Famous 21st Century British Writers

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century British Writers, including Lady Colin Campbell, J. K. Rowling, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joan Collins and Julie Andrews.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 21st Century British Writers

 1 
Salman Rushdie
(Novelist)

Salman Rushdie
13
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist whose work Midnight's Children is widely considered the best novel of all Booker Prize winners. In 2007, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his services to literature. In 2008, he was ranked 13th in the 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list published by The Times.

 2 
Richard Dawkins
(Evolutionary Biologist)

Richard Dawkins
10
Birthdate: March 26, 1941
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nairobi, Kenya

Richard Dawkins is a British ethologist, author, and evolutionary biologist. He first achieved popularity after publishing his book, The Selfish Gene, which is credited with popularizing the gene selection theory. The book is also credited with introducing the term meme. In 2006, he established the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science to promote secularism and scientific literacy.

 3 
John Le Carré
(Novelist)

John Le Carré
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England
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Sir Arthur Charles Clarke
6
Birthdate: December 16, 1917
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Minehead, Somerset, England
Died: March 19, 2008
Sir Arthur C. Clarke is best known for his short story The Sentinel, which became the basis of the screenplay of Stanley Kubrick’s science-fiction movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. Clarke spent the final years of his life in Sri Lanka and hosted shows such as Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious World.

 5 
Martin McDonagh
(Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker)

Martin McDonagh
8
Birthdate: March 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camberwell

The director and writer of the Academy Award-winning short film, Six Shooter, Martin McDonagh is also well known as a playwright and stage director. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is one of the his noted works. The crime drama film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was another successful venture of McDonagh. He says he prefers films to plays.

 6 
Harold Pinter
(Playwright, Screenwriter)

Harold Pinter
8
Birthdate: October 10, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Metropolitan Borough of Hackney
Died: December 24, 2008

 7 
J. K. Rowling
(Author of Children's Fantasy Series, 'Harry Potter')

J. K. Rowling
115
Birthdate: July 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Yate, England

JK Rowling’s story is that of rags-to-riches. She is the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, which have sold more than 500 million copies and is the best-selling book series in history. She also writes crime fiction albeit under a pen name. Rowling supports many charities and has founded Lumos, an international NGO, working for children.

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 8 
Neil Gaiman
(Author)

Neil Gaiman
6
Birthdate: November 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Portchester, Hampshire, England
Author Neil Gaiman has written numerous novels, short stories, film scripts, and comics. He has won the Hugo, Bram Stoker, and Nebula awards, and the Carnegie and Newbery medals. Some of his best works are American Gods, Stardust, The Graveyard Book, and the comic series The Sandman

 9 

David McCallum
6
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 10 
Mary Berry
(Food Writer, TV Presenter)

Mary Berry
5
Birthdate: March 24, 1935
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset

Author of over 75 cookbooks, Mary Berry has also hosted several culinary shows, such as Mary Berry Cooks. The Guardian ranked her the second-best-dressed person over 50. A CBE and DBE recipient, she has also received the Guild of Food Writers Lifetime Achievement Award and an honorary degree.

 11 

Richard Ayoade
5
Birthdate: June 12, 1977
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Whipps Cross

English comedian, film director, screenwriter, and actor Richard Ayoade gained international fame for his role in Channel 4 sitcom The IT Crowd. Even though he studied law in college, he was more interested in working in the entertainment industry. He started working as a comedian and actor in the early 2000s and has since come a long way.

 12 
Zoe Kazan
(Actress)

Zoe Kazan
8
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 13 
Lucy Hawking
(Journalist, Novelist, Writer)

Lucy Hawking
4
Birthdate: November 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: England
Lucy Hawking, daughter of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking, has been a journalist with New York Magazine, The Times, and The Telegraph. She has also authored several children's books, such as George's Secret Key to the Universe. She is the VP of National Star College and also works for autism research.

 14 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge
4
Birthdate: July 14, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

Phoebe Waller-Bridge is credited with creating and writing one of the greatest TV series of the 21st century, Fleabag. She is also famous for contributing as the executive producer and head writer of another highly-acclaimed TV series, Killing Eve. In 2020, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 most influential people in the world.

 15 
Jane Hawking
(Writer)

Jane Hawking
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1944
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St Albans, Hertfordshire, England

Jane Hawking is an English teacher and author. She is best known as the ex-wife of popular physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking. She was married to Hawking for 30 years, during which she doubled up as his caretaker. Jane Hawking took good care of Stephen Hawking despite struggling from depression, for which she is much-respected in the scientific community.

 16 

Mark Rylance
9
Birthdate: January 18, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ashford, United Kingdom

Mark Rylance is an English actor, playwright, and theatre director. He is one of the eight actors to have been honored twice with the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. He is also one of the eight people to have won the British Triple Crown of Acting, having received the BAFTA Television Award, BAFTA Film Award, and Laurence Olivier Award.

 17 
David Icke
(Writer)

David Icke
5
Birthdate: April 29, 1952
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Leicester

A popular English conspiracy theorist, David Icke has written books and delivered lectures on various theories, such as infinite dimensions, reptoid humanoids, and the Illuminati. While he has faced criticisms and accusations, he also has a large following and has influenced people who support counter-cultural movement and ancient astronaut theories.

 18 

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
7
Birthdate: 1960 AD
Birthplace: Amioun, Lebanon
Lebanese-American scholar and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb is known for his work on risk management through uncertainty and probability. His five-volume essay Incerto included his bestselling book The Black Swan. Named to Forbes’s Most Influential Management Gurus list, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the academic journal Risk and Decision Analysis.

 19 
Tom Stoppard
(Playwright)

Tom Stoppard
8
Birthdate: July 3, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Zlín, Czechoslovakia
Born in Czechoslovakia, legendary playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard had lost his father in the Japanese invasion of Singapore during World War II. The five-time Tony winner is best known for the absurdist tragicomedy Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He also co-wrote the Academy Award-winning screenplay of Shakespeare in Love.

 20 
David Walliams
(Comedian)

David Walliams
8
Birthdate: August 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England

Best known as Matt Lucas from Rock Profile, David Williams has judged Britain's Got Talent; written bestselling children’s books, such as The World's Worst Children series; and swum across the English Channel to raise funds for the charity Sport Relief. His philanthropic efforts won him the OBE in 2017.

 21 
Louis Theroux
(Journalist)

Louis Theroux
5
Birthdate: May 20, 1970
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Singapore

Renowned British-American documentary filmmaker, Louis Theroux began his career as a journalist with Metro Silicon Valley, Spy magazine and TV Nation series. He gained recognition with his documentary series When Louis Met..., and Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends. The two time BAFTA Award winner has also received appreciation for his documentaries The Most Hated Family in America and My Scientology Movie.

 22 
Sophie Hunter
(Theatre Director)

Sophie Hunter
4
Birthdate: March 16, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London

Sophie Hunter is an English playwright, opera director, and former performer. She is credited with co-founding and popularizing a theatre company called Boileroom, which was honored with the Samuel Theatre Trust Award in 2007 for its play The Terrific Electric, which marked Sophie Hunter's directorial debut.

 23 
Terry Pratchett
(Humorist)

Terry Pratchett
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, England
Died: March 12, 2015

 24 
Katie Piper
(Writer)

Katie Piper
4
Birthdate: October 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Andover, Hampshire, England

Model Katie Piper made headlines after being attacked with acid by her former boyfriend. She underwent a face restoration surgery to rebuild her damaged face. She then became an activist, released an autobiography, and created a documentary. She also owns a foundation to help burn victims and has hosted Bodyshockers.

 25 
Richard Hammond
(Television presenter best known for co-hosting the BBC Two motoring programme Top Gear from 2002 until 2015)

Richard Hammond
6
Birthdate: December 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Solihull, England

 26 
Joan Collins
(Actress)

Joan Collins
7
Birthdate: May 23, 1933
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paddington, London, United Kingdom
Joan Collins, sister of renowned author Jackie Collins, is best known for her Golden Globe-winning role of Alexis Carrington in Dynasty, an iconic soap of the 1980s. She has also written several books, including beauty books, memoirs, and novels. A seasoned theater actor, she also received the DBE and OBE.

 27 
Zadie Smith
(Writer, Novelist, Essayist)

Zadie Smith
6
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

Author Zadie Smith was born in London to a British father and a Jamaican mother. Her bestselling debut novel, White Teeth, won numerous awards and catapulted her to fame, while her third novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has also taught fiction at New York University.

 28 

Geri Halliwell
8
Birthdate: August 6, 1972
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Watford

Geri Halliwell is a British singer-songwriter who achieved international fame as part of the popular girl group, The Spice Girls, which has sold more than 85 million records worldwide. Also a well-known philanthropist, Geri Halliwell has worked closely with the United Nations Population Fund, becoming its goodwill ambassador in 1998. She is widely regarded as a girl power icon.

 29 
Kazuo Ishiguro
(Nobel Prize Winner in Literature)

Kazuo Ishiguro
5
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nagasaki, Japan
Nobel Prize-winning British-Asian author Sir Kazuo Ishiguro also won the Man Booker Prize for the novel The Remains of the Day. Time named his Never Let Me Go the best novel of 2005. He has also penned several screenplays and songs, and is known for his signature first-person narrative style.

 30 

Terry Jones
4
Birthdate: February 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Colwyn Bay, Denbighshire, Wales
Died: January 21, 2020
Starting his career as a comedy writer, actor-director Terry Jones later soared to fame as part of the Monty Python comedy team. An avid historian, too, he wrote several books and presented TV documentaries on the topic. In his later years, the BAFTA Cymru award winner struggled with dementia. 

 31 
Michaela Coel
(Actress)

Michaela Coel
11
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 32 
Alan Moore
(Writer)

Alan Moore
4
Birthdate: November 18, 1953
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Northampton, England

Alan Moore is an English writer best known for his contributions to popular comic books, such as Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen, and The Ballad of Halo Jones. Some consider him to be the best comic book writer in the English language. His works have influenced several literary and television figures, such as Damon Lindelof, Joss Whedon, and Neil Gaiman.

 33 
Pippa Middleton
(Socialite, Author)

Pippa Middleton
4
Birthdate: September 6, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Reading, Berkshire, England
Philippa Charlotte Matthews, better known as Pippa Middleton, is the younger sister of Kate Middleton, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. She soared to fame after appearing as the maid of honor at Kate’s wedding to Prince William. She is a columnist and editor and has also authored a book.

 34 
Donovan
(Singer-songwriter, Guitarist, Composer, Autobiographer, Writer, Poet, Record producer, Film score composer)

Donovan
9
Birthdate: May 10, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Donovan is a Scottish guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is best known for developing and popularizing a distinctive and eclectic style that blended many genres, such as folk, jazz, pop, calypso, and psychedelic rock. Donovan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

 35 

Lady Colin Campbell
7
Birthdate: August 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: St. Andrew Parish, Jamaica

Jamaican-born British writer, socialite, and TV personality, Lady Colin Campbell, is known for publishing four books about the British royal family, including a biography of Diana, Princess of Wales. While her books about the royal family made her popular, she also faced criticism for some of her claims. She once kindled controversy for supporting sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, on TV.

 36 
Sue Perkins
(Comedian)

Sue Perkins
7
Birthdate: September 22, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Croydon, London, England
Sue Perkins soared to fame as part of the comedy duo Mel and Sue, with Mel Giedroyc, and co-hosted The Great British Bake Off, with her. Sue has also hosted Insert Name Here and has also authored two autobiographical works. An LGBT icon, she is dating TV host Anna Richardson.

 37 
Karl Pilkington
(Television Presenter, Radio Producer)

Karl Pilkington
6
Birthdate: September 23, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Manchester

Karl Pilkington is an English comedian, television presenter, radio producer, and actor. He achieved popularity as the producer of Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais' radio program on Xfm. Pilkington is credited with co-founding a TV production company called RiSK Productions. Also known for his charity work, Pilkington designed and signed a card to benefit the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children.

