Literature The Best Novelists of All Time  

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List Rules Authors who are primarily novelists

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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
1,285 522
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
1,013 367
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Russian Empire - War and Peace, Anna Karenina

3
1,170 547
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England - Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities

4
744 478
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Czechoslovakia, Austria-Hungary - The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Castle

5
815 456
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
854 438
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

7
937 382
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
1,084 322
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England - Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four

9
1,024 392
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 9 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. 

10
695 269
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

11
665 262
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France - Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

12
1,061 406
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
South Africa - Author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Fellowship of the Ring 

13
489 226
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Spain - Don Quixote

14
548 323
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, England

15
514 299
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America - Moby Dick, Billy Budd

16
678 320
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
mrblond added Scotland

17
660 270
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 17 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!

18
483 199
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, Russian Empire - Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim 

19
553 264
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
459 243
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Scotland, United Kingdom

21
548 307
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ber718 added United States of America

22
241 210
Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
2probb added United States of America, Czechoslovakia, Germany - The Magic Mountain, Buddenbrooks, Doctor Faustus, Joseph and His Brothers, etc.

23
417 240
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Switzerland, Germany - Steppenwolf, Siddartha, The Glass Bead Game

24
605 295
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 24 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"

25
643 233
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America