The Best Novelists of All Time

Over 9.2K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Novelists of All Time
Voting 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. 
Photo: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License
Ranked by
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky
    3,588 votes
    Russian Empire
    The Double and Notes from the Underground 
  • Leo Tolstoy
    2,773 votes
    Russian Empire
    War and Peace, Anna Karenina
  • Charles Dickens
    2,971 votes
    United Kingdom, England
    Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities
  • Jane Austen
    1,847 votes
    United Kingdom, England
    Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice (No, not the zombie version)
  • Victor Hugo
    1,677 votes
    Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • George Orwell
    2,608 votes
    Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four