Culture The Best Novelists of All Time  

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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. 
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list ordered by

1
1,319 529
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
1,193 551
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities

3
1,038 373
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Russian Empire
War and Peace, Anna Karenina

4
763 484
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
833 463
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
868 448
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America

7
955 388
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
1,113 328
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
England
Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four

9
1,041 394
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
682 263
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
France
Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

11
709 277
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Ulysses, Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

12
1,081 410
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
498 230
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ElijahKaganer added Spain
Don Quixote

14
559 328
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United Kingdom, England

15
522 304
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
691 325
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
mrblond added Scotland

17
672 276
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
493 204
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
468 247
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
Scotland, United Kingdom

20
560 272
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
555 312
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
ber718 added United States of America

22
247 213
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
425 244
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
611 298
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
659 234
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Novelists of All Time
United States of America