Famous Austrian Novelists

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 Austrian Novelists

 1 
Franz Kafka
(Novelist)

Franz Kafka
4
Birthdate: July 3, 1883
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: June 3, 1924

Considered one of the major authors of the 20th century, Franz Kafka was a Bohemian short-story writer and novelist. Franz Kafka is credited for being one of the earliest German-speaking authors to explore themes like absurdity, existential anxiety, and alienation. The term Kafkaesque is now widely used in the English language to explain those situations experienced by his characters.

 2 
Rainer Maria Rilke
(Poet & Novelist widely recognized as one of the most lyrically intense German-language poets.)

Rainer Maria Rilke
4
Birthdate: December 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: December 29, 1926

Bohemian-Austrian poet and author Rainer Maria Rilke is best remembered for his numerous poetry collections and his only novel, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge. His works contain metaphors, contradictions, and elements drawn from Greek mythology. Though most of his works were in German, he had also written in French.

 3 
Stefan Zweig
(One of the Most Popular and Widely Translated Writers in the World During 1920s & 1930s)

Stefan Zweig
4
Birthdate: November 28, 1881
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: February 22, 1942

Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist, and biographer. He was one of the most widely translated and most popular writers in the world at the height of his career. His best-known work is Sternstunden der Menschheit, in which he wrote about decisive historical events. His later years were very difficult and he died by suicide in 1942.

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 4 
Peter Handke
(One of the Most Influential and Original German-Language Writers Known for His Work 'Offending the Audience')

Peter Handke
3
Birthdate: December 6, 1942
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Griffen, Austria

Peter Handke is an Austrian novelist, poet, translator, playwright, screenwriter, and film director. One of the most respected personalities in Austria, Handke has won several prestigious awards over the course of his career. In 1973, he was awarded the Georg Büchner Prize. In 1987, he won the Vilenica International Literary Prize. In 2019, he received the Nobel Prize in Literature.

 5 
Bertha von Suttner
(Writer, Pacifist)

Bertha von Suttner
3
Birthdate: June 9, 1843
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: The Golz-Kinsky Palace, Prague, Czechia
Died: June 21, 1914

Once a governess of the four daughters of the affluent Suttner family, Bertha von Suttner later married the sisters’ elder brother, Baron Arthur Gundaccar von Suttner. The Austrian novelist was known for her peace activism, which made her the first female to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

 6 
Elfriede Jelinek
(Playwright, Novelist)

Elfriede Jelinek
3
Birthdate: October 20, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Mürzzuschlag, Austria

Elfriede Jelinek is an Austrian novelist and playwright who was honored with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature. Widely regarded as the most prominent playwright of the German language, Elfriede Jelinek has several prestigious awards and honors under her belt.

 7 
Robert Musil
(Former philosophical writer whose unfinished novel, The Man Without Qualities is generally considered to be one of the most important and influential modernist novels)

Robert Musil
3
Birthdate: November 6, 1880
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: April 15, 1942

Best remembered for his incomplete novel The Man Without Qualities, Austrian-German novelist Robert Musil had worked as a librarian, editor, and journalist and was also a qualified mechanical engineer. He had also served in the army during World War I but mostly gained fame as a modernist writer.

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 8 
Joseph Roth
(Journalist)

Joseph Roth
3
Birthdate: September 2, 1894
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Brody, Ukraine
Died: May 27, 1939

Austrian journalist and novelist Joseph Roth is noted for his novels Radetzky March and Job. He chronicled the decline and fall of Austria-Hungary in his family saga Radetzky March and wrote about plight of the Jews who migrated from eastern to western Europe following the First World War and the Russian Revolution in his short non-fiction book The Wandering Jews.

 9 
Thomas Bernhard
(Former Writer who explored death, social injustice, and human misery in controversial literature)

Thomas Bernhard
3
Birthdate: February 9, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heerlen, Netherlands
Died: February 12, 1989

Thomas Bernhard was born to an unwed mother in Holland and spent a lot of his adolescence in hospitals due to his chronic lung disease, which eventually claimed his life at age 58. He excelled in music and drama and gained fame for his controversial and pessimistic novels and plays.

 10 
Max Brod
(Former prolific writer best remembered as the friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka)

Max Brod
3
Birthdate: May 27, 1884
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Prague, Czech Republic
Died: December 20, 1968

Max Brod was a Czech German-speaking Jewish author, composer, and journalist. He studied law at the German Charles-Ferdinand University and proceeded to pursue a career as a journalist and composer. He worked as an editor and literary adviser for the Israeli national theatre for three decades. He was a close friend and biographer of writer Franz Kafka. 

 11 
Elias Canetti
(Former author who received the Nobel Prize in literature in 1981)

Elias Canetti
3
Birthdate: July 25, 1905
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ruse, Bulgaria
Died: August 14, 1994

Bulgarian-born author and Nobel laureate Elias Canetti interestingly became one of the greatest authors in German, his third language. Though equipped with a doctoral degree in chemistry, he gained fame for his iconic works such as The Tower of Babel and Crowds and Power, which focused on crowd psychology.

 12 
Guido von List
(Poet, Journalist, Novelist)

Guido von List
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1848
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 17, 1919

 13 
Hugo von Hofmannsthal
(Novelist, Poet, Essayist)

Hugo von Hofmannsthal
3
Birthdate: February 1, 1874
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landstraße, Vienna, Austria
Died: July 15, 1929

Known for his lyrical poetry and plays, Austrian author Hugo von Hofmannsthal had initially studied law and philology but later devoted his life to writing. His collaborative works with composer Richard Strauss included libretti for many of his operas, such as The Cavalier of the Rose and Arabella.

 14 

Ingeborg Bachmann
3
Birthdate: June 25, 1926
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Klagenfurt, Austria
Died: October 17, 1973

Ingeborg Bachmann completed her PhD and worked as an editor and scriptwriter before plunging into full-time writing. The Gruppe 47 member was known for depicting the trauma of women characters who had failed in relationships. She is best remembered for her poems and her lyrical novel Malina.

 15 
Carl Djerassi
(Contribution to the development of oral contraceptive pills)

Carl Djerassi
3
Birthdate: October 29, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 30, 2015

Known as the father of the pill, Carl Djerassi is best remembered for chemically synthesizing a steroid mimic of the hormone progesterone, which paved the way for the production of contraceptive pills.  That apart, he made important contributions to the synthesis of antihistamines, pest control, mass spectrometry etc. Also a successful author, he wrote several non-fictions, novels, dramas and poems.

 16 
Daniel Kehlmann
(Novelist)

Daniel Kehlmann
2
Birthdate: January 13, 1975
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Munich, Germany

Best known for his bestselling novel Tyll, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is also being made into a Netflix series, German author Daniel Kehlmann is the son of TV director Michael Kehlmann and actor Dagmar Mettler. His other notable works include Measuring the World and Fame.

 17 
Eric Wolf
(Anthropologist)

Eric Wolf
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: March 6, 1999

Anthropologist Eric Robert Wolf is noted for his studies of Latin America and peasants, and for advocating Marxist outlook within anthropology. Notable books of Wolf include The Hidden Frontier, his classic study of ethnography with his student John W. Cole; and Europe and the People Without History, where he focussed on the expansion of European societies in the modern era.  

 18 
Gustav Meyrink
(Former Author most famous for his novel The Golem)

Gustav Meyrink
2
Birthdate: January 19, 1868
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 4, 1932

Austrian author, novelist, dramatist, translator, and banker, Gustav Meyer, who used the pseudonym Gustav Meyrink, is best-known for his novel The Golem. Gustav established his own bank but was eventually charged with fraud and jailed for two months. He depicted his jailhouse experiences in The Golem. A prolific translator, Gustav’s translation works include translating fifteen-volumes of Charles Dickens into German.

 19 

Ödön von Horváth
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1901
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rijeka, Croatia
Died: June 1, 1938

Born to an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, Ödön von Horváth grew up studying in Hungarian but later became one of the finest writers of German literature. The writer of iconic plays such as Italian Night and Tales from the Vienna Woods, he was a significant anti-fascist playwright. He died in a thunderstorm.

 20 

Ilse Aichinger
2
Birthdate: November 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: November 11, 2016

Ilse Aichinger and her twin sister, Helga, were half-Jews and were thus forbidden to study by the Nazis and sent to a button factory as laborers instead. Following World War II, she studied medicine but later quit studies to pen her harrowing experiences in her bestselling novel The Greater Hope.

 21 
Vicki Baum
(Writer)

Vicki Baum
2
Birthdate: January 24, 1888
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: August 29, 1960

Vicky Baum was an Austrian-American novelist, who had more than fifty books to her credit, many of which were adapted into successful films. Starting to publish at the age of thirty-one, she wrote about strong women caught up in chaotic times. Vicki Baum produced her first bestseller, Stud. chem. Helene Willfüer, at forty and her best known work, Menschen im Hotel, at forty-one.  

Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach
2
Birthdate: September 13, 1830
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Zdislavice (Troubky-Zdislavice), Troubky-Zdislavice, Czechia
Died: March 12, 1916

Best known for her psychological novels which depicted the lives of both the affluent and the poor, Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach was the daughter of an Austrian baron. One of the finest German authors ever, she experimented with the bildungsroman and penned works such as The Child of the Parish.

