writers The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today  

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32.9k votes 5.8k voters 148.2k views 135 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!

list ordered by

1
1,580 977
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
J. K. Rowling Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy

2
1,475 908
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Stephen King The Shining, The Stand, Carrie

3
891 612
Cormac McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
669 461
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
539 417
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
543 331
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
499 346
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
476 335
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
405 325
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
443 320
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
319 253
Don DeLillo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Don DeLillo White Noise, Libra, Mao II

12
290 191
Rick Riordan is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
272 196
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
262 217
Ian McEwan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Ian McEwan Saturday, The Innocent, Atonement

14 Celebrities Who Are Heirs

15
286 223
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
252 199
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
191 141
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
260 195
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
209 183
Tom Wolfe is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
180 175
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
187 167
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

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

22
233 187
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
J. M. Coetzee Life & Times of Michael K, Foe, Age of Iron

23
153 139
Donna Tartt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
desideriospring added Donna Tartt The Secret History, The Little Friend, The Goldfinch

24
184 125
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
101 87
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
123 114
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
90 89
Julian Barnes is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
FranzKafka added Julian Barnes Flaubert's Parrot, The Porcupine, The Lemon Table

28
151 151
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 28 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

45 of Your Childhood Crushes (Then and Now)

29
152 154
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
197 164
John Green is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
179 176
Jonathan Franzen is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Jonathan Franzen The Twenty-Seventh City, How to Be Alone, Freedom

32
102 114
V.S. Naipaul is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
209 184
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Chuck Palahniuk Fight Club, Choke, Rant

34
201 185
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
John Grisham The Firm, The Chamber, Mickey

35
177 162
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 Best Novels About World War 2

36
103 115
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Isabel Allende Giving Birth, Finding Form, Eva Luna

37
132 138
Jeffrey Eugenides is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides, The Marriage Plot, Middlesex

38
78 71
Orhan Pamuk is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
150 165
Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Zadie Smith Piece of Flesh, White Teeth, On Beauty

40
121 130
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Barbara Kingsolver The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Vegetable Miracle, The Bean Trees

41
170 162
Paulo Coelho is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

42
106 113
Martin Amis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Martin Amis Money, London Fields

All the Captain Underpants Books, Ranked Best to Worst

43
159 154
Junot Díaz is listed (or ranked) 43 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

44
160 156
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Dean Koontz Phantoms, Demon Seed, Reino de Las Tinieblas

45
55 49
Irvine Welsh is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
bbbccc added Irvine Welsh The Acid House, Trainspotting, The Wedding

46
87 90
Tobias Wolff is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Tobias Wolff This Boy's Life: A Memoir, Old School, The Barracks Thief

47
66 79
John Banville is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
cglanovsky added John Banville Albert Nobbs, The Book of Evidence, The Sea

48
153 175
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Clay Glenny added James Patterson Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride

49
77 98
Sherman Alexie is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
sweatyinhofe added Sherman Alexie Smoke Signals, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Reservation Blues

50
60 60
Diana Gabaldon is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Diana Gabaldon Outlander, A Breath of Snow and Ashes, Voyager