A woman reading “Misery” by Stephen King

A woman reading "Misery" by Stephen King (Photo by Eyesonmilan on Shutterstock)

The world of literature has expanded significantly during the past two centuries. Many of the male writers from the 18th and 19th centuries influenced modern authors. Regardless of whether you like short stories, works of nonfiction, or critical essays, there are some exceptional male authors to consider. With help from 10 expert sites, our team compiled a list of the best male writers of all time.

Sure, we can find any title by a classic author on our Kindle, but doesn’t that take away from the satisfaction of holding a paper book? It is, after all, how these writing icons started their famous pieces. Digital books on tablets, smartphones, and devices like Amazon’s Kindle are certainly convenient, but according to a new survey, most people still prefer a good old-fashioned paper book. There’s just something satisfying about turning the page and holding a physical book in one’s hands, as over two-thirds of adults say they always opt for a real book over digital reading

Paper or digital, there are some major benefits to reading fiction. A recent study found that picking something from the fiction section may also help improve your verbal skills while entertaining you at the same time. Researchers from Concordia University in Canada say reading for fun, especially when it’s fiction, boosts a reader’s scores on language tests. Fiction books—from “The Hunger Games” to “Harry Potter“—often don’t receive the same praise for their educational benefits as their non-fiction counterparts. However, the team found that reading for fun led to higher scores on tests than those reading only for “function”—to gain specific knowledge from a non-fiction book. Reading for pleasure is highly beneficial for both children and adults. Studies show that regular reading has a connection to greater social skills, critical thinking, and empathy, in addition to increased language skills, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Authors help you escape reality, some in different ways and genres than others. Male writers have catapulted us from the depths of horror into the deep, angry sea. Of those authors, StudyFinds went to 10 expert websites to compile a list of the best male writers of all time whose work deserves to be part of your library. Tell us about your favorite writers—or the ones we missed—and the books you love in the comments below.

Assorted books on wooden table (Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash)

The List: Best Male Writers, According to Experts

1. Stephen King

“One of the world’s most successful and prolific writers, Stephen King has published more than 90 horror, suspense, crime, science fiction, and fantasy novels in his lifetime to date. Many of his best-selling books have been adapted into films and television series,” shares Audible.

"The Shining" (1977)
“The Shining” (1977)

Believe it or not, Stephen King had a period where he thought he might not be good enough to publish. “It is no surprise to see Stephen King as one of the most published authors. He once said that he writes 2,000 words a day, which accounts for how quickly you see his books on shelves (and on the big screen). Records say that King has published 60 full-length works and over 200 short stories,” says Iris Reading.

King also has essays, screenplays, and comics. You have to wonder how one author could write something as horrific as “Carrie” and then create a heartwarming story like “The Green Mile.” King is definitely a writer of all trades. “King’s influence in writing was greatly attributed to his trauma after losing his friend in a train accident when he was a kid and also to his love for horror comics in his childhood,” states Discover Walks.

2. William Faulkner

One of the most persuasive writers to ever come out of the Southern United States is William Faulkner. “Faulkner produced a writing work in the mid-twentieth century that took a couple of years to acknowledge his existence amongst the crowd. Somewhere between 1929 and 1936, he released four books—’The Sound and the Fury,’ ‘As I Lay Dying,’ ‘Light in August,’ and ‘Absalom, Absalom!’—that characterized his continuous flow style and his investigations of profound quality, utilizing characters set in his local Mississippi. He additionally composed screenplays for executive director Howard Hawks for ‘To Have and Have Not’ and ‘The Big Sleep,’ which earned him the Nobel Prize in 1949, which presented to him another degree of popularity,” shares leverageedu.com.

William Faulker's "As I Lay Dying" (1930)
William Faulker’s “As I Lay Dying” (1930)

Before Faulkner became a successful author, he served during World War I. “Faulkner wrote short stories and novels set in Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional county in Mississippi. His most famous works include ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ ‘As I Lay Dying,’ and ‘Go Down Moses,’ says Become a Writer Today.

