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. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling.
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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 J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 3, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Bloemfontein, South Africa
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.

 3 Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 13, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Llandaff, Cardiff, Wales
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
Birthplace: Landport
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 Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie.
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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.

 6 Jane Austen

Jane Austen.
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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. 

 7 George Orwell

George Orwell.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 25, 1903
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Motihari, Bihar, India
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.

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 8 Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf.
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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.

 9 Salman Rushdie

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

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.

 10 Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley.
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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.

 11 Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling.
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Famous As: Journalist, Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: December 30, 1865
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Mumbai, India
Died: January 18, 1936

English journalist, short-story writer, poet, and novelist Rudyard Kipling is best remembered for his fiction work The Jungle Book. He was born in India and many of his works are inspired by his life in the country. He was one of the most popular English writers in the late 19th and early 20th century.

 12 Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming.
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Famous As: Author of James Bond Series
Birthdate: May 28, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mayfair, London
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.

 13 Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: July 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Godalming
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.

 14 Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll.
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Famous As: Novelist, Mathematician & Photographer
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Daresbury, Cheshire, England
Died: January 14, 1898
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pseudonym, Lewis Carroll, is remembered for his iconic children’s fiction such as Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. He explored the genre of literary nonsense with his poems such as Jabberwocky. He was also a photographer, a mathematician, and an inventor.

 15 John Le Carré

John Le Carré
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England

 16 Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte.
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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.

 17 David Thewlis

David Thewlis.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 20, 1963
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Blackpool, Lancashire, England, United Kingdom
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. 

 18 Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman.
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: November 10, 1960
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Portchester, Hampshire, England
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

 19 Thomas Hardy

Thomas Hardy.
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Famous As: Novelist & Poet
Birthdate: June 2, 1840
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Stinsford, Dorset, England
Died: January 11, 1928
Victorian novelist and poet Thomas Hardy exhibited strong influences of Romanticism in his works. He wrote classic novels such as Far from the Madding Crowd, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. He mostly showed his characters struggling against social conditions and ending up in tragic situations.

 20 Lucy Hawking

Lucy Hawking.
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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.

 21 John Barrowman

John Barrowman
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 11, 1967
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

John Barrowman is a Scottish-born author, comic book writer, presenter, singer, and actor. Barrowman is also known for his charity work and activism. Over the years, he has been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and has worked with organizations like Stonewall. He also has his own skincare line named HIM.

 22 George Eliot

George Eliot.
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Famous As: Poet & Novelist
Birthdate: November 22, 1819
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: 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.

 23 Mary Wollstonecraft

Mary Wollstonecraft.
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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.

 24 Emily Brontë

Emily Brontë.
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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.

 25 D. H. Lawrence

D. H. Lawrence.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eastwood
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.

 26 Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett
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Famous As: Humorist
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, England
Died: March 12, 2015

 27 Christopher Robin Milne

Christopher Robin Milne
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: August 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 20, 1996

 28 Henry Graham Greene

Henry Graham Greene.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: October 2, 1904
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berkhamsted, England
Died: April 3, 1991

English author Henry Graham Greene, better known as Graham Greene, is remembered for his pathbreaking Catholic novels and thrillers. He was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature. His works include The Third Man and The Human Factor, and his Academy Award-nominated script of the film The Fallen Idol.

 29 Mark Gatiss

Mark Gatiss.
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: October 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sedgefield, County Durham, England
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 Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier.
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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.

 31 Kazuo Ishiguro

Kazuo Ishiguro.
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Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: November 8, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Nagasaki, Japan
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.

 32 Daniel Defoe

Daniel Defoe.
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Famous As: Novelist, Journalist & Merchant
Birthdate: September 13, 1660
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England
Died: April 24, 1731
Daniel Defoe was an English trader, pamphleteer, and spy, who is best remembered for his 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe. He also helped in popularizing the novel format of writing in Britain. He was a forerunner of business journalism, too, and also traded in hosiery, woollen goods, and wine.

 33 Sir James Matthew Barrie

Sir James Matthew Barrie.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: May 9, 1860
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland
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.

 34 Evelyn Waugh

Evelyn Waugh.
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 10, 1966

Arthur Evelyn St. John Waugh was an English author, known for his novels, biographies, and travelogues. Hailed as the most brilliant satirical novelist of his day, he wrote mostly satires before WWII. But during the war, his writings took a serious turn; he published Brideshead Revisited in 1945, a book that continues to appear on the best books list till now.

 35 Jane Fallon

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

 36 E. M. Forster

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

Best known for his iconic novels Howard’s End and A Passage to India, British author E. M. Forster dealt with themes such as class division and gender. Born in England and educated at Cambridge, he had also spent some time as a secretary to Maharaja Tukojirao III of India.

 37 Ken Follett

Ken Follett
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: June 5, 1949
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cardiff, Wales

 38 Alex Garland

Alex Garland.
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Famous As: Novelist, Screenwriter, Film Director
Birthdate: May 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London

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.

 39 Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith
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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.

 40 William Golding

William Golding.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 19, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newquay
Died: June 19, 1993

William Golding was a British playwright, novelist, and poet whose novel Rites of Passage earned him the Booker Prize in 1980. In 1983, Golding was honored with the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1988, William Golding was knighted for his contributions to literature. In 2008, he was mentioned in The Times' list of 50 greatest British writers since 1945

 41 Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley.
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Famous As: Occultist
Birthdate: October 12, 1875
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Royal Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, England, United Kingdom
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.

 42 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
Birthplace: London

Jeffrey Archer is an English author and former politician whose books have sold over 320 million copies around the world. Archer has been a controversial figure; he was convicted of perjury in 2001 after which he was sent to Belmarsh Prison from where he was later transferred to Wayland Prison. His conviction ended his political career.

 43 V. S. Naipaul

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

Born to Indian descendants in Trinidad, V. S. Naipaul grew up to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. The author of iconic novels such as Half a Life and A House for Mr. Biswas, Naipaul was also knighted. His realistic depiction of developing countries and their miseries won hearts worldwide.

 44 Ted Hughes

Ted Hughes.
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Famous As: Poet and Children's Writer
Birthdate: August 17, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mytholmroyd
Died: October 28, 1998
Poet and children’s author Ted Hughes is best remembered for his iconic poems The Hawk in the Rain, Birthday Letters, and Crow. He was married to poet Sylvia Plath, who eventually committed suicide at 30. Most people blamed him for mistreating Plath and indirectly causing her death.   

 45 Lee Child

Lee Child
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coventry, England

 46 Lawrence Durrell

Lawrence Durrell.
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 27, 1912
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jalandhar
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.

 47 Jackie Collins

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

 48 E. L. James

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

 49 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
Birthplace: Norwich

 50 Ruth Jones

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