Top 10 Best Authors of All Time

Ever wondered who stands tall in the majestic world of literature? You're not alone in this curiosity. Let's dive into an exciting journey to explore the best authors of all time. But, let's clarify something first: we're focusing on people who are primarily authors, leaving out those who may have dabbled in writing a book or two but are known for other professions. And, to keep it pure to the craft of novel and prose writing, we're excluding playwrights too.
The Top Ten
1 Stephen King Stephen Edwin King is an American author of contemporary horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Many of his most well-known novels include Carrie, It, The Shinning, The Stand, Misery, The Dark Tower series, and Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was later... read more

I've only just started reading books by him. The first book I read was Carrie. He is already my favorite author of all time. Carrie is my current favorite book ever, but I bet that will change once I read more of King's works. He is the most influential author in both movies and books. He has written books like The Shining, It, Different Seasons, and The Green Mile, just to name a few - none of which I've read yet, but plan to read soon. Movies based on his books include The Shining, It, Shawshank Redemption, and The Green Mile, again, just to name a few.

King can write about anything and somehow make it work. I mean, if he can write about a clown monster that isn't really a clown and is called Bob, and make that good, you know he can write about anything. I've become hooked on his writing. It's fantastic. King is absolutely my favorite author, and he deserves to be as high as he is on this list.

2 J.R.R. Tolkien John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (3 January 1892 – 2 September 1973), known by his pen name J. R. R. Tolkien, was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor who is best known as the author of the classic high-fantasy works The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion.

Tolkien is the best writer ever. There is something special about his books, specifically the style of writing and the storyline. I've read The Hobbit and the first book of The Lord of the Rings, and showed them to my teacher. She suggested that I should have read Harry Potter instead, but I disagreed with her.

Creating book titles and character names can be challenging, but Tolkien went a step further by creating an entirely new language for his books! How amazing is that! I think many people, especially teens and children, dislike reading because they are forced to by parents, tutors, and teachers. As my father always says, When you don't let your child do something, they'll start wanting to do it. We should encourage, not force, young people to read classic literature.

My parents used to make me read a chapter of a book before bed, and I always hated that. However, when I saw my friends reading happily, I picked up a book about dinosaurs (I liked them!) and read the entire book in half an hour. Soon, I began reading novels like Harry Potter. Eventually, I grew tired of Harry Potter and sought new reading material. None of the books in the library appealed to me except The Hobbit, so I borrowed it and read it. This led me to learn more about Tolkien, prompting me to start reading The Lord of the Rings. I loved both books and am glad I made such a good choice.

3 Charles Dickens Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer and social critic. He created some of the world's best-known fictional characters and is regarded by many as the greatest novelist of the Victorian era... read more

I think the reason why many of us teens and children find his books boring is because school forces us to read them. In school, we have to stop every five seconds to "analyze" the text. This isn't immersive at all! It makes it hard to lose yourself in the world of the story when you have to pause your reading so frequently. Teachers say the beauty of literature lies in the hidden messages found between the lines. But really, the true beauty of books is that they create a whole new world for the reader to experience at their own pace. This also relates to why children today prefer video games to school reading, but I'm going off topic. Dickens was a great author. After reading Great Expectations in my free time, at my own pace, I found it to be a masterpiece.

4 Mark Twain Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American writer, humorist, entrepreneur, publisher, and lecturer.

Mark Twain should, at the very least, make the top five. He wrote the most highly anthologized book in the history of the U.S. His grasp of irony and dialect was, and still is, astounding. There are very few people in this country who do not recognize his name.

I believe that he should be ranked #1. This needs to be based on something other than who your writing hero is or whose writing you enjoy the most. It should be based on historical impact.

One of my favorite books of all time is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It was amazing. I may go read it again later, now that I think about it.

5 Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849) was an American writer, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States and American... read more

About ten percent of his work is horror. His essays, poetry, and the first detective story ever written that lent much to Sherlock Holmes are what? Forgotten! A master among masters, his ability with words stands unrivaled.

I really love his poems. I remember reading his poetry in school and I simply fell in love with them, especially my favorite poem, The Raven, and The Tell-Tale Heart. Edgar Allan Poe is awesome.

