Miguel de Cervantes
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (b. 1547) was a Spanish writer, and the author of what is considered the first novel, Don Quixote. Widely regarded as Spain's finest writer, his influence on Western literature is second to none.
At various stages in his early life he was a fugitive, a soldier, held captive by pirates, sold as a slave, a prisoner, and a tax collector, before finally settling in Madrid shortly after the first publication of his masterpiece, Don Quixote. The novel has been adapted for film, a popular ballet, several operas and orchestral works.
Miguel de Cervantes died in 1616, dying on the same day as fellow pillar of Western literature, William Shakespeare.