writers The Best Writers of All Time  

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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.
list ordered by

1
3,788 1,818
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

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2
2,934 1,392
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
2,306 1,076
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
2,025 959
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
2,055 1,027
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

6
1,660 817
Homer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

7
1,641 819
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

8
1,628 817
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
1,018 481
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
1,456 733
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

11
1,338 679
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
1,134 571
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
947 471
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

14
1,113 573
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

15
697 334
Plato is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

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16
817 405
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
1,007 518
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
929 472
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

19
960 491
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

20
1,071 558
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

21
1,707 936
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

22
763 385
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
857 453
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

24
782 413
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
660 339
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
662 341
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

27
366 166
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
602 319
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

29
933 535
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

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30
636 343
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

31
596 320
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
688 381
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

33
479 245
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

34
515 271
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
547 294
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
488 255
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

37
682 384
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

38
474 246
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
558 308
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
545 306
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

41
390 203
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
613 358
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

43
430 232
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

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44
540 309
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Aldous Huxley Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice

45
746 452
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
515 292
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

47
409 220
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

48
329 165
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre

49
441 244
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions

50
401 217
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella