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.

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 1 J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling
60
Famous As: Novelist & Producer
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.

 2 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie
7
Famous As: British-Indian novelist
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mumbai

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.

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 3 Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
5
Famous As: Evolutionary Biologist
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.

 4 John Le Carré

John Le Carré
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England

 5 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh
7
Famous As: Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker
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 John Cleese

John Cleese
4
Famous As: Actor & Comedian
Birthdate: October 27, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, England,
Before stepping into sketch comedy with Monty Python's Flying Circus, John Cleese wrote scripts for Broadway and West End shows. A Cambridge law graduate, John has had a species of lemurs named after him, owing to his love for the animal. His dark humor is part of his signature style.

 7 Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
4
Famous As: Author
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
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 8 David Walliams

David Walliams
5
Famous As: Comedian
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.

 9 Stephen Fry

Stephen Fry
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 24, 1957
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Hampstead, London, England, United Kingdom

One half of the famous comedy duo Fry and Laurie, Stephen Fry is an English actor and comedian. Considered a living legend by many, Stephen Fry has made major contributions to the field of entertainment and literature. An openly gay man, Fry serves as an inspiration to the LGBT community. He is also known for his charitable activities.

 10 David McCallum

David McCallum
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 11 Mary Berry

Mary Berry
4
Famous As: Food Writer, TV Presenter
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.

 12 David Thewlis

David Thewlis
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blackpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
David Thewlis gained fame with his role in Naked, a film that won him a Cannes Film Festival Award. Fans loved him as Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter film franchise and Sir Patrick Morgan/Ares in Wonder Woman. He has also written a novel and directed a BAFTA-nominated short film. 

 13 Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian-American author who mainly writes mostly about the experiences faced by East Indian immigrants and also about their practices and traditions. Recipient of several awards, she received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and PEN/Hemingway Award for her first publication, Interpreter of Maladies.

 14 Richard Ayoade

Richard Ayoade
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 15 Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 16 Louis Theroux

Louis Theroux
4
Famous As: Journalist
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.

 17 Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking
4
Famous As: Journalist, Novelist, Writer
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.

 18 Steve-O

Steve-O
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 13, 1974
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wimbledon, London

British-born American comedian and TV personality, Steve-O, gained international fame with his performance stunts in the TV series Jackass. Following a nomadic childhood, he graduated from the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and began his career as a clown. He eventually started appearing on TV shows and became popular.

 19 Joan Collins

Joan Collins
6
Famous As: Actress
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.

 20 Tom Stoppard

Tom Stoppard
6
Famous As: Playwright
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.

 21 Jane Hawking

Jane Hawking
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 22 Ken Follett

Ken Follett
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

 23 Stephen Hawking

Stephen Hawking
0
Famous As: Theoretical Physicist - First to set out a theory of cosmology
Birthdate: January 8, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Oxford
Died: March 14, 2018

Stephen Hawking was an English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who despite being afflicted motor neurone disease that severely limited his physical abilities, was able to build a phenomenally successful career. He was the first to set out a theory of cosmology explained by a union of the general theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Hawking was ranked 25 in the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, in 2002.

 24 David Icke

David Icke
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 25 Sue Perkins

Sue Perkins
4
Famous As: Comedian
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.

 26 Richard Hammond

Richard Hammond
4
Famous As: Television presenter, Writer, Journalist, Autobiographer, Children's writer
Birthdate: December 19, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Solihull

 27 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
4
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist
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 Mark Rylance

Mark Rylance
9
Famous As: Actor
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.

 29 Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne
7
Famous As: Television host
Birthdate: October 9, 1952
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Brixton, South London, England
Heavy metal singer Ozzy Osbourne’s wife, Sharon Osbourne is a music manager. She rejuvenated Ozzy’s career by organizing the Ozzfest tour. She was the star of the reality show The Osbournes, wrote several books, was a panelist on Loose Women, and judged America's Got Talent and The X Factor.

 30 Geri Halliwell

Geri Halliwell
7
Famous As: Singer
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.

 31 Karl Pilkington

Karl Pilkington
4
Famous As: Television Presenter, Radio Producer
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.

 32 John Barrowman

John Barrowman
6
Famous As: Actor
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.

 33 Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro
4
Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
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.

 34 Sophie Hunter

Sophie Hunter
4
Famous As: Theatre Director
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.

 35 Michaela Coel

Michaela Coel
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: October 1, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

 36 Cilla Black

Cilla Black
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: May 27, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vauxhall, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: August 1, 2015
Priscilla Maria Veronica White, better known as Cilla Black, is best remembered for her chart-topping hits You're My World and Anyone Who Had a Heart. She had her own show, Cilia, and also acted as a comedy actor. She later presented shows such as Blind Date and Surprise Surprise.

 37 Terry Jones

Terry Jones
4
Famous As: Actor
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. 

 38 Alan Moore

Alan Moore
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 39 Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
7
Famous As: Essayist
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.

 40 Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson
8
Famous As: Writer
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 Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 42 Caroline Aherne

Caroline Aherne
4
Famous As: Comedian
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. 

 43 Eric Idle

Eric Idle
4
Famous As: Comedian
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.

 44 Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek
4
Famous As: Author
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.

 45 Phillip Schofield

Phillip Schofield
4
Famous As: Television Presenter
Birthdate: April 1, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oldham, Lancashire, England

Phillip Schofield is an English TV presenter. Over the years, Schofield has been playing an important role in the success of ITV's This Morning and Dancing on Ice. He is also a humanitarian as he has been serving as a patron of Shooting Star Children's Hospices, which aids families of children with terminal illnesses.

 46 Janet McTeer

Janet McTeer
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 5, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne ,England
Janet McTeer soared to fame with her Tony-, Drama Desk-, and Olivier Award-winning performance as Nora in the play A Doll's House. Fans also loved her Academy Award-nominated performances as Mary Jo Walker in Tumbleweeds and Hubert Page in Albert Nobbs, and her Emmy-nominated role in Into the Storm.

 47 Rob Brydon

Rob Brydon
4
Famous As: Actor, Television actor, Film actor, Comedian, Autobiographer
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.

 48 Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain
4
Famous As: Television personality
Birthdate: December 25, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Nadiya Hussain is a British TV chef, television presenter, and author. She is best known for winning the sixth series of The Great British Bake Off. Over the years Nadiya Hussain has become a household name in the UK by hosting shows like Nadiya's Family Favourites. In 2017, she was mentioned in Debrett's' 500 most influential people in the UK list.

 49 Nigella Lawson

Nigella Lawson
9
Famous As: Television Personality, Gourmet, Food Writer
Birthdate: January 6, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Daughter of Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigella Lawson has written several bestselling cookbooks and hosted many culinary shows. Winner of the British Book Award and the Guild of Food Writers Award, Nigella has previously worked as an editor and freelance journalist and also owns a cookware range.

 50 Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015