Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
200k votes 21.6k voters 356.4k views 1,171 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.

1
4,767 2,166
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Fyodor Dostoevsky Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

2
6,129 2,814
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

3
3,946 1,786
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
3,245 1,465
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
2,636 1,267
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,380 1,136
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
2,556 1,264
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
3,209 1,610
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

9
2,536 1,257
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

10
1,621 790
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
2,035 1,047
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
1,696 864
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
1,670 851
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

14
1,208 594
Plato is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

The Smartest Celebrities

15
1,491 754
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 15 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

16
1,531 777
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
1,554 795
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

18
1,321 666
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
2,181 1,157
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

20
1,385 706
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

21
1,134 566
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 21 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

20 Books to Read in Your 20s

22
291 88
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

23
1,317 682
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
1,081 549
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

25
1,158 594
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
1,389 734
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

27
989 513
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

28
883 455
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 28 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 10 Lamest Superhero Costume Designs Ever

29
756 379
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
1,001 529
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

31
882 457
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
920 486
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

33
730 372
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
827 433
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
1,185 654
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 35 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

The Greatest Horror Books of All Time

36
741 381
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
281 98
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 37 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

38
653 330
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

39
861 460
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

40
747 391
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
596 301
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

42
1,014 565
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 42 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

These Are The Best YA Novels For Emerging Feminists

43
745 398
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
855 468
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

45
1,565 920
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

46
743 403
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

47
714 392
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

48
656 356
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
571 303
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added T. S. Eliot The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

50
583 314
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 50 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