1640 – Pu Songling , Chinese short-story writer, best known as the author of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio.
1646 – Elena Piscopia (also known in English as Helen Cornaro), Italian mathematician, writer, philosopher, translator, and musician who was the first woman to receive a doctoral degree.
1884 – Ivy Compton-Burnett, award-winning English novelist whose books focus on family life among the Victorian and Edwardian upper middle class.
1887 – Ruth Fulton Benedict, groundbreaking U.S. anthropologist and folklorist who studied the relationships between personality, art, language, and culture and insisted that no trait existed in isolation or self-sufficiency, a theory that she championed in her 1934 book Patterns of Culture.
1898 – Federico Garcia Lorca (full name Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca), Spanish poet, playwright, and theater director who was a member of the Generation of ’27, a group of mostly poets who introduced the tenets of symbolism, futurism, and surrealism into Spanish literature.
1908 – Mikayil Mushfig (born Mikayil Ismayilzadeh), Azerbaijani poet and author who was arrested and executed by Soviet authorities during the Stalinist purges.
1919 – Lennart Hellsing, acclaimed Swedish children’s author, poet, translator, and linguist.
1919 – Richard Scarry, prolific, bestselling U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books; he is best known for his Best Ever series of books that take place in the fictional Busytown.
1920 – Cornelius Ryan, Irish journalist and author best known for his writings on military history.
1930 – Fatimah Rifaat (pen name Alifa Rifaat), Egyptian author and poet whose controversial short stories are renowned for their depictions of the dynamics of female sexuality, relationships, and loss in rural Egyptian culture.
1932 – Christy Brown, bestselling Irish novelist, memoirist, poet, and painter whose cerebral palsy left him able to write or type only with the toes of his left foot; his most recognized work is his autobiography, My Left Foot, which was also made into an Oscar-winning film. His book Down All the Days has been called “the most important Irish novel since Ulysses”; like James Joyce, Brown used a stream-of-consciousness technique to document Dublin’s culture.
1934 – Bill Moyers, U.S. journalist, political commentator, newspaper publisher, television personality, and former White House press secretary.
1937- Hélène Cixous, French feminist writer, poet, playwright, professor, philosopher, literary critic, and rhetorician; her article “The Laugh of the Medusa” established her as one of the early thinkers in post-structural feminism.
1939 – Margaret Drabble (Lady Holroyd), English novelist, biographer, short-story writer, playwright, and critic.
1939 – L.R. Wright (Laurali Rose “Bunny” Wright, née Appleby), award-winning Canadian novelist, mystery writer, and journalist.
1940 – Orlando Patterson, National Book Award-winning Jamaican-born U.S. historical and cultural sociologist; much of his work deals with issues of race.
1943 – Khalid Ahmad, Pakistani Urdu poet and newspaper journalist.
1949 – Ken Follett, bestselling Welsh author of thrillers, historical fiction, and nonfiction.
1951 – Suze Orman, U.S. author, financial adviser, and motivational speaker.
1964 – Rick Riordan, U.S. author primarily of children’s and young-adult fantasy fiction, notably the bestselling “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series.
1965 – K.Y. Narayanaswamy (also known as KYN), popular and influential Indian Kannada writer, poet, playwright, screenwriter, critic, translator, and professor.