1685 – John Gay, English playwright and poet best remembered for The Beggar’s Opera.
1798 – Alexander Dyce, Scottish scholar, clergyman, editor, biographer, and literary historian.
1839 – Sarah Maud Heckford (née Goff), Irish philanthropist, nonfiction writer, novelist, memoirist, hospital founder, traveler, and gold miner.
1864 – Christina Jamieson, Scottish writer and suffragist known for her association with and efforts to preserve the culture of the Shetland Isles, where she lived most of her life until she moved to New Zealand in 1935 because the climate was better for her asthma.
1870 – Mary Dillingham Frear, U.S. author, poet, and community activist who was First Lady of the Territory of Hawaii
1908 – Winston Graham, English author who wrote short stories, plays, nonfiction, thrillers, and historical fiction; he is best known for his Poldark series of historical novels set in Cornwall.
1909 – Moti Laxmi Upasika (born Moti Laxmi Tuladhar), Nepali writer who was Nepal’s first published woman poet, essayist, and short-story writer of modern times; her writings have been described as a bridge between religious and free prose, and her essays are characterized by simple language and a powerful way of expressing her opinions.
1911 – Czesław Miłosz, Nobel Prize-winning Polish poet, writer, translator, and diplomat who “with uncompromising clear-sightedness voices man’s exposed condition in a world of severe conflicts.”
1911 – Nagarjun (pen name for Vaidyanath Mishra), Indian Hindi and Maithili writer, poet, literary biographer, short-story writer, and travel writer who was known as the People’s Poet and is regarded as a key figure of the modernist movement in Maithili.
1920 – Eleanor Ross Taylor, award-winning U.S. poet whose work has been described as elegiac, lyric, and feminine; she married poet Peter Taylor.
1922 – Miron Bialoszewski, Polish poet, novelist, playwright, and actor.
1922 – Mollie Hunter (aka Maureen Mollie Hunter McIlwraith McVeigh), Scottish novelist who wrote fantasy for children, historical stories for young adults, and realistic novels for adults; much of her work was inspired by history and folklore, with elements of magic.
1926 – Uriel Ofek, Israeli writer, screenwriter, poet, translator, songwriter, lyricist, children’s writer, bibliographer, literary theorist, and newspaper editor.
1927 – James Goldman, influential U.S. screenwriter and playwright whose brother was the acclaimed novelist William Goldman.
1932 – Mongo Beti (real name Alexandre Biyidi Awala; also known as Eza Boto), Cameroonian writer, journalist, and professor.
1934 – Harry Blackstone, Jr., U.S. stage and television magician who wrote books on magic.
1936 – Sara Aboobacker, award-winning Indian Kannada novelist, short-story writer, and translator whose work addresses the plight of Muslim women in Kerala and Karnataka.
1936 – Assia Djebar (pen name for Fatima-Zohra Imalayen), Algerian novelist, translator, and filmmaker whose works deal with obstacles faced by women.
1939 – José Emilio Pacheco, Mexican poet, essayist, and translator.
1940 – David McPhail, award-winning U.S. author and illustrator of children’s books who is known for his animal characters, especially pigs and bears.
1943 – Ahmed Sofa, Bangladeshi novelist, nonfiction author, short-story writer, essayist, poet, intellectual, and activist; his work was characterized by “a freshness of language” and experimentation with subject matter and narration.
1944 – Miraca Una Murdoch Gross, Scottish-born Australian author, columnist, pedagogist, and scholar who has written extensively on the academic, social, and emotional needs of gifted children.
1950 – Monica Kristensen Solås, award-winning Norwegian glaciologist, meteorologist, polar explorer, crime novelist, and adventurer writer.
1951 – Salim Jay, French-born Moroccan novelist, essayist, writer, and literary critic living in France; he is best known for his biographical dictionary of Moroccan writers who have written in French.
1958 – Elsie Anna-Lena Lodenius, Swedish journalist, author, and lecturer who is best known for her studies of autonomous, extreme nationalist movements and right-wing populism.
1958 – Youssef Ziedan, prolific Egyptian author, professor, columnist, and lecturer who specializes in Arabic and Islamic studies and is director of the Manuscript Center and Museum affiliated with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina; his main area of interest is in cataloging, editing, and publishing Arabic and Islamic manuscripts.
1959 – Daniel Goldhagen, U.S. author, political scientist, and professor who has written controversial books on the role of the German people during the Holocaust.
1963 – Vidar Sundstøl, award-winning Norwegian author of crime fiction.
1965 – Adam Roberts, British novelist, literary critic, teacher, and science-fiction author, known for speculative fiction and parody novels as well as literary and writing academic
1969 – Margot Lee Shetterly, U.S. nonfiction writer who has also worked in investment banking and media startups and who founded a magazine. Her first book, Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race is about African-American women mathematicians working at NASA who were instrumental to the success of the United States space program; it was made into an Academy Award-winning film.
1970 – Giovanni Arduino, Italian fiction writer, freelance editor, translator, and consultant whose bestselling novels span genres including young adult, dark fantasy, modern fables, erotica, and pop culture.
1974 – Juli Zeh (real name Julia Barbara Finck, nee Zeh; pseudonym Manfred Gortz), award-winning German writer, jurist, poet, lawyer, and science-fiction author.
1981 – Nima Sanandaji, Iranian-Swedish author and think-tank leader of Kurdish descent, with a background in natural sciences research; he has published more than 25 books on innovation, entrepreneurship, women’s career opportunities, and the future of the Nordic welfare states.
1986 – Maya Zankoul, Lebanese author, artist, journalist, blogger, and television personality who is mostly known for her sarcastic cartoons and comics.
1987 – Haneef Adeni, Indian Malayalam screenwriter, writer, and film director.
1987 – Adi Alsaid, Mexican author of young-adult fiction; his debut novel, Let’s Get Lost, was called, an “impressive novel by a rising star with effortless style and voice.” He currently lives in the United States.
1988 – Shehyan Tahseen Iraqi Kurdish journalist, reporter, and television presenter who first started working as a television presenter for children’s shows at the age of 11.