The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Iranian Writers of all time. This list of famous Iranian Writers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Iranian Writers.
With an HPI of 81.80, Ismail I is the most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 59 different languages on wikipedia.
Ismail I (Persian: اسماعیل, romanized: Esmāʿīl, pronounced [esmɒːʔiːl]; July 17, 1487 – May 23, 1524), also known as Shah Ismail I (شاه اسماعیل), was the founder of the Safavid dynasty of Iran, ruling as its King of Kings (shahanshah) from 1501 to 1524. The rule of Ismail is one of the most vital in the history of Iran. Before his accession in 1501, Iran, since its conquest by the Arabs eight-and-a-half centuries earlier, had not existed as a unified country under native Iranian rule, but had been controlled by a series of Arab caliphs, Turkic sultans, and Mongol khans. Although many Iranian dynasties rose to power amidst this whole period, it was only under the Buyids that a vast part of Iran proper returned to Iranian rule (945-1055).The dynasty founded by Ismail I would rule for over two centuries, being one of the greatest Iranian empires and at its height being amongst the most powerful empires of its time, ruling all of present-day Iran, Azerbaijan Republic, Armenia, most of Georgia, the North Caucasus, Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, as well as parts of modern-day Syria, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. It also reasserted the Iranian identity in large parts of Greater Iran. The legacy of the Safavid Empire was also the revival of Iran as an economic stronghold between East and West, the establishment of an efficient state and bureaucracy, its architectural innovations and its patronage for fine arts. One of his first actions, was the proclamation of the Twelver sect of Shia Islam to be the official religion of his newly formed state, which had major consequences for the ensuing history of Iran. Furthermore, this drastic act also gave him a political benefit of separating the growing Safavid state from its strong Sunni neighbors—the Ottoman Empire to the west and the Uzbek confederation to the east. However, it brought into the Iranian body politic the implied inevitability of consequent conflict between the shah, the design of a "secular" state, and the religious leaders, who saw all secular states as unlawful and whose absolute ambition was a theocratic state. Ismail was also a prolific poet who, under the pen name Khataʾi (Persian tr. "the wrongful"), contributed greatly to the literary development of the Azerbaijani language. He also contributed to Persian literature, though few of his Persian writings survive.
With an HPI of 81.70, Hafez is the 2nd most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 113 different languages.
Khāwje Shams-od-Dīn Moḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمسالدین محمّد حافظ شیرازی), known by his pen name Hafez (حافظ, Ḥāfeẓ, 'the memorizer; the (safe) keeper'; 1315-1390) and as "Hafiz", was a Persian poet, whose collected works are regarded by many Iranians as a pinnacle of Persian literature. His works are often found in the homes of people in the Persian-speaking world, who learn his poems by heart and use them as everyday proverbs and sayings. His life and poems have become the subjects of much analysis, commentary and interpretation, influencing post-14th century Persian writing more than any other Persian author.Hafez is best known for his Divan of Hafez, a collection of his surviving poems probably compiled after his death. His works that can be described as "antinomian" and with the medieval use of the term "theosophical"; the term "theosophy" in the 13th and 14th centuries was used to indicate mystical work by "authors only inspired by the holy books" (as distinguished from theology). Hafez primarily wrote in the literary genre of lyric poetry or ghazals, that is the ideal style for expressing the ecstasy of divine inspiration in the mystical form of love poems. He was a Sufi.Themes of his ghazals include the beloved, faith and exposing hypocrisy. In his ghazals he deals with love, wine and taverns, all presenting ecstasy and freedom from restraint, whether in actual worldly release or in the voice of the lover speaking of divine love. His influence on Persian speakers appears in divination by his poems (Persian: فال حافظ, fāl-e hāfez, somewhat similar to the Roman tradition of sortes vergilianae) and in the frequent use of his poems in Persian traditional music, visual art and Persian calligraphy. His tomb is located in his birthplace of Shiraz. Adaptations, imitations and translations of his poems exist in all major languages.
With an HPI of 80.48, Ferdowsi is the 3rd most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 97 different languages.
