1805 - Alexis de Tocqueville
French political thinker, best known for his two-volume work Democracy in America.
1869 - Booth Tarkington
American novelist and dramatist best known for his novels The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams.
1900 - Eyvind Johnson
Swedish author who shared the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature with Harry Martinson "for a narrative art, far-seeing in lands and ages, in the service of freedom."
1905 - Stanley Kunitz
American poet; winner of the 1955 National Book Award for Poetry and the U.S. Poet Laureate in both 1974 and 2000.
1909 - Samm Sinclair Baker
American author of many how-to and self-help books; notably The Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet.
1909 - Chester Himes
African-American writer, two of whose works, Cotton Comes to Harlem and A Rage in Harlem, have been made into movies.
1918 - Edwin O'Connor
American author whose The Edge of Sadness won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1962.
1918 - Mary Lee Settle
American author who won the 1978 National Book Award for her novel Blood Tie.
1945 - Sharon Creech
American author of children's fiction who has won both the Newbery Medal (for Walk Two Moons) and the Carnegie Medal.
1960 - Didier Van Cauwelaert
French author whose 1994 novel Un Aller Simple won the Prix Goncourt.
1970 - Adele Griffin
American author of young adult fiction, two of whose novels have been National Book Award finalists.
1972 - Wil Wheaton
American actor, writer, and general internet good guy.
1974 - Erich Kästner