1756 - William Godwin
English political philosopher and novelist, father of Mary Shelley. Author of works for adults and children, as well as the first mystery novel.
1863 - Arthur Machen
Welsh author and mystic, known for his horror fiction.
1896 - Roy Franklin Nichols
American historian, winner of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for History for The Disruption of American Democracy.
1920 - Ronald Searle
British artist and satirical cartoonist, known for creating the St. Trinian's School series.
1926 - James Merrill
American poet who won the 1977 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
1927 - Nicolas Freeling
British crime novelist; author of the Van der Velk series of detective mysteries.
1938 - Patricia MacLachlan
American children's writer best known for the 1986 Newbery medal-winning Sarah, Plain and Tall.
1949 - Ron Chernow
American biographer, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.
1956 - Julia Glass
American novelist who won the National Book Award in 2002 for her debut novel, Three Junes.
1957 - Nicholas Shakespeare
British novelist and biographer whose upbringing as a diplomat's son is reflected in the variety of his work.
1957 - Stephen Budiansky
American author of non-fiction, primarily history and science.
1961 - John Matteson
American professor and author, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Biography for Eden's Outcasts.
1971 - Tyler Florence
American chef, Food Network host and author of cookbooks.
1982 - George Perec
1983 - Hergé
1994 - John Edward Williams
1996 - Marguerite Duras