The Most Famous African American Author: Celebrating Literary Excellence

Choose the author you think is the most famous!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Feb 28, 2024 06:59
Step right up and make your voice heard in the ultimate ranking of the most famous African American authors! Here at StrawPoll, we've gathered a diverse array of literary legends who've enriched the world with their powerful storytelling and captivating prose. From the poetic prowess of Maya Angelou to the groundbreaking narratives of Toni Morrison, our list celebrates the indelible impact these authors have made on literature and beyond. But we need your help to find the true champion! Cast your vote for your favorite wordsmith or suggest a missing literary luminary who deserves a spot on this prestigious list. Join the conversation, share your passion, and together let's celebrate the incredible contributions African American authors have made to the world of words. Happy voting!

Who Is the Most Famous African American Author?

  1. 1

    Toni Morrison

    Toni Morrison
    She is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential American writers of the 20th century. She won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993 and her works often explore themes of race, identity, and the African American experience.
    Toni Morrison is a novel
    • Year of publication: 1970
    • Genre: Fiction
    • Narrative style: Multi-perspective
    • Themes: Race, identity, memory
    • Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Nobel Prize in Literature
    Toni Morrison in other rankings
  2. 2

    Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou herself
    She was a poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Her most famous work, "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," is a powerful memoir about growing up black and female in the Jim Crow South.
    Maya Angelou was an American author, poet, and civil rights activist who was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful elderly women. She became an influential figure and achieved immense success in various fields.
    • Birth Name: Marguerite Annie Johnson
    • Date of Birth: April 4, 1928
    • Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
    • Occupation: Author, poet, civil rights activist
    • Awards and Honors: Presidential Medal of Freedom, National Medal of Arts, three Grammy Awards, etc.
    Maya Angelou in other rankings
  3. 3
    He was a poet, social activist, novelist, and playwright. His work celebrated African American culture and the struggles of black people in America.
    Langston Hughes in other rankings
  4. 4
    She is a novelist, poet, and social activist. Her most famous work, "The Color Purple," won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1983 and was later adapted into a movie and a Broadway musical.
    Alice Walker in other rankings
  5. 5
    James Baldwin
    Allan warren · CC BY-SA 3.0
    He was a novelist, essayist, and social critic. His work explored themes of race, sexuality, and identity in America.
    James Baldwin in other rankings
  6. 6
    Zora Neale Hurston
    Unknown authorUnknown author · Public domain
    She was a novelist, anthropologist, and folklorist. Her most famous work, "Their Eyes Were Watching God," is a classic of African American literature.
    Zora Neale Hurston in other rankings
  7. 7
    He was a novelist, essayist, and critic. His most famous work, "Invisible Man," is a powerful exploration of race and identity in America.
  8. 8
    Ta-Nehisi Coates
    David Shankbone · CC BY 3.0
    He is a journalist, writer, and social commentator. His work often explores issues of race, politics, and society in America.
    Ta-Nehisi Coates in other rankings
  9. 9
    Colson Whitehead
    David Shankbone · CC BY 3.0
    He is a novelist and essayist. His most recent work, "The Underground Railroad," won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2017 and explores the horrors of slavery and the struggle for freedom.
  10. 10
    Octavia Butler
    Nikolas Coukouma · CC BY-SA 2.5
    She was a science fiction writer and one of the first African American women to achieve mainstream success in the genre. Her work often explored themes of race, gender, and identity.
    Octavia Butler in other rankings

Missing your favorite author?


Ranking factors for famous author

  1. Literary contributions
    The impact of an author's written work on the literary world and its significance in shaping cultural attitudes towards African American identity and history.
  2. Popularity and sales
    The number of copies sold and the author's popularity among readers both within and outside the African American community.
  3. Critical acclaim
    Awards, nominations, and recognition received by the author from literary critics, scholars, and other professionals in the field.
  4. Cultural influence
    The extent to which the author's work has influenced African American culture and society at large.
  5. Historical significance
    The author's role in the socio-political history of African Americans and their contributions towards shaping cultural and political movements.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most famous African American author. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or writer is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 181 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each writer once every 24 hours. The rank of each writer is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most famous african american author

African American literature has a rich and diverse history, with countless talented authors who have made their mark on the literary world. From the early pioneers of the Harlem Renaissance to contemporary bestsellers, African American writers have brought unique perspectives and powerful voices to literature. In this poll, we ask the question: who is the most famous African American author? From James Baldwin to Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou to Langston Hughes, there are many great authors to choose from. Discover more about these influential writers and their works as we delve into the world of African American literature.

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