Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
217.2k votes 23.8k voters 389.6k 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
6,790 3,054
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,348 1,929
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

3
5,226 2,338
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

4
3,648 1,607
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

5
2,657 1,266
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
3,576 1,752
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
2,880 1,395
Homer is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

8
2,826 1,376
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
2,796 1,363
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

10
1,781 880
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
1,892 947
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
1,722 869
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

13
1,505 751
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

14
1,355 668
Plato is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

15
2,228 1,154
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

16
1,701 868
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
2,311 1,210
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

18
1,253 624
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
1,629 839
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

20
1,798 935
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

21
1,509 775
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
1,460 757
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
1,186 600
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

24
1,263 646
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
415 160
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
1,499 792
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

27
1,085 555
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

28
880 437
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

29
398 156
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

30
818 409
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
974 504
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
839 427
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
921 477
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

34
1,004 530
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
687 339
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

36
728 364
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

37
1,084 581
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

38
955 503
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
941 497
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

40
1,111 612
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
927 498
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
804 425
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

43
1,259 712
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

44
823 440
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

45
1,741 1,017
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

46
811 436
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

47
710 386
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added The complete poems, The letters, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

48
756 417
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 48 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

49
221 70
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

50
757 420
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur