21st Century Writers

Find out more about the greatest 21st Century Writers, including William Gibson, Michael J. Fox, Lady Colin Campbell, Quentin Tarantino and Sylvia Browne.

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 Writers

 1 Stan Lee

Stan Lee
18
Famous As: Comic book writer
Birthdate: December 28, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Manhattan, New York, United States
Died: November 12, 2018

Stan Lee was one of the most popular comic book writers, thanks to his appearances in several Marvel movies. He is well-known as the co-creator of many famous superheroes, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk. He pioneered a naturalistic method to writing superhero comics and challenged the Comics Code Authority, which ultimately led to changes in its policies.

 2 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
23
Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: April 4, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: May 28, 2014
Poet, author, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou was a champion for black feminism and is best remembered for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sing. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and over 50 honorary degrees was also a child sex abuse survivor.

 3 Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro
10
Famous As: Film director
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.

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 4 Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
8
Famous As: Writer
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.  

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 5 Harper Lee

Harper Lee
10
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 6 Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy
13
Famous As: Novelist
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
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 7 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
26
Famous As: Writer
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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 8 David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
8
Famous As: Writer
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.

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 9 Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
9
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 10 Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins
10
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.

 11 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie
13
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 12 John Grisham

John Grisham
9
Famous As: American writer
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.

 13 Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell
6
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: September 3, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Fareham, Hampshire, England
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.

 14 Dan Brown

Dan Brown
8
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 15 Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury
5
Famous As: Writer
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.

 16 Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho
8
Famous As: Brazilian lyricist
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.

 17 Gore Vidal

Gore Vidal
10
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 3, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: West Point, New York, United States
Died: July 31, 2012

Gore Vidal was an American intellectual and writer. He served as a major inspiration to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals as he was openly bisexual and often incorporated LGBT characters in his novels, which was very unusual at the time. He was also known for his debates with William F. Buckley Jr., which inspired the 2015 documentary film Best of Enemies.

 18 John Le Carré

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

 19 Sir Arthur Charles Clarke

Sir Arthur Charles Clarke
6
Famous As: Writer
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.

 20 Martin McDonagh

Martin McDonagh
8
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.

 21 Philip Roth

Philip Roth
7
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 22 Bob Woodward

Bob Woodward
7
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: March 26, 1943
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Geneva, Illinois, United States

 23 James Watson

James Watson
4
Famous As: Molecular Biologist
Birthdate: April 6, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

James Watson is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and zoologist. He is credited with co-authoring the academic paper that propounded the double helix structure of nucleic acids such as DNA for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1962. In 1977, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1997, he was awarded the National Medal of Science.

 24 Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco
4
Famous As: Medievalist, Philosopher
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.

 25 George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin
22
Famous As: Novelist
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.

 26 David Mamet

David Mamet
6
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: November 30, 1947
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Author, screenwriter, and playwright David Mamet is best known for his Pulitzer-winning and Tony-nominated play Glengarry Glen Ross. He has written for many Broadway and off-Broadway plays and also for films such as House of Games. He has produced and written for the show The Unit and authored several books.

 27 Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende
7
Famous As: Writer
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.

 28 Neil Simon

Neil Simon
7
Famous As: Playwright & Screenwriter
Birthdate: July 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York
Died: August 26, 2018

 29 Stephen King

Stephen King
19
Famous As: A Prolific & Immensely Popular Author of Horror Fiction
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.

 30 J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling
115
Famous As: Author of Children's Fantasy Series, 'Harry Potter'
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.

 31 Jamie Lee Curtis

Jamie Lee Curtis
6
Famous As: Actress, Author
Birthdate: November 22, 1958
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, United States

After making her film debut in the horror film, Halloween, James Lee Curtis went on to establish herself as a scream queen, appearing in a number of horror films. Curtis is also an author, having released several children's books, including books that have made The New York Times' best-seller list. She is also a well-known philanthropist.

 32 Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates
6
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates gained international prominence while serving as the national correspondent at The Atlantic. His writings on socio-political issues related to African Americans and white supremacy garnered him much appreciation. He is a recipient of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center Prize for Writing to Advance Social Justice. He also writes fiction and comics.

 33 Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 23, 1961
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Midland, Texas, United States

Actor Woody Harrelson has been active in the entertainment world for over 40 years now. The son of a convicted hit-man, he had a difficult childhood and grew up in poverty. However, he was determined to build a good life for himself and earned a BFA in theater before venturing into acting. He is a vegan and an environmental activist.

 34 Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson
4
Famous As: Journalist and Author
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.

 35 Steve Martin

Steve Martin
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 14, 1945
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Waco, Texas, United States

A man of many talents, Steve Martin is a successful comedian, actor, and musician. In 2004, he was ranked sixth in Comedy Central's 100 greatest stand-up comics list. Despite achieving great fame and success as a comedian and actor, Steve decided to pursue a career in music and began appearing seldom in films to record and tour with bluegrass acts.

 36 Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
6
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

 37 Larry David

Larry David
5
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 2, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Comedian, writer, actor, director, and television producer Larry David is best known as the co-creator of the television series Seinfeld. He discovered his talent for comedy as a college student and began his career as a stand-up performer. After a few years of struggle, he achieved success and went on to become an accomplished actor, director, and producer.

 38 John Mulaney

John Mulaney
5
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: August 26, 1982
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Former SNL writer John Mulaney is best known for his Comedy Central special New in Town and his Fox series Mulaney. The Emmy Award-winning stand-up comedian plays George St. Geegland in a comedy duo. He has also voiced Peter Porker/Spider-Ham in the Oscar-winning movie Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

 39 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher
4
Famous As: Actress, Comedian
Birthdate: October 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Flushing, New York, United States

Fran Drescher is an American actress and comedian. Characterized by her thick New York accent and nasal voice, Fran Drescher serves as an inspiration to many cancer patients as she successfully fought off the disease after suffering from uterine cancer. She is also an outspoken LGBT rights activist and healthcare advocate.

 40 Chadwick Boseman

Chadwick Boseman
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 29, 1976
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Anderson, South Carolina, United States
Died: August 28, 2020

A versatile actor and an inspiration for a generation of black youths, Chadwick Boseman is best remembered for portraying notable real life black figures like Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and James Brown in their biopics. His excellent performance in Black Panther, though, turned him into a household name.

 41 Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse Eisenberg
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 5, 1983
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Queens, New York, United States
Jesse Eisenberg amazed audiences with his Academy Award-nominated performance as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. He began his stint on TV at 16, with Get Real. He has also been part of Rodger Dodger, Adventureland, and Now You See Me. He has written three plays and a short-story collection.

 42 Teresa Palmer

Teresa Palmer
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Adelaide, Australia
Teresa Palmer is best known for her roles in movies such as The Choice, Lights Out, I Am Number Four, and The Grudge 2. She worked in malls and wished to work in animal welfare, before being scouted by an agent. Her first full-fledged film, 2:37, was featured at Cannes.

 43 Common

Common
4
Famous As: Rapper
Birthdate: March 13, 1972
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: South Side, Chicago, Illinois, United States

 44 Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman
4
Famous As: Actor
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.

 45 David Duchovny

David Duchovny
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 7, 1960
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States

David Duchovny is best known for his Golden Globe-winning roles of FBI Agent Fox Mulder in the sci-fi series The X-Files and Hank Moody in Californication. He is an environment enthusiast and advocates for the use of electric cars. He has released music albums, written books, and recorded audiobooks.

 46 Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer
4
Famous As: Journalist, Explorer, Writer
Birthdate: April 12, 1954
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States

Best known for his bestselling novels such as Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer is not just an author who writes about the outdoors but is also a mountaineer himself. He was part of the 1996 expedition to Mt. Everest which witnessed 4 of the team members dying in a storm.

 47 Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira
18
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 14, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Grinnell, Iowa, United States
Danai Gurira is best known as Michonne from The Walking Dead and as Okoye from the Marvel films Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. She earned a Tony nomination for writing the Broadway play Eclipsed. She has been a UN Goodwill Ambassador and promotes arts and women empowerment.

 48 Harold Pinter

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

 49 Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 25, 1972
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States

 50 Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher
7
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 3, 1976
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Muscat, Oman

Australian actress Isla Fisher attained widespread fame in 2005 when she starred in the commercially successful Hollywood film Wedding Crashers. Some of her other notable films are The Great Gatsby, Now You See Me, I Heart Huckabees, Bachelorette, Rango and Rise of the Guardians. She has also acted in television series and is an author of children’s books.