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
4,800 2,172
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
3,784 1,694
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
3,084 1,364
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
2,541 1,150
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
2,093 983
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,555 1,269
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

7
2,016 988
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
2,032 1,010
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
1,795 886
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

10
1,301 622
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
1,195 610
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

12
1,603 847
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

13
1,364 711
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 13 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

14
1,249 645
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

15
913 453
Plato is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

16
1,338 701
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

17
1,907 1,033
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

18
909 452
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

19
1,022 518
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
1,145 593
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

21
1,203 628
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 21 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

The Top Must-Read Books of All-Time

22
1,103 572
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

23
910 467
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 23 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

24
1,044 555
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added C. S. Lewis The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

25
933 496
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
996 535
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 26 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

27
828 439
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
537 261
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 28 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

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

29
807 435
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

30
759 409
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

31
1,225 705
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

32
617 321
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

33
705 378
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

34
800 440
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

35
710 383
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 35 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

The Best Books Written Under Pen Names

36
152 27
Heinrich von Veldeke is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pelican added Heinrich von Veldeke

37
687 370
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
668 358
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
574 299
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
590 316
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
405 196
Friedrich Schiller is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Friedrich Schiller Intrigue and Love, Ode to Joy, On Naive and Sentimental Poetry

42
488 253
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

The Hottest Celebrity Lesbians

43
586 318
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

44
629 348
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

45
246 94
Christian Friedrich Hebbel is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Christian Friedrich Hebbel Durch Irren zum Glu ck, Briefwechsel 1829-1863, Head of a Tyrant

46
587 321
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

47
630 353
Aldous Huxley is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Polar Bear added Aldous Huxley Alice in Wonderland, Brave New World, Pride and Prejudice

48
712 408
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

49
506 272
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

50
451 238
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings