American Female Writers

Throughout history, there have been many American women writers who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great American female writers such as Portia de Rossi, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Keller, Mary-Kate Olsen.

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 American Female Writers

 1 

Maya Angelou
23
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.

 2 
Sylvia Plath
(Famous for Her Books 'The Bell Jar' and 'Ariel')

Sylvia Plath
26
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.

 3 

Emily Dickinson
19
Birthdate: December 10, 1830
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
Died: May 15, 1886
Victorian-era poet Emily Dickinson apparently wrote around 1800 poems, mostly revolving around themes such as death and immortality. However, she was a recluse, dressed up in white, and mostly interacted with people through correspondence. Her poems were mostly without titles and had short lines, slant rhyme, and unconventional punctuation.

 4 
Harper Lee
(Novelist)

Harper Lee
10
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 
Toni Morrison
(Novelist)

Toni Morrison
9
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.

 6 

Louisa May Alcott
5
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.

 7 
Jamie Lee Curtis
(Actress, Author)

Jamie Lee Curtis
6
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.

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 8 
Helen Keller
(Author, First Deafblind Person to Earn a B.A. Degree)

Helen Keller
6
Birthdate: June 27, 1880
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Tuscumbia, Alabama, United States
Died: June 1, 1968

A prolific author, having written 12 published books and several articles, Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her autobiography, The Story of My Life, made Keller famous and was adapted for film and stage. She was also an activist and campaigned for women's suffrage, labour rights, socialism and other such causes.

 9 
Fran Drescher
(Actress, Comedian)

Fran Drescher
4
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.

 10 
Danai Gurira
(Actress)

Danai Gurira
18
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.

 11 

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

 12 
Chelsea Peretti
(Actress, Comedian)

Chelsea Peretti
4
Birthdate: February 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Contra Costa County, California, United States
Best known as Gina Linetti from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Chelsea Peretti has also performed as part of the comedy troupe Variety SHAC. She has written for The Huffington Post, founded by her brother, and for magazines such as Playgirl and Jest. She has also released an EP and launched a podcast.

 13 

Caroline Kennedy
6
Birthdate: November 27, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cornell Medical Center Hospital, New York City, New York, U.S.

Caroline Kennedy is an American author, diplomat, and attorney. The only surviving child of John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, Caroline served as the US Ambassador to Japan between 2013 and 2017. A prolific author who writes about civil liberties, Caroline Kennedy has also served as a spokesperson for the Kennedy family's legacy.

 14 

Isabella Rossellini
4
Birthdate: June 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini has made an important contribution to the American and Italian film industry. She has also appeared on stage, including an Off-Broadway production of The Stendhal Syndrome.  Also known for her involvement in conservation efforts, Rossellini serves as the director and president of the Howard Gilman Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of arts, photography, and wildlife.

 15 
Linda McCartney
(Photographer)

Linda McCartney
4
Birthdate: September 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Scarsdale, New York, United States
Died: April 17, 1998
Linda McCartney, the first wife of Paul McCartney, formed the band Wings with her husband, after the Beatles disbanded. An animal rights activist, she wrote several vegetarian cookbooks, apart from launching Linda McCartney Foods. She was also a skilled photographer and published a photo book. She died of breast cancer.  

 16 
AJ Lee
(Professional Wrestler, Writer)

AJ Lee
4
Birthdate: March 19, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Union City, New Jersey, United States
April Jeanette Mendez, better known by her ring name AJ Lee, is best known for her stint with WWE. She is a three-time Divas champion and won the Slammy Award for Diva of the Year twice. She has also written a bestselling memoir and is also quite popular on Instagram.

 17 
Mara Wilson
(Actress)

Mara Wilson
8
Birthdate: July 24, 1987
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Burbank, California, United States

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.

 18 
Giada De Laurentiis
(Chef and Host of 'Giada at Home')

Giada De Laurentiis
4
Birthdate: August 22, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Giada De Laurentiis is an Italian-American chef, restaurateur, television personality, and writer. She won the Gracie Award under the Best Television Host category for hosting Giada at Home. The founder of a catering business called GDL Foods, Giada De Laurentiis has been an influential figure in the American culinary business over the last few years.

 19 
Lauren Graham
(Actress)

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 

Shirley Jackson
6
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

 21 
Zoe Kazan
(Actress)

Zoe Kazan
8
Birthdate: September 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA

 22 
Shonda Rhimes
(Television Producer)

Shonda Rhimes
6
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.

 23 
Angela Davis
(Political Activist)

Angela Davis
5
Birthdate: January 26, 1944
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Birmingham

Activist, philosopher, academic and author, Angela Davis is a founding member of the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism (CCDS). She has worked in the areas of feminism, class, race and the US prison system. She has also received criticism for supporting the erstwhile Soviet Union and has been accused of supporting political violence.

 24 

Laura Ingalls Wilder
4
Birthdate: February 7, 1867
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Pepin County, Wisconsin, United States
Died: February 10, 1957
Laura Ingalls Wilder authored the iconic Little House children’s book series, including the novel Little House on the Prairie, based on her family’s life in Wisconsin, which was later adapted for many stage and screen versions. She is also known for her autobiography, Pioneer Girl, and many posthumously published books.

 25 
Leslie Jones
(Comedian)

Leslie Jones
4
Birthdate: September 7, 1967
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Memphis, Tennessee, United States

 26 
Maya Harris
(Lawyer, Political scientist, Writer)

Maya Harris
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, United States

A lawyer, law professor, political analyst and a civil rights activist, Maya Harris’s list of achievements is huge. One of the youngest in the US to become a law school dean, Maya Harris has worked with Hillary Clinton and her own sister Kamala Harris in their respective presidential campaigns.

 27 

Kristen Schaal
4
Birthdate: January 24, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Longmont, Colorado, United States
Kristen Schaal is best known for her Emmy-nominated voice roles, mostly as Sarah Lynn, in BoJack Horseman and her Annie Award-winning voice role as Louise Belcher in Bob's Burgers. Fans also loved her as Mel in Flight of the Conchords. She has also co-written a book with her husband.

 28 
Amanda Knox
(Wrongful conviction of the murder of Meredith Kercher)

Amanda Knox
7
Birthdate: July 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Seattle, Washington, United States

Amanda Knox is an American woman who made headlines when she was convicted for the murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy. After spending almost four years in prison, Amanda was definitively acquitted after a new trial that found her not guilty. Her story inspired books and documentaries; Knox's memoir Waiting to Be Heard became popular.

 29 
Issa Rae
(Actress)

Issa Rae
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Issa Rae is known for her award-winning YouTube series Awkward Black Girl and the HBO series Insecure. Her YouTube channel has promoted the works of Black artists. She made it to the Glamour 35 Under 35 and the Forbes 30 Under 30 lists and was also featured on TIME 100.

 30 

Bernadette Peters
4
Birthdate: February 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ozone Park, New York, United States

Bernadette Peters is an American actress, children's book author, and singer. She is known for contributing immensely to all three major acting mediums in an illustrious career spanning more than 60 years. Credited with co-founding an annual animal adopt-a-thon named Broadway Barks, Bernadette Peters was honored with the 2019 Prince Rainier III Award for her philanthropic activities.

 31 
Doris Roberts
(Actress)

Doris Roberts
4
Birthdate: November 4, 1925
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: April 17, 2016

Five-time Emmy Award-winning actor Doris Roberts is best remembered as Marie Barone from the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond and as Mildred Krebs from Remington Steele. She also appeared on various talk/game shows and in films such as The Honeymoon Killers. She was a prominent animal rights activist, too.

 32 
Gladys Knight
(Singer-Songwriter)

Gladys Knight
4
Birthdate: May 28, 1944
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

 33 

Belinda Carlisle
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1958
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States

Belinda Carlisle is an American singer, author, and musician. She was part of the Go-Go's where she was the lead singer; during the first half of the 1980s, the Go-Go's was one of the most successful and popular all-female bands. In 2011, she was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame as a member of The Go-Go's.

 34 
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.

 35 
Amy Sedaris
(Actress, Comedian)

Amy Sedaris
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Endicott, New York, United States
Amy Sedaris is best known as Jerri Blank from the series Strangers with Candy and its prequel movie. She was also nominated for two Emmys for her comedy series At Home with Amy Sedaris. Some of her other notable projects are Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Mandalorian, and BoJack Horseman

 36 
Paige VanZant
(Mixed Martial Artist)

Paige VanZant
4
Birthdate: March 26, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dundee, Oregon, United States

Paige VanZant is an American mixed martial artist, model, and author. Although she spent over 13 years exploring dance forms like hip hop, ballet, and jazz in a dance studio owned by her parents, VanZant took up martial arts during her teenage years and went on to compete in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). A multi-talented personality, VanZant also loves hunting.

 37 

Isabel Allende
7
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.

 38 
Ree Drummond
(Blogger)

Ree Drummond
4
Birthdate: January 6, 1969
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Ree Drummond is an American author, blogger, food writer, television personality, and photographer. In 2010, she was named in Forbes magazine's Top 25 Web Celebrities list. Riding on the success of her blog The Pioneer Woman, which was adjudged Weblog of the Year for three consecutive years at the Weblog Awards, Drummond went on to present her own television program.

 39 
Busy Philipps
(Actress)

Busy Philipps
6
Birthdate: June 25, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States

 40 
Coretta Scott King
(Civil Rights Activist, Author)

Coretta Scott King
4
Birthdate: April 27, 1927
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Heiberger, Alabama, United States
Died: January 30, 2006

The American civil rights activist was an ideal foil for her famous husband Martin Luther King Jr. in promoting racial equality. The author and singer led the Women's Movement and fought for the rights of the LGBT community. She was also known for mobilising African-Americans during the 1960 US presidential election. She founded the King Centre, a not-for-profit organization.

 41 
Jenna Bush Hager
(Journalist, Writer)

Jenna Bush Hager
4
Birthdate: November 25, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, United States
Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former American president George W. Bush, has been a teacher and a journalist. She has written several books, has worked with UNICEF, and has also co-hosted NBC shows such as The Today Show. She has also served as an editor for Southern Living magazine.

 42 
MacKenzie Scott
(Novelist, Ex-Wife of Jeff Bezos)

MacKenzie Scott
8
Birthdate: April 7, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, United States

 43 
Susan Sontag
(Writer and Filmmaker, Best Known for her Essay 'Notes on 'Camp')

Susan Sontag
5
Birthdate: January 16, 1933
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New York, New York, United States
Died: December 28, 2004
Susan Sontag is best known for her essay anthologies such as Against Interpretation and her novels such as In America. She wrote about diverse issues such as human rights, photography, AIDS, and leftist beliefs, and also visited war-torn areas. The National Book Award-winning author was also openly bisexual. 

 44 
Rachel Carson
(Marine biologist)

Rachel Carson
4
Birthdate: May 27, 1907
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Springdale
Died: April 14, 1964

Rachel Carson was a conservationist, marine biologist, and author. She is credited with authoring an influential book titled Silent Spring, which played a significant role in advancing the global environmental movement. Carson is also remembered for her book, The Sea Around Us, which earned her a U.S. National Book Award. She was posthumously honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 45 
Ayn Rand
(Writer)

Ayn Rand
15
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.

 46 

Michelle McNamara
4
Birthdate: April 14, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Oak Park, Illinois, United States
Died: April 21, 2016

True-crime writer, Michelle McNamara, is remembered for coining the name "Golden State Killer" for the serial killer later identified as Joseph James DeAngelo. Sadly, the author died before his identification and arrest. Fascinated by true crime from a young age, she launched her website TrueCrimeDiary in 2006 and dedicated her life to researching and writing about true crime.

 47 
Barbara Corcoran
(Business Women)

Barbara Corcoran
4
Birthdate: March 10, 1949
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edgewater, New Jersey, United States

Barbara Corcoran is an American businesswoman, television personality, author, and speaker. She is credited with founding a New York City-based real estate brokerage called The Corcoran Group, which she sold for $66 million in 2001. She is best known for appearing in the popular business reality TV series, Shark Tank, where she was one of the original Shark investors.

 48 
Nora Ephron
(Screenwriter, Producer, Director)

Nora Ephron
4
Birthdate: May 19, 1941
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron was an American writer, filmmaker, and journalist. She is known for writing films like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally... The Nora Ephron Prize was created by the Tribeca Film Festival in her memory. Her life and work inspired the 2016 documentary film Everything Is Copy, which was directed by her son Jacob Bernstein.

 49 
Cheryl Ladd
(Actress)

Cheryl Ladd
4
Birthdate: July 12, 1951
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Huron, South Dakota, USA

 50 
Mae West
(Actress)

Mae West
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died: November 22, 1980
Mae West began her career as a child actor in vaudeville. She later appeared in films such as You Done Me Wrong and Go West, Young Man. She became famous for her signature double entendres and sexual liberty she projected on screen. She also wrote books and plays later.