LGBT The Best Gay Authors  

Ron Garcia
Originally by
25.2k votes 3.3k voters 373.7k views 257 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

1,007 199
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 Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish author, playwright and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the ...more

365 137
James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country, Notes of a Native Son James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic. His essays, as collected in Notes of a Native Son, explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of ...more

478 143
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Leaves of Grass, Drum Taps, Song of Myself Walter "Walt" Whitman was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his ...more

548 128
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gay Authors
To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Mrs Dalloway Adeline Virginia Woolf was an English writer and one of the foremost modernists of the twentieth century. During the interwar period, Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society ...more

346 111
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Other Voices Truman Streckfus Persons, known as Truman Capote, was an American author, screenwriter, playwright, actor, many of whose short stories, novels, plays, and nonfiction are recognized literary ...more

444 117
Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams III was an American playwright and author of many stage classics. Along with Eugene O'Neill and Arthur Miller he is considered among the three ...more

190 82
Christopher Isherwood is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gay Authors
dennisluccio added A Single Man, Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood on Writing Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood was an English novelist.

304 83
E. M. Forster is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Room with a View, A Passage to India, Howards End Edward Morgan Forster OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and ...more

318 123
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Search of Lost Time, Swann in love, Le Temps Retrouve Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven parts ...more

228 98
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 James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form called jazz ...more

185 85
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Look, Stranger!, The orators Wystan Hugh Auden was an Anglo-American poet, born in England, an American citizen, and regarded by many critics as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. His work is noted for its ...more

303 91
Plato is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Republic, Phaedo, Meno Plato was a philosopher, as well as mathematician, in Classical Greece. He is considered an essential figure in the development of philosophy, especially the Western tradition, and he founded ...more

172 58
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train, Ripley Under Ground Patricia Highsmith was an American novelist and short story writer, most widely known for her psychological thrillers, which led to more than two dozen film adaptations. Her first novel, ...more

338 78
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The complete poems, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson, New poems of Emily Dickinson Emily Elizabeth Dickinson was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she ...more

212 85
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Lady Chatterley's Lover, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works, among other things, ...more

308 108
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Murder in the Cathedral Thomas Stearns Eliot OM, usually known as T. S. Eliot, was an essayist, publisher, playwright, literary and social critic, and "one of the twentieth century's major poets". He was born ...more

124 62
Rita Mae Brown is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Rubyfruit Jungle, Puss 'n Cahoots, Mord in Monticello. Ein Fall für Mrs. Murphy Rita Mae Brown is an American writer and feminist. She is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle. Published in 1973, it dealt with lesbian themes in an explicit manner unusual for the ...more

220 73
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar Alice Malsenior Walker is an American author and activist. She wrote the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. ...more

186 84
Gertrude Stein is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, The Making of Americans, Three Lives Gertrude Stein was an American writer of novels, poetry and plays. Born in West Allegheny, Pennsylvania and raised in Oakland, California, Stein moved to Paris in 1903, making France her home ...more

212 73
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Doña Rosita the Spinster, The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca, known as Federico García Lorca was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director. García Lorca achieved ...more

215 49
Sappho is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Poetry of Sappho, The songs of Sappho, Woman from child (Sappho) Sappho was a Greek lyric poet, born on the island of Lesbos. The Alexandrians included her in the list of nine lyric poets. Her birth was sometime between 630 and 612 BCE, and it is said that ...more

212 49
Arthur Rimbaud is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Season in Hell, Illuminations, Collected poems Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud was a French poet born in Charleville, Ardennes. He influenced modern literature and arts, inspired various musicians, and prefigured surrealism. He started writing ...more

138 38
Yukio Mishima is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colors, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea Mishima Yukio is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka, a Japanese author, poet, playwright, actor, and film director. Mishima is considered one of the most important Japanese authors of the 20th ...more

110 52
Jean Genet is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Balcony, The Blacks: A Clown Show, The Maids Jean Genet was a French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond, but later took to writing. His major works include the novels Querelle ...more

114 55
E. Annie Proulx is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Buzz the Bear added The Shipping News, Fine Just the Way It Is, That Old Ace in the Hole Edna Annie Proulx is an American journalist and author. She has written most frequently as Annie Proulx but has also used the names E. Annie Proulx and E.A. Proulx. Her second novel, The ...more

125 46
Evelyn Waugh is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Brideshead Revisited, A Handful of Dust, Decline and Fall Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh, known as Evelyn Waugh, was an English writer of novels, biographies, and travel books; he was also a prolific journalist and reviewer of books. His best-known works ...more

101 49
Edna St. Vincent Millay is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Fatal interview, The murder of Lidice, Wine from these grapes Edna St. Vincent Millay was an American lyrical poet and playwright. She received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1923, the third woman to win the award for poetry, and was also known for her ...more

238 89
Allen Ginsberg is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Howl, Pull My Daisy, Collected poems 1947-1980 Irwin Allen Ginsberg was an American poet and one of the leading figures of both the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the counterculture that soon would follow. He vigorously opposed economic ...more

117 46
Edward Albee is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Delicate Balance, The Ballad of the Sad Café, The Play About the Baby Edward Franklin Albee III is an American playwright who is known for works such as The Zoo Story, The Sandbox, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. His works are considered well-crafted, often ...more

138 60
Armistead Maupin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Michael Tolliver Lives, The Night Listener, Tales of The City Audio Collection Armistead Jones Maupin, Jr. is an American writer, best known for his Tales of the City series of novels, set in San Francisco.

