10 Best Authors Like Tom Sharpe: You’ll Cracking Up Every Chapter

Check out our guide with the best authors like Tom Sharpe to add to your bookshelf to keep you laughing. 

Tom Shape was an English author known for his expert satire, including his Wilt series (1976-2010), his Piemburg, South Africa series (1971-1973), and his Porterhouse Blues series (1974-1995). The satirist was also known for several standalone novels, including Blott on the LandscapeVintage Stuff, and The Gropes. Following his 2013 death, he was heralded by his editor at Random House, Susan Sandon, who said Sharpe was “witty, often outrageous, always acutely funny about the absurdities of life.”

If you’ve worked through Sharpe’s collection, you’ll love checking out these authors who will help you see the lighter side of life, one page at a time. If you’re interested in this topic, check out our round-up of the best Canadian authors!

Best Authors Like Tom Sharpe Ranked

1. William Saroyan, 1908 – 1981

William Saroyan
Black and white photo of William Saroyan looking at the camera

Armenian-American author of The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze, William Saroyan, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1940. Saroyan often wrote about the difficulties of living as an immigrant in the United States. Flying Trapeze details the life of a man who worked to survive during the Depression. Many of Sarovan’s stories focused on people’s struggles in the 1930s and 1940s. In addition to his work as a writer, Sarovan also had a penchant for writing songs (including Come On-a My House, which became a hit when Rosemary Clooney picked it up in 1951) and painting in an abstract expressionist style.

“In the time of your life, live—so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world, but shall smile to the infinite delight and mystery of it.”

William SaroyanThe Time Of Your Life
The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (New Directions Classic)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Saroyan, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 276 Pages - 10/17/1997 (Publication Date) - New Directions (Publisher)

2. John Irving, 1942 –

John Irving
Photo of author John Irving

American-Canadian writer John Irving is known for several critically acclaimed novels, including A Prayer for Owen MeanyThe Hotel New HampshireThe Cider House Rules, and A Widow for One Year. Irving started as a writer in 1968 after studying alongside Kurt Vonnegut at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Despite attending what’s widely regarded as the most prestigious writing program in the world, Irving needed help finding success at the start of his career. He sought help from a new publisher for his 1978 novel, The World According to Garp, and the book became a nearly-instant bestseller worldwide.

Irving has had four novels reach the top spot on the New York Times bestseller list. In addition to continued writing, Garp has taught several student cohorts at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

“Your memory is a monster; you forget–it doesn’t. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you–and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”

 John IrvingA Prayer for Owen Meany

3. Colin Dexter, 1930 – 2017

Colin Dexter
 Photo of Colin Dexter smiling

Inspector Morse: Last Bus to Woodstock author Colin Dexter was a British crime writer known for including English literature themes and tough-to-solve crossword puzzles in his novels. Fans of Dexter’s work love how the author purposely leads readers down the wrong road, presenting them with red herrings that keep them engaged until the last word of each novel. Dexter was well-celebrated within the crime writing community. He was awarded the Silver Dagger Award from the Crime Writers’ Association for two of his works: Service of All the Dead and The Dead of Jericho, and a Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for lifetime achievement as a crime writer in 1997.

“He was somewhat of a loner by temperament–because though never wholly happy when alone, he was usually slightly more miserable when with other people.”

 Colin DexterThe Wench is Dead
Last Bus to Woodstock (Inspector Morse Series Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Dexter, Colin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 309 Pages - 08/21/2009 (Publication Date) - Pan (Publisher)

4. P.G. Wodehouse, 1881 – 1985

P.G. Wodehouse
Black and white photo of P.G. Wodehouse smiling

Right Ho, Jeeves: A Selection from the Early Works of P.G. Wodehouse is perfect for fans of Tom Sharpe. British humorist P.G. Wodehouse is one of the most well-known comedic writers of the 1900s. At the start of his career, Wodehouse wrote for magazines. Just one year after publishing his first comedic piece, the writer secured a position as a columnist at The Globe, where he wrote By the Way for the following eight years. While working at The Globe, he published his first novel, The Pothunters, in 1902.

The author visited New York City in 1904 and found that his career skyrocketed as a result, as few English citizens had enough experience in the U.S. to write confidently about life across the pond. Eventually, Wodehouse became a mainstay on Broadway, contributing to the plays Miss SpringtimeLeave It to Jane, and Oh, Boy!

“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.”

 P. G. WodehouseJeeves and the Unbidden Guest
Right Ho, Jeeves: Hilarious Escapades by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Wodehouse, P. G. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 330 Pages - 03/16/2017 (Publication Date) - Prabhat Prakashan (Publisher)

5. Frederick Forsyth, 1938 –

Frederick Forsyth
Photo of Frederick Forsyth

Frederick Forsyth was a journalist before he became an internationally known crime writer. Readers love his novels – including his latest, The Fox, for his journalistic style and accurate use of historical events. His 1972 novel, The Odessa File, is a fictional story following a reporter who works to find an ex-Nazi in Germany. The book alleges that ex-Nazis were protected by an organization called ODESSA, which many people believe exists, despite historians claiming the idea was created by Forsyth. The novel was made into a 1974 feature film starring Jon Voight.

“The hatred of your country is not because it attacks theirs; it is because it keeps theirs safe. Never seek popularity. You can have supremacy or be loved but never both. What is felt toward you is ten percent genuine disagreement and ninety percent envy. Never forget two things! No man can ever forgive his protector. There is no loathing that any man harbors more intense than that toward his benefactor.” 

