Famous Chinese Writers

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 Chinese Writers

 1 
Liu Xiaobo
(Chinese Human Rights Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate)

Liu Xiaobo
4
Birthdate: December 28, 1955
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Changchun, China
Died: July 13, 2017

Liu Xiaobo was a Chinese activist, literary critic, and philosopher. He is best remembered for organizing campaigns that aimed at ending the one-party rule in China. He was honored with the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for his struggle for human rights in China. Liu is the first Chinese citizen to be honored with a Nobel Prize while residing in China.

 2 
J. G. Ballard
(Novelist, Writer, Autobiographer, Screenwriter, Science fiction writer)

J. G. Ballard
4
Birthdate: November 15, 1930
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shanghai
Died: April 19, 2009

J. G. Ballard was an English novelist, satirist, short story writer, and essayist. Renowned for his uniqueness, Ballard's style of fiction is referred to as Ballardian in the literary world. Many of his works have inspired movies, such as Crash and High-Rise. J. G. Ballard’s work has also inspired other popular writers like John Gray, Terry Dowling, and Lee Killough.

 3 
Zhuge Liang
(Military Strategist, Inventor)

Zhuge Liang
4
Birthdate: 0181 AD
Birthplace: Shandong, China
Died: 0234 AD

Zhuge Liang, or Kong Ming, was a Chinese strategist of the Three Kingdoms Period. Legend has it that he had supernatural powers and had invented a number of things, such as a crossbow that shot multiple arrows. His habit of living in seclusion earned him the nickname The Hidden Dragon.

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 4 
Zhang Yimou
(Film director)

Zhang Yimou
4
Birthdate: April 14, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Xi'an, Shaanxi, China

Part of the Chinese Fifth Generation of filmmakers, Zhang Yimou is best known for his Academy Award-nominated films Ju Dou, Raise the Red Lantern, and Hero. His most expensive film, The Great Wall, was, however, a box-office failure. He also directed part of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

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 5 
Li Bai
(Poet)

Li Bai
3
Birthdate: May 19, 0701
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Suiye, Tang Empire (now Chuy Region, Kyrgyzstan)
Died: November 30, 0762

Li Bai was a Chinese poet whose works helped Chinese poetry flourish in the Tang dynasty. Acclaimed as a genius, Li is credited with popularizing traditional poetic forms. His poetry has been influential from his own time to the present day. Along with Zhang Xu's calligraphy and Pei Min's swordplay, Li's poetry is counted among the Three Wonders in china.

 6 
Ruth Graham
(Philanthropist, Poet, Author)

Ruth Graham
3
Birthdate: June 10, 1920
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Qingjiang, Kiangsu, China
Died: June 14, 2007

American Christian author Ruth Graham had met evangelist Billy Graham at Wheaton College, and they got soon after. Daughter of medical missionary parents, Ruth had grown up in China. She was an avid philanthropist and had raised her five children almost singlehandedly while Billy was mostly touring as an evangelist.

 7 
Lu Xun
(Chinese Writer, Essayist, Poet & Literary Critic)

Lu Xun
3
Birthdate: September 25, 1881
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China
Died: October 19, 1936

Lu Xun was a Chinese writer, poet, essayist, and literary critic. An important and influential personality of modern Chinese literature, Lu Xun's work influenced Chinese literature and popular culture after the May Fourth Movement. Mao Zedong, a lifelong admirer of Lu's work, declared him the saint of modern China shortly after his death. His works have been translated into English.

