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
2,755 1,317
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

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2
3,534 1,713
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

3
2,158 1,017
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
1,865 905
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
938 432
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
1,897 957
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

7
1,542 765
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
1,523 767
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
1,548 781
Homer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

10
1,364 685
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
1,065 531
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
1,054 537
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

13
1,239 647
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
870 436
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

15
871 442
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

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16
940 483
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
1,655 906
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

18
757 376
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
1,011 530
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

20
898 463
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

21
714 358
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

22
628 311
Plato is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

23
805 421
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
742 385
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
621 314
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

26
607 310
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
567 293
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

28
850 479
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

29
566 297
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 29 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

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30
603 321
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
654 361
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

32
447 227
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

33
483 253
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
516 275
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
443 231
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
647 368
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

37
455 242
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

38
524 292
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
304 144
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
490 273
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

41
361 185
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
516 291
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

43
715 427
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 43 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

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44
516 292
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
374 196
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

46
583 340
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

47
341 174
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

48
376 199
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

49
411 226
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
385 210
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim