1342 or 1343 – Geoffrey Chaucer, English poet and author who is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and the “father of English literature”; he is best known for The Canterbury Tales.
1800 – Thomas Babington Macaulay, British historian, essayist, reviewer, and politician who wrote books on British history and held political office as Secretary at War and Paymaster-General; he played a major role in introducing English concepts to education in India.
1803 – Maria Doolaeghe, Flemish poet and writer.
1859 – Stéphanie Hélène Swarth, prolific Dutch poet of the Tachtiger literary movement who was particular renowned for her sonnets.
1875 – Carolyn Sherwin Bailey, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. children’s author and magazine writer.
1892 – Nell Shipman (born Helen Foster-Barham), Canadian author, screenwriter, actress, director, animal-rights activist and animal trainer. Her written works often had autobiographical elements and reflected her passion for nature; she is best known for her work in adventure films adapted from the novels of James Oliver Curwood.
1914 – John Berryman, Pulitzer Prize-winning and National Book Award-winning
U.S. poet and biographer who was a major figure in the Confessional school of poetry in the second half of the 20th century; his poetry often focused on the sordid details of his personal problems.
1923 – Christine D’haen, Belgian Flemish author, poet, biographer, and educator.
1934 – Rabindra Guha, Indian Bengali novelist, short-story writer, and poet of the Hungry Generation literary movement.
1939 – Fred Marcellino, influential U.S. children’s book author and illustrator who was also a prominent book jacket designer.
1941 – Esther Seligson, award-winning Mexican writer, poet, novelist, short-story author, translator, and historian whose interests included art, cultural history, Jewish philosophy, mythology, religion, Medieval culture, and theater.
1941 – Anne Tyler, influential Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and literary critic who has been praised for her fully developed characters, “brilliantly imagined and absolutely accurate detail,” and “astute and open language.”
1956 – Stephen Leather, British author of thrillers and television scripts.
1965 – Christos Tsiolkas, award-winning Australian novelist, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter.
1971 – Elif Shafak, award-winning French-born Turkish-British writer, storyteller, essayist, academic, public speaker, and women’s rights activist who writes in Turkish and English.
1973 – Suheir Hammad, Jordanian-born Palestinian-American poet, author, and political activist who was influenced both by hip-hop culture and by her parents’ and grandparents’ stories of the Palestinian exodus.
1975 – Zadie Smith, award-winning bestselling British novelist, essayist, short-story writer, and professor.
1984 – Wani Ardy (born Nur Syazwani Abd Rahim), Malaysian creative writer, poet, and singer-songwriter.