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
3,088 1,513
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time

2
1,881 896
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Leo Tolstoy War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

3
2,421 1,177
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

4
1,618 812
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
1,349 669
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

6
1,633 831
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
783 361
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
1,349 676
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
1,389 703
Homer is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

10
1,215 614
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
1,101 562
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
937 469
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
923 463
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

14
907 461
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

15
824 416
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 15 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

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16
1,560 852
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

17
745 372
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

18
766 386
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
798 406
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

20
636 311
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
650 320
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 21 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

22
667 341
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
701 367
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
542 274
Plato is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

25
602 317
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

26
502 257
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

27
533 279
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

28
547 289
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

29
691 385
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
499 263
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
395 198
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
594 330
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

33
491 262
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
448 237
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
538 298
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

36
444 238
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

37
475 260
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

38
657 385
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
429 232
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
399 212
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
408 221
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
386 206
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

43
455 254
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 43 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

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44
315 159
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
470 268
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Aldous Huxley Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice

46
294 147
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
361 195
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions

48
358 193
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

49
298 151
Voltaire is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Voltaire Candide, Zaïre, The age of Louis XIV

50
341 182
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