Writers

The Best Writers of All Time 

Ranker Books
Updated November 11, 2019 331.3k votes 63.9k voters 738.1k views 1,176 items

List Rules Vote up the best writers and authors of all time.

The pen is truly mightier than the sword, and if you’re a book enthusiast you know that to be true. Some of history’s most influential people were authors, writing the most important literature and political works of all time. Writers have shaped human history, capturing some of the most important historical events and reflecting the culture of a changing world around us in a profound way. Who are the best writers of all time? Vote up the authors you think are the best and see how they rank! 

The famous writers on this list are the best in history, writing books, plays, essays, and poetry that has stood the test of time and make up the world's canon of literature and written work. No matter what type of writing you like to read, you can't go wrong with a book by one of these best writers of all time. Simply put, they're easily some of the most famous authors of all time.

This list of authors features the best writers ever, including, William Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Emily Bronte, Geoffrey Chaucer, Homer, Joseph Conrad, Charles Dickens, Herman Melleville, William Faulkner, and Edgar Allan Poe. Vote up the best authors of all time below or add the writer you think is the best who isn't already on the list.

list ordered by
1
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet
2
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dimos Dicoudis added Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot
3
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession
4
Homer is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey
5
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House
6
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses
7
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises
8
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm
9
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Odes et Ballades
10
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma
11
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion
12
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado
13
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise
14
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath
15
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard
16
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
17
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses
18
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters
19
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Picture of Dorian Gray, The importance of being Earnest and other plays, An Ideal Husband
20
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I
21
Plato is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion
22
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles
23
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin
24
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice
25
Hans Christian Andersen ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale