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The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today 

Ranker Books
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Updated June 1, 2020 63.9k votes 11.8k voters 280.2k views 205 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 people below are some of the best writers today. The art form of literature and writing usually attempts to depict the changing world around us in one aspect or another. That makes these famous writers today powerful tools for preserving the times. It's important to understand the times in which we live and forever record that for the next generation to read. That's where these best modern writers come in. 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 famous modern 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 contemporary writers, and their works, will be remembered for generations to come. Who are your favorite famous current authors? 

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. This list is all famous authors who are still alive. Vote up the best living authors below and see how the writers you think are the best rank!

list ordered by
1
Cormac McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
All the Pretty Horses, Child of God, No Country for Old Men
2
Haruki Murakami is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
3
Thomas Pynchon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow
4
Kazuo Ishiguro is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Saddest Music in the World, The White Countess, The Unconsoled
5
Salman Rushdie is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Midnight's Children, Shame, Fury
6
Don DeLillo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
White Noise, Libra, Mao II
7
Margaret Atwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's Eye, Alias Grace
8
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Stardust, The Graveyard Book, American Gods
9
Ian McEwan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Saturday, The Innocent, Atonement
10
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
voting closed at #8 Jazz, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon
11
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy
12
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Friend of My Youth, Open Secrets, The Love of a Good Woman
13
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Life & Times of Michael K, Foe, Age of Iron
14
Milan Kundera is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke
15
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Shining, The Stand, Carrie
16
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Tailor of Panama, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
17
Mario Vargas Llosa is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
FranzKafka added The Feast of the Goat, The Way to Paradise, The Cubs and Other Stories
18
Jonathan Franzen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Twenty-Seventh City, How to Be Alone, Freedom
19
Khaled Hosseini is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Angel Wild added The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, Cometas En El Cielo / The Kite Runner
20
Joan Didion is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It As It Lays, The Year of Magical Thinking
21
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Snowfall, Love and Its Derangements and Other Poems, The Journals of Joyce Carol Oates
22
Orhan Pamuk is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Shushan added My Name Is Red, Snow, Istanbul: Memories and a City
23
Michael Chabon is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Wonder Boys, Summerland, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
24
Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Piece of Flesh, White Teeth, On Beauty
25
Donna Tartt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
desideriospring added The Secret History, The Little Friend, The Goldfinch