Famous 21st Century Novelists

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Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Novelists, including William Gibson, Lady Colin Campbell, J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Haruki Murakami.
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 1 
George R. R. Martin
(Author of Epic Fantasy Novels 'A Song of Ice and Fire')
George R. R. Martin
7
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bayonne, New Jersey, United States
George R. R. Martin wrote the epic fantasy series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the iconic Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Also known as the "American Tolkien," he was featured on TIME 100. He has earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, too.
 2 
Guillermo del Toro
(Film Director Best Known For Movies 'Pan's Labyrinth' & 'The Shape of Water')
Guillermo del Toro
6
Birthdate: October 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Mexico

Guillermo del Toro is one of the most popular Mexican filmmakers of all time. Along with Alejandro Iñárritu and Alfonso Cuarón, he is known as one of the Three Amigos of Cinema. He also played a major role as a former special effects makeup artist. In 2018, he was named in Time's 100 most influential people in the world list.

 3 
Margaret Atwood
(Poet, Novelist, Literary Critic & Environmental Activist)
Margaret Atwood
6
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

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 4 
Harper Lee
(Novelist)
Harper Lee
5
Birthdate: April 28, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Monroeville, Alabama, United States
Died: February 19, 2016

Harper Lee was an American novelist who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Despite publishing only two books, Lee was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature, such was her impact in the world of literature. A friend of Truman Capote, Lee has been portrayed by popular actresses in Capote's biographical films.

 5 
Kurt Vonnegut
(Writer Known For His Satirical and Darkly Humorous Novels)
Kurt Vonnegut
4
Birthdate: November 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Died: April 11, 2007

Science-fiction author Kurt Vonnegut is best remembered for the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which became a New York Times bestseller. The Hugo Award-winner had also fought against the Germans in World War II and expressed his anti-war and atheist views through his works, which also include short stories, plays, and autobiographical works.  

 6 
Tom Clancy
(American Author Best Known for His Novel ‘The Hunt for Red October’)
Tom Clancy
7
Birthdate: April 12, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died: October 1, 2013
Tom Clancy is best remembered for his espionage- and war-themed novels, many of which, such as The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, and Clear and Present Danger, have been made into hit films. He was also a co-owner of the MLB team Baltimore Orioles
 7 
Toni Morrison
(Novelist)
Toni Morrison
4
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lorain, Ohio
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.
 8 
John Grisham
(American writer)
John Grisham
6
Birthdate: February 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Jonesboro, Arkansas
Criminal lawyer-turned-author John Grisham is known for his bestselling legal thrillers The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, and A Time to Kill. Nine of his novels have been made into films. He is one of three authors to have sold 2 million copies in his first printing.
 9 
Ray Bradbury
(One of the Most Celebrated 20th-Century American Writers Known for His Novel 'Fahrenheit 451')
Ray Bradbury
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waukegan, Illinois, United States
Died: June 5, 2012
Ray Bradbury is best remembered for his writings in the science-fiction, mystery, and horror genres, the most notable being the short story anthology Martian Chronicles and the novel Fahrenheit 451. He also contributed to the screenplays of various series and films, and won an Emmy for writing The Halloween Tree.
 10 
Dan Brown
(Novelist)
Dan Brown
6
Birthdate: June 22, 1964
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Exeter, New Hampshire, United States

Dan Brown is an American author best known for writing a series of Robert Langdon novels; three such novels, namely The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and Inferno, have been made into films, with Tom Hanks portraying Robert Langdon in all three movies. Also known for his charity work, Dan Brown donates money to several charitable causes.

 11 
Paulo Coelho
(Brazilian lyricist)
Paulo Coelho
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho is best known for his iconic novel The Alchemist, which has been translated into about 70 languages. He was once sent to a mental institution by his parents for not following the usual career path. He dropped out of law school and became a hippie later.

 12 
John Le Carré
(Novelist)
John Le Carré
5
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England
 13 
Philip Roth
(Novelist)
Philip Roth
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Died: May 22, 2018

Philip Roth was a novelist and short-story writer best remembered for creating the fictional character Nathan Zuckerman, who featured in many of his novels. The recipient of the 1997 Pulitzer Prize, he also received the inaugural Franz Kafka Prize. Roth was one of the most awarded American writers of his generation. Born a Jew, he became an atheist later on.

 14 
Umberto Eco
(Medievalist, Philosopher and Author of 'The Name of the Rose' and 'Foucault's Pendulum')
Umberto Eco
4
Birthdate: January 5, 1932
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Alessandria, Italy
Died: February 19, 2016

Italian novelist Umberto Eco is best remembered for his novels The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum. He also taught at the University of Bologna and had released quite a few children’s books and translations. He was also known for his work on semiotics and medieval studies.

 15 
J. K. Rowling
(Author of Children's Fantasy Series, 'Harry Potter')
J. K. Rowling
17
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.

 16 
Stephen King
(A Prolific & Immensely Popular Author of Horror Fiction)
Stephen King
5
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portland, Maine, United States

One of the most popular American authors, Stephen King has sold over 350 million copies of his works. Many of his books have been adapted into television series, miniseries, and films. One of the most decorated authors, King believes in giving back to society as he and his wife are noted philanthropists.

 17 
Isabel Allende
(Chilean-American Author Known for Her Novels: ‘The House of the Spirits’ and ‘City of the Beasts’)
Isabel Allende
5
Birthdate: August 2, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lima, Peru
Chilean author Isabel Allende is known for her bestselling Spanish-language novels The House of the Spirits and City of the Beasts. The Chilean National Literature Prize-winner explores women’s perspectives and includes magic realism and autobiographical aspects in her works. She has also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
 18 
Hunter S. Thompson
(Journalist and Author)
Hunter S. Thompson
4
Birthdate: July 18, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 20, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson was an American author and journalist. He is credited with creating his own subgenre of New Journalism called the gonzo journalism. The author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later adapted into a film, Thompson was famous for his lifelong use of drugs and alcohol. His books have had a major impact on counterculture.

 19 
Lauren Graham
(Actress and Author Best Known for Her Role as ‘Lorelai Gilmore’ in the TV Series ‘Gilmore Girls’)
Lauren Graham
6
Birthdate: March 16, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Honolulu, Hawaii, United States

Lauren Graham is an American actress popular for playing Lorelai Gilmore in the famous television series, Gilmore Girls. Apart from being an actress, Lauren Graham is also an author and has published a couple of books, including a memoir. Also known for her beauty, Lauren has graced the cover of magazines like Health, Good Housekeeping, Redbook, Parade, and Self.

 20 
David McCallum
4
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.

 21 
David Foster Wallace
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ithaca, New York, United States
Died: September 12, 2008

David Foster Wallace was an American author who is regarded as one of the most innovative and influential writers of the past 20 years. His best-known work, Infinite Jest, was named one of the best English-language novels between 1923 and 2005 by Time magazine. Wallace continues to serve as an inspiration to writers like Darin Strauss and George Saunders.

 22 
Christopher Hitchens
(British-American Author Who is Known for Excoriating Criticisms of Public Contemporary Figures)
Christopher Hitchens
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens was an advocate for New Atheism and a harsh critic of religion and of famous personalities such as Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa. He authored and edited many books on socio-political issues. As a journalist, he wrote for well-known publications such as New Statesman and The Weekly Standard.

 23 
MacKenzie Scott
(Novelist, Ex-Wife of Jeff Bezos)
MacKenzie Scott
6
Birthdate: April 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
 24 
Gene Hackman
(Best Known for His Role as Jimmy "Popeye" Doyle in the Film 'The French Connection’)
Gene Hackman
5
Birthdate: January 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States

For someone who was voted by his acting school peers as 'The Least Likely To Succeed', Gene Hackman went on to have a remarkable acting career spanning around half a century with multiple prestigious awards. His notable films include Bonnie and Clyde, The French Connection, Unforgiven, Mississippi Burning and The Royal Tenenbaums. Apart from acting, Gene Hackman is also a novelist and has written six books.

 25 
Haruki Murakami
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kyoto, Kyoto, Japan
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has authored bestselling works such as Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, which explore the genres of surrealism and magic realism. He has also translated works by J. D. Salinger and Raymond Carver. He has been named to Time 100 and has won numerous awards.
 26 
John Green
(Author, Vlogger)
John Green
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
John Green soared to fame with his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars, which was turned into a movie. His other notable works include the novels Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. Also a prominent YouTuber, he manages the channel Vlogbrothers and has co-founded the educational channel Crash Course.
 27 
V. S. Naipaul
(Trinidadian-Born British Writer Who Won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001)
V. S. Naipaul
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Trinidad and Tobago
Died: August 11, 2018

Born to Indian descendants in Trinidad, V. S. Naipaul grew up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The author of iconic novels such as Half a Life and A House for Mr. Biswas, Naipaul was also knighted. His realistic depiction of developing countries and their miseries won hearts worldwide.

 28 
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.
 29 
Malcolm Gladwell
(Author of 'The Tipping Point', 'Blink', and 'Outliers')
Malcolm Gladwell
4
Birthdate: September 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fareham, United Kingdom
Malcolm Gladwell is best known for his bestselling books The Tipping Point, Blink, and Outliers. He has also written for The New Yorker and The Washington Post. His writings encompass subjects such as psychology, economics, and sociology. Gladwell has also co-founded a podcast company and hosts the podcast Revisionist History.
 30 
Elie Wiesel
( Author, Holocaust Survivor, Political Activist and Winner of 1986 Nobel Peace Prize)
Elie Wiesel
4
Birthdate: September 30, 1928
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sighetu Marmației, Romania
Died: July 2, 2016

Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Elie Wiesel is best remembered for his book Night, which relates his traumatic experience as a Jewish prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps. After surviving the Holocaust, he became a journalist and a human rights activist, and also helped in establishing the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

 31 
Nicholas Sparks
(Novelist Known for His Best-Selling Tales of Romance and Heartbreak Like 'The Notebook' & 'Dear John')
Nicholas Sparks
4
Birthdate: December 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Novelist Nicholas Sparks is known for his bestselling books which have been translated into over 50 languages. Eleven of his books, such as Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook, have been adapted into films. He also owns the educational non-profit The Nicholas Sparks Foundation.
 32 
Stacey Dash
(Actress)
Stacey Dash
6
Birthdate: January 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA
 33 
Terry Pratchett
(Humorist)
Terry Pratchett
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, England
Died: March 12, 2015
 34 
Nicolle Wallace
(American Television Host and Former White House Communications Director (2005 - 2006))
Nicolle Wallace
4
Birthdate: February 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Orange County, California, United States

Nicolle Wallace has been Jeb Bush's press secretary, the White House communications director under George W. Bush, and John McCain’s senior political advisor. She has also hosted Deadline: White House and The View, and written three political novels, including Eighteen Acres. A self-proclaimed “non-practicing Republican,” she supports same-sex marriage.

 35 
Kazuo Ishiguro
(Nobel Prize Winner in Literature)
Kazuo Ishiguro
4
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.
 36 
Michael Nesmith
(Musician, Singer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Film actor, Stage actor, Television actor, Guitarist, Songwriter)
Michael Nesmith
4
Birthdate: December 30, 1942
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Houston
 37 
Greg Gutfeld
(Television personality)
Greg Gutfeld
4
Birthdate: September 12, 1964
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Mateo, California, USA
 38 
Ursula K. Le Guin
(American Author Best Known for Her Works of Speculative Fiction)
Ursula K. Le Guin
4
Birthdate: October 21, 1929
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkeley, California, United States
Died: January 22, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin was an American author. In a career spanning almost six decades, Ursula wrote about political and social themes like race and sexuality. Throughout her career, Ursula had a major influence on speculative fiction. Her book A Wizard of Earthsea is credited with inspiring ideas like 'wizard school', which was later popularized in the Harry Potter series.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
4
Birthdate: September 15, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Enugu, Nigeria

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and feminist. She is popular for writing novels, such as Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun. She is credited with popularizing African literature among a new generation of readers, especially in the United States. In 2015, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 Most Influential People.

 40 
James Patterson
(American Author Known for His Thrillers, Mysteries and Romance Novels)
James Patterson
7
Birthdate: March 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Newburgh, New York, United States

One of the highest-earning authors in the contemporary world, James Patterson is the writer of many mystery fictions which sold records copie globally. Born to working-class parents of Irish-origin, the American writer whose thriller novels include Alex Cross and Michael Bennett series is also a philanthropist and contributes to promoting reading. He founded the James Patterson PageTurner Awards.

 41 
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.
 42 
Alice Walker
(The First African-American Woman to Win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
Alice Walker
4
Birthdate: February 9, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Eatonton, Georgia, United States
Author Alice Walker is best known for her National Book Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. She is credited with coining the term womanist, to mean feminist of color. Her marriage with Melvyn Roseman Leventhal was the first official interracial marriage in the state of Mississippi.
 43 
Brandon Sanderson
(Epic Fantasy and Science-Fiction Writer Best Known for the 'Cosmere' Fictional Universe)
Brandon Sanderson
4
Birthdate: December 19, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lincoln, Nebraska, United States

Best known for works such as the Mistborn trilogy and The Emperor's Soul, sci-fi and epic fantasy author Brandon Sanderson had initially studied biochemistry and then switched to literature. He has also worked as a missionary in South Korea and now teaches creative writing at his alma, Brigham Young University.

 44 
Chuck Palahniuk
(Journalist and Novelist Best Known for His Books: ‘Fight Club’, ‘Choke’, ‘Rant’ and ‘Invisible Monsters’)
Chuck Palahniuk
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Pasco, Washington, United States

Freelance journalist and author Chuck Palahniuk specializes in what he calls transgressional fiction. His popular novel Fight Club was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt and also won awards such as the Oregon Book Award for Best Novel. Though critics call his books nihilistic, he himself calls them romantic.

 45 
Milan Kundera
(Czech Writer Best Known for His Novel 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being')
Milan Kundera
4
Birthdate: April 1, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brno, Czechia

Milan Kundera is a Czech writer who became a naturalized French citizen in 1981 after going into exile in France in 1975. Although his Czechoslovak citizenship was revoked four years after going into exile, he received Czech citizenship in 2019, thanks to his achievements as a writer. He is the recipient of several prestigious awards, such as the Jerusalem Prize.

 46 
Zadie Smith
(Writer, Novelist, Essayist)
Zadie Smith
4
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.

 47 
Joe Hill
(Novelists)
Joe Hill
4
Birthdate: June 4, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bangor, Maine, United States
Bram Stoker Award-winning author Joseph Hillström King, known by his pseudonym, Joe Hill, has gained famed with his novels such as Heart-Shaped Box and Horns and his short story anthologies such as 20th Century Ghosts and Strange Weather. He has also authored the comic book series Locke & Key.
 48 
Lee Child
(Author)
Lee Child
4
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coventry, England
 49 
Anne Rice
5
Birthdate: October 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 11, 2021
 50 
Valerie Plame
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.