British Women Novelists

Throughout history, there have been many British women novelists who have made significant contribution to the field. The list includes many familiar and great British female novelists such as J. K. Rowling, Mary Shelley, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Brontë, Doris Lessing.

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.
10
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 Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf.
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 25, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: South Kensington, London, England
Died: March 28, 1941

Virginia Woolf was an English writer who pioneered a narrative mode called stream of consciousness to describe the thoughts and feelings of the narrator. Regarded as one of the most prominent modernist 20th-century writers, Woolf's works have gained much attention for inspiring feminism. Her life and work have inspired several films, novels, and plays.

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 3 Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Torquay, Devon, England
Died: January 12, 1976

Even after four decades after her death, Agatha Christie remains an influential figure in the world of literature and entertainment as most of her books continue to serve as inspiration to films, TV series, and video games. With over two billion copies of her novels sold, she holds the Guinness World Records for best-selling fiction writer of all time.

 4 Jane Austen

Jane Austen.
7
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Steventon Rectory, Hampshire, England
Died: July 18, 1817

Considered one of the greatest writers in English history, Jane Austen is best known for her six major novels - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Her writing was set among the British landed gentry and dealt with ordinary people in everyday ordinary situation. The author achieved great fame after her death. 

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 5 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley.
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 30, 1797
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Somers Town, London, England
Died: February 1, 1851
An author who was admired for her exploration of the Gothic genre, Mary Shelley is best remembered for her novel Frankenstein. She also edited the works of her husband, Romantic poet P.B. Shelley. She lost her husband to a drowning accident and eventually passed away due to brain tumor.

 6 Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 21, 1816
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Thornton, Yorkshire, England
Died: March 31, 1855
Charlotte Bronte, remembered for her iconic novel Jane Eyre, was one of the most significant literary figures of the 19th century. She was the eldest of the Bronte sisters who survived into adulthood. She and her sisters Emily and Anne wrote under the pseudonyms Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.

 7 Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking.
4
Famous As: Journalist, Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: England
Lucy Hawking, daughter of legendary physicist Stephen Hawking, has been a journalist with New York Magazine, The Times, and The Telegraph. She has also authored several children's books, such as George's Secret Key to the Universe. She is the VP of National Star College and also works for autism research.
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 8 Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: December 19, 1848
Victorian novelist/poet Emily Brontë, also known as Ellis Bell, is best remembered for her iconic novel Wuthering Heights. Her book of poems, written with her sisters Charlotte and Anne, was titled Poems by Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, highlighting their pseudonyms. She suffered from prolonged illness and died of tuberculosis.

 9 George Eliot

George Eliot.
4
Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1819
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England
Died: December 22, 1880

Mary Ann Evans, known by her pseudonym George Eliot, was an English poet, novelist, translator, and journalist. One of the most prominent writers of the Victorian era, Eliot's works are known for their psychological insight, realism, and detailed description of the countryside. Her novel Middlemarch was voted one of the greatest literary works in a 2007 poll conducted by Time.

 10 P. L. Travers

P. L. Travers.
5
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Maryborough, Queensland, Australia
Died: April 23, 1996

Australian-British author and Shakespearean actor Pamela Lyndon Travers, known by her pseudonym, P. L. Travers, soared to fame with her Mary Poppins series of children's books. Disney later bought the rights to her Mary Poppins series and released a film version. It was later made into a Broadway play, too.

 11 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft.
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 27, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: September 10, 1797

Mary Wollstonecraft was an English writer, advocate of women's rights, and philosopher. Wollstonecraft, who attracted a lot of attention for her unconventional personal relationships, is widely considered a founding feminist philosopher. Although her unorthodoxy initially attracted criticisms, her advocacy of women's equality became increasingly important during the 20th century. Modern-day feminists cite her works and her life as important influences.

 12 Doris Lessing

Doris Lessing.
4
Famous As: Novelist, Short Story Writer
Birthdate: October 22, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kermanshah
Died: November 17, 2013

 13 Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier.
4
Famous As: Novelist & playwright
Birthdate: May 13, 1907
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 19, 1989

Daphne du Maurier was an English playwright and author. Many of her works, which have been praised for narrative craft, have been adapted into films, including three of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Such was her popularity that she was selected along with four other Women of Achievement to be featured on a set of British stamps, which were issued in 1996.

 14 Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins
5
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015

 15 Ruth Jones

Ruth Jones
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bridgend, Wales, UK

 16 Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 15, 1919
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: February 8, 1999

 17 Jane Asher

Jane Asher.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Willesden, London
Jane Asher gained fame as a child actor and later worked in movies such as Alfie and Deep End. She has also appeared in series such as Wish Me Luck and Holby City. She supports autism-related charities, has authored three novels, and owns a cake-making company and a kitchenware brand.

 18 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
4
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London

Author Zadie Smith was born in London to a British father and a Jamaican mother. Her bestselling debut novel, White Teeth, won numerous awards and catapulted her to fame, while her third novel, On Beauty, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. She has also taught fiction at New York University.

 19 Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London
Jhumpa Lahiri is an Indian-American author who mainly writes mostly about the experiences faced by East Indian immigrants and also about their practices and traditions. Recipient of several awards, she received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and PEN/Hemingway Award for her first publication, Interpreter of Maladies.

