Writers

The Best Gay Authors  

Ron Garcia
Originally by
30.5k votes 4.1k voters 408.1k views 261 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
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
2
Virginia Woolf is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Gay Authors
To the Lighthouse, A Room of One's Own, Mrs Dalloway
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
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
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
4
Tennessee Williams is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Sweet Bird of Youth, The Rose Tattoo, Camino Real
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
5
Walt Whitman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Leaves of Grass, Drum Taps, Song of Myself
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
6
Emily Dickinson is listed (or ranked) 6 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 (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
7
Sappho is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Poetry of Sappho, The songs of Sappho, Woman from child (Sappho)
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
8
Truman Capote is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Cold Blood, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Other Voices
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
9
E. M. Forster is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Room with a View, A Passage to India, Howards End
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
10
Arthur Rimbaud is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Gay Authors
A Season in Hell, Illuminations, Collected poems
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
11
Marcel Proust is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Gay Authors
In Search of Lost Time, Swann in love, Le Temps Retrouve
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
12
Federico García Lorca is listed (or ranked) 12 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 (Spanish pronunciation: [feðeˈɾiko ðel saˈɣɾaðo koɾaˈθon de xeˈsuz ɣaɾˈθi.a ˈloɾka]; 5 June 1898 – 19 August ...more
13
Adam Donaldson Powell is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Gay Authors
14
Christopher Isherwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Gay Authors
dennisluccio added A Single Man, Goodbye to Berlin, Isherwood on Writing
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
15
Yukio Mishima is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Confessions of a Mask, Forbidden Colors, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
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
16
Langston Hughes is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The panther & the lash, Mule Bone, Montage of a Dream Deferred
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
17
Patricia Highsmith is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Talented Mr. Ripley, Strangers on a Train, Ripley Under Ground
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
18
T. S. Eliot is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Waste Land, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, Murder in the Cathedral
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
19
Alice Walker is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Color Purple, Possessing the Secret of Joy, The Temple of My Familiar
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
20
D. H. Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Lady Chatterley's Lover, Sons and Lovers, The Rainbow
David Herbert Lawrence (11 September 1885 – 2 March 1930) was an English writer and poet. His collected works represent, among other things, an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects ...more
21
Gertrude Stein is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, The Making of Americans, Three Lives
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
22
W. H. Auden is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Look, Stranger!, The orators
Wystan Hugh Auden (; 21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973) was an English-American poet. Auden's poetry was noted for its stylistic and technical achievement, its engagement with politics, ...more
23
Michelangelo is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Complete poems and selected letters, Il carteggio di Michelangelo, Rime e lettere
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer of the High Renaissance who exerted an unparalleled ...more
24
Rita Mae Brown is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Gay Authors
Rubyfruit Jungle, Puss 'n Cahoots, Mord in Monticello. Ein Fall für Mrs. Murphy
Rita Mae Brown (born November 28, 1944) is an American writer, activist, and feminist. She is best known for her first novel Rubyfruit Jungle. Brown is also a mystery writer and screenwriter.
25
Jean Genet is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Gay Authors
The Balcony, The Blacks: A Clown Show, The Maids
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