 23 

Friedrich von Hügel
1
Birthdate: May 5, 1852
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: January 27, 1925

Friedrich von Hügel, also known as Baron von Hügel, believed in Roman Catholicism but was tolerant of other views, too, making him a significant figure of Modernist Christian theology. He believed a middle path between religion and science could be reached. The Mystical Element of Religion remains his best-known work.

 24 
Fritz Mauthner
(Novelist)

Fritz Mauthner
1
Birthdate: November 22, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Hořice, Czechia
Died: June 29, 1923

While he initially gained fame as a novelist, Fritz Mauthner later became one of the finest Austrian theater critics. His work also involved philosophy of languages. He believed that though words have social value, they reflect imperfect sense experiences and showcase distorted reality, as they are used subjectively by people.

 25 
August Šenoa
(Novelist)

August Šenoa
1
Birthdate: November 14, 1838
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Zagreb, Croatia
Died: December 13, 1881

Author August Šenoa is credited with leading Croatian literature from Romanticism to Realism. Also considered the "father of the Croatian novel," he studied law but later deviated to writing. He introduced the genre of the historical novel in Croatia and penned iconic works such as Pirates of Senj.

 26 

Johannes Mario Simmel
1
Birthdate: April 7, 1924
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: January 1, 2009
Austrian-born Johannes Mario Simmel is considered one of the greatest German-language writers. Known for his bestselling novels such as The Cain Conspiracy and It Can't Always Have Caviar, he was also a qualified chemical engineer. He often dealt with themes such as genetic engineering and espionage in his works.

 27 

Heimito von Doderer
1
Birthdate: September 5, 1896
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 23, 1966

Best remembered for his novel The Demons, Austrian novelist Heimito von Doderer was a five-time Nobel Prize in Literature nominee. Born into a family of famous architects and industrialists, he was an army officer in World War I and worked as a lumberjack in Siberia after being captured by the Russians.

 28 

Peter Rosegger
1
Birthdate: July 31, 1843
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Alpl, Austria
Died: June 26, 1918

Born to a peasant, Peter Rosegger initially traveled around as a tailor. He grew up to write iconic works that reflected rural life and the need for social reform. The three-time Nobel Prize nominee is best remembered for his works such as The Forest Farm and The Forest Schoolmaster.

 29 

Gregor von Rezzori
1
Birthdate: May 13, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Chernivtsi, Ukraine
Died: April 23, 1998

While he initially studied mining, medicine, and architecture, Gregor von Rezzori eventually graduated in arts. Fluent in several languages, he had a successful stint as a journalist and became known for both for his light novels and the more poignant ones such as Memoirs of an Anti-Semite.

 30 
Walter Abish
(Author)

Walter Abish
1
Birthdate: December 24, 1931
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria

After growing up in Shanghai and Israel as a Jewish refugee who had fled the Nazi regime, Walter Abish moved to the U.S. His iconic book about post-war Germany How German Is It won him a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He has also taught at Yale and other universities.

Alexander Lernet-Holenia
1
Birthdate: October 21, 1897
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: July 3, 1976

Best known for his novel Die Standarte and his plays such as Austrian Comedy and Mishmash, Austrian author and poet Alexander Lernet-Holenia had initially studied law and also fought in World War I. During World War II, he traveled as part of an army film unit.

 32 

Karl Emil Franzos
1
Birthdate: October 25, 1848
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Chortkiv, Ukraine
Died: January 28, 1904

 33 

Ludwig Anzengruber
0
Birthdate: November 29, 1839
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: December 10, 1889

After losing his father at 5, Ludwig Anzengruber grew up amid poverty. A school drop-out, he eventually found work at a bookstore and then stepped into acting, too. He later ventured into writing and penned some of the most loved plays of his time, such as The Pastor of Kirchfeld.

 34 

Robert Hamerling
0
Birthdate: March 24, 1830
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Kirchberg am Walde, Austria
Died: July 13, 1889

Robert Hamerling was born into poverty but secured a place at the University of Vienna with financial assistance from people who were impressed by his talent in poetry. He is best remembered for his poems such as A Swan Song of the Romantic and Ahasuerus in Rome.

 35 

Ferdinand Kürnberger
0
Birthdate: July 3, 1821
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: October 14, 1879

Ferdinand Kürnberger was compelled to leave Austria after his involvement in the 1848 Austrian revolution and was imprisoned after the 1849 Dresden rebellion. The 19th-century Austrian writer is remembered for his iconic works such as Catilina, The House Tyrant, and The One Who Is Tired of America.

 36 

Karl Schönherr
0
Birthdate: February 24, 1867
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Axams, Austria
Died: March 15, 1943

Born to a schoolteacher, Karl Schönherr initially studied philosophy and grew up to become a physician. However, he later gained fame for his iconic plays such as Faith and Homeland and The Judas of the Tirol. He was inspired by Henrik Ibsen and merged symbolism and realism in his works.