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Female Professionals
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The Best Female Authors of All Time

Updated November 21, 2019 33.6k votes 4.5k voters 147.6k views232 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
    Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    531
    164

    Emily Dickinson

    The complete poems, The letters
  • 2
    Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    1,234
    482

    Jane Austen

    Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility
  • 3
    Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    657
    266

    Charlotte Brontë

    Jane Eyre, Emma
  • 4
    Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    729
    310

    Virginia Woolf

    Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse
  • 5
    Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    715
    318

    Mary Shelley

    Frankenstein, Falkner
  • 6
    Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    756
    261

    Agatha Christie

    A Witness for the Prosecution, And Then There Were None
  • 7
    Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    414
    201

    Toni Morrison

    Jazz, The Bluest Eye
  • 8
    George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    382
    153

    George Eliot

    Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life, Silas Marner
  • 9
    Louisa May Alcott is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    453
    211

    Louisa May Alcott

    Jo's Boys, Little Women
  • 10
    Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    657
    276

    Harper Lee

    To Kill a Mockingbird
  • 11
    Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    383
    192

    Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar
  • 12
    Flannery O'Connor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    260
    114

    Flannery O'Connor

    Wise Blood, A Good Man Is Hard to Find
  • 13
    Edith Wharton is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    243
    112

    Edith Wharton

    Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence
  • 14
    J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    1,057
    647

    J. K. Rowling

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, The Casual Vacancy
  • 15
    Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    443
    148

    Margaret Atwood

    The Year of the Flood, The Circle Game
  • 16
    Mary Wollstonecraft is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    171
    59

    Mary Wollstonecraft

    A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects, Mary: A Fiction
  • 17
    Ursula K. Le Guin is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    238
    111

    Ursula K. Le Guin

    Always Coming Home, The Day Before the Revolution
  • 18
    Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    171
    84

    Isabel Allende

    La casa de los espíritus, Daughter of Fortune
  • 19
    Shirley Jackson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    176
    59

    Shirley Jackson

    The Haunting of Hill House, The Lottery
  • 20
    Zora Neale Hurston is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    194
    109

    Zora Neale Hurston

    Sweat, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • 21
    Doris Lessing is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    131
    48

    Doris Lessing

    The Golden Notebook, The Grass Is Singing
  • 22
    Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    183
    115

    Willa Cather

    Death Comes for the Archbishop, A Lost Lady
  • 23
    Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    222
    119

    Alice Walker

    The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy
  • 24
    Daphne du Maurier is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    266
    131

    Daphne du Maurier

    Rebecca, The Birds
  • 25
    Laura Ingalls Wilder is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Female Authors of All Time
    99
    38

    Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Little House in the Big Woods, The Long Winter
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