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Greatest Authors Of All Time: Top 50 Authors In History & What Makes A Great Author

Updated on September 16, 2012

Great Authors In History

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens | Source

What Makes One Author The Best Author In History

Being an author is more than just putting pen to paper and writing. The best authors are those who can come up with a story which feels real and which is believed. It involves a concept of either the real or fiction world. It may be focused around actual events or made up events.

Typing in the "top 50 authors" in google gave me a range of results and links. To share a few:

Top 50 Authors of All Time list

Wikipedia - List of best-selling fiction authors

UNESCO Top 50 Authors

The Best Story? The Best Selling Author Of All Time?

For an author to go down in history as being the best author or one of the best authors, they would have truly written something ground breaking. A great author isn't necessarily an author who has produced hundreds of great works, or even ten great short stories. The best authors in history are able to produce a piece of literature that makes the human mind think, appreciate, admire and apply those elements on the story to their own personal lives.

If someone asked you who the best speaker was, you would have a reason. Most people would seem to agree on who the most memorable people in history are. In a similar way, authors are recognised for their writing ability.

Authors In The Making

You may recognise all of the names in the top 50 lists around the world, or even many of those listed above. For each of these authors, their achievements have been recognised (in many cases) on a global scale. It may have been for writing a single novel, a trilogy or a collection of novels or short stories. Although people may look to a book store and come across the 'classics' section and notice the style of writing is much different from today's novels, it must be remembered that very few authors have had their works live through the times of history. To be recognised as the greatest author or one of the greatest authors in history is one of the greatest accolades in existence. To have your work be recognised throughout the world and be published hundreds of years after your passing - that is an achievement.

For a range of authors, writers and genres, click here.

Greatest Authors In History

And so, after looking through various lists, you'll notice that the top 50 authors are similar amongst various websites. Although some names may be ranked higher than others, you'll find the following authors appearing in many of the lists available:

William Shakespeare

Charles Dickens

Isaac Asimov

Robert Louis Stevenson

Karl Marx

Edgar Allan Poe

Oscar Wilde

Alexandre Dumas

Agatha Christie

Fyodor Dostoevsky

Ernest Hemingway

Leo Tolstoy

Jane Austen

J.R.R. Tolkien

George Orwell

Mark Twain

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Harper Lee

Dante Alighieri

Virginia Woolf

J.K. Rowling


Stephen King

C.S. Lewis

Each of these authors have gone down in history and have ranked amongst the best. Some of their works were written to entertain, others in times of distress to provide awareness, and others to apply to our lives and society hundreds of years on.


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