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The Best Gay Authors

Updated September 18, 2019 28.4k votes 4.4k voters 427.6k views250 items

List RulesList 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.

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  • 1
    Oscar Wilde is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Oscar Wilde

    The Picture of Dorian Gray, Salome

    BirthplaceIreland, Ireland, Europe, Dublin

    Birthdate1854

    NationalityIreland

    Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish poet... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Oscar Wilde QuotesThe Best Oscar Wilde Books

  • 2
    Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Walt Whitman

    Leaves of Grass, Drum Taps

    BirthplaceWest Hills, New York

    Birthdate1819

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Walt Whitman (; May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist, and journalist.... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    13 Bizarre Facts About Walt Whitman They Didn't Teach In History ClassThe Best Walt Whitman Quotes

  • 3
    Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Tennessee Williams

    Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo

    BirthplaceColumbus, Mississippi, Lowndes County, United States of America, United States

    Birthdate1911

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Thomas Lanier Williams III (March 26, 1911 – February 25, 1983), known by his pen name... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #81 of 1,172 The Best Writers of All Time#16 of 342 The Greatest American Writers of All Time

  • 4
    E. M. Forster is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    E. M. Forster

    A Room with a View, A Passage to India

    BirthplaceMarylebone, Eurasia, United Kingdom, London, England

    Birthdate1879

    NationalityEngland

    Edward Morgan Forster (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) was an English novelist, short story... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 5
    James Baldwin is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    James Baldwin

    Go Tell It on the Mountain, Another Country

    BirthplaceHarlem, New York City, New York

    Birthdate1924

    NationalityUnited States of America

    James Arthur Baldwin (August 2, 1924 – December 1, 1987) was an American novelist, playwright,... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 6
    Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Virginia Woolf

    To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own

    BirthplaceKensington, London, United Kingdom

    Birthdate1882-01-25

    NationalityEngland

    Adeline Virginia Woolf (; née Stephen; 25 January 1882 – 28 March 1941) was an English... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Virginia Woolf QuotesThe Best Virginia Woolf Books

  • 7
    Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Marcel Proust

    In Search of Lost Time, Swann in love

    BirthplaceAuteuil-Neuilly-Passy

    Birthdate1871

    NationalityFrance

    Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (; French: [maʁsɛl pʁust]; 10 July 1871 – 18... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Marcel Proust Quotes#33 of 303 The Best Novelists of All Time

  • 8
    Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Truman Capote

    In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's

    BirthplaceNew Orleans, Louisiana, United States of America

    Birthdate1924-09-30

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Truman Garcia Capote (; born Truman Streckfus Persons, September 30, 1924 – August 25, 1984)... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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  • 9
    Arthur Rimbaud is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Arthur Rimbaud

    A Season in Hell, Illuminations

    BirthplaceCharleville-Mézières, France

    Birthdate1854

    NationalityFrance

    Jean Nicolas Arthur Rimbaud (UK: , US: ; French: [aʁtyʁ ʁɛ̃bo] (listen); 20 October 1854 – 10... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Arthur Rimbaud Quotes#292 of 438 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

  • 10
    Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Emily Dickinson

    The complete poems, Acts of Light: The World of Emily Dickinson

    BirthplaceAmherst, Massachusetts

    Birthdate1830-12-10

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 – May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Dickinson... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    The Best Emily Dickinson Quotes#188 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 11
    Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Langston Hughes

    The panther & the lash, Mule Bone

    BirthplaceNewton County, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Jasper County

    Birthdate1902

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Series WrittenThe Collected Works of Langston Hughes

    James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 12
    Adam Donaldson Powell is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Gay Authors
    amazon buy button
  • 13
    T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    T. S. Eliot

    The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

    BirthplaceSt. Louis, Missouri

    Birthdate1888

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom, England

    Series WrittenFour Quartets

    Thomas Stearns Eliot (26 September 1888 – 4 January 1965), "one of the twentieth century's... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 14
    Christopher Isherwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Christopher Isherwood

