Writers

The Best Gay Authors 

Ron Garcia
Originally by
Updated September 18, 2019 31.9k votes 4.3k voters 421.9k views 250 items

List Rules List includes known gay authors, living or dead—can be novelists, short story or film writers, poets, etc. Vote on the merits of their work

Who are the most famous gay writers in history? This list contains over 200 of the most notable gay writers ever, with photos where available. Some of the literary world's best talent has come from gay writers. The best gay authors may or may not choose to speak openly about their sexuality and tackle it as a theme in their writing or in their books. The LGBTQ+ community has contributed wonderful pieces of writingfrom poems and novels to fantastic journalismand many gay writers of the 20th century, like Oscar Wilde and Tennessee Williams, are studied in school and revered for their work.

Who are the most famous gay and lesbian authors? This list includes authors from ancient times to modern day, famous gay poets, novelists, screenplay writers and LGBTQ+ authors. Some on the list may not be considered "gay" by modern terms as cultures have changed throughout the centuries. Others were out and proud and used their unique experience to create some of the best gay literature of all time. That said, regardless of their era in antiquity, these gay authors have all expressed interest in same-sex relations.

list ordered by
1
Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome, The importance of being Earnest and other plays

Birthplace: Ireland, Ireland, Europe, Dublin

Birthdate: 1854

Nationality: Ireland

Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet and playwright. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most ...more

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The Best Oscar Wilde Quotes #250 of 362 The Funniest People Of All Time #19 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time

2
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Leaves of Grass, Drum Taps, Song of Myself

Birthplace: West Hills, New York

Birthdate: 1819

Nationality: United States of America

Walt Whitman (; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating ...more

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13 Bizarre Facts About Walt Whitman They Didn't Teach In History Class #57 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #339 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

3
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country, Notes of a Native Son

Birthplace: Harlem, New York City, New York

Birthdate: 1924

Nationality: United States of America

James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright, and activist. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son (1955), explore intricacies of ...more

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#257 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #47 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #90 of 171 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

4
Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real

Birthplace: Columbus, Mississippi, Lowndes County, United States of America, United States, + more

Birthdate: 1911

Nationality: United States of America

Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), known by his pen name Tennessee Williams, was an American playwright. Along with contemporaries Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller, ...more

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#99 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #21 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #6 of 182 The Greatest Playwrights in History

5
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gay Authors
To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Mrs Dalloway

Birthplace: Kensington, London, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1882

Nationality: England

Adeline Virginia Woolf (; née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English writer, considered one of the most important modernist 20th-century authors and also a pioneer in ...more

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The Best Virginia Woolf Quotes #37 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #46 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models

6
E. M. Forster is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Room with a View, A Passage to India, Howards End

Birthplace: Marylebone, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England, + more

Birthdate: 1879

Nationality: England

Edward Morgan Forster (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. Many of his novels examined class difference and hypocrisy, including A ...more

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#136 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #1,990 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time #66 of 309 The Best Novelists of All Time

7
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Other Voices

Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

Birthdate: 1924-09-30

Nationality: United States of America

Truman Garcia Capote (; born Truman Streckfus Persons, September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984) was an American novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, playwright, and actor. Several of his ...more

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How Truman Capote Went From A New York City "Party Boy" – To A Social Ruiner #212 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #645 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

8
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Search of Lost Time, Swann in love, Le Temps Retrouve

Birthplace: Auteuil-Neuilly-Passy

Birthdate: 1871

Nationality: France

Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (; French: [maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922), known as Marcel Proust, was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for ...more

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The Best Marcel Proust Quotes #45 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #864 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time

9
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The complete poems, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson, New poems of Emily Dickinson

Birthplace: Amherst, Massachusetts

Birthdate: 1830-12-10

Nationality: United States of America

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Dickinson was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, into a prominent family with strong ties to its community. After ...more

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The Best Emily Dickinson Quotes #38 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #160 of 925 People We Wish Were Still Alive

10
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The panther & the lash, Mule Bone, Montage of a Dream Deferred

Birthplace: Newton County, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Jasper County, + more

Birthdate: 1902

Nationality: United States of America

Series Written: The Collected Works of Langston Hughes

James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. He moved to New York City as a ...more

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#112 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time #134 of 373 The Greatest Poets of All Time #126 of 171 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time

11
Arthur Rimbaud is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Season in Hell, Illuminations, Collected poems

Birthplace: Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Charleville-Mézières, Champagne-Ardenne, + more

Birthdate: 1854

Nationality: France

Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (UK: , US: ; French: [aʁtyʁ ʁɛ̃bo] (listen); 20 October 1854 – 10 November 1891) was a French poet known for his influence on modern literature and arts, which ...more

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The Best Arthur Rimbaud Quotes #147 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #273 of 532 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

12
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar

Birthplace: Eatonton, Georgia, United States of America

Birthdate: 1944-02-09

Nationality: United States of America

Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and social activist. In 1982, she wrote the novel The Color Purple, for which she won the National Book ...more

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#290 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #229 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #82 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

13
Christopher Isherwood is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gay Authors
dennisluccio added A Single Man, Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood on Writing

