Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
244k votes 27k voters 438.4k views 1,186 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
6,031 2,660
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

2
5,025 2,202
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

3
7,690 3,421
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

4
4,226 1,847
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

5
3,280 1,549
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

6
3,220 1,527
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

7
4,103 1,972
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

8
3,196 1,532
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
2,992 1,443
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
2,073 995
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
2,158 1,086
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
1,752 870
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
1,949 978
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

14
2,512 1,287
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
1,588 783
Plato is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

16
2,058 1,042
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

17
1,471 724
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
2,514 1,297
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

19
1,950 988
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

20
569 229
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

21
1,429 702
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
1,835 929
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

23
1,688 851
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

24
1,690 854
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

25
1,069 518
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
1,233 615
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

27
1,131 564
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
1,313 671
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

29
1,644 863
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

30
947 465
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
324 109
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

32
965 484
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
1,224 636
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

34
1,061 541
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

35
1,129 582
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

36
810 400
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

37
1,049 545
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

38
1,265 674
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

39
508 225
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
826 416
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

41
951 495
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
1,042 551
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

43
1,049 561
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

44
881 462
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

45
1,381 774
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

46
684 348
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

47
1,982 1,153
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

48
902 485
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

49
892 483
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
686 355
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats