Writers The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today  

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38.6k votes 6.8k voters 170.2k views 146 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
1,749 1,065
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Shining, The Stand, Carrie

2
1,072 725
Cormac McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
All the Pretty Horses, Child of God, No Country for Old Men

3
1,852 1,144
J. K. Rowling is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Harry Potter series, The Casual Vacancy

4
787 520
Haruki Murakami is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

5
631 464
Thomas Pynchon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity's Rainbow

6
683 423
George R. R. Martin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
AdolfHitler added A Game of Thrones, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons

7
591 392
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
561 391
Toni Morrison is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Jazz, The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon

9
459 376
Salman Rushdie is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Midnight's Children, Shame, Fury

10
518 366
Neil Gaiman is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Stardust, The Graveyard Book, American Gods

11
372 290
Don DeLillo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
White Noise, Libra, Mao II

12
318 232
Kazuo Ishiguro is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Saddest Music in the World, The White Countess, The Unconsoled

13
362 246
Rick Riordan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
1472130938060 added The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Red Pyramid

14
295 250
Ian McEwan is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Saturday, The Innocent, Atonement

15
320 257
Milan Kundera is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke

16
291 222
Alice Munro is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Friend of My Youth, Open Secrets, The Love of a Good Woman

17
285 241
John Irving is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Cider House Rules, A Son of the Circus, A Prayer for Owen Meany

18
209 183
Tom Wolfe is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
voting closed at #20 The Last American Hero, Bonfire of the Vanities, The Right Stuff

19
218 172
John le Carré is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
199 204
Michel Houellebecq is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
electrofab added Platform, Whatever, H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World

21
207 197
Michael Chabon is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Wonder Boys, Summerland, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

22
260 214
J. M. Coetzee is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Life & Times of Michael K, Foe, Age of Iron

23
181 172
Donna Tartt is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
desideriospring added The Secret History, The Little Friend, The Goldfinch

24
221 161
Khaled Hosseini is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
130 116
Bill Bryson is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Cluggee added 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
259 213
John Green is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Angel Wild added The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines

27
144 137
Mario Vargas Llosa is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
214 202
Jonathan Franzen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Twenty-Seventh City, How to Be Alone, Freedom

29
174 178
Joyce Carol Oates is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
171 180
Joan Didion is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Play It As It Lays, The Year of Magical Thinking

31
104 114
Julian Barnes is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
FranzKafka added Flaubert's Parrot, The Porcupine, The Lemon Table

32
258 229
John Grisham is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Firm, The Chamber, Mickey

33
242 216
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Fight Club, Choke, Rant

34
64 21
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
1526547208964 added The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

35
117 139
V.S. Naipaul is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
A Bend in the River, A House for Mr Biswas, In a Free State

36
213 203
Paulo Coelho is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Alchemist

37
41 25
Larry McMurtry is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
kholzinger added Brokeback Mountain, The Last Picture Show, Lonesome Dove

38
208 200
Anne Rice is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, Mayfair Witches

39
93 90
Orhan Pamuk is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Shushan added My Name Is Red, Snow, Istanbul: Memories and a City

40
169 191
Zadie Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Piece of Flesh, White Teeth, On Beauty

41
145 162
Jeffrey Eugenides is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Virgin Suicides, The Marriage Plot, Middlesex

42
115 140
Isabel Allende is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Giving Birth, Finding Form, Eva Luna

43
190 216
James Patterson is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Clay Glenny added Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride

44
67 64
Irvine Welsh is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
bbbccc added The Acid House, Trainspotting, The Wedding

45
133 153
Barbara Kingsolver is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Poisonwood Bible, Animal Vegetable Miracle, The Bean Trees

46
223 291
Dan Brown is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Riji Romanov added The Da Vinci Code, Inferno, Deception Point

47
116 132
Martin Amis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Money, London Fields

48
185 189
Dean Koontz is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
Phantoms, Demon Seed, Reino de Las Tinieblas

49
177 181
Junot Díaz is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, This is How You Lose Her

50
97 106
Tobias Wolff is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Living Writers & Most Famous Authors Today
This Boy's Life: A Memoir, Old School, The Barracks Thief