Protestantism; he is best known for his sermon about “sinners in the hands of an angry God.”
1713 – Denis Diderot, French philosopher, art critic, encyclopedia editor, and Enlightenment Era writer.
1817 – Catherine Cooper Hopley (also known by her pen name, Sarah L.
Jones), British author, naturalist, herpetologist, artist, and governess known for her books on the American Civil War and her nature books for general audiences, including the first popular book on snakes in the English language.
1840 – John Addington Symonds, British historian and writer.
1840 – Vilhelm Christian Sigurd Topsøe, Danish novelist, short-story writer, and journalist who is remembered in particular for his novels Jason Ned Det Gyldne Skind (Jason and the Golden Fleece) and Nutidsbilleder (Images of Today).
1848 – Catherine Mary MacSorley, Irish writer and children’s book author who specialized in books for girls and books of a religious nature.
1857 – Smaranda Gheorghiu, Romanian poet, novelist, essayist, nonfiction writer, playwright, educator, feminist, and travel writer; she wrote under various pseudonyms but is perhaps best known under the moniker Maica Smara (Mother Smara). An early Romanian feminist, she wrote both fiction and nonfiction works with a feminist slant, arguing against the prevailing views of the time, which held women to be intellectually inferior to men. For her work as a teacher and her efforts to reform the education system, she is sometimes called ”Educator of the People.”
1859 – Helen Churchill Candee, American novelist, nonfiction author, and journalist who survived the sinking of the Titanic.
1862 – Thomas Henry Mahy, Guernsey poet, writer, and columnist.
1865 – Fukuda Hideko, Japanese author, educator, magazine founder, and activist for feminism and socialism.
1880 – Ze’ev Jabotinsky, influential Ukrainian-born writer, screenwriter, poet, translator, local historian, Jewish leader, journalist, orator, activist, military officer, and Jewish leader.
1889 – Teresa de la Parra, award-winning Venezuelan novelist, short story-writer, and lecturer. Her groundbreaking novel Iphigenia: Diary of a Young Lady Who Wrote Because She Was Bored was controversial, because some of the characters in the novel were maliciously close to caricatures of people who were well known in Caracas society; the government of dictator Juan Vicente Gómez would not allow it to be published in Venezuela, but the book was popular in France.
1892 – Richard Leslie Brohier, (commonly known as Dr. R.L. Brohier), Ceylonese (Sri Lankan) surveyor and author of nonfiction books about history, geography, and culture.
1895 – Edith Justine Øberg, Swedish-born Norwegian singer and popular novelist.
1900 – Xie Wanying, one of China’s most prolific writers of the 20th century; many of her works were written for young readers; she is better known by her pen name, Bing Xin (or Xie Bingxin), which translates literally as, “ice heart” but means “morally pure heart,” and is taken from a line in a Tang Dynasty poem by Wang Changling.
1903 – Yao Kitabatake, award-winning Japanese poet, novelist, and children’s literature writer.
1911 – Flann O’Brien, Irish novelist whose work combines folklore, poetry, and humor.
1916 – Stetson Kennedy, American folklorist and author whose most famous work is an expose of the Ku Klux Klan.
1917 – Magda Szabó, Hungarian writer who is considered one of Hungary’s foremost novelists; she also wrote dramas, essays, studies, memoirs, and poetry.
1919 – Charles Bertin, Belgian poet, writer, playwright, lawyer, and trade unionist.
1922 – Bil Keane, American cartoonist best known for his long-running comic strip, “The Family Circus.”
1924 – Frederic Morton (pen name Fritz Mandelbaum), Austrian Jewish writer who emigrated to the U.S.
1928 – Louise Fitzhugh, American author and illustrator of children’s literature, notably Harriet the Spy.
1930 – Madhurantakam Rajaram, award-winning Indian author who is one of the foremost modern writers of short stories in the Telugu language.
1932 – John Arthur Mogale Maimane (better known as Arthur Maimane), South African journalist, writer, editor, novelist, and playwright.
1933 – Ágnes Gergely (born Ágnes Guttmann), award-winning Hungarian writer, poet, novelist, educator, journalist, and translator.
1933 – Zina Mahjoub (literally translated to The Snake), Sudanese poet and songwriter who became the mistress and muse of poet Rashad Hashim, inspiring his famous poem “The One Who Makes The Sun Shine.”
1934 – Oktyabrina Vladimirovna Voronova (née Matryokhina), Russian writer and poet who was the first Soviet poet of Sámi origin and the first person to write a poetry collection in the Sámi language in Russia; she also wrote in Russian.
1936 – Václav Havel, Czech playwright who in 1989 became the president of Czechoslovakia, continuing on after the country became the Czech Republic.
1937 – Mohammad Yousf Azraq, Afghani historian and writer who wrote about Afghanistan’s history and as well as cultural and theological works about South Asia and the Middle East.
1943 – Michael Morpurgo, English author, poet, playwright, and librettist who is best known for his children’s novels; he was a British Children’s Laureate.
1946 – Zahida Hina, noted Pakistani Urdu columnist, essayist, short-story writer, novelist, columnist, television writer, and playwright.
1948 – Zoran Živković, Serbian author and professor who has written both fiction and nonfiction books; his fiction is known for fantasy and surrealism and has won him the World Fantasy Award.
1949 – Bill James, American baseball writer and statistician.
1951 – Edward P. Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, best known for his book The Known World.
1951 – Harriet A. Washington, American writer, academic, and medical ethicist whose best known book is the award-winning Medical Apartheid, which has been described as the only comprehensive history of medical experimentation on African Americans.
1952 – Clive Barker, English author known for his fantasy and horror fiction.
1956 – Fahrettin Çiloglu, Turkish writer, poet, journalist, editor, nonfiction author, explorer, opinion journalist, and translator.
1958 – Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, television personality, and science popularizer who has written books about space.
1959 – David Shannon, American author and illustrator of children’s books; his bestselling Caldecott Honor-winning picture book, No, David! was based on one he wrote when he was five years old in which every page showed a picture of him misbehaving and contained the only words he knew how to spell at the time: “No, David!”
1963 – Nick Robinson, British political journalist and editor.
1968 – Ketmani Kouanchao, Laotian-born American writer, columnist, and educator.
1970 – Laura Borràs i Castanyer (born 5 October 1970) is a Spanish Catalan writer, university teacher, philologist, and politician who writes books and articles on contemporary literature, theatre, and cinema.
1983 – Jesse Eisenberg, American actor and playwright.
1992 – Rupi Kaur, bestselling Canadian poet, writer, illustrator, and performer of Indian descent; her work deals with themes of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.