1815 - Richard Henry Dana, Jr.
American lawyer and politician, and author of the classic memoir Two Years Before the Mast.
1819 - Herman Melville
With Omoo, Typee, and Mardi, one of the authors whose works appear most often in crossword puzzles. Also known for his master-work Moby Dick.
1903 - Paul Horgan
American author of both fiction, and non-fiction, much of it having to do with the American southwest. Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for History.
1919 - Stanley Middleton
British novelist; winner of the 1974 Booker Prize for his novel Holiday.
1939 - Robert James Waller
American author and photographer, best known for his 1992 novel The Bridges of Madison County.
1948 - David Gemmell
British author of heroic fantasy, best known for his debut novel Legend, the first in the Drenai saga.
1954 - James Gleick
American science writer whose books have been Pulitzer and National Book Award finalists.
1966 - James St. James
Former denizen of the Manhattan club scene in the late 80s and early 90s. His novel, Disco Bloodbath, chronicles that scene and a murder committed by a friend of his.
1963 - Theodore Roethke
1981 - Paddy Chayefsky