literature The Greatest Female Novelists Ever

5.3k votes 16k views 133 items Embed

List Rules Only women authors. Please rank only based on their fiction novels, not on short stories or non-fiction work.

The best female novelists are arguably the top and most talented women who penned some of the most popular and most influential novels of all time. These women, from around the globe over the last few centuries, changed the landscape of fiction writing with their work. These ladies are not just the best female novelists ever, but easily among the best writers of all time.

These female novelists represent many genres of literature such as romance, science fiction, fantasy, adventure and mystery, to name a few. Their works have inspired countless others and spurred numerous movie adaptations. Quite simply, these women are some of the best female authors to have ever lifted the pen.

From the classics from Agatha Christie and Jane Austen to the modern favorites from Stephenie Meyer and J.K. Rowling, it’s hard to find a book from a female novelist on this list that isn’t a favorite of millions of readers around the world.

Which of these female novelists is the best? Share your picks by voting for your favorites, adding any not listed or re-ranking this list of the best female novelists below!

1
+ - 134 50
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Jane Austen Northanger Abbey, Persuasion Pride and Prejudice

The Best Ever Female Sci-Fi Authors The Best Novels Ever Written

2
+ - 77 18
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein Political Justice

3
+ - 136 49
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Agatha Christie Murder on the Orient Express, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd The ABC Murders

4
+ - 101 36
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights Shirley

5
+ - 126 53
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

6
+ - 83 34
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Virginia Woolf Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse A Room of One’s Own

7
+ - 146 79
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows The Casual Vacancy

8
+ - 69 31
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake The Blind Assassin

9
+ - 78 33
Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Louisa May Alcott Little Women, Little Men Jo's Boys

10
+ - 54 28
Madeleine L'Engle is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Madeleine L'Engle A Wrinkle in Time, A Ring of Endless Light A Wind in the Door - A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet

11
+ - 47 23
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
George Eliot A Simple Twist of Fate, RoThe Mill on the Floss Middlemarch - The Mill on the Floss, Middlemarch, Daniel Deronda, Silas Marner, Adam Bede, Brother Jacob, The Lifted Veil

12
+ - 70 28
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Emily Brontë Wuthering Heights, Gondal poems Poems by Currer - Wuthering Heights

13
+ - 54 27
Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Edith Wharton Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence The House of Mirth - Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence

14
+ - 67 30
Beatrix Potter is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Beatrix Potter The Tale of Peter Rabbit, The Tale of Jemimi Puddle-Duck The Tale of Benjamin Bunny

15
+ - 55 22
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, Mary Anne The Birds II: Land's End

Famous Lesbian Authors The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

16
+ - 58 27
Laura Ingalls Wilder is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter Little Town on the Prairie

17
+ - 40 20
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Flannery O'Connor Wise Blood, The Violent Bear It Away Everything That Rises Must Converge

18
+ - 41 33
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Ursula K. Le Guin A Wizard of Earthsea, The Left Hand of Darkness The Dispossessed

19
+ - 31 21
Anne Brontë is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Anne Brontë The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Agnes Grey Best Poems of the Brontë Sisters - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

20
+ - 20 11
Dorothy Parker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Dorothy Parker Saboteur, A Star Is Born A Star Is Born

21
+ - 35 25
Lucy Maud Montgomery is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Lucy Maud Montgomery Anne of Green Gables, The Complete Anne of Green Gables Boxed Set Emily Climbs

22
+ - 16 5
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Patricia Highsmith The Talented Mr. Ripley, The American Friend Strangers on a Train

23
+ - 35 25
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Willa Cather Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady My Ántonia - My Antonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop

24
+ - 39 22
Harriet Beecher Stowe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Harriet Beecher Stowe Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Minister's Wooing Men of our times

25
+ - 44 42
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Toni Morrison The Bluest Eye, Sula Song of Solomon

26
+ - 31 17
P. D. James is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
P. D. James The Children of Men, Cover Her Face The Private Patient

27
+ - 29 23
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Alice Munro Dear Life, The Love of a Good Woman Runaway

28
+ - 9 2
Countess of Ségur is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Countess of Ségur La fortune de Gaspard, Les Deux Nigauds Mémoires d'un âne

29
+ - 24 19
Dorothy L. Sayers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Dorothy L. Sayers The Nine Tailors, Murder Must Advertise Gaudy Night

The Best Female Directors The Best Reasons to Drink at Home

30
+ - 9 2
Thea von Harbou is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Thea von Harbou Metropolis, M The Testament of Dr. Mabuse

31
+ - 23 18
Elizabeth Gaskell is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Elizabeth Gaskell North and South, Cranford Mary Barton

32
+ - 15 9
Sigrid Undset is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Sigrid Undset The snake pit, Kristin Lavransdatter The Cross

33
+ - 23 23
Kate Chopin is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Kate Chopin The Awakening, The awakening and other stories - The Awakening

34
+ - 17 12
Judy Blume is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Judy Blume Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

35
+ - 10 4
Baroness Emma Orczy is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Baroness Emma Orczy The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Scarlet Pimpernel The Triumph of the Scarlet Pimpernel

36
+ - 15 10
Marguerite Yourcenar is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Marguerite Yourcenar Memoirs of Hadrian, Oriental Tales Fires

37
+ - 9 3
Geneviève Dormann is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Geneviève Dormann Coup de Grâce, Colette--a passion for life Mauritius from the air

38
+ - 20 16
Iris Murdoch is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Iris Murdoch The Bell, Under the Net The Sea

39
+ - 7 1
George Sand is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
George Sand Little Fadette, Flaubert-Sand: The Correspondence Lelia

40
+ - 16 12
Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Doris Lessing The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing Shikasta

41
+ - 33 32
E. Annie Proulx is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
E. Annie Proulx The Shipping News, Brokeback Mountain Close Range: Wyoming Stories

42
+ - 8 3
Anne McCaffrey is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Anne McCaffrey Dragonflight, Dragonsong Sassinak

43
+ - 30 29
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees Animal

The Funniest Female Comedians of All Time Quality Wines Brands at the Best Prices

44
+ - 15 12
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Alice Walker The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy The Temple of My Familiar

45
+ - 8 4
Sibylle Lewitscharoff is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever

46
+ - 43 46
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire, The Queen of the Damned Merrick

47
+ - 16 14
Muriel Spark is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Muriel Spark The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Girls of Slender Means The Mandelbaum Gate

48
+ - 50 62
Ayn Rand is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Ayn Rand Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead The Fountainhead

49
+ - 5 1
Angela Carter is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Angela Carter The Passion of New Eve, Wise Children Nights at the Circus

50
+ - 29 23
Enid Blyton is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Female Novelists Ever
Enid Blyton Five on a Treasure Island, Five on Kirrin Island Again Five Get Into Trouble