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.

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 1 J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling.
51
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 Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou.
8
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.
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 3 Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro.
4
Famous As: Filmmaker, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guadalajara, Jalisco

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.

 4 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood.
18
Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, 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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 5 David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace.
4
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.

 6 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie.
6
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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 7 Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky.
8
Famous As: Linguist
Birthdate: December 7, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Regarded by many as the father of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky has authored over 100 books on varied topics, such as politics, linguistics, and war. A multi-talented personality, Noam Chomsky is considered a popular figure in analytic philosophy. Apart from influencing a wide array of academic fields, he has also contributed to the development of cognitivism.

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 8 Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison.
4
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.
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 9 Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins.
4
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.

 10 Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell.
4
Famous As: Writer, 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.

 11 Dan Brown

Dan Brown.
6
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.

 12 John Le Carré

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

 13 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.

 14 Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein.
5
Famous As: Science Fiction Writer
Birthdate: July 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Butler, Missouri, USA
Died: May 8, 1988

Robert A. Heinlein was an American author, naval officer, and aeronautical engineer. Heinlein is credited with pioneering a literary subgenre called hard science fiction as he was among the first to stress the importance of scientific accuracy in fiction. Robert A. Heinlein is one of the most influential science-fiction writers of all time.

 15 Joan Didion

Joan Didion
4
Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist, Journalist, Writer, Essayist
Birthdate: December 5, 1934
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, United States

 16 Jon Krakauer

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

 17 Stephen King

Stephen King.
13
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 21, 1947
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Portland, Maine

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.

 18 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.

 19 Stan Lee

Stan Lee.
9
Famous As: Creator of Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man, Thor, X-Men
Birthdate: December 28, 1922
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York City, 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.

 20 Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher.
4
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.

 21 Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 20, 1933
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Renonwed as one of the most gifted contemporary writers, Cormac McCarthy is distinguished for his unique writing style and graphic depictions of violence. His novels depict wayward characters in the rural American South and Southwest. He shot to fame with his novel All The Pretty Horses and bagged in Pulitzer Prize for his post-apocalyptic novel The Road.

 22 Viggo Mortensen

Viggo Mortensen.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 20, 1958
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Watertown, New York, United States

Danish-American actor, Viggo Mortensen, is best known for portraying the role of Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Some of his other films are A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic and Green Book. He is also an author of various books on poetry, photography and painting.

 23 David Sedaris

David Sedaris
4
Famous As: Humorist
Birthdate: December 26, 1956
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Johnson City, New York, United States

 24 Conan O’Brien

Conan O’Brien.
4
Famous As: Television Host
Birthdate: April 18, 1963
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States

Conan O’Brien is an American comedian, writer, television host, podcaster, and producer. Over the years, he has played an important role in NBC, hosting the network's successful shows like The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien and Late Night with Conan O'Brien, and writing for Saturday Night Live. His work has influenced comedians like Mindy Kaling, Seth Meyers, and Kumail Nanjiani.

 25 Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 9, 1962
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States
The former stock broker, who was convicted for stock-market manipulation and cheating several investors, Jordan Belfort spent 22 months in prison before he was released and altered his way of living. Using his life experiences, he became a motivational speaker and also authored two memoirs, one of which, The Wolf of Wall Street, was adapted into an award winning film.

 26 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

 27 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.

 28 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.

 29 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.

 30 Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates.
4
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.

 31 Common

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

 32 Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1957
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kew Gardens, 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.

 33 Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy.
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: February 22, 1932
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dorchester, Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 25, 2009

The brother of President John F. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy played an important role in American politics during his term as a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, a position which he served for almost 47 years. He was the fourth-longest-continuously-serving senator in the history of the United States. He was regarded as a major spokesman for American progressivism.

 34 Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins.
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 29, 1960
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: North Hollywood, California, United States
Named one of Accenture’s Top 50 Business Intellectuals, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist Tony Robbins is best known for books such as Awaken the Giant Within. His workshop Unleash The Power Within features a fire-walking exercise. He owns the Anthony Robbins Foundation and co-owns the Robbins-Madanes Center for Intervention.

 35 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.

 36 Mara Wilson

Mara Wilson.
8
Famous As: Writer, Actress
Birthdate: July 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Burbank, California

Mara Wilson stole the hearts of many with her performance as a child actress in films like Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, and Matilda. After growing up, she decided to pursue a career as a writer. In one of her interviews, she spoke about her mental illnesses, including OCD, depression, and anxiety. She also came out as bisexual.

 37 Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola.
4
Famous As: FilmMaker
Birthdate: April 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Francis Ford Coppola is an American filmmaker. Widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers ever, Francis Ford Coppola was a prominent figure in the Hollywood Renaissance filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 1970s. A much revered and celebrated filmmaker, he is credited with directing some of the greatest films of all time, including The Godfather movie series.

 38 Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 25, 1931
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York, United States

 39 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. 

 40 Padma Lakshmi

Padma Lakshmi.
5
Famous As: Model
Birthdate: September 1, 1970
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chennai

Padma Lakshmi is a model, television host and author. She has hosted cooking competition program Top Chef and has published cookbooks. She has acted in films and television too and is also an activist working for immigration and women’s rights and is a critic of skin-lightening creams. She was married to novelist Salman Rushdie for a little over three years.

 41 Octavia Spencer

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

 42 Hoda Kotb

Hoda Kotb.
4
Famous As: Journalist, Author, TV Anchor
Birthdate: August 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Norman, Oklahoma
Egyptian-American TV journalist Hoda Kotb is best known as the co-host of the shows NBC Morning Show, Dateline NBC, Today. Named to Time 100, she has also authored several books, including a bestselling autobiography. A breast cancer survivor, she now also works to raise awareness about the disease.

 43 Zoe Kazan

Zoe Kazan
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 44 John Green

John Green.
4
Famous As: Author, Vlogger
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.

 45 Sarah Ferguson

Sarah Ferguson.
6
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.

 46 Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami.
4
Famous As: Writer
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.

 47 David Arquette

David Arquette.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bentonville, Virginia, United States

Born into the illustrious Arquette family, David Arquette is a multitalented personality. As an actor, he grabbed limelight with the Scream film series and other films like Never Been Kissed, Bone Tomahawk and the web series Cleaners. Apart from acting, he has also ventured into direction, production and screen writing. Arquette has also won WCW World Heavyweight Championship’ title in 2000.

 48 Sharon Osbourne

Sharon Osbourne.
6
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.

 49 William Baldwin

William Baldwin.
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 23, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Massapequa, New York, United States
William Baldwin, the third-oldest of the four Baldwin brothers of Hollywood, was a wrestler in his varsity days. He gained fame with his roles in films such as Sliver and Flatliners. He also played major roles in the TV film The Craigslist Killer and the series Parenthood and Northern Rescue.

 50 Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes.
6
Famous As: Television Producer
Birthdate: January 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Chicago

Shonda Rhimes is a screenwriter, author, and television producer. She is credited with creating, writing, and executive producing one of the most popular American medical drama TV series ever, Grey's Anatomy. She is also credited with creating series like Private Practice and Scandal. In 2007, she was named in Time magazine's list of 100 People Who Help Shape the World.