• Culture

The Best Novelists of All Time

List RulesAuthors 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. 
Photo:
  • 1
    2,125
    730
    Russian Empire
    The Double and Notes from the Underground 
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  • 2
    1,622
    554
    Russian Empire
    War and Peace, Anna Karenina
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  • 3
    1,494
    658
    Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four
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  • 4
    1,319
    579
    United States of America
    Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, gambler, traveler and all-around funny dude. 
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  • 5
    1,700
    697
    United Kingdom, England
    Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities
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  • 6
    1,529
    681
    United Kingdom, England
    Author of the classic high fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Fellowship of the Ring 
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  • 7
    1,372
    617
    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
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  • 8
    813
    346
    ElijahKaganer addedSpain
    Don Quixote
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  • 9
    1,098
    364
    JoséValente addedUnited Kingdom
    Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (No, not the zombie version)
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  • 10
    971
    367
    Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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  • 11
    876
    390
    United States of America
    As I Lay Dying, Light in August, The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!
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  • 12
    682
    293
    United Kingdom, Russian Empire
    Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim 
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  • 13
    658
    303
    kent787 addedColombia
    Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude
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  • 14
    932
    427
    Republic of Ireland
    Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
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  • 15
    638
    272
    JacobWestman addedFrance
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  • 16
    1,131
    568
    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
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  • 17
    887
    401
    United States of America
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  • 18
    545
    244
    United Kingdom, England
    Brave New World, The Doors of Perception, Island
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  • 19
    670
    333
    Journey to the Center of the earth
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  • 20
    609
    278
    sudeeshab addedFrance
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  • 21
    913
    427
    mrblond addedScotland
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  • 22
    1,049
    563
    Austria-Hungary, Czechoslovakia
    The Trial, The Metamorphosis, The Castle
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  • 23
    619
    308
    Scotland, United Kingdom
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  • 24
    742
    380
    Mrs. Dalloway, A Room of One's Own, The Waves
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  • 25
    693
    363
    United States of America
    Moby Dick, Billy Budd
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List Rules: Authors who are primarily novelists