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
3,316 1,608
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
William Shakespeare King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

26 Famous People Who Were Valedictorians The Best Rolling Stone Covers

2
2,581 1,249
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
2,014 959
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
1,727 858
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
1,774 894
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added J. R. R. Tolkien The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

6
1,475 739
Homer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Homer Iliad, Odyssey

7
1,446 725
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
1,429 722
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
George Orwell 1984, Animal Farm

9
852 401
Victor Hugo is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
1,278 651
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

11
997 500
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
989 497
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Franz Kafka The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

13
1,169 604
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ernest Hemingway The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

14
964 494
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Dante Alighieri La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

15
881 448
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

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16
801 402
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jane Austen Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
849 432
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
James Joyce Ulysses

18
1,604 881
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote, Entremeses

19
813 415
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added John Steinbeck Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

20
696 349
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 20 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

21
674 337
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

22
699 358
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
744 390
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
586 293
Plato is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Plato The Republic, Lysis, Ion

25
577 295
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Albert Camus The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

26
782 430
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Stephen King Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

27
551 287
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
627 336
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
524 276
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Herman Melville Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

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30
569 306
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
523 277
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 31 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

32
420 216
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 32 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

33
478 255
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
415 214
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Mary Shelley Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

35
618 349
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

36
453 241
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 36 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

37
426 223
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Virginia Woolf To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

38
690 402
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 38 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

39
469 257
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov Lolita, Machenka, The Defense

40
487 270
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
557 318
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Hans Christian Andersen The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

42
490 275
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Sophocles Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

43
336 170
Jack London is listed (or ranked) 43 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

The Greatest American Writers of All Time The Best Novels Ever Written

44
421 231
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 44 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

45
386 207
Kurt Vonnegut is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse-Five, Cat's Cradle, Breakfast of Champions

46
315 159
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Ray Bradbury Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

47
488 280
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
357 191
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Jonathan Swift Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

49
336 180
Harper Lee is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird

50
371 206
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King