15 Best Fantasy Authors To Read Today

The best fantasy books are written by authors who have taken them to the next level. Here are 15 of the best fantasy authors across the globe.

Fantasy is one of the most popular fiction genres, along with sci-fi (science fiction), horror, and romance. Finding a great title to read isn’t difficult because there’s an abundance of excellent work currently available. That said, making a choice can be hard. So, to help you out, here are 15 of the best fantasy authors and their books.

Best fantasy authors

1. George R.R. Martin

Best fantasy authors: George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin is best known for his first book series A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire

George R.R. Martin is the internationally acclaimed bestselling author of the books that inspired the popular HBO television series, A Game of Thrones. Until its highly criticized ending, the show had won multiple Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, Directors Guild of America, and Golden Globe awards. While Martin has written children’s books, short stories, and other works of fiction, he is best known for the detailed fantasy world he created for his first book series A Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire

Best Works 

2. J.R.R. Tolkien

Best fantasy authors: J.R.R. Tolkien
J.R.R. Tolkien, bestselling author of the Lord of the Rings book series

One of the most epic fantasy genre writers to this day remains J.R.R. Tolkien, bestselling author of the Lord of the Rings book series. Tolkien lived between 1892 and 1973, and in his works, he created a robust high fantasy world with elves, dwarves, hobbits,, and adventures. Although he was frequently criticized by other English literature professionals in his early career, Tolkien would eventually rise to fame with one of the most loved trilogies of all time.  

Best Works 

3. Brandon Sanderson

Best fantasy authors: Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson fell in love with the fantasy genre in eighth grade after reading the book Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly

Brandon Sanderson is a well-known American author of science fiction and urban fantasy novels and is the creator of the popular Cosmere fictional universe. His fantasy books have landed him on the New York Times Bestseller list more than once. Although he avoided reading as a child, Sanderson fell in love with the fantasy genre in eighth grade after reading the book Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. 

Best Works 

4. Robin Hobb

Best fantasy authors: Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb also writes science fiction short stories under the pen name Megan Lindholm

Robin Hobb is a New York Times #1 best-selling author of the Farseer fantasy series and the critically acclaimed Realm of the Elderlings series. The Farseer trilogy has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary with a new copy beautifully illustrated by Magali Villeneuve. Robin Hobb also writes science fiction short stories under the pen name Megan Lindholm. To date, the fantasy author has sold more than a million copies of her books to audiences worldwide, and in 2021, Hobb was given a World Fantasy Award Lifetime Achievement. 

Best Works 

5. Robert Jordan 

Best fantasy authors: Robert Jordan
Robert Jordan, acclaimed author of The Wheel of Time book series

Robert Jordan is the critically acclaimed author of The Wheel of Time book series. His real name was James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (1948 – 2007), and he was a Vietnam War veteran with a degree from The Citadel and another in physics. He lent his hand to the Conan the Barbarian series and penned works under the names Jackson O’Reilly and Reagan O’Neal, writing western and historical fiction. 

Best Works 

6. C.S. Lewis

Best fantasy authors: C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis is best known for his trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia

C.S. Lewis is a popular author in the young adult and fantasy genre with his unique fairytale-like stories. Although he has written dozens of books, including devotionals and adult spiritual literature, he is best known for his trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia. Born in 1898Lewis served as the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University until he died in 1963 and was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University just before that, until 1954. 

Best Works 

7. J.K. Rowling

Best fantasy authors: J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling is most well known for her debut novel Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling is a U.K. author who penned some of the best fantasy novels in the genre for children, young teens, and even older adults. She is most well known for her debut novel Harry Potter and its unique magic system, which has inspired eight major motion pictures and a theme park. That said, Rowling has faced social backlash recently from the LGBTQ+ community for alleged discrimination and remains in the background for endeavors related to the series. 

Best Works 

8. Guy Gavriel Kay

Best fantasy authors: Guy Gavriel Kay
Guy Gavriel Kay uses real-world settings from historical events in his fantasy novels

Guy Gavriel Kay is a Canadian writer of modern fantasy and adult fantasy books. What makes Kay’s writing different than other authors in the fantasy genre is that instead of using typical tropes often seen in fantasy novels, he uses real-world settings from historical events. However, the author’s preference is that his works are not categorized as historical fiction. This new take on world-building makes Kay’s novels even more fantastical. 

Best Works 

9. Joe Abercrombie

Best fantasy authors: Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie is most well known for his works in the First Law trilogy

Joe Abercrombie is an acclaimed British writer and freelance film editor in the fantasy fiction genre. He is most well known for his works in the First Law trilogy and several standalone books set in the same fictional world. Abercrombie has also written the Age of Madness series, which canonically meshes with the First Law books to create an epic fantasy realm ripe with adventure. 