111 47
Audre Lorde is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Cancer Journals, The Marvelous Arithmetic of Distance: Poems 1987-1992, A Burst of Light: Essays Audre Lorde was a Caribbean-American writer, radical feminist, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist. Lorde served as an inspiration to women worldwide, one of her most notable efforts ...more

110 49
Michael Cunningham is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Home at the End of the World, The Hours, Specimen Days Michael Cunningham is an American writer. He is best known for his 1998 novel The Hours, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1999. Cunningham is a senior ...more

132 44
Willa Cather is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Gay Authors
My Ántonia, Death Comes for the Archbishop, Five Stories Willa Sibert Cather was an American author who achieved recognition for her novels of frontier life on the Great Plains, in works such as O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, and My ...more

116 55
Edmund White is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Beautiful Room Is Empty, The Joy of Gay Sex, The Farewell Symphony Edmund Valentine White III is an American novelist, as well as a writer of memoirs and an essayist on literary and social topics. Much of his writing is on the theme of same-sex love. Probably ...more

124 43
Noël Coward is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Hay Fever, The Vortex, Pacific 1860 Sir Noël Peirce Coward was an English playwright, composer, director, actor and singer, known for his wit, flamboyance, and what Time magazine called "a sense of personal style, a ...more

54 27
Lorraine Hansberry is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Gay Authors
2probb added A Raisin in the Sun, Les blancs: the collected last plays of Lorraine Hansberry, Spark Notes A Raisin in the Sun Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was an American playwright and writer. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone's song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black". She was the first black woman to write a play ...more

96 44
Anaïs Nin is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Delta of Venus, Henry and June, Fire: From a Journal of Love Anaïs Nin was an author born to Cuban parents in France, where she was also raised. She spent some time in Spain and Cuba but lived most of her life in the United States where she became an ...more

156 63
Michel Foucault is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Discipline and Punish, Madness and Civilization, The History of Sexuality Michel Foucault was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, social theorist, philologist and literary critic. His theories addressed the relationship between power and knowledge, and how they ...more

199 67
David Sedaris is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Me Talk Pretty One Day, Naked, When You Are Engulfed in Flames David Raymond Sedaris is an American humorist, comedian, author, and radio contributor. He was publicly recognized in 1992 when National Public Radio broadcast his essay "SantaLand ...more

138 38
W. Somerset Maugham is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Of Human Bondage, The Razor's Edge, Cakes and Ale William Somerset Maugham CH was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s. ...more

177 60
Herman Melville is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale, Omoo Herman Melville was an American novelist, writer of short stories, and poet from the American Renaissance period. Most of his writings were published between 1846 and 1857. Best known for his ...more

64 44
Bret Easton Ellis is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Gay Authors
carlybobarly added American Psycho, Less Than Zero, Glamorama Bret Easton Ellis is an American novelist, screenwriter, and short story writer. His works have been translated into 27 languages. He was at first regarded as one of the so-called literary Brat ...more

165 55
Gore Vidal is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Myra Breckinridge, The City and the Pillar, Creation Gore Vidal was an American writer and a public intellectual known for his patrician manner, epigrammatic wit, and polished style of writing. As Eugene Louis Vidal, he was born to a political ...more

72 35
Sarah Waters is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, The Little Stranger Sarah Waters is a Welsh novelist. She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society and featuring lesbian protagonists, such as Tipping the Velvet and Fingersmith.

49 36
Derek Jarman is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Wittgenstein, Derek Jarman's Garden, The last of England Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author.

127 42
Jean Cocteau is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Human Voice, Opium, journal d'une désintoxication Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles, and the films Blood ...more

76 44
Jeanette Winterson is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Written on the Body, Sexing the Cherry Jeanette Winterson, OBE is a British writer, broadcaster and activist.

122 60
Harvey Fierstein is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Gay Authors
La Cage aux Folles, Torch Song Trilogy, The Sissy Duckling Harvey Forbes Fierstein is an American actor, playwright, and voice actor. Fierstein has won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his own play Torch Song Trilogy and the Tony Award for ...more

139 51
Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Gay Authors
soxcat added The Bell Jar, The Colossus and Other Poems, Ariel Sylvia Plath was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, before ...more

91 41
Clive Barker is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Gay Authors
dennisluccio added The Damnation Game, The Thief of Always, The Hellbound Heart Clive Barker is an English writer, film director, and visual artist best known for his work in both fantasy and horror fiction. Barker came to prominence in the mid-1980s with a series of short ...more