Female Professionals
4.6k voters

The Best Female Authors of All Time

Updated November 9, 2020 34.0k votes 4.6k voters 149.8k 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
    Jane Austen
    1,257
    486

    Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
  • 2
    Emily Dickinson
    548
    168

    Emily Dickinson

    The complete poems, The letters
  • 3
    Charlotte Brontë
    670
    272

    Charlotte Brontë

    Jane Eyre, Emma
  • 4
    Virginia Woolf
    745
    314

    Virginia Woolf

    Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse
  • 5
    Mary Shelley
    726
    321

    Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein, Falkner
  • 6
    Agatha Christie
    776
    262

    Agatha Christie

    A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None
  • 7
    Toni Morrison
    424
    206

    Toni Morrison

    Jazz, The Bluest Eye
  • 8
    George Eliot
    389
    154

    George Eliot

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner
  • 9
    Louisa May Alcott
    465
    213

    Louisa May Alcott

    Jo's Boys, Little Women
  • 10
    Sylvia Plath
    388
    194

    Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar
  • 11
    Harper Lee
    666
    276

    Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird
  • 12
    Edith Wharton
    247
    112

    Edith Wharton

    Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence
  • 13
    Flannery O'Connor
    264
    116

    Flannery O'Connor

    Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • 14
    Margaret Atwood
    457
    148

    Margaret Atwood

    The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game
  • 15
    Mary Wollstonecraft
    172
    59

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Mary: A Fiction
  • 16
    Ursula K. Le Guin
    246
    111

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution
  • 17
    J. K. Rowling
    1,067
    665

    J. K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy
  • 18
    Isabel Allende
    174
    84

    Isabel Allende

    La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune
  • 19
    Shirley Jackson
    177
    59

    Shirley Jackson

    The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery
  • 20
    Willa Cather
    188
    115

    Willa Cather

    Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady
  • 21
    Zora Neale Hurston
    200
    110

    Zora Neale Hurston

    Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • 22
    Doris Lessing
    132
    48

    Doris Lessing

    The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing
  • 23
    Alice Walker
    223
    120

    Alice Walker

    The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • 24
    Daphne du Maurier
    270
    132

    Daphne du Maurier

    Rebecca, The Birds
  • 25
    Laura Ingalls Wilder
    108
    40

    Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter