1588 – George Wither, prolific English poet, pamphleteer, satirist, and writer of hymns.
1730 – Motoori Norinaga, Japanese writer, poet, philosopher, and linguist.
1813 – William Edmondstoune Aytoun, Scottish poet and humourist.
1820 – James Halliwell-Phillipps, English writer, historian, literary historian, children’s author, fairy tale and nursery rhyme collector, and Shakespearean scholar.
1830 – Luís Gonzaga Pinto da Gama, Brazilian Romantic poet, journalist, lawyer, and prominent abolitionist; he was sold into slavery as a child but later ran away and regained his freedom.
1839 – Joaquim Maria Machado (often known as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho), Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright, short story writer, and advocate of monarchism; he is widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature.
1850 – Daniel Carter Beard, U.S. author and illustrator who was active in early scouting and wrote and illustrated The American Boy’s Handy Book.
1870 – Clara Helene Immerwahr , German chemist, researcher, and translator who was the first German woman to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry in Germany, but whose own research and writing was curtailed by the expectations of her husband, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Fritz Haber, that she fill a traditional wife’s role. She is credited with being a pacifist as well as a women’s rights activist, and deeply disapproved of her husband’s support of German military efforts and his work in the development of chemical weapons as a “perversion of the ideals of science.” She committed suicide in 1915.
1883 – Daisy Turner, U.S. African-American storyteller and poet who was the daughter of former slaves; she became famous late in life for her oral recordings of her family’s history, which can be traced back to Africa and England.
1894 – Milward Kennedy, English crime writer known for police mysteries and private investigator stories.
1898 – Donald C. Peattie, U.S. naturalist and author who wrote on botany and history.
1901 – Luis Cardoza y Aragón, Guatemalan writer, essayist, poet, literary critic, art critic, and diplomat who spent a good part of his life living in exile in Mexico.
1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and writer, best known as a leader of the Existentialist movement.
1912 – Mary McCarthy, U.S. novelist, critic, and political activist who was famously called, “a literary figure, a political figure, an urbane figure, a very witty figure who had honesty and wasn’t shy about expressing her opinions.”
1912 – Vishnu Prabhakar, award-winning Indian novelist, short-story writer, travel writer, and playwright whose works have elements of patriotism, nationalism, and messages of social upliftment.
1924 – Daniel Canodoce “Can” Themba, South African short-story writer, author, and journalist.
1927 – Ann Allen Shockley, Kentucky native, fiction writer, and journalist whose fiction portrays the difficulties of the black lesbian experience.
1935 – Françoise Sagan, French novelist, playwright, and screenwriter whose first book was published when she was just 18 years old.
1938 – John W. Dower, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. writer and historian.
1942 – Henry S. Taylor, Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. poet, author, translator, and professor.
1945 – Adam Zagajewski, award-winning Polish poet and essayist.
1946 – Trond Georg Kirkvaag, Norwegian author, screenwriter, comedian, actor, impressionist, director, and television host.
1947 – Fernando Fernández-Savater Martín, Spanish philosopher, essayist, author, and activist.
1948 – Ian McEwan, award-winning English novelist and screenwriter.
1949 – John Agard, Guyanan poet, playwright, and children’s writer.
1949 – Jane Urquhart, award-winning, bestselling Canadian novelist, poet, and short-story writer whose evocative style blends history with the present day.
1950 – Anne Carson, Canadian poet, essayist, translator, and professor of Classics.
1953 – Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani political leader, author, and autobiographer who was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority country.
1956 – Lyubov Sirota, Kazakhstan-born Ukrainian poet, writer, playwright, journalist, and translator; a former inhabitant of the city of Pripyat and an eyewitness (and victim) of the Chernobyl disaster, she has devoted a great part of her creative output to the 1986 catastrophe.
1957 – Berke Breathed, U.S. cartoonist best known for his Bloom County comic strip and books.
1963 – Gosho Aoyama, bestselling Japanese manga artist and writer known for creating the manga series Detective Conan (known in English speaking countries as Case Closed).
1963 – Jan Jaroslav Pinkava, Czech screenwriter and director, best known for his Oscar-winning animated Pixar film, Ratatouille.
1974 – Eva Neymann, Ukrainian screenwriter and film director.
1992 – Lucy Ayoub, Arab-Israeli writer, poet, television presenter, journalist, and radio personality.