Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
216.5k votes 23.7k voters 388k views 1,175 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. Simply put, they're easily some of the most famous authors 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
6,764 3,043
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,329 1,921
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

3
3,634 1,599
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

4
5,205 2,335
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

5
2,648 1,260
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

6
3,565 1,742
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

7
2,869 1,390
Homer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

8
2,815 1,368
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
2,787 1,357
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

10
1,775 876
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
1,886 944
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
1,501 745
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

13
2,226 1,147
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

14
1,717 866
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

15
1,351 666
Plato is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

16
1,695 864
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
2,308 1,207
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

18
1,250 621
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

19
1,796 933
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

20
1,621 835
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

21
1,505 771
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

22
1,458 751
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
1,262 643
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
1,181 599
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

25
411 157
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 25 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

26
1,495 787
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

27
398 152
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

28
1,082 554
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

29
874 435
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

30
815 406
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
974 501
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
837 424
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

33
728 360
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

34
1,002 528
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

35
916 476
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

36
1,084 578
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

37
684 336
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

38
953 501
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

39
939 494
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

40
1,110 610
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
923 497
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

42
801 423
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

43
822 437
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

44
1,256 712
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

45
811 433
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

46
1,737 1,015
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
221 67
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

48
709 384
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

49
753 415
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
776 432
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice