Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

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232.1k votes 25.6k voters 418.8k views 1,181 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 famous 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. Simply put, they're easily some of the most famous authors of all time.

This list of authors 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
7,291 3,264
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,749 2,096
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

3
5,665 2,522
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

4
3,974 1,742
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

5
3,858 1,870
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

6
3,033 1,456
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

7
3,100 1,493
Homer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

8
3,041 1,471
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

9
2,845 1,371
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

10
1,946 941
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, Odes et Ballades

11
2,033 1,021
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Picture of Dorian Gray, The importance of being Earnest and other plays, An Ideal Husband

12
1,852 934
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

13
1,629 816
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

14
2,382 1,232
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

15
1,836 933
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

16
2,423 1,261
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

17
1,482 739
Plato is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

18
1,738 889
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

19
1,376 687
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added 20.000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Castaways of the Flag

20
1,932 1,003
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

21
1,343 673
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

22
1,578 809
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

23
1,596 823
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

24
1,174 587
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

25
975 476
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

26
1,260 642
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

27
1,065 535
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

28
1,581 836
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

29
480 198
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

30
765 364
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

31
893 439
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Treasure Island, The Master of Ballantrae

32
1,010 509
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

33
909 452
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

34
462 195
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Georgian11 added The Knight in the Panther's Skin, Le chevalier à la peu de tigre, Vytiaz' v tyhroviǐ shkuri

35
1,001 521
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

36
1,064 559
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

37
1,150 611
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

38
783 392
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

39
1,001 524
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

40
1,195 649
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

41
890 468
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

42
1,004 539
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

43
1,333 745
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

44
273 92
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

45
846 448
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

46
1,880 1,097
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

47
854 462
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

48
808 441
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

49
644 337
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

50
830 456
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham