1536 – Yi I, Korean Confucianist writer, poet, politician, philosopher, and reformer who is often referred to by his pen name Yulgok (“Chestnut valley”).
1618 – Elisabeth of the Palatinate (also known as Elisabeth of Bohemia or Princess-Abbess of Herford Abbey), German philosopher, writer, Calvinist, and princess who is best known for her correspondence with philosopher René Descartes.
1716 – Thomas Gray, English poet, letter-writer, professor, historian, and linguist who was offered the position of Poet Laureate but declined.
1819 – E.D.E.N. Southworth (Emily Dorothy Eliza Nevitte), U.S. novelist and short-story writer; friend of writer and reformer Harriet Beecher Stowe.
1820 – Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot, Irish actor and playwright, best known for his melodramas; in his obituary, The New York Times hailed him in his obituary as “the most conspicuous English dramatist of the 19th century.”
1862 – Alexander V. Amfiteatrov, Russian writer and historian.
1888 – Hiroshi “Can” Kikuchi, Japanese author and publisher.
1891 – Henry Miller, groundbreaking U.S. travel writer, social critic, painter, and novelist known for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new type of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, stream of consciousness, explicit language, surrealism, and mysticism; he is best known for the books Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
1893 – Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao), Chinese revolutionary, politician, poet, sociopolitical theorist, and dictator; founder of the People’s Republic of China; a book of his quotations, commonly called The Little Red Book in the West, is one of the most widely printed books in history.
1894 – Jean Toomer, U.S. Harlem Renaissance poet, novelist, short-story writer, and playwright.
1904 – Alejo Carpentier, award-winning Cuban novelist, essayist, and musicologist who greatly influenced Latin American literature; he is best known for the novel The Kingdom of This World.
1921 – Steve Allen, U.S. screenwriter, comedian, mystery novelist, children’s author, autobiographer, essayist, musician, composer, and television personality.
1942 – Catherine Coulter, U.S. author best known for her romantic suspense fiction and historical romances.
1944 – Galsan Tschinag, Mongolian writer, teacher, novelist, poet, essayist, and shaman who writes in German.
1946 – Narendra Prasad, Indian playwright, novelist, actor, theatre director.
1947 – Liz Lochhead, Scottish poet and dramatist who was appointed National Poet for Scotland.
1956 – David Sedaris, U.S. humorist, author, radio personality, and memoirist whose sister is actress and comedian Amy Sedaris.
1964 – Elizabeth Kostova, bestselling U.S. author best known for her debut novel The Historian.
1977 – Emma Forrest, British-born journalist, columnist, novelist, and screenwriter.