Top 10 Famous English Writers Throughout History

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  • February 8, 2024
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  • 7 min read


English literature has a long and rich history, with many famous English writers who have made invaluable contributions. Their works have shaped literature and left a lasting mark on culture, politics, and society.

In this blog post, the Ghostwriting founders will help you explore 10 of the most famous and influential English writers ever.

1. Jane Austen

Jane Austen was an English novelist who lived and wrote some distinguishing fiction books during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. With her realism/ biting social commentary and use of free indirect speech, she is one of the most important authors in English literature.
The most well-known works by Austen include novels such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma or Sense and Sensibility. Her novels concentrate on the lives of middle and upper-class women living in Regency Britain, reflecting upon marriage, gender relations, morality and class. Austen brought the “comedy of manners” genre to prominence when it jests about society and culture in post-feudal England among people with landed power.

2. Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was a prolific and well-known English novelist of the Victorian era. Oliver Twist, A Tale of Two Cities, and Great Expectations are his most famous books.

He also did some of his life story writing and wrote a novel, David Copperfield, a classic English literature book in which he talked about his life journey.

Dickens depicted the labor force, drawing attention to many social wrongs in Victorian England. His novels reflected some of the poverty among poor people, child labor and harsh living conditions that these sections suffered during Industrialization.

But Dickens wrote with kindness, allowing us to see a flicker of hope and deliverance in the bleakness. His characters went through many hardships, but underneath them had innate good, free and enduring.

3. Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf was a major English modernist writer and literary innovator of the 20th century. As a member of the powerful Bloomsbury group, Woolf established new grounds in narrative fiction by using an experimental and psychological angle on character.

Woolf pioneered the narrative technique known as stream of consciousness. This method attempts to capture the natural flow of human consciousness through writing that lacks a traditional plot or structured sequence. Her most famous works that employ this innovative style include the novels Mrs Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927).

Woolf was a pioneering writer who transformed 20th-century literature through her poetic, psychologically penetrating fiction.

4. George Orwell:

George Orwell, real name Eric Arthur Blair, is best known for his novels Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four (one of the most famous among book club books), both published in the 1940s. Though he wrote numerous other works, these two satirical books cemented his legacy as one of the most influential English writers of the 20th century.

Orwell introduced thought-provoking concepts like Big Brother, thoughtcrime, Newspeak, and Room 101 in Nineteen Eighty-Four. This dystopian novel envisioned a totalitarian future society ruled by absolute government control and surveillance.

The book highlighted the risks of dictatorship and ultimate state authority over citizens. Orwell drew from his experiences with totalitarianism to craft a vivid warning in fiction of where society could head.

Overall, George Orwell was an English writer who left a lasting impression through his unique ability to blend sociopolitical themes with creative fiction. His novels remain widely read and discussed for their examinations of government power and defense of independent thought.

5. William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare is considered the greatest English language playwright and poet. He wrote 38 plays and 154 sonnets during the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages.

Some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays include tragedies like Hamlet, Macbeth, and Romeo and Juliet. He also wrote comedic plays such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Taming of the Shrew.

Shakespeare contributed significantly to the English language, inventing over 1,700 common words and phrases still used today. Examples include “all’s well that ends well,” “the world is your oyster,” and “a foregone conclusion.” His works are rich in metaphorical language and contain deep insights into human nature.

Shakespeare’s universal themes, memorable characters, poetic dialogue, and skillful dramaturgy have made his works profoundly influential without any branding and publicity services.

6. Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer is considered one of the most important writers in English literature. He lived in the 14th century and is best known for his work The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories told by pilgrims on their way to Canterbury Cathedral.

Chaucer wrote in Middle English, the vernacular language of the time, rather than Latin, which was more common for literary works. This helped make his writing more accessible and influential.

Chaucer’s earlier work, Troilus and Criseyde, is considered one of the great love poems in English. His wide-ranging literary accomplishments established Chaucer as a towering figure in English literature whose influence continued centuries after his death.

7. John Milton

John Milton was one of the most influential English poets and a major literary figure during the 17th century. He is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, considered one of the greatest works in English literature.

Milton significantly influenced subsequent writers, and his works have permeated English literature and culture for centuries. He expanded the possibilities of English poetry with his blank verse and grand style. John Milton is one of the most accomplished and respected English poets ever.

8. William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth was a major Romantic-era poet who helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature. Born in England in 1770, Wordsworth was one of the leading figures of the Romantic movement, along with Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom he published the famous Lyrical Ballads in 1798.

In his poems, Wordsworth focused heavily on nature, spirituality, and rustic life. He believed poetry should be written in the natural language of common people.

Wordsworth helped revolutionize English poetry by writing about common rural people and landscapes, moving away from the elegant style and grand subjects of earlier 18th-century verse. He is an amazing writer whose work you can go through in case you want to make some bucks converting some books into professional audiobook creations.

9. Emily Brontë:

Emily Brontë, the enigmatic author of the timeless classic “Wuthering Heights,” stands as one of the most mysterious figures in English literature. Born in Yorkshire, England, in 1818, Emily was part of the renowned Brontë literary family, which included her sisters Charlotte and Anne.

Despite her relatively short life, Emily Brontë’s impact on literature is enduring. “Wuthering Heights,” her only novel, has carved a permanent place in the canon of English literature.

10. Charlotte Brontë :

In the literary landscape of the 19th century, Charlotte Brontë shines as a luminary, acclaimed for her magnum opus, “Jane Eyre.” Charlotte Brontë’s exploration of morality, social class, and feminism in her novels permeates the narrative, giving voice to characters who defy the norms of her time.


The famous English writers on this list have immensely impacted English literature over the past few centuries. From Jane Austen’s witty novels of manners to William Shakespeare’s world-renowned plays and poetry, these literary giants have defined and shaped the course of English literature and Western culture.

While this list provides just a small sampling of some of the most famous English writers in history, it highlights their diversity of styles, perspectives, and contributions across various eras.

The works of these famous English writers continue to be admired, analyzed, and adapted centuries after they were first published.

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