writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
189.3k votes 20.4k voters 339.8k views 689 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.

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
5,765 2,656
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,463 2,037
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
3,713 1,684
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

4
3,041 1,381
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Charles Dickens Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

5
2,482 1,191
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,191 1,074
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
3,027 1,535
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
2,382 1,203
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

9
2,368 1,204
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

10
1,521 755
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
1,899 992
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

12
1,598 824
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 12 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

13
1,120 554
Plato is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

14
1,479 764
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

15
1,570 818
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

16
1,301 665
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

17
259 69
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
2,102 1,129
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

19
1,239 633
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
1,391 724
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
1,069 540
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 21 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

The Best eBooks Sites

22
1,431 751
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

23
1,332 702
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

24
1,100 567
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
1,239 653
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

26
1,027 529
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

27
710 357
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
944 507
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

The Best Rolling Stone Covers

29
1,136 629
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
821 434
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
687 352
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
228 67
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

33
689 357
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
826 443
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

35
915 501
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

The Most Overrated Books of All Time

36
869 473
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

37
771 414
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
820 445
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
611 314
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

40
700 375
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

41
965 545
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
1,456 875
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

The 10 Most Bizarre Sex Ed Videos

43
691 380
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

44
710 393
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

45
806 457
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

46
543 285
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

47
694 385
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

48
627 343
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
557 302
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Jack London The Call of the Wild, White Fang, John Barleycorn

50
560 305
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim