Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

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226.3k votes 24.7k voters 405.1k views 1,176 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 famous 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 of authors 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
4,579 2,004
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

2
5,495 2,428
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

3
3,842 1,677
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

4
7,052 3,188
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

5
3,010 1,448
Homer is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

6
2,920 1,409
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

7
2,945 1,422
Edgar Allan Poe is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Cask of Amontillado

8
3,723 1,823
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

9
2,750 1,336
Mark Twain is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

10
1,870 910
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
1,968 984
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
1,432 699
Plato is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

13
1,798 902
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

14
2,306 1,191
Ernest Hemingway is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Old Man and the Sea, Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises

15
1,568 782
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

16
1,774 903
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

17
2,373 1,235
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

18
1,300 644
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
1,688 862
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
1,558 797
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

21
1,870 974
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

22
1,321 664
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 22 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

23
1,135 566
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

24
1,518 788
C. S. Lewis is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
DavidSanders1 added The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Screwtape Letters

25
1,223 622
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

26
1,548 816
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

27
440 177
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

28
975 491
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

29
1,020 519
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 29 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

30
444 182
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 30 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

31
877 438
H. G. Wells is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Time Machine, Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Things to Come

32
920 464
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

33
853 425
Robert Louis Stevenson is listed (or ranked) 33 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

34
728 353
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

35
1,123 593
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

36
1,038 544
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

37
974 513
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

38
754 380
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

39
984 521
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

40
965 510
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

41
835 438
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

42
1,154 635
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

43
1,300 728
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
1,823 1,057
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

45
859 458
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

46
831 452
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
248 84
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

48
786 430
Hermann Hesse is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, Kurgast: Aufzeichnungen von einer Badener Kur

49
796 438
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 49 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

50
618 324
Voltaire is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added Candide, Zaïre, The age of Louis XIV