 38 

Mark Gatiss
4
Birthdate: October 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sedgefield, County Durham, England
Mark Gatiss is best known for both writing and appearing in Doctor Who, Dracula, and Sherlock. He is also part of the comedy group The League of Gentlemen and has appeared as Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones. He has written the Lucifer Box novels, too.

 39 
Eric Idle
(Comedian)

Eric Idle
5
Birthdate: March 29, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: South Shields

Eric Idle is best known as a former member of the Monty Python comedy troupe. He was also part of the band The Rutles, a parody of The Beatles. Idle wrote the Tony-winning musical Spamalot and also performed at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

 40 

Sarah Ferguson
9
Birthdate: October 15, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: The London Welbeck Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom

Sarah Ferguson is one of the members of the British royal family. She started working with several charity organizations after marrying Prince Andrew, Duke of York. Even after her divorce, she has continued working with organizations like the American Cancer Society. In 2020, she set up her own foundation called Sarah's Trust.

 41 
Simon Sinek
(Author)

Simon Sinek
5
Birthdate: October 9, 1973
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London, England

The London-born American is a noted author and motivational speaker who has written five books including Leaders Eat Last, which made to the bestseller lists of the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Sometimes criticized for ‘self-promotion’, Simon Oliver Sinek also worked with Ernst & Young and provided leadership training. He is an instructor at Columbia University.

 42 
Jackie Collins
(Novelist)

Jackie Collins
6
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015

 43 
Caroline Aherne
(Comedian)

Caroline Aherne
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ealing, London, England
Died: July 2, 2016
BAFTA-winning comedian Caroline Aherne is remembered for her portrayal of the character Mrs. Merton on various shows, such as Frank Sidebottom's Fantastic Shed Show and The Mrs Merton Show. Fans also loved her as Denise Royle in the sitcom The Royle Family and as a narrator on Gogglebox. 

 44 
Rob Brydon
(Actor, Television actor, Film actor, Comedian, Autobiographer)

Rob Brydon
5
Birthdate: May 3, 1965
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Baglan, Neath Port Talbot

Best known for his roles in Supernova and Gavin & Stacey, actor/comedian Rob Brydon dropped out of drama school to work with Radio Wales. As an impressionist, he has mimicked stars such as Sean Connery and Al Pacino. He was made an MBE for both his comedy and his charitable efforts.

 45 
Nick Mason
(Drummer)

Nick Mason
5
Birthdate: January 27, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Edgbaston, Birmingham, England

Born to a documentary film maker, drummer Nick Mason was no stranger to art and entertainment as a child. He formed his first band while studying architecture. He was the only original member of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd member to have been part of the band since its inception.

 46 
Lee Child
(Author)

Lee Child
4
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coventry, England

 47 
Clive Barker
(Playwright)

Clive Barker
4
Birthdate: October 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Liverpool, England

Clive Barker is an English playwright, novelist, visual artist, and film director. He gained prominence in the 1980s as a horror writer and has since written many novels and other works. As an illustrator, he has created original characters and series for comic books. He also creates costume designs. He is a recipient of the Inkpot Award. 

 48 

John Barrowman
7
Birthdate: March 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

John Barrowman is a Scottish-born author, comic book writer, presenter, singer, and actor. Barrowman is also known for his charity work and activism. Over the years, he has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has worked with organizations like Stonewall. He also has his own skincare line named HIM.

 49 
Edd China
(Television Presenter)

Edd China
4
Birthdate: May 9, 1971
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Edd China is best known as the host of the Discovery Channel show Wheeler Dealers. He has also been part of Fifth Gear and Top Gear. He established Cummfy Banana Limited. After racing a motorized sofa at 148 km/h, China set a Guinness record for the fastest furniture.

 50 

Emerald Fennell
4
Birthdate: October 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hammersmith, London, England, UK