19 Famous British Writers and Their Legendary Novels

Are you looking for an exciting book to read during your free mornings or afternoons? These famous British writers have penned some of the best novels that have stood the test of time. In this article, you’ll find out who these legendary British writers are and their timeless pieces.

Jane Austen (1775 – 1817)

While she only produced six novels, Jane Austen remains one of the most famous British writers ever to exist. Her writing revolves around relatable situations like romance, comedy, economic issues, family conflict, and more. She was also one of the renowned writers to use a new writing style.

Here are Jane Austen’s famous novels: 

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870)

Charles Dickens is one of the most remarkable English authors. His writing career began when he worked as a journalist. He also wrote sketches called “sketches by Boz.” Dickens then wrote 15 novels, all of which remain popular today. 

Here are some of his best novels and short stories: 

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

You’ve got to admit that the name William Shakespeare might not be entirely new to you. This is because he was one of the greatest English poets and writers of all time!

Fun Fact: William Shakespeare was part of a company called Lord Chamberlain’s Men. Together, they performed for Queen Elizabeth and were later called the King’s Men after the queen died.

His plays are still famous and are performed all over the world for different audiences. Some of his most famous pieces include:

Ian Fleming (1908 – 1964)

Known for his James Bond novel series, Ian Lancaster Fleming was one of the greatest British authors. What inspired Ian Fleming’s books was his own life as a British Naval Intelligence Officer. 

During his lifetime, he also worked as a stockbroker, journalist, and foreign manager at the London Sunday Times. Ian Fleming later moved to Jamaica, where he wrote novels and short stories.

Some of his works, like Thunderball, From Russia with Love, and Goldfinger have been adapted into modern-day movies.

George Eliot (1819 – 1890)

Would you believe that George Eliot was not a man but a woman? George Eliot was the writing name of Mary Ann Evans. She was one of the most renowned British writers during the Victorian era. 

Fun Fact: Queen Victoria actually read and enjoyed Adam Bede, one of the novels that Mary Ann Evans wrote.

Why did she choose a male pen name, you ask? MaryAnn Evans wrote under a pseudonym because she felt that women writers were stereotyped and never taken seriously at the time. 

Below are some of the books that George Eliot is known for.

Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976)

Have you ever read a book so thrilling that you didn’t notice the time pass? This would be the perfect description of Agatha Christie’s crime novels. Her work is so engulfing that it earned her the name “Queen of Crime.” 

Hailed as one of the most famous British writers by critics and fans, Christie wrote 14 short stories, 66 detective novels, and one renowned play, The Mouse Trap

Some of her popular books are: 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859 – 1930)

This famous British writer was known for his detective character Sherlock Holmes, but did you know he was a physician? 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburg and later became a physician on a ship that occasionally traveled to West Africa. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle later gave up medicine and became a full-time author. 

Here are several of his best books:

Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1865)

Known for her classic novel Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte remains one of the most famous British writers of the Victorian era. Written at a misogynistic time when women had low places in society, Jane Eyre represents the afflictions women faced. Charlotte Bronte further went on to write several novels and poems.

Fun Fact: Emily Bronte, Anne Bronte, and Charlotte Bronte are sisters! 

Some of Charlotte Bronte’s famous novels include:

William Wordsworth (1770 – 1850)

William Wordsworth is famous for his enthralling poems that revolutionized literature. His romantic poetry is ahead of time because it relates to ordinary situations.

One of his most famous poems is Lyrical Ballads which he wrote with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Here are some of his famous poems.

Daniel Defoe (1660 – 1731)

Daniel Defoe penned over 300 journals and novels. He wrote about different aspects of life, including psychology, crime, politics, religion, and more. His most famous novel Robinson Crusoe earned him fame. 

Other popular Defoe books include: 

Geoffrey Chaucer (1340s – 1400)

Considered one of the pioneers of English literature, Geoffrey Chaucer was an extraordinary poet and author. He authored one of the most famous books of all time; the Canterbury Tales

He revolutionized English literature and is known as the “Father of English Poetry.” Chaucer was a diplomat and a member of parliament. Apart from Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer published other poems and books, including:

Lewis Carroll (1832 – 1898)

Lewis Carroll, or Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, was a famous English writer and poet. He is known for his Alice in Wonderland. He later wrote Through the Looking Glass, showcasing Alice’s further adventures. Below is more of Lewis Carroll’s work.

Ian McEwan (1948)

Ian Russell McEwan is popular for his novels, including Amsterdam, Enduring Love, and Atonement. McEwan studied English at the University of Sussex and attained an English literature degree. He then pursued his master’s degree at the University of East Anglia. 

Ian McEwan kick-started his career by writing short stories. He has won several awards for his books, including the Somerset Maugham Award, Man Booker Prize, and the Whitbread Book Award. 

Apart from the three books we’ve mentioned earlier, Ian McEwan also wrote:

J.R.R Tolkien (1892 – 1973)

Have you ever thought of the face behind your favorite fantasy films,  The Hobbit  and The Lord of The Rings? Well, you found him! Any best fantasy author list wouldn’t be complete without J.R.R. Tolkien. As a matter of fact, his novels have influenced many modern fantasy writers.

Tolkien’s famous books include: 

Roald Dahl (1903 – 1950)

Who is behind some of the nostalgic tales you read as a child? It’s no other than Roald Dahl! Dahl is one of the most famous British authors known for his children’s stories. He sold over 300 million copies of his books worldwide. His stories continue to inspire children all over the world.

Here are some of Roald Dahl’s remarkable books.

George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

George Orwell is famous for his novels 1984 and Animal Farm. But did you know that this British author’s real name is Eric Arthur Blair? Blair was born in India but spent most of his time in England. He began his writing career under the pseudonym George Orwell because he didn’t like his real name and thought his parents would be embarrassed by his content. 

In addition to Animal Farm and 1984, Orwell also wrote: 

Thomas Hardy (1840 – 1928)

Are you yearning for a realist novel that helps you understand some of the daily struggles of everyday life? Consider reading one of Thomas Hardy’s novels. His books revolve around hardships that the working class often faces. 

Thomas Hardy was an architect apprentice who later left the field to focus on his poetry and novels. Before he died, Thomas Hardy had produced countless poems and written several books. Some of his most famous publications include:

John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)

John Stuart Mill left a mark in English Literature with his popular books and views about society. He was a famous philosopher and economist who advocated for the education of everyone regardless of their social standing.

John Stuart Mill believed in the utilitarianism theory; actions that result in happiness are right, while those that result in suffering are wrong. Here are some of the most famous works of John Stuart Mill.

Emily Bronte (1818 -1848)

Although she wrote only one novel, Emily Bronte is one of the most famous British writers. Her book Wuthering Heights is considered a classic in today’s literature. 

Aside from being a novelist, Emily Bronte wrote several poems under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. She concealed her identity to avoid scrutiny due to her gender.

Below are some of her famous poems.

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