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
3,771 1,811
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
2,921 1,388
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
2,294 1,073
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
2,018 955
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
2,043 1,023
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
1,650 814
Homer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

7
1,636 816
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
1,015 478
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 8 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

9
1,623 814
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

10
1,452 726
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
1,337 675
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
1,130 567
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
944 467
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

14
1,111 568
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
928 468
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
814 402
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
957 487
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

18
692 332
Plato is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

19
1,003 516
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
1,706 933
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

21
1,068 556
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

22
758 384
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
854 452
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
661 338
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

25
778 412
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
656 337
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
600 316
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

28
928 529
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
635 341
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

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30
363 166
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
596 318
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
478 242
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
688 379
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

34
513 270
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
487 253
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

36
472 245
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
678 384
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
542 294
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
554 307
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
389 201
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
541 306
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

42
611 357
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
514 290
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

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44
538 308
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
329 163
Charlotte Brontë is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Charlotte Brontë Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre

46
743 451
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 46 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

47
408 219
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
425 232
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
440 243
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
398 217
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