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.

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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
+ - 136 46
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Emma

3
+ - 134 49
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Falkner

4
+ - 133 57
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
+ - 149 56
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
+ - 190 85
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy

7
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Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Louisa May Alcott Jo's Boys, Little Women Little Men

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

9
+ - 123 32
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
+ - 95 32
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
+ - 122 48
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights

12
+ - 86 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
+ - 87 47
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Sylvia Plath The Bell Jar

14
+ - 99 45
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
+ - 68 37
Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Edith Wharton Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence

The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors The Most Overrated Books of All Time

16
+ - 99 74
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Toni Morrison Jazz, The Bluest Eye Song of Solomon

17
+ - 76 38
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
+ - 54 36
Dorothy Parker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy Parker A Star Is Born, Dusk Before Fireworks

19
+ - 58 29
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady My Ántonia

20
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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
+ - 70 40
Judy Blume is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Judy Blume Tiger Eyes, Freckle Juice Are You There God? It's Me

22
+ - 48 18
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Patricia Highsmith The Talented Mr. Ripley, The American Friend Strangers on a Train

23
+ - 52 35
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
+ - 127 91
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
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P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face The Private Patient

26
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Iris Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Iris Murdoch The Bell, Under the Net The Sea

27
+ - 54 42
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Ursula K. Le Guin Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution

28
+ - 41 23
Anne Morrow Lindbergh is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne Morrow Lindbergh Gift from the Sea, Listen! the Wind North to the Orient

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+ - 45 34
Kate Chopin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Kate Chopin The Awakening, Bayou Folk A Night in Acadie

The Best Female Poets of All Time The Best Places to Meet Women

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+ - 36 26
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise Gaudy Night

31
+ - 57 34
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
+ - 37 21
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees Animal

33
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Eudora Welty is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Eudora Welty The Optimist's Daughter, A Curtain of Green The Robber Bridegroom

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Mary Wollstonecraft is listed (or ranked) 34 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

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+ - 47 33
Enid Blyton is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Enid Blyton Adventures of the Wishing Chair, The Enchanted Wood

36
+ - 21 11
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing Shikasta

37
+ - 52 62
Gertrude Stein is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Gertrude Stein Q.E.D., Fernhurst Three Lives

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Baroness Emma Orczy is listed (or ranked) 38 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

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+ - 24 9
Elizabeth Barrett Browning is listed (or ranked) 39 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.

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+ - 48 35
Phillipa Gregory is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Phillipa Gregory The Other Boleyn Girl, Wideacre Earthly Joys

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+ - 54 49
Patricia Cornwell is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Patricia Cornwell Cause of Death, Unnatural Exposure Blow Fly

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Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune Eva Luna

43
+ - 46 27
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Alice Munro Runaway, The View From Jupiter

The Top Female MMA Fighters The Best Mayonnaise Brands

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+ - 37 46
Betty Friedan is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Betty Friedan The Fountain of Age, The Feminine Mystique

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+ - 51 45
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
+ - 93 107
Anne Frank is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anne Frank The Diary of a Young Girl

47
+ - 33 22
Thea von Harbou is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Thea von Harbou Metropolis, M The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

48
+ - 33 22
Božena Němcová is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Božena Němcová Granny, Čertík The village under mountains

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+ - 46 43
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Zora Neale Hurston Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God

50
+ - 30 19
Dorothy M. Johnson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Dorothy M. Johnson A Man Called Horse, The Hanging Tree The Return of a Man Called Horse