Faulkner typically wrote about themes and topics such as the Ku Klux Klan, racism, the impact of the American Civil War, and the Confederacy. “William Faulkner, born William Cuthbert Falkner on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi, and died July 6, 1962 (aged 64) in Byhalia, Mississippi, was an American novelist and short story writer. Published in the 1920s, it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, when it was still relatively unknown,” states Fiction Horizon.

3. F. Scott Fitzgerald

As a novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short-story writer, many people consider F. Scott Fitzgerald to be one of the best American authors of the 20th century. “Fitzgerald wasn’t very 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,” states The Famous People.

"The Great Gatsby" (1925)
“The Great Gatsby” (1925)

Fitzgerald was born in Minnesota and wrote the popular novel “The Great Gatsby.” “F. Scott Fitzgerald was the most famous writer of the Jazz Age—a term that he popularized. The novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and short story writer was known as much for his lavish lifestyle as his literary works,” says Audible.

No Sweat Shakespeare says “The Great Gatsby” “vies for the title ‘Great American Novel’ with Mark Twain’s ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and Herman Melville’s ‘Moby-Dick.'”

4. Ernest Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was an American novelist and short-story writer who had a strong impact on 20th-century fiction. “Hemingway 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,” says The Famous People.

"The Old Man and the Sea" (1952)
“The Old Man and the Sea” (1952)

Prolific American author Ernest Hemingway was raised in Oak Park, Illinois. “When World War I broke out, he served as an ambulance driver. He was wounded in the line of duty, forcing him to return home. After the war, he worked as a journalist for a few years. Then, he decided to become a novelist,” shares Become a Writer Today.

The book that positioned Ernest Hemingway as a prolific novelist is “The Sun Also Rises.” While the book did not receive amazing reviews at the time, it is widely considered to be an iconic piece of literature from the early 20th century. “He was born into the hands of his physician father. He was the second of six children of Dr. Clarence Hemingway and Grace Hemingway (the daughter of English immigrants). His father’s interests in history and literature, as well as his outdoorsy hobbies (fishing and hunting), became a lifestyle for Ernest,” states IMDB.

5. Herman Melville

Herman Melville is a poet, writer, and novelist of the 19th century. “Melville was born in New York City to a merchant who did well for himself. However, after his father died in 1832, the family was in a dire financial situation. At the age of twenty, he got a job as a sailor on a merchant ship. He spent much of his life chasing whales in the ocean. He spent a lot of time adventuring on the Marquesas Islands. His first book, ‘Typee,’ was about the people he ran into on that island,” shares Become a Writer Today.

"Moby Dick"
“Moby Dick” (1851)

Melville’s marquee work is “Moby Dick,” which he published in 1851. In the early 20th century, there was a significant Melville Revival, positioning him as one of the greatest American authors of all time. “A novelist, short story writer, and poet of the American Renaissance period, Herman Melville is widely considered to have been unappreciated in his time and throughout his life. His works garnered greater success after his death,” says Audible.

Herman Melville produced several books during his literary career. He published various short fiction works, including “Bartleby the Scrivener.” “It’s easy to forget that the American author best known for ‘Moby Dick’ remained largely unrecognized during his lifetime, especially since his characters—like Starbuck, the inspiration for the café chain, or the ‘white whale,’ now shorthand for any far-fetched aspiration—have settled themselves so firmly into common usage,” explains Christies.com.

You might also be interested in:

Sources:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.

About Janelle Davis

Our Editorial Process

StudyFinds publishes digestible, agenda-free, transparent research summaries that are intended to inform the reader as well as stir civil, educated debate. We do not agree nor disagree with any of the studies we post, rather, we encourage our readers to debate the veracity of the findings themselves. All articles published on StudyFinds are vetted by our editors prior to publication and include links back to the source or corresponding journal article, if possible.

Our Editorial Team

Steve Fink

Editor-in-Chief

Chris Melore

Editor

Sophia Naughton

Associate Editor

24 Comments

  1. Donna Baker says:

    Mostly agree. I think Stephen King is underestimated just look at how he builds his characters. One author I miss alot since he passed is Pat Conroy loved all his books.

  2. Joel says:

    Any list of best writers of all time that leaves out Cervantes, Shakespeare and Victor Hugo is suspect to say the least. You really need to read more.

  3. Ann says:

    No mention whatsoever of John Irving?
    Unbelievable.