I am a big fan of Edgar Allan Poe's poems and poetry. My favorite poems from Edgar Allan Poe are The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart. All of his poems are awesome.

6 C.S. Lewis Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963) was a British novelist, poet, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian, broadcaster, lecturer, and Christian apologist... read more

I love The Chronicles of Narnia! It's the best series ever! It's not like Twilight. I mean, Twilight is about a girl who has to choose between a vampire and a werewolf. But Narnia makes a person's imagination grow wild and spread! It can make a person imagine they are a part of Narnia!

I love C. S. Lewis. He is truly an inspiring person. I am eleven, and for my 9th birthday, we went and saw Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Narnia allows you to imagine things you never could. It lets your thoughts run wild and free. Lewis has such a vivid imagination.

7 Dr. Seuss Theodor Seuss Geisel was an American writer and illustrator best known for authoring popular children's books under the pen name Dr. Seuss.

I grew up with Dr. Seuss and I absolutely love and admire him. My personal all-time favorite books from Dr. Seuss are How the Grinch Stole Christmas, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, Cat in the Hat, Oh, the Places You'll Go, and many others like Green Eggs and Ham and Hop on Pop.

Yes, his books are primarily for children. But any person living in a 21st-century, first-world country has to have read one of his books. In addition:

- Even after death, his books are still being adapted.
- The Cat in the Hat and the Grinch have become household names.
- He was one of the first people to realize how terrible cutting down trees was for the environment.
- He invented the word nerd.

8 Fyodor Dostoevsky Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher.

Most of us probably read him in translation, so I don't know if it's fair to put him high on an "all-time" list when we haven't been reading Dostoevsky, but a translator's interpretation of him.

The books with Dostoevsky's name on them are good. I've mostly read the Constance Garnett translations, and though I hear they're utter crap and don't do F.D. any honor, they are still some of the most engaging and thought-filled books I've ever read. Scenes that would be boring slogs in the hands of any other classical author are rendered into something impossible to stop reading. His best stories are ones you'll be thinking about intermittently throughout your life after you've read them.

9 Leo Tolstoy Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.

It's a shame that many young readers flock to J.K. Rowling as well as all the other modern writers, neglecting deeper, more focused philosophical writings such as those by Tolstoy. The words in Tolstoy's novels stay with you for months, lingering in your head. They reveal more insight into even the most basic human interactions, explaining why people do what they do and what they are thinking. I'm very ashamed to see that he is so low on this list, particularly as War and Peace has been hailed as the greatest novel of all time.

10 J.K. Rowling Joanne Rowling, CH, OBE, FRSL, FRCPE, writing under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, philanthropist, film and television producer and screenwriter best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series.

I fell in love with her style and type of writing. She has created a magical empire that encompasses countless childhood memories. She is clearly amazing and outstanding. Moreover, she has recently written a new novel for a different audience, which has received excellent reviews. Its titles are The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling. I believe she has introduced a new world to us, and in my opinion, she is clearly superior to Stephenie Meyer.

Interestingly, I have attempted to write a magical novel like hers, but I couldn't complete it. This is because she has included all the possible facts and creatures in her Harry Potter series. I want to highlight her narrative style. It's full of adventures and new discoveries, mixed with love and respect.

The Newcomers

? Herman Charles Bosman
The Contenders
11 George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), who used the pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist, essayist, journalist and critic. His work is marked by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.

I'm surprised Orwell didn't crack the top 10. While the competition is tough, I think he outshines many of the authors already listed. The cultural impact and genius of his works, 1984 and Animal Farm alone, speak volumes. The extensive discussion surrounding 1984 in 2023 shows just how much foresight this man had.

1984? Animal Farm? These are two incredibly influential novels that have, over time, changed the views of whole societies and warned us about the dangers some political systems pose. George Orwell's influence through these exceptionally well-constructed novels is significant. He should be in the top five, at least. The fact that he is outside the top ten at this present moment is abysmal. I urge anyone reading this comment who hasn't heard of Orwell's works to read 1984 and Animal Farm first, then come back to this site and vote for Orwell.