 20 Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 22, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blackgang, Isle of Wight, England, UK

 21 Vera Brittain

Vera Brittain.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: December 29, 1893
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire, England
Died: March 29, 1970

 22 Anne Brontë

Anne Brontë.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 17, 1820
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Thornton, West Yorkshire
Died: May 28, 1849

 23 Coleen Nolan

Coleen Nolan
4
Famous As: Singer
Birthdate: March 12, 1965
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blackpool, England, UK

 24 Jill Gascoine

Jill Gascoine.
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 11, 1937
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lambeth, London, England
Died: April 28, 2020

Actor and novelist Jill Gascoine is best remembered for her role as Detective Inspector Maggie Forbes in the series The Gentle Touch and its spin-off, C.A.T.S. Eyes. She wrote three novels and also appeared in films such as King of the Wind. She was also a kidney cancer survivor.

 25 Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: August 4, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England

 26 Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory
4
Famous As: Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: January 9, 1954
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nairobi

 27 Anne Perry

Anne Perry
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Juliet Hulme, better known as Anne Perry, is the bestselling author of the widely popular William Monk and Thomas Pitt series of novels. She changed her name after a 5-year sentence for killing her friend’s mother at age 15. She has also worked as a flight attendant.

 28 Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel
4
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist, Film critic, Poet lawyer, Literary critic
Birthdate: July 6, 1952
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Glossop

British author Hilary Mantel initially studied law at LSU and then concentrated on her writing career after moving to Botswana with her geologist husband. Her Booker Prize-winning novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, later catapulted her to fame. She divorced and remarried her husband later.

 29 Jacqueline Wilson

Jacqueline Wilson.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 17, 1945
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bath, Somerset, England

 30 Meera Syal

Meera Syal
4
Famous As: Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter, Film producer, Author, Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: June 27, 1961
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Wolverhampton
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 31 Ann Cleeves

Ann Cleeves
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 24, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Herefordshire, United Kingdom

 32 P. D. James

P. D. James.
4
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 3, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Oxford, England
Died: November 27, 2014

 33 Emma Forrest

Emma Forrest
4
Famous As: Journalists
Birthdate: December 26, 1976
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 34 Kay Burley

Kay Burley
4
Famous As: Journalist, Presenter, Novelist
Birthdate: December 17, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Wigan

 35 Eve Pollard

Eve Pollard
4
Famous As: Novelist, Journalist
Birthdate: December 25, 1945
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London

 36 Elizabeth Gaskell

Elizabeth Gaskell.
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 29, 1810
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chelsea
Died: November 12, 1865

 37 Lady Caroline Lamb

Lady Caroline Lamb.
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 13, 1785
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dorset, England, United Kingdom
Died: January 25, 1828

 38 Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett.
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 24, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Cheetham, Manchester, England
Died: October 29, 1924

 39 Angela Carter

Angela Carter.
3
Birthdate: May 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Eastbourne, England
Died: February 16, 1992

 40 Dorothy L. Sayers

Dorothy L. Sayers.
3
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: June 13, 1893
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Witham, Essex, England
Died: December 17, 1957

 41 Val McDermid

Val McDermid
3
Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Journalist
Birthdate: June 4, 1955
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kirkcaldy

 42 Jane Fallon

Jane Fallon
4
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England, UK

 43 Nancy Mitford

Nancy Mitford
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: November 28, 1904
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: June 30, 1973

Born to the 2nd Baron Redesdale, Nancy Mitford and her siblings were all homeschooled. Known as one of the brightest of the Mitford sisters, she became famous for writing semi-autobiographical novels such as The Pursuit of Love. She pioneered the use of language to distinguish between social classes in books.

 44 Fanny Cradock

Fanny Cradock
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 26, 1909
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Leytonstone
Died: December 27, 1994

Famous for dressing up in ballgowns and wearing heavy make-up while cooking up exotic dishes, celebrity chef Fanny Cradock initially co-wrote cookbooks and food columns with her husband Johnnie Cradock. She had married four times, and had committed bigamy twice. She was known for her signature husky voice and dramatic style.

 45 E. L. James

E. L. James
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 7, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Willesden, London, England

 46 Polly Samson

Polly Samson
3
Famous As: Songwriter, Journalist, Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: April 29, 1962
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London

 47 Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn.
3
Famous As: Playwright
Birthdate: July 10, 1640
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Canterbury, England
Died: April 16, 1689

 48 Ingrid Pitt

Ingrid Pitt
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 21, 1937
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Czestochowa, Poland
Died: November 23, 2010

 49 Kate O'Mara

Kate O'Mara
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: August 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Leicester, Leicestershire, England, UK
Died: March 30, 2014

 50 Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones
3
Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 16, 1934
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: March 26, 2011

Diana Wynne Jones was an English writer who is known for  fantasy and speculative fiction novels for children and young adults.. She began writing stories for her siblings at the age of thirteen. However, she was actually introduced to children's literature while reading out to her sons, starting to write on her own once her children started going to school, authoring more than forty books in her lifetime.