Famous British Novelists

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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.
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 1 
J. K. Rowling
(Author of Children's Fantasy Series, 'Harry Potter')
J. K. Rowling
17
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 
Charles Dickens
(The Greatest Novelist of the Victorian Era)
Charles Dickens
5
Birthdate: February 7, 1812
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Landport, Hampshire, England
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.

 3 
J. R. R. Tolkien
(Author of 'The Hobbit' & 'The Lord of the Rings')
J. R. R. Tolkien
10
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.

 4 
Roald Dahl
(One of the World's Greatest Authors)
Roald Dahl
7
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.

 5 
Agatha Christie
6
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
(Novelist)
Jane Austen
11
Birthdate: December 16, 1775
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: 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
(Known for His Novels “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”)
George Orwell
5
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.

 8 
Virginia Woolf
(One of the Most Important Modernist 20th-Century Authors)
Virginia Woolf
8
Birthdate: January 25, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: 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 
C. S. Lewis
(Known for His Classic Series 'The Chronicles of Narnia')
C. S. Lewis
4
Birthdate: November 29, 1898
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Ireland
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.

 10 
Mary Shelley
(British Author Best Known for Her Gothic Novel ‘Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus’)
Mary Shelley
6
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 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
(British Writer Who Created the Character of Sherlock Holmes)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
4
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Scotland
Died: July 7, 1930
Physician-turned-author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is remembered for creating the iconic character Sherlock Holmes. He wrote four novels and 56 short stories on Holmes’s detective adventures and also created the characters Professor Challenger and Brigadier Gerard. A sports lover, he had dabbled in cricket, football, and bodybuilding, too.
 12 
Rudyard Kipling
(Journalist, Poet & Novelist)
Rudyard Kipling
6
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.

 13 
Ian Fleming
(Author of James Bond Series)
Ian Fleming
5
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.

 14 
H. G. Wells
(Writer)
H. G. Wells
4
Birthdate: September 21, 1866
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bromley, Kent, England
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.

 15 
Lewis Carroll
(English Author Best Known for His Works: ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’ & Its Sequel ‘Through the Looking-Glass’)
Lewis Carroll
4
Birthdate: January 27, 1832
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Cheshire, England, United Kingdom
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.
 16 
Aldous Huxley
(Writer and Philosopher Best Known for His Novels: ‘Brave New World’, ‘Island’ and ‘Point Counter Point’)
Aldous Huxley
4
Birthdate: July 26, 1894
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Godalming, England
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.

 17 
Charlotte Bronte
6
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.
 18 
David McCallum
4
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

David McCallum is a Scottish musician and actor who gained recognition for portraying Illya Kuryakin in the popular spy fiction TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He gained international recognition for playing Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard in the action police procedural TV series NCIS. David McCallum has also contributed as a writer, publishing a novel titled Once a Crooked Man.

 19 
Christopher Hitchens
(British-American Author Who is Known for Excoriating Criticisms of Public Contemporary Figures)
Christopher Hitchens
4
Birthdate: April 13, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: December 15, 2011

Christopher Hitchens was an advocate for New Atheism and a harsh critic of religion and of famous personalities such as Bill Clinton and Mother Teresa. He authored and edited many books on socio-political issues. As a journalist, he wrote for well-known publications such as New Statesman and The Weekly Standard.

 20 
Thomas Hardy
(Novelist & Poet)
Thomas Hardy
4
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.
 21 
John Le Carré
(Novelist)
John Le Carré
5
Birthdate: October 19, 1931
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Poole, Dorset, England
 22 
Joseph Conrad
(Known for Short Stories and Novels Like Lord Jim, Heart of Darkness and the Secret Agent)
Joseph Conrad
4
Birthdate: December 3, 1857
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Berdychiv, Ukraine
Died: August 3, 1924

Joseph Conrad was a Polish-British writer. Considered one of the greatest English-language novelists of all time, Conrad is credited with bringing a non-English sensibility into English-language literature. Many of his works have inspired several films, TV series, and video games. His anti-heroic characters and narrative style have influenced many authors like Salman Rushdie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and T. S. Eliot.

 23 
George Eliot
(Poet & Novelist)
George Eliot
5
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.

 24 
P G Wodehouse
5
Birthdate: October 15, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Guildford, England
Died: February 14, 1975
 25 
Emily Brontë
(Novelist)
Emily Brontë
5
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.
 26 
Lucy Hawking
(Journalist, Novelist, Writer)
Lucy Hawking
4
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.
 27 
Mary Wollstonecraft
5
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.

