authors The Best Writers of All Time  

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List Rules Vote up the best writers and authors of all time.

The pen is truly mightier than the sword, and if you’re a book enthusiast you know that to be true. Some of history’s most influential people were authors, writing the most important literature and political works of all time. Writers have shaped human history, capturing some of the most important historical events and reflecting the culture of a changing world around us in a profound way. Who are the best writers of all time? Vote up the authors you think are the best and see how they rank!

The writers on this list are the best in history, writing books, plays, essays, and poetry that has stood the test of time and make up the world's canon of literature and written work. No matter what type of writing you like to read, you can't go wrong with a book by one of these best writers of all time.

This list features the best writers ever, including, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Herman Melleville, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allan Poe. Vote up the best authors of all time below or add the writer you think is the best who isn't already on the list.
list ordered by

1
2,933 1,453
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

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2
2,316 1,134
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

3
1,791 860
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

4
1,558 785
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

5
1,546 782
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Charles Dickens Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

6
1,290 645
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

7
1,276 639
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

8
749 346
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Victor Hugo Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Odes et Ballades

9
1,342 679
Homer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

10
1,171 593
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

11
1,060 544
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

12
898 454
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray, The importance of being Earnest and other plays, An Ideal Husband

13
873 448
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

14
1,526 838
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

15
875 451
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

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16
711 354
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
768 389
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

18
790 404
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

19
628 307
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added Arthur Conan Doyle The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

20
738 373
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

21
616 300
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

22
641 330
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added Jules Verne 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Castaways of the Flag

23
672 353
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

24
523 264
Plato is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

25
488 247
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

26
538 279
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

27
581 307
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

28
510 270
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

29
478 252
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Roald Dahl Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

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30
379 190
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added H. G. Wells The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

31
579 323
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

32
625 355
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

33
472 253
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

34
431 226
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Brothers Grimm Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

35
522 289
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

36
465 252
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

37
377 194
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

38
428 229
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

39
640 373
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added Friedrich Nietzsche On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

40
420 224
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

41
439 245
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

42
392 214
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added Emily Dickinson The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

43
380 206
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

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44
351 186
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

45
302 153
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Jack London The Call of the Wild, White Fang, John Barleycorn

46
329 173
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

47
452 261
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Aldous Huxley Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice

48
280 141
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

49
349 190
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions

50
330 178
Robert Frost is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added Robert Frost The Collected Poems, Come in, The Road Not Taken