Famous British Novelists

Long before the world of technology gifted facilities such as the television and internet to the world, novels were one of the sources of recreation. Many modern day intellectuals and thinkers thank these novelists for influencing the world through their literary works. English novels written by authors of British descent, even as early as the eighteenth century, continue to be popular even today. Many of these authors have become immortal, owing to their magnificent creation of art. Although hundreds of writers have contributed greatly towards English literature, there are quite a few household names. Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Thomas Hardy and Virginia Woolf are individuals who have produced classics such as ‘The Great Expectations’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice’ etc. Amongst the contemporary novelists, Salman Rushdie is a popular man from the literary world who made waves for his controversial creation, ‘The Satanic Verses’. The book hurt the religious sentiments of many, and was considered by many to be an exploitation of the freedom given to novelists to express their thoughts. Glance through these biographies of some of the most famous novelists from Britain. Know everything about their life stories, timelines and also a few interesting facts & trivia related to their lives.

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. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British, South African
Died: September 2, 1973

Considered one of the greatest authors, JRR Tolkien is popularly called the father of the modern fantasy literature. He is best known for his high fantasy classic works The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, which is set in a conceived world called the Middle-Earth. Many years after his death, Tolkien continues to be one of the best-selling writers.

 2 J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: July 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

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.

 3 Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 13, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: November 23, 1990

British writer, Roald Dahl, is considered as one of the greatest children’s authors. He is one of the best-selling authors of all-time and had a career spanning decades. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Witches, The Twits and Matilda are some of his classic works. He also wrote short stories and novels meant for adults.

 4 Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
Died: June 9, 1870

Widely considered the greatest novelist of the Victorian era, Charles Dickens was an English writer famous for creating world-renowned fictional characters. Regarded by critics and scholars as a literary genius, most of his short stories and novels are read around the world even today. His distinctive style of writing is referred to as Dickensian.

 5 George Orwell

George Orwell
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: British
Died: January 21, 1950

The king of dystopia and satire, George Orwell, the pen name adopted by Eric Arthur Blair, was a well-known novelist and critic of the 20th century. A man with a strong mind of his own, Orwell never backed down from stating his views on the socio-political climate he lived in, which he expressed profusely through his influential essays and novels.

 6 Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: January 25, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: British
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.

 7 C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: Irish, British
Died: November 22, 1963

C. S. Lewis was a British writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide after having been translated into over 30 languages. His works, such as The Chronicles of Narnia, have inspired the works of other famous authors. Lewis' work continues to attract readership and he was ranked 11th on The Times' 50 greatest British writers since 1945 list.

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 8 Salman Rushdie

Salman Rushdie
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Famous As: British-Indian novelist
Birthdate: June 19, 1947
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: Indian, British

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.

 9 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 30, 1797
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
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.

 10 Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
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

 11 Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming
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Famous As: Author of James Bond Series
Birthdate: May 28, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British
Died: August 12, 1964

Ian Fleming was a British writer, naval intelligence officer, and journalist. Fleming is credited with creating one of the most popular characters of all time, James Bond. His James Bond series of novels have sold more than 100 million copies, making them one of the best-selling fictional book series in history. Jamaica’s Ian Fleming International Airport is named after him.

 12 Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking
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Famous As: Journalist, Novelist, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1970
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
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.

 13 H. G. Wells

H. G. Wells
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: August 13, 1946

H. G. Wells was an English writer. Although he was prolific in many genres, he is best remembered for his work on sci-fi novels, for which he is often referred to as the father of science fiction. His 1901 novel The First Men in the Moon became so influential that a lunar impact crater is named after him.

 14 Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British, American
Died: November 22, 1963

English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley wrote countless books, including novels, short stories, non-fiction, and poems. He is best remembered for his science-fiction novels Brave New World and Island. The seven-time Nobel Prize nominee was also a Companion of Literature of the Royal Society of Literature and a Vedanta believer.

 15 John Le Carré

John Le Carré
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 16 Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett
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Famous As: Humorist
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
Died: March 12, 2015

 17 Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 21, 1816
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British
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.

 18 Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro
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Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Nobel Prize-winning British-Asian author Sir Kazuo Ishiguro also won the Man Booker Prize for the novel The Remains of the Day. Time named his Never Let Me Go the best novel of 2005. He has also penned several screenplays and songs, and is known for his signature first-person narrative style.