 28 
D. H. Lawrence
4
Birthdate: September 11, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Eastwood, England
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.

 29 
A. A. Milne
(Best Known for His Books About the Teddy Bear ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ and Children's Poetry)
A. A. Milne
4
Birthdate: January 18, 1882
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: January 31, 1956

A. A. Milne was an English author best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh. He joined the British Army as a young man and served in both World War I and World War II. In his career as a writer, he wrote several novels, non-fiction pieces, articles, poems, screenplays, and children’s stories.

 30 
Henry James
(British Author Who is Regarded as a Key Transitional Figure Between Literary Realism and Literary Modernism)
Henry James
4
Birthdate: April 15, 1843
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: New York, New York City, United States
Died: February 28, 1916

Henry James was an author, regarded as one of the greatest novelists ever to write in the English language. One of his novellas titled The Turn of the Screw has been the most analyzed ghost story in the history of English language literature. While his works have been adapted into films, he has been the subject of several other stories.

Christopher Robin Milne
4
Birthdate: August 21, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
Died: April 20, 1996
 32 
Jonathan Swift
(Satirist & Author of 'Gulliver's Travels',' A Tale of a Tub' and 'A Modest Proposal')
Jonathan Swift
5
Birthdate: November 30, 1667
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 19, 1745

Eighteenth-century essayist, poet, and pamphleteer Jonathan Swift is remembered for his iconic works such as A Tale of a Tub, A Modest Proposal, and Gulliver's Travels. One of the world’s greatest satirists, he gave rise to the deadpan Swiftian style. He had also been the Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

 33 
Terry Pratchett
(Humorist)
Terry Pratchett
4
Birthdate: April 28, 1948
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Beaconsfield, England
Died: March 12, 2015
 34 
Kazuo Ishiguro
(Nobel Prize Winner in Literature)
Kazuo Ishiguro
4
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.
 35 
Henry Graham Greene
4
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.

 36 
E. M. Forster
4
Birthdate: January 1, 1879
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
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 
Daniel Defoe
(Author of Robinson Crusoe and Moll Flanders)
Daniel Defoe
4
Birthdate: 1660 AD
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.
 38 
Mark Gatiss
4
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.
 39 
Daphne du Maurier
4
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.

 40 
Enid Blyton
(Best Selling Children's Writer of the 20th Century Known for Her Works 'Malory Towers' & 'The Famous Five')
Enid Blyton
5
Birthdate: August 11, 1897
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: East Dulwich, London, England
Died: November 28, 1968
Author Enid Blyton is best remembered for her iconic children’s book series such as Famous Five, Malory Towers, and Secret Seven, majorly focusing on mystery-based plots. Her works have made her the fourth-most-translated writer. She had supported animal and paediatric charities. Her story inspired the BBC film Enid.
 41 
Ted Hughes
(Poet and Children's Writer)
Ted Hughes
4
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.   
 42 
Raymond Chandler
(Novelist and Screenwriter)
Raymond Chandler
4
Birthdate: July 23, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: March 26, 1959
 43 
William Golding
(Novelist)
William Golding
4
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

 44 
V. S. Naipaul
(Trinidadian-Born British Writer Who Won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001)
V. S. Naipaul
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Trinidad and Tobago
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.

 45 
Lee Child
(Author)
Lee Child
4
Birthdate: October 29, 1954
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Coventry, England
 46 
Gilbert K. Chesterton
(One of the Greatest Writers of the 20th Century Best Known as the 'Prince of Paradox')
Gilbert K. Chesterton
4
Birthdate: May 29, 1874
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kensington, London, United Kingdom
Died: June 14, 1936

Gilbert K. Chesterton was an English writer, philosopher, and art critic. A prolific writer, he composed around 80 books, hundreds of poems, around 200 short stories, and 4,000 essays. Often referred to as the "prince of paradox", he had as many detractors as he had admirers. He is considered a successor to Victorian authors like Matthew Arnold and John Ruskin.

 47 
Evelyn Waugh
(Writer)
Evelyn Waugh
4
Birthdate: October 28, 1903
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: West Hampstead, London, England
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.

 48 
Robert Shaw
(Actor Known for His Role as ‘Henry VIII' in the Drama Film ‘a Man for All Seasons')
Robert Shaw
4
Birthdate: August 9, 1927
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Westhoughton, Lancashire, England
Died: August 28, 1978
 49 
Jackie Collins
(Novelist)
Jackie Collins
8
Birthdate: October 4, 1937
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England, UK
Died: September 19, 2015
 50 
Alex Garland
(Novelist, Screenwriter, Film Director)
Alex Garland
4
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.