Literature The Best Novelists of All Time  

Ranker Books
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List Rules Authors who are primarily novelists

List of the best authors of all time as voted on by normal, book-loving people. For this list, we will consider writers who are mainly novelists. Many of the people included on this list are famous authors who wrote popular books; others may not be as well-known, but are masters of their craft. 

The most popular authors are ones that have somehow enriched our lives. J.D. Salinger gave us Holden Caulfield and the term "phony," James Joyce introduced us to stream-of-consciousness prose and Carson McCullers immortalized the misfits and outcasts of the U.S. South in the first half of the 20th century.
The best writers are ones that changed the literary landscape in some way, introduced an iconic character, experimented with form and style and captured our imagination with their language.

While lists of "best novelists" are often attempted by individuals, they can be easily disputed because they often amount to no more than one person's opinion. Since this Ranker list is crowdsourced and open to voting, it benefits from the collective wisdom of many rather than the whims of a few. 

Feel free to vote on this list of top authors, add some that may have been left off, or ReRank this list entirely. 
list ordered by

1
1,226 495
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Russian Empire - The Double and Notes from the Underground 

2
966 347
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Russian Empire - War and Peace, Anna Karenina

3
1,124 528
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom - Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities

4
722 456
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia - The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Castle

5
785 432
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - One of the great American writers you were forced to read in High School and probably didn't come to appreciate until later in life. Most famous for The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Of Mice And Men, Tortilla Flat

6
828 419
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

7
1,038 308
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England - Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four

8
982 382
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gambler, traveler and all-around funny dude. 

9
905 360
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - Member of the "Lost generation" and author of The Old Man and the Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls

10
1,024 388
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom - Author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Fellowship of the Ring 

11
526 310
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom

12
646 248
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France - Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

13
661 258
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

14
654 306
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
mrblond added Scotland

15
470 217
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Spain - Don Quixote

16
637 261
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - As I Lay Dying, Light in August, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!

17
496 291
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - Moby Dick, Billy Budd

18
443 233
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Scotland, United Kingdom

19
529 253
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England - Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One's Own, The Waves

20
522 295
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ber718 added United States of America

21
466 194
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, Russian Empire - Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim 

22
578 286
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom - British Crime Writer and Author of And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient Express, the Mousetrap, Death on the Nile"

23
617 222
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

24
230 207
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
2probb added German Empire, United States of America, Czechoslovakia - The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, Doctor Faustus, Joseph and His Brothers, etc.

25
473 232
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

26
620 490
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
calistylie added United States of America

27
469 245
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France - Journey to the Center of the earth

28
390 202
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

29
404 229
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Switzerland, Germany - Steppenwolf, Siddartha, The Glass Bead Game

30
376 161
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
sudeeshab added France

31
368 192
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England

32
724 174
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
JoséValente added United Kingdom, England - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (No, not the zombie version)

33
340 177
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added United States of America, Russian Empire

34
755 206
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
lalispeter added England

35
341 150
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
JacobWestman added France

36
555 219
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom - Creator of Narnia and all things in it. 

37
465 181
Homer is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
korlsa added Greece

38
385 206
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
kent787 added Colombia - Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude

39
394 152
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, England - Brave New World, The Doors of Perception, Island

40
230 105
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
doremifasola added Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom

41
246 130
George Eliot is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
freelancerrh added England - Silas Marner

42
220 165
Henry James is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
2probb added United States of America, United Kingdom - The Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller, The Bostonians

43
178 191
Raymond Chandler is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
mrblond added United States of America, United Kingdom

44
257 136
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Holy Roman Empire, German Confederation

45
253 142
Isaac Asimov is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
noémi-csiki added United States of America

46
234 186
Douglas Adams is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
JakeFraser added England

47
178 141
H. P. Lovecraft is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

48
260 163
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England - Lady Chatterley's Lover

49
259 170
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
2probb added France - In Search of Lost Time (aka Remembrance of Things Past), perhaps excluding Vol. 3, The Guermantes Way

50
271 63
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
BenjaminLatting added United Kingdom, England - Author of Frankenstein = All you need to know