Best Works 

10. N.K. Jemisin

Best fantasy authors: N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin is a three-time winner of the Hugo Award

New York Times has named author N.K. Jemisin, “the most celebrated science fiction and fantasy writer of her generation.” Jemisin, a strong Black voice in the fiction community, is also a three-time winner of the Hugo Award. She is the first author to have won three of these awards consecutively and is one of the few recipients of the coveted MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Best Works 

11. Steven Erikson 

Best fantasy authors: Steven Erikson 
New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author, Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson is a Canadian anthropologist, archaeologist, writer, and novelist best known for his ten-volume Malazan Book of the Fallen series. He is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author recognized by both Paste Magazine and Fantasy Book Review for best-in-class fantasy fiction. Erikson is also a past nominee for the World Fantasy Award and Locus Award for his literary works.  

Best Works 

12. Ursula K. Le Guin

Best fantasy authors: Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin is the seven-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award

Ursula K. Le Guin is the late author of 23 full-length books, 13 children’s books, 12 collections of short stories, 11 collections of poetry, five collections of written essays, and four translated works. Although Le Guin passed away in 2018, she is the seven-time winner of the coveted Hugo Award, the six-time winner of the Nebula Award, and was named Grand Master by the SWFA. 

Best Works 

13. Scott Lynch 

Best fantasy authors: Scott Lynch 
bestselling author of the Gentleman Bastard book series, Scott Lynch

Scott Lynch is the global bestselling author of the Gentleman Bastard book series. He is the oldest of three children, born in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1978. His first book, The Lies of Locke Lamora, was immediately popular, and Lynch has enjoyed critical acclaim since. His wife, Elizabeth Bear, is also a science fiction and fantasy writer, who he married in 2016. The couple share an old Minnesota home with their cats, preferring to spend time on their property when not writing.

Best Works 

14. Stephen King

Best fantasy authors: Stephen King
Stephen King also publishes his work under the pen name Richard Bachman

Stephen King is arguably one of the most well-known fantasy writers in history, particularly in the sci-fi and horror genres. He has sold over 350 million copies of his books, several of them having been made into full-length motion pictures, including Pet Semetary, It, The Shining, and more. King also publishes his work under the pen name Richard Bachman and, to date, has a complete collection of more than 63 books, 20 novellas, and approximately 120 short stories.  

For more books like the Stand, why not check out our list of the top dystopian novels. 

Best Works 

15. Neil Gaiman

Best fantasy authors: Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book won a Newbury Medal in 2009

Neil Gaiman is a beloved English author of several fantasy novels, including The Sandman comic book series and Coraline, the latter of which was later adapted to the big screen. His first book was a Duran Duran biography written in 1986, and more recently, his book The Ocean at the End of the Lane won the British National Book Awards Book of the Year. His work, The Graveyard Book, won a Newbury Medal in 2009 and is scheduled to be made into a motion picture directed by Ron Howard. 

Best Works 

Final Word on the Best Fantasy Authors and Their Books

If you love to read, grab one of these fantasy books by some of the best-known and most beloved authors in the genre. No matter which novel or short story you choose, good fantasy authors will know how to pull you into their unique stories and magical worlds.

FAQs on the Best Fantasy Authors and Their Books

What’s The Difference Between YA Fantasy And Adult Fantasy Books?

YA fantasy books typically have at least one protagonist who is a teen or young adult, while adult fantasy books feature characters older than 21-25 years of age.

What should I look for in a good fantasy author?

The best fantasy authors aren’t necessarily the writers who have the most published novels. Instead, look for authors that use overarching themes that interest you, such as a robust fantasy world or elements of science fiction. Read book reviews to find out what other readers have to say; just watch out for spoilers. 

How do I pick a fantasy book to read?

First and foremost, don’t judge a book by its cover. You should also overlook the heavily curated recommendations on the book’s front, back, and inside covers. Instead, read the first few pages to make sure you like the fantasy author’s writing style and that they do a good job of drawing you into the content. 

Who are the best-selling fantasy authors?

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling is the best-selling fantasy series of all time, selling over 500 million copies so far. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien is next on the list, with that series amassing over 150 million sales.

Which authors have won the Hugo Award for best science fiction or fantasy novel?

There have been 52 winners of the Hugo Award for Best Novel. Five authors have won it three times: Isaac Asimov and Fritz Leiber, and N. K. Jemisin, Connie Willis, and Vernor Vinge. Hugo Awards were first given in 1953, at the 11th World Science Fiction Convention.

Best Authors Reading List

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