authors The Best Female Authors of All Time  

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List Rules Vote up the greatest women writers based on their works in all genres, including short fiction, novels, poetry, non-fiction, and essays.

Some of the most powerful, influential women in history were authors, writers, and poets. What better way to make your point, affect the world around you, inspire other women to fight for their dreams. or even just simply put your stamp on the world than to have your writing published. Who are the best female authors in history?
 
The female authors featured on this list have gone down in history as the absolute greatest women writers. Many movies have been made either from some of their works, or even based on their lives and what shaped them as a writer. This list of the best female authors has been ranked by the community. Vote up the female authors you think are the best and see how your favorites rank.
 
This list features the best female authors of all time, many of whom wrote best-selling books that are still considered classics today including, Gertrude Stein, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte,  Agatha Christie, Maya Angelou, Flannery O’Connor, and Kate Chopin. If the female writer you think is the best isn't already on the list, add her below.
list ordered by

1
+ - 238 91
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park

The Greatest Female Novelists Ever The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

2
+ - 161 54
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Falkner

3
+ - 156 52
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Emma

4
+ - 171 70
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own

5
+ - 177 62
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Agatha Christie A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None

6
+ - 151 32
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Emily Dickinson The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

7
+ - 239 107
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy

8
+ - 140 60
Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Louisa May Alcott Jo's Boys, Little Women, Little Men

9
+ - 208 94
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

10
+ - 110 35
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
George Eliot Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner, Daniel Deronda

11
+ - 143 49
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights

12
+ - 94 36
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica Inn

13
+ - 122 47
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Margaret Atwood The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game, Cat's Eye

14
+ - 103 51
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

15
+ - 124 76
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Toni Morrison Jazz, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon

The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

16
+ - 80 38
Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Edith Wharton Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence

17
+ - 94 41
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Flannery O'Connor Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find

18
+ - 73 32
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, My Ántonia

19
+ - 60 38
Dorothy Parker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy Parker A Star Is Born, Dusk Before Fireworks

20
+ - 37 23
Elizabeth Gaskell is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Elizabeth Gaskell North and South, Cranford, Mary Barton

21
+ - 151 92
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Maya Angelou I Shall Not Be Moved, The Heart of a Woman, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

22
+ - 76 45
Judy Blume is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Judy Blume Tiger Eyes, Freckle Juice, Are You There God? It's Me

23
+ - 58 39
Carson McCullers is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Carson McCullers The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding

24
+ - 52 21
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Patricia Highsmith The Talented Mr. Ripley, The American Friend, Strangers on a Train

25
+ - 50 32
Iris Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Iris Murdoch The Bell, Under the Net, The Sea

26
+ - 63 45
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Ursula K. Le Guin Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution

27
+ - 43 26
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

28
+ - 36 19
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune, Eva Luna

29
+ - 46 23
Anne Morrow Lindbergh is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne Morrow Lindbergh Gift from the Sea, Listen! the Wind, North to the Orient

The Best Female Poets of All Time The Things You Wish You Were Better At

30
+ - 28 12
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing, Shikasta

31
+ - 65 35
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery

32
+ - 51 36
Kate Chopin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Kate Chopin The Awakening, Bayou Folk, A Night in Acadie

33
+ - 29 14
Mary Wollstonecraft is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Mary: A Fiction, A Vindication of the Rights of Men

34
+ - 57 43
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Zora Neale Hurston Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God

35
+ - 61 45
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Alice Walker The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar

36
+ - 29 9
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnets from the Portuguese, Poems and Letters, New Poems by Robert Browning and elizabeth Barrett Browning - Many don't know about her excellent book-length poem Aurora Leigh.

37
+ - 54 27
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Alice Munro Runaway, The View From Jupiter

38
+ - 107 108
Anne Frank is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

39
+ - 47 28
Eudora Welty is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter, A Curtain of Green, The Robber Bridegroom

40
+ - 39 27
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night

41
+ - 41 23
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, Animal

42
+ - 34 17
Baroness Emma Orczy is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Baroness Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

43
+ - 34 29
Edna St. Vincent Millay is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Edna St. Vincent Millay Renascence and Other Poems, A Few Figs From Thistles: Poems and Four Sonnets

The Top Female MMA Fighters The Best Coconut Oil Brands

44
+ - 57 64
Gertrude Stein is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Gertrude Stein Q.E.D., Fernhurst, Three Lives

45
+ - 38 8
Margaret Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind, Lost Laysen, Talking Business - French

46
+ - 32 17
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight, Dragonsong, Sassinak

47
+ - 48 34
Enid Blyton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Enid Blyton Adventures of the Wishing Chair, The Enchanted Wood

48
+ - 50 37
Phillipa Gregory is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Phillipa Gregory The Other Boleyn Girl, Wideacre, Earthly Joys

49
+ - 40 48
Betty Friedan is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Betty Friedan The Fountain of Age, The Feminine Mystique

50
+ - 34 22
Božena Němcová is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Božena Němcová Granny, Čertík, The village under mountains