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 8 
Liu Cixin
(Science fiction writer)

Liu Cixin
4
Birthdate: June 23, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Yangquan, China

Liu Cixin is a Chinese science fiction writer who has won the prestigious Galaxy Award on nine occasions so far. He is best known for his novel The Three-Body Problem, which earned him the Hugo Award in 2015. In 2017, Liu Cixin won the Locus Award for his work Death's End. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 9 
Yue Fei
(Military General Whose Expertise in Martial Arts Made Him a National Folk Hero in China)

Yue Fei
3
Birthdate: March 24, 1103
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Anyang, China
Died: January 28, 1142

Yue Fei was a Chinese military general best remembered for leading the Southern Song forces during the Jin–Song Wars in the 12th century. Fei is depicted in Jin Guliang's famous book Wu Shuang Pu and is widely regarded as a national folk hero in China.

 10 
Yang Jiang
(Playwright)

Yang Jiang
4
Birthdate: July 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Beijing, China
Died: May 25, 2016

Yang Jiang was a Chinese author, translator, and playwright. Yang Jiang is credited with writing several successful comedies. A prolific translator, Yang was the first Chinese to come up with a proper Chinese version of Don Quixote. Her translation is considered the definitive translation of the popular novel in China.

 11 
Sima Qian
(Historian)

Sima Qian
3
Birthdate: 0145 BC
Birthplace: Hejin, Yuncheng, China
Died: 0086 AD

The first noted Chinese historian, Sima Qian is best remembered for authoring the history of China titled Shiji. The son of Sima Tan, a court historian of the Han dynasty, Qian traveled widely and was also responsible for modifying the Chinese calendar. He was later castrated for defaming Emperor Wu.

 12 
Mo Yan
(Novelist & Short Story Writer)

Mo Yan
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gaomi, Shandong, China

Nobel Prize-winning Chinese author Mo Yan is best known for his novel Red Sorghum Family, which was later made into a film. His novel Big Breasts and Wide Hips was dragged into controversy for its sexual content, and the Communist Party made Yan withdraw the book from publication.

 13 
Liu Xiang
(hurdler, athletics competitor)

Liu Xiang
3
Birthdate: July 13, 1983
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Shanghai

Hurdler Liu Xiang created history by becoming the first Chinese Olympic gold medalist in any men’s track-and-field event. While he excelled in high jump in his younger days, he deviated to hurdles by 15. He has also earned gold medals at the world championships and the Asian Games.

 14 
Du Fu
(Poet)

Du Fu
3
Birthdate: February 12, 0712
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gongyi, Henan, China
Died: November 30, 0769

Du Fu was a Chinese politician and poet. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Chinese poets of all time, Du Fu's works have influenced both Japanese and Chinese literary culture. While it is said that almost all Chinese poets have been influenced by him, the Japanese literature from the Muromachi period was greatly impacted by Du Fu's poetry.

 15 
Faxian
(Chinese Buddhist monk)

Faxian
3
Birthdate: 0337 AD
Birthplace: Linfen, China
Died: 0422 AD

 16 
Su Shi
(Poet, Writer, Painter)

Su Shi
3
Birthdate: January 8, 1037
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Meishan
Died: August 24, 1101

Su Shi was a Chinese writer, calligrapher, poet, painter, gastronome, pharmacologist, and politician who lived during the Song dynasty. He played a major role in the political affairs of the Song dynasty. He is credited with producing some of the best-known poems, prose, and essays and is considered one of the most decorated personalities in classical Chinese literature.

 17 

Mary Hayley Bell
3
Birthdate: January 22, 1911
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: December 1, 2005

 18 
Jin Yong
(Novelist and journalist, he co-founded and edited Ming Pao, a Hong Kong daily newspaper.)

Jin Yong
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1924
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Haining, Jiaxing, China
Died: October 30, 2018

Jin Yong was a Chinese wuxia novelist and essayist. He is credited with co-founding the popular Hong Kong publication Ming Pao, for which he served as the first editor-in-chief. Jin Yong is regarded as one of the most popular and greatest wuxia writers of all time. His works have been translated into several languages including Spanish, French, English, and Japanese.

 19 
Adrienne Clarkson
(26th Governor General of Canada)

Adrienne Clarkson
3
Birthdate: February 10, 1939
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Central, Hong Kong

 20 
Qu Yuan
(Poet and politician in the State of Chu during the Warring States perio)

Qu Yuan
3
Birthdate: 0340 BC
Birthplace: Hubei, China
Died: 0278 BC

 21 
Milarepa
(Poet)

Milarepa
3
Birthdate: 1052 AD
Birthplace: Tibet
Died: 1135 AD

Legendary Tibetan Buddhist master Milarepa perhaps earned his name, meaning “cotton-clad,” from the thin white cotton clothing he wore. The Mad Yogin of Tsang described him as someone who destroyed his uncle for betraying him and his family, and then attained a spiritual awakening as a disciple of Marpa.

 22 
Mervyn Peake
(Writer)

Mervyn Peake
3
Birthdate: July 9, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kuling, China
Died: November 17, 1968

 23 
Zhang Ailing
(Writer)

Zhang Ailing
3
Birthdate: September 30, 1920
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Shanghai, China
Died: September 8, 1995

 24 
Shiing-Shen Chern
(Mathematician, University teacher)

Shiing-Shen Chern
3
Birthdate: October 26, 1911
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Jiaxing
Died: December 3, 2004

Emperor Xuanzong of Tang
3
Birthdate: September 8, 0685
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Luoyang, China
Died: May 3, 0762

Chinese Tang dynasty emperor Xuanzong took over the reins of his kingdom after his father, Ruizong, abdicated. However, his sister made sure Ruizong stayed as a regent. Xuanzong developed the canal system and finances of his empire initially but later relied too much on his court officials, leading to a rebellion.

 26 
Lin Yutang
(One of the Most Well-Known Twentieth-Century Chinese Writers)

Lin Yutang
3
Birthdate: October 10, 1895
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Banzai, Fujian, Zhangzhou, China
Died: March 26, 1976

Son of a Christian minister, Lin Yutang was initially supposed to join the ministry but later rejected Christianity to become a professor. His works include several Chinese and English books, such as Moment in Peking. He also introduced the concept of satire magazines in China with Lunyu banyuekan.

Shang Yang
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD

Fourth-century BC Chinese Legalist philosopher Shang Yang was largely responsible for the unification of the Chinese empire under the Qin dynasty. His policies as a statesman included compulsory military service and centralization of governors. He also encouraged people to spy on each other. He was brutally executed by Duke Xiao’s successor.

 28 
Zhang Heng
(cartographer, mathematician, astronomer, anthropologist, mechanical engineer, philosopher)

Zhang Heng
3
Birthdate: 0078 AD
Birthplace: Nanyang
Died: 0139 AD

 29 
Qian Zhongshu
(Scholar)

Qian Zhongshu
3
Birthdate: November 21, 1910
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Wuxi, China
Died: December 19, 1998

 30 

Sogyal Rinpoche
3
Birthdate: 1947 AD
Birthplace: Kham

 31 
Gao Xingjian
(Novelist, Playwright, Painter)

Gao Xingjian
3
Birthdate: January 4, 1940
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Ganzhou, China

 32 

Zhu Xi
3
Birthdate: 0000 AD
Birthplace: Youxi County

Song dynasty Chinese philosopher and historian Zhu Xi propagated a revival of Confucianism against the popular trends of Buddhism and Taoism. He had cleared the civil services at 18 and had started his career as a registrar. He is remembered for editing the civil service texts The Four Books.

 33 
Han Suyin
(Best Known for Her Novel 'A Many-Splendoured Thing' and 'The Crippled Tree')

Han Suyin
3
Birthdate: September 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Xinyang, China
Died: November 2, 2012

Born to a Chinese father and a Belgian mother in China, Han Suyin initially studied medicine and also worked as a midwife. During her medical practice in Hong Kong, she was in a relationship with a married Australian war reporter, which was the basis of her iconic novel A Many-Splendoured Thing.

 34 
Shen Kuo
(physicist, cartographer, mathematician, astronomer, poet)

Shen Kuo
3
Birthdate: 1031 AD
Birthplace: Hangzhou, China
Died: 1095 AD

Shen Kuo was an eleventh century Chinese statesman and polymath, best remembered for authoring Mengxi bitan. Initially employed with central government, he had a successful career before he was banished on false charges, a move that allowed him to produce several scholarly books on mathematics, music, astronomy, calendars, cartography, geology, optics and medicine, out of which many were later purged.

 35 
Wu Cheng'en
(Novelist)

Wu Cheng'en
3
Birthdate: 1500 AD
Birthplace: Huai’an, China
Died: 1582 AD

 36 
Xu Zhimo
(Poet)

Xu Zhimo
3
Birthdate: January 15, 1897
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Haining, Zhejiang, China
Died: November 19, 1931

 37 

Luo Guanzhong
3
Birthdate: 1330 AD
Birthplace: Taiyuan
Died: 1400 AD

 38 
Su Song
(Former scientist known for Illustrated Pharmacopoeia (1070) revealed his knowledge of drugs, zoology, metallurgy, and related technology)

Su Song
3
Birthdate: 1020 AD
Birthplace: China
Died: 1101 AD

 39 
Ha Jin
(Writer)

Ha Jin
2
Birthdate: February 21, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: China

 40 
Bai Juyi
(Poet)

Bai Juyi
2
Birthdate: March 3, 0772
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Taiyuan
Died: September 8, 0846

 41 
Cao Xueqin
(Writer)

Cao Xueqin
2
Birthdate: 1724 AD
Birthplace: Nanjing, China
Died: 1763 AD

 42 
Lao She
(Novelist, Dramatist)

Lao She
2
Birthdate: February 3, 1899
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Beijing
Died: August 24, 1966

 43 
Gui Minhai
(Author of many books related to Chinese politics and Chinese political figures)

Gui Minhai
0
Birthdate: May 5, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ningbo, China

 44 
Cao Zhi
(Poet)

Cao Zhi
2
Birthdate: 0192 AD
Birthplace: Shen County, Liaocheng, China
Died: December 27, 0232

 45 

Zhang Chunqiao
2
Birthdate: February 1, 1917
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: China
Died: April 21, 2005

Zhang Chunqiao was a Chinese political theorist, politician, and writer. He achieved national recognition during the Cultural Revolution as part of an infamous Maoist group called the Gang of Four. He also played an important role as a journalist in charge of a popular newspaper called Liberation Daily.

 46 
Wang Wei
(Poet)

Wang Wei
2
Birthdate: 0699 AD
Birthplace: Qixian, Jinzhong, China
Died: 0759 AD

Wang Wei was a Chinese poet, painter, musician, and politician who lived during the Tang dynasty. Widely regarded as one of the most popular poets of his generation, Wang Wei had a profound influence in the West. Many of his works are well-preserved and 29 of his poems were included in an influential anthology titled Three Hundred Tang Poems.

 47 

Tao Yuanming
2
Birthdate: 0365 AD
Birthplace: Chaisang , China
Died: November 21, 0427

 48 

Li Qingzhao
2
Birthdate: March 13, 1084
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Jinan, China
Died: 1155 AD

 49 
Yu Hua
(Writer, Screenwriter)

Yu Hua
2
Birthdate: April 3, 1960
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Hangzhou

 50 
Wang Xizhi
(Calligrapher)

Wang Xizhi
2
Birthdate: 0303 AD
Birthplace: Langya Commandery
Died: 0361 AD

Wang Xizhi was a Chinese writer, calligrapher, and politician. Best remembered for his extraordinary skills as a calligrapher, Wang is regarded as the greatest calligrapher in the history of China. His works were greatly admired by Emperor Taizong of Tang, who helped popularize his poems. Apart from being a popular personality in China, Wang also remains influential in Japanese calligraphy.