Female Professionals
4.8k voters

The Best Female Authors of All Time

Updated November 9, 2020 33.5k votes 4.8k voters 156.1k 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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  • Jane Austen1
    1,274
    478

    Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
  • Emily Dickinson2
    554
    177

    Emily Dickinson

    The complete poems, The letters
  • Charlotte Brontë3
    690
    268

    Charlotte Brontë

    Jane Eyre, Emma
  • Virginia Woolf4
    743
    302

    Virginia Woolf

    Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse
  • Mary Shelley5
    720
    317

    Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein, Falkner
  • Agatha Christie6
    785
    255

    Agatha Christie

    A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None
  • Toni Morrison7
    425
    210

    Toni Morrison

    Jazz, The Bluest Eye
  • George Eliot8
    389
    154

    George Eliot

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner
  • Louisa May Alcott9
    467
    211

    Louisa May Alcott

    Jo's Boys, Little Women
  • Sylvia Plath10
    384
    193

    Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar
  • Harper Lee11
    655
    271

    Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Flannery O'Connor12
    265
    119

    Flannery O'Connor

    Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • Edith Wharton13
    241
    107

    Edith Wharton

    Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence
  • Ursula K. Le Guin14
    245
    106

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution
  • Margaret Atwood15
    447
    146

    Margaret Atwood

    The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game
  • Mary Wollstonecraft16
    169
    59

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Mary: A Fiction
  • J. K. Rowling17
    1,044
    675

    J. K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy
  • Isabel Allende18
    176
    81

    Isabel Allende

    La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune
  • Shirley Jackson19
    176
    61

    Shirley Jackson

    The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery
  • Willa Cather20
    192
    110

    Willa Cather

    Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady
  • Zora Neale Hurston21
    201
    110

    Zora Neale Hurston

    Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Alice Walker22
    217
    121

    Alice Walker

    The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • Doris Lessing23
    134
    50

    Doris Lessing

    The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing
  • Daphne du Maurier24
    276
    130

    Daphne du Maurier

    Rebecca, The Birds
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder25
    115
    44

    Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter