Culture

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
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
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities
3
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Russian Empire
War and Peace, Anna Karenina
4
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England
Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four
5
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 5 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
6
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 6 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. 
7
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 7 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
8
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 8 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 
9
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ireland
Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
10
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia
The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Castle
11
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
mrblond added Scotland
12
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Spain
Don Quixote
13
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America
Moby Dick, Billy Budd
14
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France
Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
15
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America
16
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom
17
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
sudeeshab added France
18
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 18 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!
19
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France
Journey to the Center of the earth
20
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England
Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One's Own, The Waves
21
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
2probb added United States of America, German Empire, Czechoslovakia
The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, Doctor Faustus, Joseph and His Brothers, etc.
22
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ber718 added United States of America, Germany
23
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom
24
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, Russian Empire
Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim 
25
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 25 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"