Female Professionals
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The Best Female Authors of All Time

Updated November 9, 2020 33.7k votes 5.0k voters 161.2k views233 items

List RulesVote 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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  • 1
    1,292
    474

    Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
  • 2
    565
    181

    Emily Dickinson

    The complete poems, The letters
  • 3
    695
    272

    Charlotte Brontë

    Jane Eyre, Emma
  • 4
    743
    299

    Virginia Woolf

    Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse
  • 5
    724
    309

    Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein, Falkner
  • 6
    789
    248

    Agatha Christie

    A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None
  • 7
    432
    212

    Toni Morrison

    Jazz, The Bluest Eye
  • 8
    404
    154

    George Eliot

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner
  • 9
    471
    207

    Louisa May Alcott

    Jo's Boys, Little Women
  • 10
    659
    264

    Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird
  • 11
    387
    191

    Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar
  • 12
    247
    103

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution
  • 13
    245
    107

    Edith Wharton

    Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence
  • 14
    260
    118

    Flannery O'Connor

    Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • 15
    453
    141

    Margaret Atwood

    The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game
  • 16
    181
    84

    Isabel Allende

    La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune
  • 17
    1,037
    692

    J. K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy
  • 18
    167
    61

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Mary: A Fiction
  • 19
    178
    61

    Shirley Jackson

    The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery
  • 20
    191
    110

    Willa Cather

    Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady
  • 21
    201
    111

    Zora Neale Hurston

    Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • 22
    282
    126

    Daphne du Maurier

    Rebecca, The Birds
  • 23
    134
    52

    Doris Lessing

    The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing
  • 24
    218
    121

    Alice Walker

    The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • 25
    117
    45

    Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter