Top 100 authors of all time

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1.
Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri was born in 1265 into the lower nobility of Florence, to Alighiero di Bellincione d'Alighiero, a moneylender. A precocious student, Dante's education focused on rhetoric and grammar. He also became enamored with a young girl, Beatrice Portinari, whose death in 1290 threw a grieving Dante into intense religious studies...
 
2.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Writer, The Double
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born on November 11, 1821, in Moscow, Russia. He was the second of seven children of Mikhail Andreevich and Maria Dostoevsky. His father, a doctor, was a member of the Russian nobility, owned serfs and had a considerable estate near Moscow where he lived with his family...
 
3.
Leo Tolstoy
Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in his ancestral estate Yasnaya Polyana, South of Moscow, Russia. He was the fourth of five children in a wealthy family of Russian landed Gentry. His parents died when he was a child, and he was brought up by his elder brothers and relatives...
 
4.
Victor Hugo
Although Hugo was fascinated by poems from childhood on, he spent some time on the polytechnic university of Paris until he dedicated all his work to literature. He was one of the few authors who were allowed to reach popularity during lifetime and one of the leaders of French romance. After the death...
 
5.
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare's birthdate is assumed from his baptism on April 25. His father John was the son of a farmer who became a successful tradesman; his mother Mary Arden was gentry. He studied Latin works at Stratford Grammar School, leaving at about age 15. About this time his father suffered an unknown financial setback...
 
6.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Writer, Faust
Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as son of a lawyer. After growing up in a privileged upper middle class family, he studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768, although he was more interested in literature. As he was seriously ill, he had to interrupt his studies...
 
7.
Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra
Writer, Don Quixote
Miguel de Cervantes' baptism occurred on October 9, 1547, at Alcala de Henares, Spain, so it is reasonable to assume he was born around that time, and Alcala de Henares has long claimed itself as his birthplace. The son of Rodrigo de Cervantes, an itinerant and not-too-successful surgeon, Miguel was educated by monks as he and his family wandered from city to city...
 
8.
Honoré de Balzac
Honoré de Balzac was a French writer whose works have been made into films, such as, Cousin Bette starring Jessica Lange, and television serials, such as, _Cousin Bette (1971 TV mini-series)_, starring Margaret Tyzack and Helen Mirren. He was born on March 20, 1799, in Tours, France. His father...
 
9.
Stendhal
A foremost French writer of the Romantic era, Stendhal was born Marie-Henri Beyle in Grenoble, France in 1783. A loyal Bonapartist he followed Napoleon closely during his military campaigns Stendhal's novels reflect his intense love of Italy, his political convictions and the moral and philosophical dilemmas of his time...
 
10.
Charles Baudelaire
Writer, Messengers
Charles Baudelaire was a 19th century French poet, translator, and literary/art critic. At his birth, Baudelaire's mother, Caroline Archimbaut-Dufays, was 28; his father Francois Baudelaire was 61. Charles' father instilled in him an appreciation for art, taking his young son to museums and galleries...
 
12.
Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust was a French intellectual, author and critic, best known for his seven-volume fiction 'In search of Lost Time'. He coined the term "involuntary memory", which became also known as "Proust effect" in modern psychology. He was born Valentin Louis Georges Eugéne Marcel Proust, on July 10...
 
14.
Alexander Pushkin
Writer, Onegin
Born to noble parents (his father Sergei was a retired major, and his mother, Nadezhda, was the granddaughter of an ennobled Ethiopian general) on the 26th of May, 1799 in Moscow, Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin became involved with a liberal underground revolutionary group that saw him exiled to the Caucasus...
 
15.
Jalaluddin Muhammad Rumi
Jalaluddin Rumi, Scholar in Religious Sciences and famed Sufi Mystic Poet, was born on September 29th 1207 A.D. in Balkh (modern day Afghanistan). Escaping Mongol invasions he travelled extensively to Muslim lands, Bagdad, Mecca, Damascus, Malatia (Turkey). Married Gevher Khatun of Samarquand and moved to Quonya (Konya in present day Turkey)...
 
16.
Franz Kafka
Writer, The Trial
Franz Kafka was born into a German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Austrian Empire, in 1883. His father, Hermann Kafka, was a business owner and a domestic tyrant, frequently abusing his son. Kafka later admitted to his father, "My writing was all about you...". He believed that his father broke his will and caused insecurity and guilt...
 
17.
Anton Chekhov
Writer, Kis Uykusu
Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was born in 1860, the third of six children to a family of a grocer, in Taganrog, Russia, a southern seaport and resort on the Azov Sea. His father, a 3rd-rank Member of the Merchant's Guild, was a religious fanatic and a tyrant who used his children as slaves. Young Chekhov was a part-time assistant in his father's business and also a singer in a church choir...
 
18.
Gabriel García Márquez
Major Latin-American author of novels and short stories, a central figure in the so-called magical realism movement in Latin American literature. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. Studied law and journalism in Bogotá and Cartagena. He began his career as a journalist in 1948, was a foreign correspondent in Europe during the late 1950s...
 
19.
Umberto Eco
He is a professor of semiotics, the study of communication through signs and symbols, at the University of Bologna. Also a philiosopher, a historian, literary critic, and an aesthetician. He is an avid book collector and owns more than 30,000 volumes. The subjects of his scholarly investigations range from St. Thomas Aquinas, to James Joyce, to Superman. He lives in Milan.
 
20.
J.R.R. Tolkien
English writer, scholar and philologist, Tolkien's father was a bank manager in South Africa. When his father died in 1896 his mother took him and his younger brother to his father's native village of Sarehole, near Birmingham, England. The landscapes and Nordic mythology of the Midlands may have been...
 
21.
William Faulkner
William Faulkner, one of the 20th century's most gifted novelists, wrote for the movies in part because he could not make enough money from his novels and short stories to support his growing number of dependants. The author of such acclaimed novels as "The Sound and the Fury" and "Absalom, Absalom!"...
 
22.
Aesop
Greek slave. Many of the 200+ fables attributed to him may not have been his own, but since his name is synonymous with fables they were credited to him anyway. Sentenced to death for heresy. Was thrown from the edge of a cliff, c. 560 BC. The excepted dates of his birth and death would mean that he lived to around 60, remarkable for his time.
 
24.
Aristophanes
Writer, Chi-Raq
Ancient Greek poet and comic dramatist Aristophanes was the son of Philippus of Athens. A leading exponent of the Athenian "Old Comedy," Aristophanes lived most of his life during the Peloponnesian War against Sparta (431-404). Some of his works include "Acharnians" (425), "Knights" (424), "In the Clouds" (423)...
 
25.
Ivan Turgenev
Ivan Turgenev was born into a wealthy landowning family with many serfs, in the city of Oryol in Southern Russia. His father, a cavalry colonel, died when he was 15, and he was raised by his abusive mother, who ruled her 5000 serfs ruthlessly with a whip. He never married, but fathered a daughter with one of their family serfs...
 
26.
Sophocles
Versatile Greek poet and tragic dramatist. He was the son of Sophilus, a wealthy arms manufacturer. Sophocles studied tragedy under Aeschylus, whom he subsequently defeated in the dramatic festival of 468 BC, thus gaining his first victory at these competitions. He became a general under Nicias and...
 
27.
Molière
Writer, The Miser
Born between January 13 and January 15 of the year 1622, from a 25yo tapestry-maker, Jean Poguelin (who worked for the King of France from 1631), and a 20yo woman, Marie Cresé, in Paris, Jean-Baptiste Poquelin lost his mother when he was 10. From 1638 to 1640, he studied in the Jesuit college of Clermont...
 
28.
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens' father was a clerk at the Naval Pay Office, and because of this the family had to move from place to place: Plymouth, London, Chatham. It was a large family and despite hard work, his father couldn't earn enough money. In 1823 he was arrested for debt and Charles had to start working in a factory...
 
29.
Maxim Gorky
Maksim Gorky is a pseudonym of Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov, who was born into a poor Russian family in Nizhnii Novgorod on Volga river. Gorky lost his father at an early age, he was beaten by his stepfather and became an orphan at age 9, when his mother died. He was brought up by his grandmother, who helped his development as a storyteller...
 
30.
George Orwell
Born the son of an Opium Agent in Bengal, Eric Blair was educated in England (Eton 1921). The joined the British Imperial Police in Burma, serving until 1927. He then travelled around England and Europe, doing various odd jobs to support his writing. By 1935 he had adopted the 'pen-name' of 'George Orwell' and had written his first novels...
 
31.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809, in Boston, Massachusetts. His father, named David Poe Jr., and his mother, named Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe, were touring actors. Both parents died in 1811, and Poe became an orphan before he was 3 years old. He was adopted by John Allan, a tobacco merchant in Richmond...
 
32.
Julio Cortázar
Writer, Blow-Up
One of the most important Argentinian writers of all time, Julio Cortazar was born in Belgium. When he was a child he went with his parents to Argentina. She stayed in Buenos Aires until 1951, when he went to Paris and he stayed in France until his death. His first book of short stories was "Bestiario" published in 1951...
 
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34.
Oscar Wilde
Writer, Dorian Gray
A gifted poet, playwright and wit, Oscar Wilde was a phenomenon in 19th-century England. He was illustrious for preaching the importance of style in life and art, and of attacking Victorian narrow-mindedness. Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1854. He studied at Trinity College in Dublin before leaving the country to study at Oxford University in England when he was in his early 20s...
 
35.
Jean de La Fontaine
Born in July 8, 1621, in Château-Thierry (Champagne, France), where his father was in charge of Water, Forests and Hunting, Jean de la Fontaine spent his whole childhood and adolescence in the countryside, where he mainly studied Latin language. In 1641, he moved to Paris to continue his study at the Oratoire...
 
36.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Writer, Ana
Rainer Maria Rilke was born in Prague on the 4th of December 1878 as the son of a military man working with railroads. After he visited a military Upper School he tried to avoid the army and did the preparations for the final exams and the final exams in private. He went to university to study literature and art...
 
37.
Lord Byron
Lord Byron seemed destined from birth to tragedy. His father was the handsome but feckless Captain John "Mad Jack" Byron and his mother the Scottish heiress Catherine Gordon, the only child of the Laird of Gight. Captain Byron abandoned his wife and child leaving Catherine to bring up young Byron on her own...
 
38.
Hans Christian Andersen
Writer, Frozen
H.C. Andersen was born in 1805. His father (Hans Andersen) was a poor shoemaker and his mother a washerwoman. The family did not have a permanent address until 1807. The family lived for the first time together at Munkemøllestræde. The father worked as an independent shoemaker, with a workshop in the livingroom...
 
39.
Thomas Mann
Thomas Mann was probably Germany's most influential author of the 20th century, receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1929. Born on 6 June 1875 in Lübeck, his family moved to Munich in 1893, where he lived until 1933 and wrote some of his most successful novels like "Buddenbrocks" (1901), "Death in Venice" (1912) or "The Magic Mountain" (1924)...
 
40.
Alexandre Dumas père
His paternal grandparents were Marie Cessete Dumas (a Haitian slave) and Marquis Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie. Antoine disapproved of their son, Thomas-Alexandre, joining the French army under the "Davy de la Pailleterie" name, so Thomas-Alexandre used his mother's surname instead. He became a valued general of Napoleon...
 
41.
James Joyce
Writer, The Dead
Joyce was born at 41 Brighton Square, Rathgar, Dublin, on 2 February 1882. His father invested unwisely, and the family's fortunes declined steadily. Joyce graduated from University College, Dublin, in 1902; he briefly studied medicine in Paris, but his mother's impending death brought him back to Dublin...
 
43.
Boris Pasternak
Boris Pasternak was born in Moscow on February 10, 1890 into an artistic family of Russian-Jewish heritage. His father was an acclaimed artist named Leonid Pasternak, who converted to Christianity, and his mother was a renown concert pianist named Rosa Kaufman. Their home was open to family friends such as composers Sergei Rachmaninoff and Alexander Scriabin as well as writers Rilke and Leo Tolstoy...
 
44.
Federico García Lorca
Writer, La novia
Federíco Garcia Lorca was born in the south of Spain (Andalusia) in 1898 and soon became the region's most famous artist. A poet, playwright, artist, musician and lecturer, he wrote groundbreaking plays such as 'Blood Wedding' and 'Yerma'. His support of the Spanish Republic in the 1930s led to his execution in 1936.
 
45.
Pablo Neruda
Pablo Neruda was the pseudonym of Chilean poet Ricardo Neftali Reyes Basualto. He was born in Parral, a little town in central Chile, but his family moved to Temuco City when he was just a few months old. It was there he showed interest in poetry and made his early works, and where he picked "Pablo Neruda" as a pseudonym because his father did not approve of his writing...
 
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50.
Nikolai Gogol
Writer, Black Sunday
Nikolai (Mykola) Gogol was a Ukrainian-born writer who wrote in Russian, because the Ukrainian language was banned in Russian Empire. His ancestors were bearing the name of Gogol-Janovsky and claimed belonging to the upper class Polish Szlachta. Gogol's father, a Ukrainian writer living on his old family estate...
 
52.
Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway was an American writer who won the Pulitzer Prize (1953) and the Nobel Prize in Literature (1954) for his novel The Old Man and the Sea, which was made into a 1958 film The Old Man and the Sea. He was born into the hands of his physician father. He was the second of six children of Dr. Clarence Hemingway and Grace Hemingway (the daughter of English immigrants)...
 
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55.
Albert Camus
Albert Camus was born on November 7, 1913, in Mondovi, Algeria. His parents were Spanish-French-Algerian (pied noir) colonists. His father, named Lucien Camus died in the Battle of Marne (1914) during WWI. His mother, named Catherine Helene Sintes was of Spanish origin, she was a mute deaf, due to a stroke...
 
56.
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles-Aymard Sartre was born on June 21, 1905, in Paris, France. His father, Jean-Baptiste Sartre, was an officer in the French Navy. His mother, Anne-Marie Schweitzer, was the cousin of Nobel Prize laureate Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Sartre was one year old when his father died. He was raised in Meudon...
 
57.
Chingiz Aitmatov
Chingiz Aitmatov was a Russian-Kyrgyz writer and statesman known for such films as Pervyy uchitel, The Girl with the Red Scarf and Jamila. He was born Chingiz Torekulovich Aitmatov on December 12, 1928, in Kirgizia, Soviet Union. His family was bilingual, Russian-Kyrgyz. His father, Torekul Aitmatov...
 
58.
John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck was the third of four children and the only son born to John Ernst and Olive Hamilton Steinbeck. His father was County Treasurer and his mother, a former schoolteacher. John graduated from Salinas High School in 1919 and attended classes at Stanford University, leaving in 1925 without a degree...
 
59.
Milan Kundera
Milan Kundera was born on April 1st 1929 in Brno, Czechoslovakia. He wrote his first poems during his high school years. After World War II he worked as a jazz musician before going to college. He studied music, film and literature at university in Prague. He moved on to become a professor at the film faculty of the Prague Academy of Performing Arts...
 
61.
Mark Twain
Writer, Tom and Huck
Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens in Florida, Missouri in 1835, grew up in Hannibal. He was a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River. Throughout his career, Twain served as a writer, lecturer, reporter, editor, printer, and prospector. Twain took his pen name from an alert cry used on his steamboat - "by the mark, twain".
 
64.
George Bernard Shaw
Writer, My Fair Lady
The Anglo-Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950), winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, acquired a reputation as the greatest dramatist in the English language during the first half of the 20th Century for the plays he had written at the height of his creativity from "Mrs. Warren's Profession" in 1893 to "The Apple Cart" in 1929...
 
66.
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775, to the local rector, Rev. George Austen (1731-1805), and Cassandra Leigh (1739-1827). She was the seventh of eight children. She had one older sister, Cassandra. In 1783 she went to Southampton to be taught by a relative, Mrs. Cawley, but was brought home due to a local outbreak of disease...
 
68.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born into a family of old provincial nobility. Failing his final exams at a preparatory school, he entered the École des Beaux-Arts to study architecture. In 1921, he began military service in the 2nd Regiment of Chasseurs, and sent to Strasbourg for pilot training. The next year...
 
69.
Erich Maria Remarque
German novelist Remarque was born in Osnabruck in 1898. His first novel, the anti-war All Quiet on the Western Front, was written in response to his experiences as a soldier in WWI, and published in 1929. He moved to Switzerland until 1939, when he emigrated to the U.S., where he lived and wrote until his death in 1970.
 
70.
J.D. Salinger
U.S. writer whose novel "The Catcher in the Rye" (1951) won critical acclaim and devoted admirers, especially among the post-World War II generation of college students. His entire corpus of published works consists of that one novel and 13 short stories, all originally written in the period 1948-59...
 
71.
Virginia Woolf
Writer, Orlando
London-born Virginia Woolf came from a wealthy family and, unlike her brothers, received her education at home, an unusual step for the times. Her parents had both had children from previous marriages, so she grew up with a variety of siblings, stepbrothers and stepsisters. Her father was a well-respected editor and author and the former son-in-law of William Makepeace Thackeray...
 
72.
Louis Aragon
Writer, 8 femmes
Louis Aragon was born on October 3, 1897, in Paris, France. He graduated from Lycée Carnot, then studied medicine in Sorbonne and befriended a fellow medical student André Breton. In 1917 he was drafted in the First World War and served in a military hospital. There he met Guillaume Apollinaire and they became close friends...
 
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Mikhail Sholokhov
Writer, Tikhiy Don
Mikhail Sholokhov was a Russian writer who received a Nobel prize for his epic novel 'Tikhiy Don'. He was born in 1905 into a Cossack family of farmers in Kruzhilin, Veshenskaya, Rostov province in Southern Russia. His high school studies were interrupted by the Russian revolution and the Civil War...
 
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Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was born on 10 February 1898 in Augsburg, Germany and one of the country's most influential poets, playwrights and screenwriters. His most famous work was the musical "The Threepenny Opera" (with Kurt Weill), but his dramas such as "Mother Courage and Her Children" or "The Good Person of Sezuan" were equally successful...
 
80.
T.S. Eliot
T.S. Eliot ranks with William Butler Yeats as the greatest English language poet of the 20th Century and was certainly the most influential. He was born Thomas Stearns Eliot into the bosom of a respectable middle class family on September 26, 1888 in St. Louis, Missouri. The family had roots in New England...
 
83.
Sabahattin Ali
Writer, Kar Beyaz
Sabahattin Ali was born in Komotini, Greece, 1917; and assassinated in Kirklareli, Turkey, 1948. He worked as a teacher in Yozgat, Aydin, Konya and Ankara for couple of years. In 1945, Ali started to publish humorous and opposing magazine Marko Pasa. He arrested in 1948 for an article and sentenced for three months...
 
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Isaac Asimov
Isaac Asimov was born Isaak Judah Ozimov, on January 2, 1920, in Petrovichi shtetl, near Smolensk, Russia. He was the oldest of three children. His father, named Judah Ozimov, and his mother, named Anna Rachel Ozimov (nee Berman), were Orthodox Jews. Ozimov family were millers (the name Ozimov comes from the eponymous sort of wheat in Russian)...
 
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Salman Rushdie
He married the actress Padma Lakshmi, the hostess of "Padma's Passport," and dedicatee of his eighth novel, "Fury" (2001), on 17th April 2004. The late Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against him for the novel "The Satanic Verses" on 14th February 1989. He is currently completing a ninth novel...
 
96.
Aldous Huxley
Writer, The Devils
Aldous Leonard Huxley was born on July 26, 1894, at Laleham in Godalming, Surrey, England. He was the third of four children. His brother Julian Huxley was a biologist known for his theories of evolution. His grandfather, named Thomas Henry Huxley, was a naturalist known as "Darwin's Bulldog." His father...
 
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98.
Thomas Pynchon
Reclusive American author best known for his epic novels "Gravity's Rainbow," "V." and "Mason & Dixon."
 
99.
H.P. Lovecraft
Writer, Re-Animator
Born in Providence, Lovecraft was a sickly child whose parents died insane. When he was 16, he wrote the astronomy column in the Providence Tribune. Between 1908 and 1923, he wrote short stories for Weird Tales magazine, among others. He died in Providence, in poverty, on March 15, 1937. His most famous novel is considered to be "At the Mountains of Madness," about an expedition to the South Pole...
 
100.
Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami graduated from Waseda University, Tokyo, in 1975. Widely considered one of Japan's most important 20th-century novelists, he is heavily influenced by American culture and has been criticized by some Japanese critics as overly Westernized. His often solitary, withdrawn, and world-weary protagonists are generally stripped of Japanese tradition...