Birthplace: Wyberslegh Hall, Eurasia, United Kingdom

Birthdate: 1904

Nationality: United States of America, United Kingdom, England

Series Written: Christopher Isherwood Diaries

Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood (26 August 1904 – 4 January 1986) was an English-American novelist. His best-known works include The Berlin Stories (1935–39), two semi-autobiographical ...more
14
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Murder in the Cathedral

Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri

Birthdate: 1888

Nationality: United States of America, United Kingdom, England

Series Written: Four Quartets

Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), "one of the twentieth century's major poets", was also an essayist, publisher, playwright, and literary and social critic. ...more

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The Best T. S. Eliot Quotes #53 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #282 of 2,444 The Most Influential People of All Time

15
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train, Ripley Under Ground

Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas

Birthdate: 1921

Nationality: United States of America

Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921 – February 4, 1995) was an American novelist and short story writer best known for her psychological thrillers, including her series of five novels featuring ...more

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#115 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #69 of 247 The Best Female Authors of All Time #176 of 309 The Best Novelists of All Time

16
Adam Donaldson Powell is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gay Authors
17
Gertrude Stein is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, The Making of Americans, Three Lives

Birthplace: Pennsylvania, Contiguous United States, United States of America, Allegheny, United States, + more

Birthdate: 1874

Nationality: United States of America

Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946) was an American novelist, poet, playwright, and art collector. Born in the Allegheny West neighborhood of Pittsburgh and raised in Oakland, ...more

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The Best Gertrude Stein Quotes #333 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #29 of 247 The Best Female Authors of All Time

18
Yukio Mishima is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colors, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

Birthplace: Shinjuku, Japan

Birthdate: 1925

Nationality: Japan

Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫, Mishima Yukio) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威, Hiraoka Kimitake, January 14, 1925 – November 25, 1970), a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, model, film ...more

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The Tale of The Japanese Author Who Botched A Coup D'etat And Committed Seppuku #238 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #110 of 309 The Best Novelists of All Time

19
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Lady Chatterley's Lover, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow

Birthplace: East Midlands, Nottinghamshire, Eurasia, Eastwood, United Kingdom, + more

Birthdate: 1885

Nationality: England

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#119 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #51 of 309 The Best Novelists of All Time #72 of 373 The Greatest Poets of All Time

20
Federico García L... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Doña Rosita the Spinster, The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding

Birthplace: Fuente Vaqueros, Spain

Birthdate: 1898

Nationality: Spain

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (Spanish pronunciation: [feðeˈɾiko ðel saˈɣɾaðo koɾaˈθon de xeˈsuz ɣaɾˈθi.a ˈloɾka]; 5 June 1898 – 19 August ...more

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#159 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #1,009 of 1,471 The Greatest Minds of All Time #11 of 373 The Greatest Poets of All Time

21
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Howl, Pull My Daisy, Collected poems 1947-1980

Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States of America

Birthdate: 1926-06-03

Nationality: United States of America

Irwin Allen Ginsberg (; June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet, philosopher and writer. He is considered to be one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation during the 1950s ...more

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#398 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #191 of 373 The Greatest Poets of All Time #38 of 113 The Most Influential Contemporary Americans

22
Sappho is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Poetry of Sappho, The songs of Sappho, Woman from child (Sappho)

Birthplace: Southeast Europe, Lesbos, Greece, North Aegean

Birthdate: 625

Nationality: Ancient Greece

Sappho (; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psáppho; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Sappho is known for her lyric poetry, written to be sung while accompanied ...more

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#135 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #32 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models #70 of 100 Historical Figures You Most Want to Bring Back from the Dead

23
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Myra Breckinridge, The City and the Pillar, Creation

Birthplace: West Point, Contiguous United States, New York, Orange County, United States of America, + more

Birthdate: 1925

Nationality: United States of America

Eugene Luther Gore Vidal (; born Eugene Louis Vidal, October 3, 1925 – July 31, 2012) was an American writer and public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and ...more

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The Best Gore Vidal Books #337 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #454 of 469 The Greatest Entertainers of All Time

24
Chuck Palahniuk is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Fight Club, Haunted, Choke

Birthplace: Washington, Western United States, Northwestern United States, Pasco, United States of America, + more

Birthdate: 1962

Nationality: United States of America

Charles Michael Palahniuk (; born February 21, 1962) is an American novelist and freelance journalist, who describes his work as transgressional fiction. He is the author of the award-winning ...more

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The Best Chuck Palahniuk Books #362 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #132 of 341 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

25
Jean Genet is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Balcony, The Blacks: A Clown Show, The Maids

Birthplace: Île-de-France, Europe, Metropolitan France, France, Paris

Birthdate: 1910

Nationality: France

Jean Genet (French: [ʒɑ̃ ʒənɛ]; (1910-12-19)19 December 1910 – (1986-04-15)15 April 1986) was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a ...more

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#475 of 1,176 The Best Writers of All Time #259 of 309 The Best Novelists of All Time #24 of 54 The Best French Language Poets of All Time