 19 Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 30, 1818
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
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.

 20 Sir James Matthew Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British, Scottish
Died: June 19, 1937

Sir James Matthew Barrie was a Scottish playwright and novelist. He is credited and remembered for creating the famous fictional character, Peter Pan. In the 1922 New Year Honours, Barrie was made a member of the Order of Merit. Before his death, he gifted the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children with the rights of his Peter Pan works.

 21 D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: March 2, 1930

English writer, D. H. Lawrence, was known for exploring sensitive issues, such as sexuality, emotional health,  and instinct. In his works, he often reflected upon the dehumanizing effects of modernity and industrialization. The sexual nature of his writings earned him many enemies. Even though he died at the relatively young age of 44, he left behind a rich literary legacy.

 22 Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: September 15, 1890
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
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.

 23 Lee Child

Lee Child
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

 24 David Thewlis

David Thewlis
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
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. 

 25 Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, University teacher, Playwright, Librarian, Children's writer
Birthdate: October 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British

 26 Ruth Jones

Ruth Jones
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, Welsh

 27 John Barrowman

John Barrowman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British, American

 28 Christopher Robin Milne

Christopher Robin Milne
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: April 20, 1996

 29 Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Mark Gatiss is best known for both writing and appearing in Doctor Who, Dracula, and Sherlock. He is also part of the comedy group The League of Gentlemen and has appeared as Tycho Nestoris in Game of Thrones. He has written the Lucifer Box novels, too.

 30 Jane Fallon

Jane Fallon
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1960
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: British

 31 Alex Garland

Alex Garland
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Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: May 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

Alex Garland is an English filmmaker and writer best known for penning the critically acclaimed novel, The Beach, which was adapted into a movie after being translated into 25 languages. Apart from writing screenplays of films like 28 Days Later, Garland has also directed movies like Ex Machina, which earned him an Oscar nomination and a couple of BIFA awards.

 32 Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer
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Famous As: Politician, Novelist, Writer, Playwright, Science fiction writer, Children's writer
Birthdate: April 15, 1940
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British

 33 Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence Durrell
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British
Died: November 7, 1990
Lawrence Durrell, eldest brother of naturalist and author Gerald Durrell, was a poet and writer whose best-known work is The Alexandria Quartet, the tetralogy of novels, including the famous book Justine. Constance from The Avignon Quintet earned a Booker Prize nomination. He is also known for his extensive travel writing.

 34 Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British, American
Died: September 19, 2015

 35 E. L. James

E. L. James
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: March 7, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 36 Tony Robinson

Tony Robinson
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Famous As: Television producer, Television actor, Film actor, Comedian, Actor, Novelist, Children's writer
Birthdate: August 15, 1946
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

 37 Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Film director, Politician, Film producer, Novelist, Writer, Librettist, Stage actor, Film actor
Birthdate: August 17, 1949
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British

 38 Jane Asher

Jane Asher
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 5, 1946
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: British
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.

 39 Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen
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Famous As: Writer, Children's writer, YouTuber, Novelist, Author, Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: British

 40 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British
Died: April 10, 1966

 41 E. M. Forster

E. M. Forster
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: British
Died: June 7, 1970

 42 Ken Follett

Ken Follett
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 43 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
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Famous As: Writer, Novelist, Essayist
Birthdate: October 25, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

 44 Anne Perry

Anne Perry
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1938
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: British

 45 Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan
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Famous As: Writer, Screenwriter, Novelist, Playwright, Film producer, Author
Birthdate: June 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British

 46 Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley
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Famous As: Occultist
Birthdate: October 12, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: British
Died: December 1, 1947

Aleister Crowley was an occultist, writer, and ceremonial magician. He is credited with founding a religion called Thelema and promised his followers with guiding them into the Aeon of Horus, a time of self-realization. More than seven decades after his death, Crowley remains influential among those who revere counterculture and Western esotericism and is considered a prophet in Thelema.

 47 Hilary Mantel

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

 48 Sheila Hancock

Sheila Hancock
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Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: February 22, 1933
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: British

 49 William Golding

William Golding
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British
Died: June 19, 1993

 50 V. S. Naipaul

V. S. Naipaul
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: British
Died: August 11, 2018