writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
181.8k votes 19.4k voters 326.2k views 688 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.
list ordered by

1
5,509 2,525
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
3,560 1,601
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
4,275 1,944
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
2,900 1,307
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
2,377 1,120
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,074 1,017
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
2,897 1,455
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
2,266 1,139
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
2,260 1,158
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

10
1,457 720
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
1,419 724
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

12
1,810 950
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

13
1,056 523
Plato is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

14
1,513 785
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

23 Celebrities Who Have Their Own Private Islands

15
1,524 794
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
2,053 1,101
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

17
1,364 705
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

18
1,238 638
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
1,172 600
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
1,020 514
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
1,322 693
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 21 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

The Best Rolling Stone Covers

22
1,285 673
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

23
1,192 619
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
1,002 508
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

25
1,053 543
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
672 335
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
192 43
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

28
1,096 605
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 28 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

Famous Gay Men Who Were Once Married To Women

29
648 328
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
838 448
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
902 488
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

32
789 418
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
789 419
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

34
887 481
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

35
747 394
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

The Best Novels About World War 2

36
776 413
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
664 343
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
936 519
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
583 296
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
675 361
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

41
665 358
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

42
785 438
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

All the Amber Brown Books, Ranked Best to Worst

43
472 235
Friedrich Schiller is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Friedrich Schiller Intrigue and Love, Ode to Joy, On Naive and Sentimental Poetry

44
1,388 831
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

45
604 322
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 45 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

46
684 375
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

47
533 277
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

48
541 283
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim

49
661 362
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

50
509 264
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings