American Female Novelists

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 
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.

 2 
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.

 3 

Louisa May Alcott
4
Birthdate: November 29, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Germantown, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 6, 1888
Novelist and short story writer Louisa May Alcott is best remembered as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys. She initially wrote using the pseudonym “A. M. Barnard.” She never married and remained a life-long feminist and abolitionist.

 4 
Lauren Graham
(Actress)

Lauren Graham
5
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.

 5 
Sylvia Plath
(Famous for Her Books 'The Bell Jar' and 'Ariel')

Sylvia Plath
5
Birthdate: October 27, 1932
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Died: February 11, 1963

Sylvia Plath was an American short-story writer, novelist, and poet. Plath is credited with popularizing confessional poetry and won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. Sylvia Plath achieved popularity and critical acclaim despite suffering from clinical depression for the most part of her adult life. Her story inspired the 2003 film Sylvia in which she was portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow.

 6 
Ayn Rand
(Writer)

Ayn Rand
6
Birthdate: February 2, 1905
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Died: March 6, 1982

Ayn Rand was a Russian-American philosopher and writer. Apart from publishing two best-selling novels, Ayn Rand is credited with developing a philosophical system called Objectivism. Over the years, Ayn Rand has been a major influence among American conservatives and libertarians. Some of the famous personalities influenced by her include Amber Heard, Vince Vaughn, Jimmy Wales, Ayelet Shaked, and Mary Ruwart.

 7 
MacKenzie Scott
(Novelist, Ex-Wife of Jeff Bezos)

MacKenzie Scott
6
Birthdate: April 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
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 8 
Stacey Dash
(Actress)

Stacey Dash
5
Birthdate: January 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: The Bronx, New York City, New York, USA

 9 
Zelda Fitzgerald
(Novelist, Socialite)

Zelda Fitzgerald
4
Birthdate: July 24, 1900
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama, United States
Died: March 10, 1948

Zelda Fitzgerald was a painter, socialite, and novelist. Along with her husband Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda became a prominent personality of the Jazz Age. Renowned for her high spirits and beauty, she was named the first American flapper by Scott. For her work as a novelist and painter, Fitzgerald was posthumously made an inductee to the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame.

 10 

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.

 11 
Alice Walker
(Author)

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.

 12 
Gertrude Stein
(Novelist)

Gertrude Stein
5
Birthdate: February 3, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Allegheny, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 27, 1946

Gertrude Stein was an American playwright, novelist, poet, and art collector. She is remembered for publishing works about lesbian sexuality, which was considered a taboo at that time. Over the years, Gertrude Stein has been the subject of several works of art. In the 2011 movie Midnight in Paris, Stein was portrayed by Kathy Bates.

 13 

Shirley Jackson
5
Birthdate: December 14, 1916
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States
Died: September 8, 1965
Shirley Jackson redefined the genres of horror and mystery through her works, which include over 200 short stories and six novels. Her iconic novel The Haunting of Hill House was made into a popular Netflix series and several movies, including the 1963 and 1999 versions of The Haunting

 14 
Zora Neale Hurston
(Folklorist, Anthropologist)

Zora Neale Hurston
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1891
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Notasulga
Died: January 28, 1960

Zora Neale Hurston was an author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. As an African American woman, she often depicted racial issues in the films she made. Her works also reflected her struggles as a black woman. In her early career, she conducted anthropological and ethnographic research and focused more on writing and film-making in her later years.

 15 
Anais Nin
(Diarist)

Anais Nin
5
Birthdate: February 21, 1903
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris, France
Died: January 14, 1977

French-Cuban-American diarist, essayist, and novelist Anais Nin wrote several volumes of journals, erotica, novels, critical studies, essays, and short stories. Her journals and diaries are among her most studied works. She had a deep interest in psychoanalysis and studied it extensively with René Allendy and Otto Rank. Critics consider her one of the finest writers of female erotica.

 16 

Valerie Plame
4
Birthdate: August 13, 1963
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.

 17 
Mona Simpson
(Author)

Mona Simpson
4
Birthdate: June 14, 1957
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States

 18 

Anne Rice
5
Birthdate: October 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Died: December 11, 2021

 19 
Octavia Butler
(Science fiction author)

Octavia Butler
5
Birthdate: June 22, 1947
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Pasadena, California, United States
Died: February 24, 2006

One of the finest African-American sci-fi authors, Octavia Butler was raised single-handedly by her widowed mother. Best known for the Patternist series and the short story Bloodchild, she often mingled mythology and spirituality in her work. She was the first sci-fi author to receive a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship.

 20 

Diana Gabaldon
4
Birthdate: January 11, 1952
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Williams, Arizona, United States

Author Diana Gabaldon, daughter of Arizona senator Tony Gabaldon, is best known for her Outlander novel series, which has also been adapted into a TV series. Gabaldon has also authored the Lord John series. She is known for mingling several genres, including historical fiction, mystery, science fiction, and romance.

 21 
Jackie Collins
(Novelist)

Jackie Collins
8
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015

 22 

Beverly Cleary
4
Birthdate: April 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: McMinnville, Oregon, United States

 23 
Martha Gellhorn
(Novelist & Travel writer)

Martha Gellhorn
4
Birthdate: November 8, 1908
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: February 15, 1998

 24 
Gypsy Rose Lee
(Entertainer)

Gypsy Rose Lee
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1911
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, USA
Died: April 26, 1970

Gypsy Rose Lee was an American vedette and burlesque entertainer best remembered for her striptease act. She was also an actress, playwright, and author whose memoir inspired the 1959 stage musical, Gypsy. Lee's life inspired several works of art, including a song titled Gypsy Rose Lee by The Distillers. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

 25 
Olivia Olson
(Actress)

Olivia Olson
5
Birthdate: May 21, 1992
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Los Angeles

Olivia Olson is an American singer-songwriter and actress. She made her film debut at the age of 10, playing Joanna Anderson in the film, Love Actually, in which she was seen singing All I Want for Christmas Is You; her skills as a singer was praised and Olson landed several voice roles in TV series, such as Phineas and Ferb.

 26 
Fannie Flagg
(Actress)

Fannie Flagg
5
Birthdate: September 21, 1944
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, USA

 27 

Patricia Highsmith
5
Birthdate: January 19, 1921
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, United States
Died: February 4, 1995

 28 

Karrine Steffans
4
Birthdate: August 24, 1978
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Karrine Steffans soared to international fame with her Vixen series of books, including Confessions of a Video Vixen and The Vixen Diaries. A former hip-hop music video star, she has also dabbled in acting, with films such as A Man Apart. The mother of one now lives in southern California.

 29 

Edith Wharton
5
Birthdate: January 24, 1862
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: August 11, 1937

 30 
N. K. Jemisin
(Novelist)

N. K. Jemisin
5
Birthdate: September 19, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Iowa City, Iowa, U.S.

N. K. Jemisin became the first writer to win the Hugo Best Novel award thrice consecutively and is best known for her Inheritance trilogy and her Broken Earth series. The African-American author is also a trained psychologist and has worked as a counsellor in several universities.

 31 
S. E. Hinton
(Writer)

S. E. Hinton
5
Birthdate: July 22, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

 32 
Stephenie Meyer
(Novelist)

Stephenie Meyer
5
Birthdate: December 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Hartford, Connecticut, United States

Best known for writing the Twilight series, a New York Times bestseller which has also been made into a hit film franchise, Stephenie Meyer made it to Time 100 in 2008. Initially a receptionist, she had planned to attend law school. She and her husband, Christiaan, were childhood friends

 33 
Esther Hicks
(Writer)

Esther Hicks
5
Birthdate: March 5, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Coalville, Utah, U.S.

 34 

Elizabeth Gilbert
5
Birthdate: July 18, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Waterbury, Connecticut, United States

Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author and journalist best known for publishing Eat Pray Love, a 2006 memoir that has sold more than 12 million copies. In 2010, it was adapted into a successful movie of the same name. Also known for her philanthropic efforts, Elizabeth Gilbert has participated in fundraising efforts for organizations like BlinkNow Foundation.

 35 

Gillian Flynn
5
Birthdate: February 24, 1971
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kansas City, Missouri, USA

 36 

Joyce Carol Oates
5
Birthdate: June 16, 1938
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Lockport, New York, United States

 37 
Amy Tan
(Writer)

Amy Tan
4
Birthdate: February 19, 1952
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Oakland, California

 38 
Roxane Gay
(Writer)

Roxane Gay
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1974
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.

Roxane Gay is an American writer, editor, professor, and social commentator. She is credited with founding an Illinois-based small press called Tiny Hardcore Press as well as the now-defunct Gay Magazine, which was founded in association with Medium. Roxane Gay is the recipient of a couple of Lambda Literary Awards and an Eisner Award for Best Limited Series.

 39 
Sylvia Earle
(Marine biologist)

Sylvia Earle
5
Birthdate: August 30, 1935
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Gibbstown, New Jersey, U.S.
Sylvia Earle is known for her research on marine algae and she was the first female chief scientist of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Earle held the world record for the deepest untethered dive and was named by Time Magazine as its first Hero for the Planet, in 1998. She also featured in Netflix Original documentary Seaspiracy.

 40 
Donna Tartt
(Author)

Donna Tartt
5
Birthdate: December 23, 1963
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenwood, Mississippi, United States

 41 
V. C. Andrews
(Novelist)

V. C. Andrews
5
Birthdate: June 6, 1923
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Virginia, United States
Died: December 19, 1986

 42 
Lynne Cheney
(Writer)

Lynne Cheney
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Casper, Wyoming, United States

Lynne Cheney is an American scholar, author, and former talk-show host. The wife of the 46th vice-president of the US, Lynne served as the second lady of the US between 2001 and 2009. In the 2018 biographical satirical comedy-drama film Vice, which was about Dick Cheney, Lynne is portrayed as a source of inspiration behind the rise of her husband.

 43 
Willa Cather
(Author)

Willa Cather
4
Birthdate: December 7, 1873
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Winchester
Died: April 24, 1947

 44 
Nora Roberts
(Writer, Novelist, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer)

Nora Roberts
4
Birthdate: October 10, 1950
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Silver Spring

An author who has penned over 200 romance novels, Nora Roberts is also known by her pseudonyms such as J. D. Robb and Jill March. Apart from writing New York Times bestsellers such as Hideaway and Under Currents, she has also penned the suspense series In Death.

 45 
Cheryl Crane
(Real estate broker)

Cheryl Crane
4
Birthdate: July 25, 1943
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

 46 
Veronica Roth
(Novelist)

Veronica Roth
4
Birthdate: August 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, U.S.

 47 
Ann Rule
(Writer)

Ann Rule
4
Birthdate: October 22, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Lowell, Michigan, USA
Died: July 26, 2015

True crime author Ann Rule had initially been a policewoman and was also well-versed in criminology and psychology. She first gained attention with her book The Stranger Beside Me, which relates her experiences of working with Ted Bundy, a volunteer at a suicide hotline, who later murdered several women.

 48 
Rose Wilder Lane
(Journalists)

Rose Wilder Lane
5
Birthdate: December 5, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: De Smet, South Dakota, USA
Died: October 30, 1968

 49 
Maria Riva
(Actress)

Maria Riva
4
Birthdate: December 13, 1924
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Born to actor Marlene Dietrich, Maria Riva started her career as a child actor, working in films such as The Scarlet Empress. The Emmy-nominated actor had also been part of CBS teleplays such as The Milton Berle Show. She had penned a bestselling memoir on her mother, too.

 50 
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
(Renowned Author & Aviator)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1906
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey
Died: February 7, 2001