1478 – Thomas More, English Renaissance writer and humanist who coined the term “utopia.”
1559 – Catherine de Bourbon, French Navarrese poet, writer, and princess who was the daughter of Queen Joan III and King Anthony of Navarre and who ruled the principality of Béarn in the name of her brother, King Henry III of Navarre; her writings consist prrimarily of sonnets and letters.
1777 – Dinicu Golescu (full name Constantin Radovici Golescu), Romanian author, travel writer, journalist, translator,and politician.
1809 – Frederik Paludan-Muller, Danish poet whose work in many ways represents the ultimate idealist demands of Danish Romanticism.
1812 – Charles Dickens, English author, short-story writer, and social critic; he is considered one of the major novelists of the Victorian age, and one of the most important English novelists of all time, and his works are still widely read today. Many film and stage adaptations have been made of his work, which includes, among others, A Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Bleak House, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations.
1833 – Manuel Ricardo Palma Soriano, Peruvian author, scholar, librarian, historican, and politician.
1837 – James Murray, Scottish lexicographer, philologist, and primary editor of the Oxford English Dictionary.
1867 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, U.S. writer, children’s author, journalist, and columnist whose “Little House” book series for children was based on her childhood as a pioneer on the American frontier. Her work is beloved by many but is now considered controversial for its depiction of racist remarks and activities.
1874 – Olive Eleanor Custance (also known as Lady Alfred Douglas), British poet and writer who was part of the aesthetic movement of the 1890s and a contributor to the quarterly literary periodical The Yellow Book.
1885 – Sinclair Lewis, Nobel Prize-winning U.S. novelist, playwright, and magazine writer lauded for his “vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humour, new types of characters”; he was offered the Pulitzer Prize for his book Arrowsmith, but he turned it down.
1906 – Jean el Mouhouv Amrouche, Algerian francophone writer, poet, and journalist.
1908 – Fred Gipson, U.S. author best known for his 1956 novel Old Yeller.
1909 – Anna Swirszczynska, Polish poet, playwright, and children’s author, much of whose works deal with themes including her experiences during World War II, motherhood, the female body, and sensuality.
1922 – Marion Cunningham, U.S. food writer best known for her work on editions of The Fannie Farmer Cookbook.
1925 – Liu Binyan, Chinese author, journalist, and political dissident who recounted his life in the memoir A Higher Kind of Loyalty.
1926 – Guggari Shanthaveerappa Shivarudrappa, Indian Kannada poet, writer, and researcher who was awarded the title of Rashtrakavi (Poet Laureate) by the Government of Karnataka.
1929 – José Ramón Larraz, Spanish writer, comic book artist, film director, and screenwriter best known for his comic book series Paul Foran, and his horror films, including the erotic and bloody Vampyres.
1932 – Gay Talese, U.S. author, memoirist, sportswriter, journalist, and biographer whose work helped define modern literary journalism; his 1966 Esquire article about singer and actor Frank Sinatra, “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” is one of the most influential American magazine articles of all time, and is considered a pioneering example of New Journalism and creative nonfiction.
1943 – Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. historian, author, and professor who writes extensively on American political history, the history of freedom, the early history of the Republican Party, African-American biography, Reconstruction, and historiography.
1944 – Witi Tame Ihimaera-Smiler (known as Witi Ihimaera), New Zealand author who was the first published Maori novelist.
1950 – Karen Joy Fowler, Nebula Award and World Fantasy Award-winning U.S. novelist, short-story writer, and editor of science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction; she is best known for The Jane Austen Book Club.
1955 – Steven Charles Gould, U.S. science-fiction writer, novelist, children’s author, and teacher.
1959 – Christine Angot, French writer, novelist, and playwright.
1964 – Ham Jeung Im, South Korean novelist, short-story writer, nonfiction writer, professor, literary critic, and literary editor; she made her literary debut with her award-winning short story “Gwangjangeuro ganeun gil” (“The Road to the Square”) and went on to become one of Korea’s most prominent writers.
1972 – Delia Grigore, Romanian Romani writer, essayist, linguist, philologist, academic, and activist for the rights of the Romani people.
1972 – Sabri Gürses, award-winning Turkish writer, translator, and science-fiction author who has published poetry, novels, and short stories.
1974 – Emma McLaughlin, U.S. novelist who wrote The Nanny Diaries with Nicola Krau.
1975- Barbara Samson, French poet, writer, and bestselling autobiographer who wrote about being infected with HIV at the age of 17 by a boyfriend who concealed his HIV-positive status; today, she travels and lectures about HIV.
1977 – Dee Rees (born Diandrea Rees), U.S. screenwriter and film and television director who was the first Black woman nominated for an Oscar for adapted screenplay; she cites her life experience as a Black lesbian as a major inspiration for her films.
1979 – Lebogang Mashile, South African author, poet, musician, and actor; Cosmopolitan magazine named her one of South Africa’s Awesome Women of 2005.
1987 – Durjoy Datta, Indian author and screenwriter who is especially known for his coffee-table novels about the romantic life of young Indians.