Female Professionals

The Best Female Authors of All Time 

Ranker Books
Originally by
Updated November 21, 2019 29.7k votes 4.1k voters 135.9k views 247 items

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.
list ordered by
1
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park
2
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Frankenstein, Falkner
3
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own
4
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None
5
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy
6
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Jane Eyre, Emma
7
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson
8
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
To Kill a Mockingbird
9
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner, Daniel Deronda
10
Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Louisa May Alcott Jo's Boys, Little Women, Little Men
11
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Jazz, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon
12
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
The Bell Jar
13
Emily Brontë is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Wuthering Heights
14
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game, Cat's Eye
15
Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
16
Maya Angelou is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
I Shall Not Be Moved, The Heart of a Woman, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
17
Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence
18
Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Daphne du Maurier Rebecca, The Birds, Jamaica Inn
19
Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution
20
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
looksharp added Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady, My Ántonia
21
Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery
22
Anne Frank is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
The Diary of a Young Girl
23
Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God
24
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
Anna Åhlin added La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune, Eva Luna
25
Mary Wollstonecraft is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
stubb added 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