writers The Best Novelists of All Time

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List Rules Authors who are primarily novelists

List of the best authors of all time as voted on by normal, book-loving people. For this list, we will consider writers who are mainly novelists. Many of the people included on this list are famous authors who wrote popular books; others may not be as well-known, but are masters of their craft. 

The most popular authors are ones that have somehow enriched our lives. J.D. Salinger gave us Holden Caulfield and the term "phony," James Joyce introduced us to stream-of-consciousness prose and Carson McCullers immortalized the misfits and outcasts of the U.S. South in the first half of the 20th century.
The best writers are ones that changed the literary landscape in some way, introduced an iconic character, experimented with form and style and captured our imagination with their language.


While lists of "best novelists" are often attempted by individuals, they can be easily disputed because they often amount to no more than one person's opinion. Since this Ranker list is crowdsourced and open to voting, it benefits from the collective wisdom of many rather than the whims of a few. 

Feel free to vote on this list of top authors, add some that may have been left off, or ReRank this list entirely. 

1
+ - 548 236
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Fyodor Dostoyevsky Russian Empire - The Double and Notes from the Underground 

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2
+ - 609 276
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Charles Dickens United Kingdom - Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities

3
+ - 423 197
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
John Steinbeck United States of America - One of the great American writers you were forced to read in High School and probably didn't come to appreciate until later in life. Most famous for The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice And Men, Tortilla Flat

4
+ - 459 196
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Leo Tolstoy Russian Empire - War and Peace, Anna Karenina

5
+ - 396 206
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Franz Kafka Czechoslovakia, Austria-Hungary - The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Castle

6
+ - 455 195
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe United States of America

7
+ - 570 192
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Mark Twain United States of America - Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gambler, traveler and all-around funny dude. 

8
+ - 288 151
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Herman Melville United States of America - Moby Dick, Billy Budd

9
+ - 371 132
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Victor Hugo France - Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

10
+ - 249 107
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Robert Louis Stevenson United Kingdom

11
+ - 551 151
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
George Orwell England - Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four

12
+ - 295 154
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
H. G. Wells United Kingdom

13
+ - 476 204
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ernest Hemingway United States of America - Member of the "Lost generation" and author of The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls

14
+ - 274 137
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Kurt Vonnegut United States of America, Germany

15
+ - 369 154
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time

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16
+ - 353 156
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
William Faulkner United States of America - As I Lay Dying, Light in August, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!

17
+ - 240 95
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Spain - Don Quixote

18
+ - 551 203
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
J. R. R. Tolkien United Kingdom, England - Author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Fellowship of the Ring 

19
+ - 291 138
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Virginia Woolf England - Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One's Own, The Waves

20
+ - 345 144
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
James Joyce Republic of Ireland - Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

21
+ - 301 119
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Jules Verne France - Journey to the Center of the earth

22
+ - 115 77
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Thomas Mann German Empire, United States of America Czechoslovakia - The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, Doctor Faustus, Joseph and His Brothers, etc.

23
+ - 303 138
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Agatha Christie England - British Crime Writer and Author of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, the Mousetrap, Death on the Nile"

24
+ - 261 110
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ray Bradbury United States of America

25
+ - 257 113
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Joseph Conrad United Kingdom, Russian Empire - Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim 

26
+ - 345 120
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
F. Scott Fitzgerald United States of America

27
+ - 319 238
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Stephen King United States of America

28
+ - 215 98
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Jack London United States of America

29
+ - 204 68
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time

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30
+ - 209 96
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Rudyard Kipling England

31
+ - 386 107
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Jane Austen United Kingdom, England - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (No, not the zombie version)

32
+ - 166 99
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Hermann Hesse Switzerland, Germany - Steppenwolf, Siddartha, The Glass Bead Game

33
+ - 275 91
Homer is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Homer Greece

34
+ - 144 87
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov United States of America, Russian Empire

35
+ - 147 63
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Albert Camus France

36
+ - 351 106
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time

37
+ - 221 84
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Aldous Huxley United Kingdom, England - Brave New World, The Doors of Perception, Island

38
+ - 137 72
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Henry James United States of America, United Kingdom - The Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller, The Bostonians

39
+ - 333 122
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
C. S. Lewis Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom - Creator of Narnia and all things in it. 

40
+ - 208 109
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Gabriel García Márquez Colombia - Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude

41
+ - 117 51
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Isaac Asimov United States of America

42
+ - 134 65
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
George Eliot England - Silas Marner

43
+ - 99 104
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Raymond Chandler United States of America, United Kingdom

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44
+ - 67 42
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
H. P. Lovecraft United States of America

45
+ - 197 81
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Charlotte Brontë England - Jane Eyre

46
+ - 221 99
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Emily Brontë England - Wuthering Heights

47
+ - 99 47
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Jonathan Swift Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom

48
+ - 126 16
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Dr. Seuss United States of America

49
+ - 151 94
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
D. H. Lawrence England - Lady Chatterley's Lover

50
+ - 131 88
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Marcel Proust France - In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past), perhaps excluding Vol. 3, The Guermantes Way