writers The Best Writers of All Time  

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188.8k votes 20.4k voters 338.9k views 689 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
5,752 2,647
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,444 2,028
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
3,702 1,679
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
3,031 1,375
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
2,474 1,184
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,181 1,071
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
3,022 1,526
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
2,375 1,199
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
2,362 1,199
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

10
1,516 750
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
1,895 988
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
1,595 820
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
1,116 552
Plato is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

14
1,478 761
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

The Smartest Celebrities

15
1,569 813
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

16
257 66
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Georgian11 added Shota Rustaveli The Knight in the Panther's Skin, Le chevalier à la peu de tigre, Vytiaz' v tyhroviǐ shkuri

17
1,298 663
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

18
1,235 629
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
2,099 1,127
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

20
1,387 723
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
1,427 747
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

22
1,066 538
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
1,097 563
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
1,329 700
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

25
1,235 648
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

26
1,025 527
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

27
707 355
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
939 505
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

The 10 Lamest Superhero Costume Designs Ever

29
819 432
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
1,130 626
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
684 350
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
688 356
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
825 442
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

34
223 66
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

35
868 472
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

36
912 500
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

37
770 413
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
817 444
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
610 313
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
699 373
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
963 544
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 41 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

42
1,454 871
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

These Are The Best YA Novels For Emerging Feminists

43
690 379
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

44
708 392
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

45
694 383
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

46
541 283
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
805 456
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

48
626 342
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
556 301
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
559 304
Joseph Conrad is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim