Meet the top 100: The Bucket List

After months of research, painstaking data collection, careful analysis and more tea than we can recall, we can finally reveal the list!

Just a few things before we share the names. Everything about this is subjective, but we’ve tried to be as subjectively objective as possible. Whether a book or author wins a literary prize is up to the judges’ opinions; book sales depend on who’s buying; critics have their favourites; reader ratings are down to preference. Any one individual source is skewed, but by taking them together, we have tried to reduce the bias.

Then there’s our own subjectivity about the data sources behind the list. Unashamedly, we have weighted the results – selling lots of books in the UK won’t earn an author as many points as winning the Nobel Prize – and that in itself was a long, complicated process. We’ve outlined the sources so you can find out more, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. Is a big prize missing? Or a critic’s selection you think important enough to include?

The Bucket List will be updated every January, with new data from the existing sources, and additional sources we think would be good to include. We’re also working on adding national prizes, so please share with us the top national literature prize in your country.

Here are the Bucket Listers – the top 100 authors of all time, according to prize juries, readers, critics, authors, buyers and librarians – in alphabetical order by first name.

Drum roll…

Meet the top 100.

Albert Camus
Ali Smith
Alice Munro
Anne Tyler
Anton Chekhov
Barbara Kingsolver
Bernard Malamud
Boris Pasternak
Charles Dickens
Charlotte Brontë
Chinua Achebe
Cormac McCarthy
Czesław Miłosz
Don DeLillo
Doris Lessing
E. L. Doctorow
E. M. Forster
Edith Wharton
Elfriede Jelinek
Elias Canetti
Emily Brontë
Ernest Hemingway
Eudora Welty
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Flannery O’Connor
Franz Kafka
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Gabriel García Márquez
George Eliot
George Orwell
Günter Grass
Gustave Flaubert
Halldór Laxness
Harper Lee
Haruki Murakami
Henry James
Herman Melville
Ian McEwan
Isaac Bashevis Singer
J. D. Salinger
J. K. Rowling
J. R. R. Tolkien
James A. Michener
James Joyce
Jane Austen
Jean-Paul Sartre
John Cheever
John Galsworthy
John Irving
John M. Coetzee
John Steinbeck
John Updike
Jonathan Franzen
José Saramago
Joseph Conrad
Joseph Heller
Joyce Carol Oates
Kazuo Ishiguro
Knut Hamsun
Kurt Vonnegut
László Krasznahorkai
Laurence Sterne
Leo Tolstoy
Lewis Carroll
Lydia Davis
Marcel Proust
Margaret Atwood
Marilynne Robinson
Mark Twain
Max Frisch
Miguel de Cervantes
Milan Kundera
Nadine Gordimer
Peter Carey
Peter Handke
Philip Roth
Ralph Ellison
Robert Penn Warren
Salman Rushdie
Samuel Beckett
Saul Bellow
Shirley Hazzard
Sinclair Lewis
Stephen King
Thomas Hardy
Thomas Mann
Thomas Pynchon
Toni Morrison
V. S. Naipaul
Virginia Woolf
Vladimir Nabokov
Walker Percy
William Faulkner
William Golding
William Maxwell
William Styron
Wright Morris
Yasunari Kawabata
Zadie Smith