Writers The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today  

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36.5k votes 6.4k voters 161.1k views 140 items

List Rules Authors and writers who are still alive. Vote up the best, most talented, living writers.

If you consider yourself a bibliophile, this list of the absolute best living authors should be of great interest to you. It features contemporary authors who have forever shaped the literary world, producing many books that will go down in history as classics. The art form of literature and writing usually attempts to depict the changing world around us in one aspect or another. It's important to understand the times in which we live and forever record that for the next generation to read. Who are the best living writers attempting this feat?

The novelists on this list are some of the most famous writers in history, not just in modern times. Many of the books these authors have written have been made into blockbuster films, while others are simply modern day literary classics, that need to be read to be truly appreciated. These writers, and their works, will be remembered for generations to come.

This list features the best living writers who are producing some of the world’s best written work including, Philip Roth, J.K. Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Stephen King, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, and Tom Wolfe. Vote up the best living authors below and see how the writers you think are the best rank!

1
1,644 1,009
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Stephen King The Shining, The Stand, Carrie

2
998 677
Cormac McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Cormac McCarthy All the Pretty Horses, Child of God, No Country for Old Men

3
1,745 1,085
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy

4
740 497
Haruki Murakami is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Haruki Murakami A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

5
596 445
Thomas Pynchon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Thomas Pynchon V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow

6
627 386
George R. R. Martin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
AdolfHitler added George R. R. Martin A Game of Thrones, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons

7
557 378
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, Alias Grace

8
531 372
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Toni Morrison Jazz, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon

9
433 360
Salman Rushdie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Salman Rushdie Midnight's Children, Shame, Fury

10
480 348
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Neil Gaiman Stardust, The Graveyard Book, American Gods

11
339 221
Rick Riordan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
1472130938060 added Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Red Pyramid

12
345 278
Don DeLillo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Don DeLillo White Noise, Libra, Mao II

13
297 220
Kazuo Ishiguro is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Kazuo Ishiguro The Saddest Music in the World, The White Countess, The Unconsoled

14
281 238
Ian McEwan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Ian McEwan Saturday, The Innocent, Atonement

The 30+ Best Living Novelists & Fiction Authors Today, Ranked

15
302 244
Milan Kundera is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Milan Kundera The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke

16
272 228
John Irving is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
John Irving The Cider House Rules, A Son of the Circus, A Prayer for Owen Meany

17
209 183
Tom Wolfe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
voting closed at #20 Tom Wolfe - Died May 15, 2018 The Last American Hero, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff

18
278 213
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Alice Munro Friend of My Youth, Open Secrets, The Love of a Good Woman

19
207 161
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
John le Carré The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

20
193 193
Michel Houellebecq is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
electrofab added Michel Houellebecq Platform, Whatever, H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World

21
200 186
Michael Chabon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Michael Chabon Wonder Boys, Summerland, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Greatest Graphic Novels and Collected Editions

22
170 158
Donna Tartt is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
desideriospring added Donna Tartt The Secret History, The Little Friend, The Goldfinch

23
243 207
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
J. M. Coetzee Life & Times of Michael K, Foe, Age of Iron

24
204 148
Khaled Hosseini is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Angel Wild added Khaled Hosseini The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Cometas En El Cielo / The Kite Runner

25
118 107
Bill Bryson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Cluggee added Bill Bryson A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail, A Short History of Nearly Everything, The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir

26
137 131
Mario Vargas Llosa is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
FranzKafka added Mario Vargas Llosa The Feast of the Goat, The Way to Paradise, The Cubs and Other Stories

27
233 192
John Green is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Angel Wild added John Green The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines

28
198 194
Jonathan Franzen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Jonathan Franzen The Twenty-Seventh City, How to Be Alone, Freedom

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

29
165 175
Joan Didion is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Joan Didion Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It As It Lays, The Year of Magical Thinking

30
96 107
Julian Barnes is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
FranzKafka added Julian Barnes Flaubert's Parrot, The Porcupine, The Lemon Table

31
160 173
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Joyce Carol Oates Snowfall, Love and Its Derangements and Other Poems, The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates

32
226 206
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club, Choke, Rant

33
234 215
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
John Grisham The Firm, The Chamber, Mickey

34
111 135
V.S. Naipaul is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
V.S. Naipaul A Bend in the River, A House for Mr Biswas, In a Free State

35
194 188
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Anne Rice Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Mayfair Witches

The Most Overrated Books of All Time

36
180 199
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Clay Glenny added James Patterson Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride

37
33 19
Larry McMurtry is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
kholzinger added Larry McMurtry Brokeback Mountain, The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove

38
159 185
Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Zadie Smith Piece of Flesh, White Teeth, On Beauty

39
108 135
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Isabel Allende Giving Birth, Finding Form, Eva Luna

40
137 158
Jeffrey Eugenides is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides, The Marriage Plot, Middlesex

41
85 86
Orhan Pamuk is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Shushan added Orhan Pamuk My Name Is Red, Snow, Istanbul: Memories and a City

42
190 192
Paulo Coelho is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

The Best Rolling Stone Covers

43
43 15
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
1526547208964 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

44
128 147
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Vegetable Miracle, The Bean Trees

45
172 174
Junot Díaz is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Junot Díaz The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, This is How You Lose Her

46
112 127
Martin Amis is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Martin Amis Money, London Fields

47
212 277
Dan Brown is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Riji Romanov added Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, Deception Point

48
62 60
Irvine Welsh is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
bbbccc added Irvine Welsh The Acid House, Trainspotting, The Wedding

49
174 179
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Demon Seed, Reino de Las Tinieblas

50
93 102
Tobias Wolff is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Tobias Wolff This Boy's Life: A Memoir, Old School, The Barracks Thief