Frederick ForsythAvenger
The Fox
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Frederick Forsyth (Author) - David Rintoul (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/23/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

6. Kathy Reichs, 1948 –

Kathy Reichs
Photo of Kathy Reichs smiling

Cold, Cold Bones is one of Kathy Reichs’ 21 novels. As a forensic anthropologist teaching at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Reichs uses true-life experiences to inspire her novels, many of which follow protagonist Temperance Brennan. Her books inspired the Fox television series Bones, which follows Temperance as she uses crime scene forensics to reach the bottom of challenging cases. While continuing to teach, Reichs also works as a producer for Bones and has written several episodes for the series. In addition to her notoriety for her novels, Reichs is also known for serving as an expert witness in the Casey Anthony murder trial.

“I have a rule that has served me well in life. When in doubt, do nothing. If you’re not sure, don’t buy it, don’t comment, don’t commit. Sit tight. Deviation from this maxim has usually caused me regret.”

Kathy ReichsDéjà Dead
Cold, Cold Bones: A Temperance Brennan Novel, Book 21
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Kathy Reichs (Author) - Linda Emond (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 07/05/2022 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Audio (Publisher)

7. John le Carre, 1931 – 2020

John le Carre
Photo of John le Carre smiling

Silverview was John la Carre’s (born David John Moore Cornwell) final novel before he died in 2020. The British-Irish crime writer is considered one of the best writers of the 20th century. Many of his novels have been made into screenplays, including The Looking Glass WarThe Little Drummer GirlThe Tailor of Panama, and Our Kind of Traitor. Many of la Carre’s novels include themes of espionage, tragic heroism, and satire, touching on the effects of spy missions that render themselves ineffective. La Carre often delved into the issues that plague governments internally rather than focusing on international issues.

“I have a theory which I suspect is rather immoral,’ Smiley went on, more lightly. ‘Each of us has only a quantum of compassion. That if we lavish our concern on every stray cat, we never get to the centre of things.”

John Le CarréTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Silverview: A Novel
  • Audible Audiobook
  • John le Carré (Author) - Toby Jones (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/12/2021 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

8. Giles Curtis

The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler
Book cover image for The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler

In The Wildest Week of Daisy Wyler, Giles Curtis expertly works to emulate the satirical style of Tom Sharpe, keeping readers laughing. Large casts of well-developed characters deliver clever quips and bizarre situations, throwing standard writing rules to the wind. Good-natured storylines, hysterical conundrums, and a quick pace keep readers engaged from the first word to the last page. Reviewers state that they laugh out loud while reading Curtis’ works and love how the author manages to have characters make cameos in novels where they don’t quite fit in.

“The computer was the newest addition to the local library, and quickly had more viruses than the local whore house.”

Giles CurtisLooking Bloody Good, Old Boy
The Calamitous Kidnap of Oodle the Poodle: A Raucous Tom Sharpe Style Comedy
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Giles Curtis (Author) - Paul Winter (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 12/24/2020 (Publication Date) - Giles Curtis (Publisher)

9. Christopher Brookmyre, 1968 –

Christopher Brookmyre
Photo of Christopher Brookmyre speaking

Scottish author of A Snowball in Hell, Christopher Brookmyre, is known for his ability to mix crime, politics, social commentary, and satire in fun, fast-paced novels. The author has several series, including the Jack Parlabane series, the Angelique de Xanvia series, the Ambrose Parry series, and the Jasmine Sharp and Catherine McLeod series. He’s also written a standalone novel, Bedlam. The book was turned into a video game for which Brookmyre wrote the script. Readers who have worked through Brookmyre’s catalog can also check out books by Ambrose Parry, a pseudonym he and his wife, Dr. Marisa Haetzman, use when they write together.

“People didn’t really like McDonald’s, same as her mum didn’t really like Catholicism, but when you were new in town, at least it was a known quantity. So that’ll be a Quarter-Pounder and a Communion Wafer meal-deal to go.”

Christopher BrookmyrePandaemonium
A Snowball in Hell
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Christopher Brookmyre (Author) - Kenny Blyth (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 01/29/2009 (Publication Date) - ISIS Audio Books (Publisher)

10. Arturo Perez-Reverte, 1951 –

Arturo Perez-Reverten
Photo of Arturo Perez-Reverten smiling

Known for The Queen of the South, Falco, and El Italiano, Arturo Perez-Reverte got his start as a war correspondent. He published his first novel, El Husar, in 1986. Perez-Reverte is known for writing strong main characters with a fast-moving plot, often set in the Mediterranean. Many of the author’s novels deal with social issues facing Spain and surrounding nations, including the intersection of religion, politics, and drug trafficking. Perez-Reverte typically creates morally ambiguous characters who must learn that facing reality is the only way out of tough situations.

“Actually loneliness has a kind of fascination; it’s a state of egotistical, inner grace that you can achieve only by standing guard on old, forgotten roads that no one travels anymore.”

 Arturo Pérez-ReverteThe Fencing Master
The Queen of the South
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Arturo Pérez-Reverte (Author) - Lina Patel (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 04/29/2005 (Publication Date) - Penguin Audio (Publisher)

Looking for more? Check out our round-up of the best 12th-century authors!