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
249 96
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 Best Books About Sex

2
165 60
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Falkner

3
177 78
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own

4
163 60
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Emma

5
155 36
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Emily Dickinson The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

6
181 68
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Agatha Christie A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None

7
253 113
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
218 95
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

9
141 62
Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Louisa May Alcott Jo's Boys, Little Women, Little Men

10
115 38
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added George Eliot Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner, Daniel Deronda

11
151 51
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights

12
109 52
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

13
96 36
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica Inn

14
124 47
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Margaret Atwood The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game, Cat's Eye

15
126 78
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 Most Overrated Books of All Time

16
83 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
96 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
74 32
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, My Ántonia

19
39 23
Elizabeth Gaskell is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Elizabeth Gaskell North and South, Cranford, Mary Barton

20
61 38
Dorothy Parker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy Parker A Star Is Born, Dusk Before Fireworks

21
157 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
80 46
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
39 19
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anna Åhlin added Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune, Eva Luna

24
59 39
Carson McCullers is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Carson McCullers The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, The Member of the Wedding

25
53 21
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added Patricia Highsmith The Talented Mr. Ripley, The American Friend, Strangers on a Train

26
44 26
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
jobill added P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face, The Private Patient

27
50 32
Iris Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
jobill added Iris Murdoch The Bell, Under the Net, The Sea

28
63 45
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Ursula K. Le Guin Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution

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

The Best Female Poets of All Time Ways to Make Sure You Die Happy

30
31 9
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added 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.

31
52 36
Kate Chopin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Kate Chopin The Awakening, Bayou Folk, A Night in Acadie

32
113 108
Anne Frank is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

33
66 35
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery

34
28 12
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing, Shikasta

35
63 45
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added Alice Walker The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar

36
58 43
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Zora Neale Hurston Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God

37
29 14
Mary Wollstonecraft is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added 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

38
49 28
Eudora Welty is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter, A Curtain of Green, The Robber Bridegroom

39
55 27
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Alice Munro Runaway, The View From Jupiter

40
37 29
Edna St. Vincent Millay is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
41 27
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise, Gaudy Night

42
43 23
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
AdmiralCrunch added Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, Animal

43
34 17
Baroness Emma Orczy is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mollevangsvagen added Baroness Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

The Top Female MMA Fighters The Best Comedian Biopics

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
33 17
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
ChrisLeonard added Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight, Dragonsong, Sassinak

46
38 9
Margaret Mitchell is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
dhardy413 added Margaret Mitchell Gone with the Wind, Lost Laysen, Talking Business - French

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
51 38
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
Mollevangsvagen added Božena Němcová Granny, Čertík, The village under mountains