Novelists

A novel is a fictional prose often written as a narrative that portrays characters and events in the form of a long story, usually set in a sequence of events and the people who write them are called novelists. Novels are considerably lengthy and complex in terms of themes, character descriptions, and story settings. They, as a genre of literary fiction, are the longest of narrative prose. This tendency of being lengthy has led to the considerable debate regarding what should constitute the minimum word limit for a piece of prose to be considered a novel. It is generally accepted that any piece of prose fiction longer than 40,000 words be categorized as a novel. Writing a novel takes immense efforts; it is no easy task to develop a plot, create fictional characters, and build a story revolving around them that is interesting enough to make the readers read the entire book and make them want to read more. It is a trend that many a times novelists start out as journalists or short story writers before they attempt writing a novel. If you want to acquaint yourself with some of the most famous people from this profession just go through the biographies presented below. They contain the life stories, professional and personal information, timelines and trivia about some famous novelists.

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.

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 3 Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway
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Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: July 21, 1899
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: July 2, 1961

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist and short-story writer who had a strong impact on 20th-century fiction. He published seven novels and six short-story collections and won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1954. A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea are some of his classic works. He ended his own life in July 1961.

 4 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.

 5 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.

 6 George R. R. Martin

George R. R. Martin
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist
Birthdate: September 20, 1948
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
George R. R. Martin wrote the epic fantasy series of novels, A Song of Ice and Fire, which inspired the iconic Emmy-winning HBO series Game of Thrones. Also known as the "American Tolkien," he was featured on TIME 100. He has earned the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, too.
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 7 Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore
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Famous As: Poet
Birthdate: May 7, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: Indian
Died: August 7, 1941

Rabindranath Tagore was an Indian polymath who contributed greatly to the fields of literature, art, and philosophy. Referred to as the Bard of Bengal, Tagore is credited with reshaping Bengali literature and music. The first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore is also credited with composing the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

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 8 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.

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 9 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.

 10 Mark Twain

Mark Twain Image
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 30, 1835
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: April 21, 1910

Mark Twain, “the father of American literature,” was one of the world’s greatest 19-th century humorists and authors. His novels The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were drawn from his childhood experiences in Missouri. In his later life, he sunk into bankruptcy and also recovered.

 11 F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: September 24, 1896
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: December 21, 1940

Novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald is widely regarded as one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century. However, he wasn’t much popular during his lifetime. His works gained international acclaim only in the years following his untimely death at 44. Many of his works have been adapted into films.

 12 Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter S. Thompson
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Famous As: Journalist and Author
Birthdate: July 18, 1937
Sun Sign: Cancer
Nationality: American
Died: February 20, 2005

Hunter S. Thompson was an American author and journalist. He is credited with creating his own subgenre of New Journalism called the gonzo journalism. The author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which was later adapted into a film, Thompson was famous for his lifelong use of drugs and alcohol. His books have had a major impact on counterculture.

 13 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.

 14 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.

 15 David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 21, 1962
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: September 12, 2008

David Foster Wallace was an American author who is regarded as one of the most innovative and influential writers of the past 20 years. His best-known work, Infinite Jest, was named one of the best English-language novels between 1923 and 2005 by Time magazine. Wallace continues to serve as an inspiration to writers like Darin Strauss and George Saunders.

 16 Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy
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Birthdate: September 9, 1828
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: Russian
Died: November 20, 1910

Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy, is widely considered as one of the greatest authors ever. After experiencing a profound moral crisis in the 1870s, Tolstoy went through a phase of spiritual awakening, which had a great impact on his subsequent works that incorporated ideas on nonviolent resistance. These works influenced personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, thereby effectively changing the course of history.

 17 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.

 18 James Baldwin

James Baldwin
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: August 2, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: December 1, 1987

Amongst the greatest writers of the 20th century and a leading literary voice in the civil rights movement, James Baldwin extensively explored issues like race, sexuality and humanity in his work. His best known work include his debut novel Go Tell It on the Mountain and his books of essays Notes of a Native Son and Nobody Knows My Name.

 19 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

 20 Voltaire

Voltaire
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 21, 1694
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: French
Died: May 30, 1778
18th-century historian, author, philosopher, and advocate of freedom of speech Voltaire was a leading figure of the French Age of Enlightenment. He often ran into trouble for his criticism of the French nobility and the Roman Catholic Church. He once went to Britain on voluntary exile, fearing imprisonment in France.

 21 Truman Capote

Truman Capote
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 30, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Nationality: American
Died: August 25, 1984
Truman Capote is best known for his novella Breakfast at Tiffany's, which was made into a movie that starred Audrey Hepburn, and the non-fiction novel In Cold Blood. His short story Shut a Final Door won the O. Henry Award. He was a lifelong friend of author Harper Lee.

 22 David McCallum

David McCallum
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Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 19, 1933
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: British, American, Scottish

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.

 23 Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood
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Famous As: Writer, Environmental Activist
Birthdate: November 18, 1939
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Canadian

Margaret Atwood is a Canadian poet and novelist. Her works encompass themes, such as religion and myth, climate change, and gender and identity. An award-winning writer, many of Atwood's works have been made into films and television series; her work, The Handmaid's Tale, has had several adaptations. Perhaps, Margaret Atwood's most important contribution is her invention of the LongPen device.

 24 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.

 25 Philip K. Dick

Philip K. Dick
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 16, 1928
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: March 2, 1982

Philip K. Dick was an American writer who was known for his work that explores varied social and philosophical themes. Dick's novels have inspired films like Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report, and The Adjustment Bureau. In 2005, his novel Ubik was included in Time magazine's list of 100 greatest novels published in English since 1923.

 26 Toni Morrison

Toni Morrison
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: February 18, 1931
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Died: August 5, 2019
Author, editor, and Princeton professor Toni Morrison is best remembered for her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Beloved, part of a trilogy. Some of her other notable works include The Bluest Eye and Song of Solomon. She received the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. She also wrote several children’s books and plays.

 27 Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut
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Famous As: American writer
Birthdate: November 11, 1922
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: American
Died: April 11, 2007

Science-fiction author Kurt Vonnegut is best remembered for the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, which became a New York Times bestseller. The Hugo Award-winner had also fought against the Germans in World War II and expressed his anti-war and atheist views through his works, which also include short stories, plays, and autobiographical works.  

 28 Harper Lee

Harper Lee
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 28, 1926
Sun Sign: Taurus
Nationality: American
Died: February 19, 2016

Harper Lee was an American novelist who wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Despite publishing only two books, Lee was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution to literature, such was her impact in the world of literature. A friend of Truman Capote, Lee has been portrayed by popular actresses in Capote's biographical films.

 29 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
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Famous As: Writer & Physician
Birthdate: May 22, 1859
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: British, Scottish
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.

 30 Tom Clancy

Tom Clancy
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: April 12, 1947
Sun Sign: Aries
Nationality: American
Died: October 1, 2013
Tom Clancy is best remembered for his espionage- and war-themed novels, many of which, such as The Hunt for Red October, The Sum of All Fears, and Clear and Present Danger, have been made into hit films. He was also a co-owner of the MLB team Baltimore Orioles

 31 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.

 32 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.

 33 John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck
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Famous As: Author
Birthdate: February 27, 1902
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: American
Died: December 20, 1968

Famous for his novels The Grapes of Wrath and Tortilla Flat, John Ernst Steinbeck was noted for his sympathy for the plight of workers in his books. The Nobel laureate, who said he did not deserve the prize, authored 33 books, some of which were best sellers during his time. His books were also adapted into films.

 34 Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas
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Birthdate: July 24, 1802
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: French
Died: December 5, 1870

One of the most widely read French authors of all time, Alexandre Dumas was prolific in several genres. He joined the army as a young man and later became a full-time writer. Starting his writing career as a playwright, he moved on to writing novels. His novels have been adapted into nearly 200 films in the past century.

 35 J. D. Salinger

J. D. Salinger
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: January 1, 1919
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Died: January 27, 2010
J. D. Salinger is best remembered for his controversial novel The Catcher in the Rye, which was banned in many school libraries due to its sexual content. His other notable works include the anthology Nine Stories and the novella Hapworth. He spent much of his life in seclusion. 

 36 Shashi Tharoor

Shashi Tharoor
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Famous As: Writer, Politician, Diplomat
Birthdate: March 9, 1956
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Indian

 37 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.

 38 Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami
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Birthdate: January 12, 1949
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: Japanese
Japanese writer Haruki Murakami has authored bestselling works such as Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore, which explore the genres of surrealism and magic realism. He has also translated works by J. D. Salinger and Raymond Carver. He has been named to Time 100 and has won numerous awards.

 39 John Green

John Green
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Famous As: Author, Vlogger
Birthdate: August 24, 1977
Sun Sign: Virgo
Nationality: American
John Green soared to fame with his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars, which was turned into a movie. His other notable works include the novels Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. Also a prominent YouTuber, he manages the channel Vlogbrothers and has co-founded the educational channel Crash Course.

 40 Louisa May Alcott

Louisa May Alcott
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: November 29, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: March 6, 1888
Novelist and short story writer Louisa May Alcott is best remembered as the author of the 1868 novel Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys. She initially wrote using the pseudonym “A. M. Barnard.” She never married and remained a life-long feminist and abolitionist.

 41 Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: July 24, 1900
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: American
Died: March 10, 1948

Zelda Fitzgerald was a painter, socialite, and novelist. Along with her husband Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda became a prominent personality of the Jazz Age. Renowned for her high spirits and beauty, she was named the first American flapper by Scott. For her work as a novelist and painter, Fitzgerald was posthumously made an inductee to the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame.

 42 James Joyce

James Joyce
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 2, 1882
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: Irish
Died: January 13, 1941

James Joyce was an Irish novelist, poet, teacher, short story writer, and literary critic. Widely considered one of the 20th century's most important and influential writers, James Joyce contributed immensely to the modernist avant-garde movement. Joyce's work has influenced several scholars and writers, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Salman Rushdie, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Flann O'Brien, John Updike, and Cormac McCarthy.

 43 Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
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Famous As: Nobel Prize Winner in Literature
Birthdate: March 6, 1927
Sun Sign: Pisces
Nationality: Colombian
Died: April 17, 2014

Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also known as “Gabo,” is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the magic realism literary style. His novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera have achieved cult status. He previously worked as a journalist.

 44 John Grisham

John Grisham
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Famous As: American writer
Birthdate: February 8, 1955
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Nationality: American
Criminal lawyer-turned-author John Grisham is known for his bestselling legal thrillers The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Rainmaker, and A Time to Kill. Nine of his novels have been made into films. He is one of three authors to have sold 2 million copies in his first printing.

 45 Dalton Trumbo

Dalton Trumbo
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Famous As: Screenwriter, Novelist
Birthdate: December 9, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Nationality: American
Died: September 10, 1976
Screenwriter/author Dalton Trumbo had written many popular films such as Roman Holiday and Spartacus. He was one of the Hollywood Ten and was blacklisted by the industry for refusing to testify before the HUAC during the investigation on Communist influences in Hollywood. He later continued to write, using pseudonyms.

 46 P. L. Travers

P. L. Travers
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Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: August 9, 1899
Sun Sign: Leo
Nationality: Australian, British
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.

 47 John Le Carré

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

 48 Marquis de Sade

Marquis de Sade
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Famous As: Erotic Novelist
Birthdate: June 2, 1740
Sun Sign: Gemini
Nationality: French
Died: December 2, 1814
Marquis de Sade is remembered for his erotic books such as The 120 Days of Sodom. He was known for his peculiar way of deriving sexual pleasure by torturing his victims, now known as “sadism.” He was jailed for several years for sexual abuse against men, women, and children. 

 49 Nicholas Sparks

Nicholas Sparks
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Famous As: Novelist
Birthdate: December 31, 1965
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Nationality: American
Novelist Nicholas Sparks is known for his bestselling books which have been translated into over 50 languages. Eleven of his books, such as Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, and The Notebook, have been adapted into films. He also owns the educational non-profit The Nicholas Sparks Foundation.

 50 Robert Louis Stevenson

Robert Louis Stevenson
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Famous As: Novelist, Poet
Birthdate: November 13, 1850
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Nationality: Scottish
Died: December 3, 1894

Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish travel writer, poet, and novelist. A popular writer in his lifetime, Stevenson went about traveling widely and writing prolifically even as he suffered from bronchial trouble; his will power and love for writing won the hearts of many other writers. In 2018, he was ranked as the world's 26th-most-translated author.

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