Writers The Best Writers of All Time  

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242.3k votes 26.8k voters 436.4k views 1,186 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
7,640 3,400
William Shakespeare is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Hamlet

2
5,977 2,641
Fyodor Dostoevsky is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Crime and Punishment, Demons, The Idiot

3
4,988 2,190
Leo Tolstoy is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
War and Peace, Anna Karenina, A Confession

4
4,189 1,835
Charles Dickens is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, Bleak House

5
4,074 1,956
J. R. R. Tolkien is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion

6
3,253 1,544
Homer is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Iliad, Odyssey

7
3,194 1,515
George Orwell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
1984, Animal Farm

8
3,176 1,526
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
2,973 1,432
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
2,053 990
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
2,141 1,077
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
1,735 860
Arthur Conan Doyle is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
coolK added The Lost World, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles

13
1,933 970
Dante Alighieri is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
La Vita Nuova, Divine Comedy

14
2,495 1,279
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
2,046 1,034
Franz Kafka is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Metamorphosis, The Trial, The Castle

16
1,575 777
Plato is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Republic, Lysis, Ion

17
1,933 976
Jane Austen is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma

18
1,460 719
Jules Verne is listed (or ranked) 18 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

19
2,501 1,292
Miguel de Cervantes is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Don Quixote, Entremeses

20
555 222
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

21
1,415 697
Alexandre Dumas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Arthur Williams added The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, The Black Tulip

22
1,676 843
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
1,822 924
F. Scott Fitzgerald is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added The Great Gatsby, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, This Side of Paradise

24
1,677 848
John Steinbeck is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
damalrooney added Lifeboat, Of Mice and Men, The Grapes of Wrath

25
1,053 512
Agatha Christie is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
SerafínGonzálezRedondo added The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, The Mirror Crack'd, Evil Under the Sun

26
1,226 611
Anton Chekhov is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard

27
1,121 560
Lewis Carroll is listed (or ranked) 27 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

28
1,305 667
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Faust, The Sorrows of Young Werther, Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship

29
1,632 859
James Joyce is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Ulysses

30
936 462
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
957 478
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
1,054 536
Brothers Grimm is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
but chickens double d added Snow White and Rose Red, Rumpelstiltskin, Pied Piper of Hamelin

33
803 390
Ray Bradbury is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
stubb added Something Wicked This Way Comes, Fahrenheit 451, King of Kings

34
1,216 632
Albert Camus is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Plague, The Stranger, A Happy Death

35
1,120 576
William Faulkner is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying

36
315 105
Charles Dickens. is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
pauleichhorn added Charles Dickens.

37
1,042 542
Hans Christian Andersen is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, The Nightingale

38
1,252 669
Roald Dahl is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
djmenj added Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, You Only Live Twice

39
817 411
Rudyard Kipling is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
MacAroni added The Jungle Book, Kim, The Man Who Would Be King

40
498 220
Shota Rustaveli is listed (or ranked) 40 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

41
1,036 547
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Moby Dick, Benito Cereno

42
941 492
Mary Shelley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
drpaulgleason added Frankenstein, Son of Frankenstein, Political Justice

43
1,042 558
Gabriel García Márquez is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Autumn of the Patriarch, Love in the Time of Cholera

44
875 460
Sophocles is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Oedipus the King, Electra, Antigone

45
1,376 768
Friedrich Nietzsche is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Merker94 added On the Genealogy of Morals, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, My Sister and I

46
1,973 1,145
Stephen King is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Rocky Holmes added Pet Sematary, Creepshow, Salem's Lot

47
897 480
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway, Orlando: A Biography

48
679 346
Jonathan Swift is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
Gulliver's Travels, A Modest Proposal, A Journal to Stella

49
684 351
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Writers of All Time
looksharp added The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats

50
884 478
Dr. Seuss is listed (or ranked) 50 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