    A Single Man, Goodbye to Berlin

    BirthplaceWyberslegh Hall, United Kingdom

    Birthdate1904

    NationalityUnited States of America, United Kingdom, England

    Series WrittenChristopher Isherwood Diaries

    Christopher William Bradshaw Isherwood (26 August 1904 – 4 January 1986) was an... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 15
    Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Federico García Lorca

    Doña Rosita the Spinster, The House of Bernarda Alba

    BirthplaceFuente Vaqueros, Spain

    Birthdate1898

    NationalitySpain

    Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (Spanish pronunciation: [feðeˈɾiko ðel... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #1105 of 1,357 The Greatest Minds of All Time#160 of 369 The Greatest Poets of All Time

  • 16
    Yukio Mishima is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Yukio Mishima

    Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colors

    BirthplaceShinjuku, Tokyo, Japan

    Birthdate1925

    NationalityJapan

    Yukio Mishima (三島 由紀夫, Mishima Yukio) is the pen name of Kimitake Hiraoka (平岡 公威, Hiraoka... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 17
    Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Alice Walker

    The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy

    BirthplaceEatonton, Georgia, United States of America

    Birthdate1944-02-09

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Alice Walker (born February 9, 1944) is an American novelist, short story writer, poet, and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #238 of 319 The Most Inspiring (Non-Hollywood) Female Role Models#22 of 232 The Best Female Authors of All Time

  • 18
    Sylvia Plath is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Sylvia Plath

    The Bell Jar, The Colossus and Other Poems

    BirthplaceJamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts

    Birthdate1932

    NationalityUnited States of America, Germany

    Sylvia Plath (; October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 19
    Sappho is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Sappho

    The Poetry of Sappho, The songs of Sappho

    BirthplaceLesbos, Greece

    Birthdate311-06-11

    NationalityAncient Greece

    Sappho (; Aeolic Greek Ψάπφω Psáppho; c. 630 – c. 570 BC) was an Archaic Greek poet from the... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 20
    Sarah Waters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Sarah Waters

    Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith

    BirthplaceEurasia, United Kingdom, Neyland

    Birthdate1966

    NationalityUnited Kingdom

    Sarah Ann Waters (born 21 July 1966) is a Welsh novelist. She is best known for her novels... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 21
    Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Patricia Highsmith

    The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train

    BirthplaceFort Worth, Texas

    Birthdate1921

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Patricia Highsmith (January 19, 1921 – February 4, 1995) was an American novelist and short... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 22
    Elizabeth Bishop is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Elizabeth Bishop

    Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence Between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, One Art

    BirthplaceWorcester, Massachusetts

    Birthdate1911

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Elizabeth Bishop (February 8, 1911 – October 6, 1979) was an American poet and short-story... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 23
    Albert Russo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Albert Russo

    Mixed Blood, The Black Ancestor

    BirthplaceCongo

    Birthdate1943

    NationalityBelgian

    Albert Russo is a Belgian bilingual author of novels, short stories, essays and poems, as well... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 24
    Dorothy Allison is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Dorothy Allison

    Bastard out of Carolina, Skin: Talking About Sex

    BirthplaceGreenville, South Carolina

    Birthdate1949-04-11

    NationalityUnited States of America

    Dorothy Allison (born April 11, 1949) is an American writer from South Carolina whose writing... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button
  • 25
    Thomas Mann is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Gay Authors
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    Thomas Mann

    The Magic Mountain, Death in Venice

    BirthplaceLübeck, Germany

    Birthdate1875-06-06

    NationalityUnited States of America, German Empire, Czechoslovakia

    Paul Thomas Mann (UK: MAN, US: MAHN; German: [ˈpaʊ̯l ˈtoːmas ˈman]; 6 June 1875 – 12 August... more on Wikipediaamazon buy button

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    #43 of 171 The Best Short Story Writers of All Time#1255 of 2,443 The Most Influential People of All Time

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