12 Roald Dahl Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.

I spent the longest time deciding who my favorite author is between Roald Dahl, Dav Pilkey, and Mary Pope Osborne, and I chose Dahl. His books are the best, and I am a big fan of his work. Dahl's books are completely amazing, especially The BFG and James and the Giant Peach. I have enjoyed his books a lot.

In this list, I think Roald Dahl deserves the top three places. His books are not only funny and hilarious, but the stories are also very creative. No other authors can write such interesting books as him. The stories Dahl created perfectly match Quentin Blake's incredible illustrations. Dahl's books are simply the best.

13 Ernest Hemingway Ernest Miller Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) was an American novelist, short story writer, and journalist. His economical and understated style had a strong influence on 20th-century fiction, while his life of adventure and his public image influenced later generations. Hemingway produced... read more

Some of the deepest, most meaningful authors of all time have written books like The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms, and The Old Man and the Sea, among many more. Stephen King is great, but he hasn't written nearly as many legendary novels.

A Farewell to Arms, The Sun Also Rises, Men Without Women, The Old Man and the Sea, and For Whom the Bell Tolls are each better than the works of J.K. Rowling and her little fairy tales. This list is terrible if Ernest Hemingway is ranked below all these laughable authors.

14 Arthur Conan Doyle Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle was a British writer and physician, most noted for creating the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and writing stories about him which are generally considered milestones in the field of crime fiction.

The mystery genre is my favorite, and no one can compare to him in this field. I love Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. They are the best characters that ever existed. Yay! What would we do without you, Doyle?

It's a surprise that authors like Doyle, Wells, Stevenson, Verne, Dumas, etc., are so far down the list. Do only kids who despise literature vote here or what?

He is amazing. I love his books! I've read all the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Lost World.

15 Rick Riordan Richard Russell Riordan Jr. (born June 5, 1964) is an American author. He is known for writing the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. His books have been translated into 42 languages and sold more than 30 million copies in the US. 20th Century Fox has adapted the first two books of his Percy Jackson... read more

READ THE BOOKS! Percy Jackson is my favorite book series. This series not only lets me have fun while reading, but also teaches me all about mythology. Social science is explored in exciting new ways. There are other books that I have read which completely fail when bringing myths to life. They are a disgrace to books. (See what I did there!) I highly recommend you read them as well, because you get to learn something new while you're at it.

I couldn't believe my eyes that Rick Riordan is not in the top ten authors! I'm a picky person when it comes to books, very picky. The first ones that caught my attention at the library were these. I have read and re-read them so many times that I've memorized the story altogether. Rick Riordan brings myths to life. Many ages can read his books, starting with The Lightning Thief. The twists and turns in the story get you immersed in it, and you just can't stop reading. READ THE BOOKS!

16 H.P. Lovecraft Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) was an American author who achieved posthumous fame through his influential works of horror fiction. Virtually unknown and published only in pulp magazines before he died in poverty, he is now regarded as one of the most significant 20th-century... read more

In my opinion, the best horror author to tread the surface of this planet is Howard Philips Lovecraft. I love Stephen King, but his works wouldn't be what they are without Lovecraft. As King himself has pointed out countless times, he avidly read Lovecraft as a child, and his works are influenced by him. No one else comes close to inflicting terror on readers like Howard Philips Lovecraft. The fear in his work doesn't stem from spooky sea monsters but from the incomprehensible cosmic horrors he hints at. His works have practically shaped the modern horror genre. P.S. Sorry if I seemed melodramatic or made grammar mistakes. I wrote this on a mobile device.

17 Vladimir Nabokov Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, also known by the pen name Vladimir Sirin (22 April [O.S. 10 April] 1899 – 2 July 1977) was a Russian-American novelist and entomologist. His first nine novels were in Russian, and he achieved international prominence after he began writing English prose... read more

The only author to explore the mind of a pedophile, straying into the usual controversies while writing Lolita, a book that is both hailed and condemned.

He's the greatest prose writer of all time, in my opinion. His style is pure, unadulterated genius.

A great writer. Really enjoyed reading Lolita.

18 Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Patrick Kinney (born February 19, 1971) is an American author and cartoonist, best known for the children's book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Best. Author. Ever. Why would Leo Tolstoy and Charles Dickens be ahead of him? Makes no sense. Also, J.K. and Suzanne Collins should be higher.

