1707 – Henry Fielding, English novelist and playwright known for his earthy humor and satire; his most famous novel is Tom Jones.
1724 – Immanuel Kant, German philosopher whose major work was Critique of Pure Reason; he is well known for synthesizing early modern rationalism and empiricism, and continues to exercise significant influence in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and other fields.
1765 – James Grahame, Scottish poet and curate; his best-known poem, “The Sabbath,” combines devotional feeling with vivid description of Scottish scenery.
1817 – Germaine de Staël, influential French “woman of letters,” novelist, travel writer, political theorist, revolutionary, and opponent of Napoleon who stimulated the political and intellectual life of her times; her works emphasized individuality and passion and popularized the notion of Romanticism.
1830 – Emily Davies (full name Sarah Emily Davies), English writer, feminist, suffragist, and pioneering campaigner for women’s rights to university access. She is remembered above all as a co-founder and an early Mistress of Girton College, Cambridge University, the first university college in England to educate women.
1850 – Veronica Micle (born Ana Câmpeanu), Austrian-born Romanian poet, who is best known for her association with Romanticism and for her love affair with the prominent poet Mihai Eminescu.
1852 – Orosmán Moratorio, Uruguayan writer and poet who was part of the Gaucho literature movement.
1873 – Ellen Glasgow, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. novelist who chronicled the changing world of the American South.
1887 – James Norman Hall, U.S. novelist and essayist best known for historical novels; with war buddy Charles Nordhoff he wrote Mutiny on the Bounty.
1887 – Kurt Wiese, Newbery Medal-winning German writer and illustrator of children’s books; his style was influenced by his travels in Asia.
1899 – Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-U.S. novelist, memoirist, poet, translator, and lepidopterist, best known for his 1955 novel Lolita; he wrote in both Russian and English, sometimes translating his own works back and forth between the two languages. He is considered one of the leading prose stylists of the 20th century.
1905 – María Zambrano, award-winning Spanish writer, poet, philosopher, and essayist who was associated with the Generation of ’36 movement.
1906 – Snorri Hjartarson, award-winning Icelandic poet, novelist, and librarian.
1909 – Rita Levi-Montalcini, Nobel Prize-winning Italian neurobiologist, author, memoirist, professor, and politician who has been honored for her co-discovery of nerve growth factor. Because she was Jewish, her academic career was cut short by Mussolini’s 1938 Manifesto of Race and laws barring Jews from academic careers; when the Germans invaded Italy in September 1943, her family fled to Florence, where they survived the Holocaust, under false identities, protected by non-Jewish friends.
1913 – Maria Assumpció Soler i Font, Spanish Catalan writer and journalist who was forced by Franco’s linguistic repression policies to write in Spanish instead of Catalan.
1915 – Hem Barua, prominent Indian Assamese poet, writer, and politician who was regarded as a pioneer of the modern literary movement in Assam.
1919 – Edith L. Tiempo, award-winning Filipina poet, novelist, short-story writer, teacher, and literary critic who wrote in English; her poetry is characterized by intricate verbal transfigurations of significant experiences.
1922 – Jacques Stephen Alexis, Haitian communist novelist, poet, politician, neurologist, and neuropsychiatrist.
1929 – Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Cuban novelist, essayist, translator, screenwriter, and critic who wrote under the pseudonym G. Caín.
1932 – Aino Pervik, Estonian author, children’s writer, poet, and translator who is “considered the bravest children’s writer” in contemporary Estonia, for her exploration of difficult themes, including immigration, cultural conflict, corruption, and the loss of cultural identity.
1933 – Paula Fox, Newbery Medal-winning U.S. novelist, children’s author, and memoirist, best known for her children’s book The Slave Dancer, set in the 1840s.
1933 – Suna Tanaltay, Turkish writer, teacher, poet, and psychologist.
1938 – Antonina Aleksandrovna Kymytval, award-winning Russian poet, playwright, and children’s writer who was the daughter of a reindeer herder; she wrote mainly in her native language, Chukchi.
1940 – Ron Koertge, U.S. poet and young-adult novelist.
1942 – André Major, award-winning Canadian writer from Quebec; he is most noted for his novel Les Rescapés.
1943 – Argyris Chionis, Greek writer and poet who emigrated to Paris.
1943 – Eileen Christelow, U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books, both fiction and nonfiction.
1943 – Janet Evanovich, bestselling U.S. writer of romance, mysteries, and fantasy, as well as a graphic novel and a book about writing.
1943 – Louise Glück, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning U.S. poet and essayist who was U.S. Poet Laureate; she is often described as an autobiographical poet, and her work is known for emotional intensity and for frequently drawing on myth, history, and nature.
1944 – Damien Broderick, Australian science and science-fiction author.
1946 – Paul Davies, English physicist, professor, popular science author, and broadcaster.
1946 – John Waters, U.S. film director, screenwriter, actor, stand-up comedian, journalist, visual artist, and art collector; he is best known for his off-beat films, many of them set in Baltimore.
1951 – Andrew Hudgins, U.S. poet and essayist who was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
1951 – Ana Maria Shua, Argentinian novelist, poet, short-story writer, playwright, screenwriter, children’s author, folklorist, anthologist, humorist, and essayist.
1958 – Anne D. Blonstein, British poet, writer, editor, and translator, based in Switzerland; she was known for her poetic sequences that work with notarikon — originally a rabbinic and Kabbalistic method used to interpret Hebrew Scriptures — and redeploy it as a contemporary poetic procedure, engaging with diverse languages and texts.
1959 – Laurel Winter, World Fantasy Award-winning Canadian writer, poet, children’s writer, and novelist, best known for science fiction and fantasy.
1967 – Wendy Mass, U.S. author of young-adult novels and children’s books, including A Mango-Shaped Space and Every Soul a Star.
1976 – Marie Phillips, award-winning British historical fantasy novelist who is best known for her novel, Gods Behaving Badly, a comic fantasy concerning ancient Greek gods living in modern-day Hampstead.
1976 – Chuck Wendig, U.S. author, comic-book writer, screenwriter, and blogger.
1985 – Kseniya Simonova, Ukrainian writer, artist, sand animation artist, and filmmaker.