1792 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English romantic poet who is considered one of the finest lyric and epic poets in the English language; he was married to novelist Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, who is best known as the author of Frankenstein.
1839 – Walter Horatio Pater, English essayist, literary and art critic, fiction writer, and humanist whose advocacy of “art for art’s sake” became a key doctrine of the Aestheticism movement.
1841 – William Henry Hudson (known in Argentina as Guillermo Enrique Hudson), Argentine author, naturalist, and ornithologist.
1859 – Knut Hamsun, Nobel Prize-winning Norwegian novelist.
1869 – Evelyn Sharp, English writer, journalist, novelist, autobiographer, children’s writer, and a key activist for women’s suffrage who was twice imprisoned.
1894 – Narayan Sitaram Phadke, Indian Marathi writer, editor, and professor; he wrote in his native Marathi as well as English.
1904 – Witold Marian Gombrowicz, Polish novelist, short-story writer, and playwright whose works are characterized by deep psychological analysis, satire, existentialism, and anti-nationalist thought.
1909 – Manuel Méndez Ballester, Puerto Rican writer, broadcaster, journalist, and teacher.
1912 – Virgilio Piñera, Cuban novelist, short-story writer, poet, playwright, essayist, and translator.
1913 – Robert Hayden, U.S. poet, essayist, and educator who was the first African-American U.S Poet Laureate.
1913 – María de Montserrat Albareda, pen name of María de Montserrat Albareda Roca, Uruguayan writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, and playwright who was a member of the Generación del 45 cultural and literary movement.
1913 – Noboru Nakamura, Oscar-nominate Japanese film director and screenwriter.
1916 – Orlando Marques de Almeida Mendes, award-winning Mozambican biologist, botanist, and writer.
1920 – Helen Thomas, U.S. author and news service reporter, opinion columnist, and “Dean of the White House Press Corps.”
1922 – Anbara Salam Khalidi, Lebanese author, poet, translator, and feminist who significantly contributed to the emancipation of Arab women.
1922 – Asbjørn Øksendal, Norwegian novelist and nonfiction writer who wrote novels about the Viking age and nonfiction books about the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany.
1926 – Ayin Hillel, pen name of Hillel Omer, award-winning Israeli poet and children’s author.
1926 – Catherine Paysan, pen name of Annie Hausen, award-winning French novelist, poet, screenwriter, short-story writer, autobiographer, playwright, and educator.
1934 – Liv Holtskog, Norwegian fruit farmer and poet whose poetry contains motifs from nature, biblical themes, and allusions to fairy tales; several of her poems are used as songs, and some have been performed as choral works.
1937 – María Esther Vázquez, Argentine writer, biographer, and journalist who is best known as a collaborator with and biographer of Jorge Luis Borges and Victoria Ocampo.
1940 – Michèle Desbordes, award-winning French writer, poet, novelist, short-story writer, and library curator and director.
1944 – Teodomiro Alberto Azevedo Leite de Vasconcelos, Portuguese-born Mozambican journalist, writer, teacher, and political commentator.
1951 – Stephen Kinzer, U.S. author, journalist, academic, and New York Times foreign correspondent.
1951 – Chang Yui-tan, Taiwanese writer, editor, and museum curator.
1955 – Dagoberto Valdés Hernández, award-winning Cuban writer, journalist, magazine editor and founder, and Catholic intellectual.
1958 – Liao Yiwu, Chinese author, poet, musician, and journalist who has been imprisoned and had his work banned on mainland China for his criticism of China’s communist government; several of his books are collections of interviews with ordinary people from the lower rungs of Chinese society.
1959 – Blanca Andreu, award-winning Spanish poet whose work is characterized by a search for truth and spiritual meaning and sometimes features dreamlike imagery, fragmented syntax, and highly challenging use of language.
1960 – Keka Ferdousi, Bangladeshi television chef and writer.
1960 – Joby Warrick, multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning U.S. journalist and author; he writes for the Washington Post on the Middle East, diplomacy, and national security.
1961 – Andreas Findig, German author and science-fiction writer.
1961 – Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President and the first African-American to hold the office; he has also written several books.
1963 – Shishir Bhattacharja, Bangladeshi linguist, writer, columnist, translator, and French professor who is the Director of the Institute of Modern Languages at the University of Dhaka.; an ardent advocate and promoter of the Bengali language, he has written extensively on the use of Bengali in Bangladesh.
1964 – Emanuela Abbadessa, award-winning Italian writer, musicologist, music historian, and educator.
1965 – Dennis Lehane, U.S. author of popular novels; several of his books have been adapted for film.
1969 – Jojo Moyes, award-winning English journalist, screenwriter, author, and romance novelist.
1972 – Øyvind Vågnes, award-winning Norwegian novelist, nonfiction writer, magazine editor, and researcher; among his non-fiction works are Zaprudered : the Kennedy Assassination Film in Visual Culture.
1977 – Yuuko Kohara, Japanese manga artist and writer.
1978 – Lehua M. Taitano, Micronesian Chamoru poet from the Mariana Islands who is also an interdisciplinary artist and educator.
1986 – Nikhil Sachan, bestselling Indian novelist, short-story writer, and columnist.
1987 – Nadia Bulkin, Indonesian-born U.S. political scientist and author of short stories, mostly in the horror genre.