There is a fine line within every story. His is just another person's perspective on what children want to read. He's really just another children's author who wants people to read. He seems to have some eagerness for his viewers. It's the same story inside each novel - lame.

All the guys mentioned in this list are great. I like all these authors, but I really love Jeff's sense of humor. I have all the DWK books and am looking forward to book 12.

19 Agatha Christie Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan, was an English crime novelist, short story writer and playwright. She is the best-selling novelist ever. She also made the longest play ever. She is remembered for making multiple mystery books including; And Then There Were None, Murder on the Orient... read more

Definitely the best mystery writer in my opinion. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is amazing, but Agatha Christie has written over 80 mysteries that all have a completely shocking and entertaining twist. She manages to make each ending amazing and different for every book! That's what I call genius! Her characters are delightful too. Come on, you can't help but be amused by Hercule Poirot's swelled ego and stunned by his brilliance! She should have a higher ranking than this!

Let me give you some info. Agatha Christie is the second-best-selling author of all time, with about 4 million copies of all her books combined ever sold. She is only second to Shakespeare, who only giant authors can compete with, such as Stephen King, Dickens, H.G. Wells (who is probably the best sci-fi author of all time), Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and, of course, Christie. She is the ruler when it comes to mystery novels.

20 John Steinbeck John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was an American author of twenty-seven books, including sixteen novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories.

The characters in Steinbeck's novels were everyday people who found themselves confronted with extraordinary challenges. Steinbeck was extremely adept at capturing the down-to-earth nature of these challenges and the common man's struggle to endure them.

He wrote timeless classics like The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, and Of Mice and Men. A truly visionary writer!

"A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain't got nobody. Don't make no difference who the guy is, long's he's with you. I tell ya, I tell ya a guy gets too lonely an' he gets sick."

21 R.L. Stine

Goosebumps books are very interesting and exciting, especially Night of the Living Dummy, Monster Blood, Revenge of the Lawn Gnomes, and The Curse of the Mummy's Tomb!

I grew up on Goosebumps: the books and the TV series. Now there are two live-action movies. He is very creative and comes up with many good stories and monsters.

You have to say he did pretty well, and he didn't have many other books where he could write the same story and give the characters different names.

22 Suzanne Collins

Much like Percy Jackson, I loved the books but hated the movies. I just couldn't stay interested. I fell asleep once, even. Nonetheless, the books are good. At first, I couldn't finish The Hunger Games because it was a little unethical, but these days, I like it and the rest of the series. (Okay, at Mockingjay, I got a little bored, but still, the other two are good.)

We're talking about the woman who wrote The Hunger Games, the greatest books of all time! She should NOT be 106th. At least in the top ten! If you haven't voted for her, then May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor!

23 Victor Hugo Victor Marie Hugo (26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. Hugo is considered to be one of the greatest and best-known French writers... read more

Undoubtedly the best ever in human history, past and future.

One of the greatest authors ever. Les Misérables is the best novel I have read.

Socialism is explored in his novels. Western society owes him.

24 Hans Christian Andersen Hans Christian Andersen, often referred to in Scandinavia as H. C. Andersen (2 April 1805 – 4 August 1875), was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, Andersen is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children: his... read more

I really love Hans Christian Andersen. I really enjoy his books, movies, and songs too. Some of his songs are catchy and can get stuck in your head! I also like Danny Kaye because he has a great sense of humor, and he is a great singer whom I grew up listening to.

His fairy tales have several dimensions and can be enjoyed by both children and adults. He takes 19th-century society and puts it on the edge.

His stories are absolutely amazing. They have been the inspiration for movies like "The Little Mermaid" and "Frozen."

25 Terry Pratchett Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett (1948-2015) was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works. He is best known for writing the comic fantasy book series Discworld.

He saved my heart when it was in a dark place. I will never forget my cell mate wondering what the hell I was laughing at. Yes, he's the only author other than Douglas Adams that can get me to do that.

The depth of layers of meaning in his books is profound. The leavening of comedy often fools people into thinking his work is fluff, which allows the satire to sneak past their barriers.

Pratchett's books are well-written, gripping, moving, hilarious, and thought-provoking all at the same time. I've never read a book by any other author that ticks all of these boxes.

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