Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

Ranker Books
208.5k votes 22.6k voters 372.3k 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.

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
6,447 2,935
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
4,998 2,261
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
4,141 1,859
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
3,419 1,527
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
2,771 1,335
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,515 1,210
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
3,397 1,687
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
2,662 1,316
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
2,682 1,329
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

10
1,701 836
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
1,797 904
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 11 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

12
2,129 1,103
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
1,617 822
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

14
1,279 634
Plato is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

15
1,628 830
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

16
2,251 1,183
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

17
1,730 895
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

18
1,407 715
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
1,555 802
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 19 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

20
369 129
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
1,441 742
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

22
1,181 600
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
1,396 725
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
1,137 577
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
1,448 763
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

26
350 124
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

27
1,205 623
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
1,043 535
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Anton Chekhov Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

29
818 416
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
928 485
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
921 483
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
876 458
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
959 510
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Faulkner The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

34
770 395
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 34 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

35
789 408
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 35 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

36
1,038 561
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

37
687 346
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

38
647 323
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

39
1,064 589
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 39 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

40
1,218 689
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
1,667 971
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

42
888 483
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

43
782 419
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

44
888 486
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
767 416
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

46
779 426
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

47
684 371
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 47 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

48
735 407
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Hermann Hesse Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

49
710 393
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat, The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham

50
615 332
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