Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
210.2k votes 22.9k voters 374.8k views 1,175 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 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 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.

1
6,515 2,960
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
5,039 2,284
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

3
3,458 1,539
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Charles Dickens Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

4
4,168 1,876
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

5
2,792 1,347
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,547 1,222
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

7
3,428 1,699
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

8
2,686 1,325
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
2,711 1,339
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

10
1,718 848
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Victor Hugo Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Odes et Ballades

11
1,817 914
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray, The importance of being Earnest and other plays, An Ideal Husband

12
1,646 837
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

13
2,146 1,118
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

14
1,293 642
Plato is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

15
1,630 831
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

16
2,264 1,192
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

17
1,745 901
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

18
1,426 724
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added Arthur Conan Doyle The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

19
1,565 812
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

20
1,455 751
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

21
1,415 732
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

22
1,192 607
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

23
1,148 584
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

24
1,460 769
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

25
379 141
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Georgian11 added Shota Rustaveli The Knight in the Panther's Skin, Le chevalier à la peu de tigre, Vytiaz' v tyhroviǐ shkuri

26
1,213 630
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added Jules Verne 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Castaways of the Flag

27
360 133
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

28
1,051 541
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

29
829 419
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added Agatha Christie The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

30
942 490
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

31
779 398
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Robert Louis Stevenson Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

32
885 463
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Brothers Grimm Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

33
926 489
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Gabriel García Márquez One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

34
801 413
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added H. G. Wells The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

35
1,050 566
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

36
695 349
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

37
964 516
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

38
654 329
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

39
1,075 595
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Roald Dahl Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

40
897 487
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

41
1,225 693
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added Friedrich Nietzsche On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

42
1,684 983
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

43
789 423
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

44
896 491
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

45
775 419
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

46
789 429
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

47
741 412
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

48
687 377
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added Emily Dickinson The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

49
719 399
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham

50
576 307
Voltaire is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Voltaire Candide, Zaïre, The age of Louis XIV