Abul-Qâsem Ferdowsi Tusi, also Firdawsi (Persian: ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی; c. 940–1019/1025), or just Ferdowsi (فردوسی ) was a Persian poet and the author of Shahnameh ("Book of Kings"), which is one of the world's longest epic poems created by a single poet, and the national epic of Greater Iran. Ferdowsi is celebrated as one of the most influential figures of Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature.
With an HPI of 80.37, Abu Nuwas is the 4th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 126 different languages.
Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī (variant: Al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī 'Abd al-Awal al-Ṣabāḥ, Abū 'Alī (الحسن بن هانئ بن عبد الأول بن الصباح ،ِابو علي), known as Abū Nuwās al-Salamī (أبو نواس السلمي) or just Abū Nuwās (أبو نواس Abū Novās); c. 756 – c. 814) was a classical Arabic poet, and the foremost representative of the modern (muhdath) poetry that developed during the first years of Abbasid Caliphate. He also entered the folkloric tradition, appearing several times in One Thousand and One Nights.
With an HPI of 79.59, Mansur Al-Hallaj is the 5th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 44 different languages.
Al-Hallaj (Arabic: ابو المغيث الحسين بن منصور الحلاج, romanized: Abū 'l-Muġīth Al-Ḥusayn bin Manṣūr al-Ḥallāj) or Mansour Hallaj (Persian: منصور حلاج, romanized: Mansūr-e Hallāj) (c. 858 – 26 March 922) (Hijri c. 244 AH – 309 AH) was a Persian mystic, poet and teacher of Sufism. He is best known for his saying: "I am the Truth" (Ana'l-Ḥaqq), which many saw as a claim to divinity, while others interpreted it as an instance of annihilation of the ego, allowing God to speak through him. Al-Hallaj gained a wide following as a preacher before he became implicated in power struggles of the Abbasid court and was executed after a long period of confinement on religious and political charges. Although most of his Sufi contemporaries disapproved of his actions, Hallaj later became a major figure in the Sufi tradition.
With an HPI of 79.22, Saadi Shirazi is the 6th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 73 different languages.
Saadi Shīrāzī (Persian: ابومحمّد مصلحالدین بن عبدالله شیرازی), better known by his pen name Saadi (; Persian: سعدی, romanized: Saʿdī, IPA: [sæʔˈdiː]), also known as Sadi of Shiraz (سعدی شیرازی, Saʿdī Shīrāzī; born 1210; died 1291 or 1292), was a major Persian poet and prose writer of the medieval period. He is recognized for the quality of his writings and for the depth of his social and moral thoughts. Saadi is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the classical literary tradition, earning him the nickname "The Master of Speech" or "The Wordsmith" (استاد سخن ostâd-e soxan) or simply "Master" (استاد ostâd) among Persian scholars. He has been quoted in the Western traditions as well. Bustan has been ranked as one of the 100 greatest books of all time by The Guardian.
With an HPI of 78.68, Doris Lessing is the 7th most famous Iranian Writer. Her biography has been translated into 99 different languages.
Doris May Lessing (née Tayler; 22 October 1919 – 17 November 2013) was a British-Zimbabwean (Rhodesian) novelist. She was born to British parents in Iran, where she lived until 1925. Her family then moved to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), where she remained until moving in 1949 to London, England. Her novels include The Grass Is Singing (1950), the sequence of five novels collectively called Children of Violence (1952–1969), The Golden Notebook (1962), The Good Terrorist (1985), and five novels collectively known as Canopus in Argos: Archives (1979–1983). Lessing was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the prize, the Swedish Academy described her as "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny". Lessing was the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.In 2001, Lessing was awarded the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in British literature. In 2008, The Times ranked her fifth on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
With an HPI of 78.14, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi is the 8th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tūsī (Persian: محمد ابن محمد ابن حسن طوسی 18 February 1201 – 26 June 1274), better known as Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (Persian: نصیر الدین طوسی; or simply Tusi in the West), was a Persian polymath, architect, philosopher, physician, scientist, and theologian. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi was a well published author, writing on subjects of math, engineering, prose, and mysticism. Additionally, al-Tusi made several scientific advancements. In astronomy, al-Tusi created very accurate tables of planetary motion, an updated planetary model, and critiques of Ptolemaic astronomy. He also made strides in logic, mathematics but especially trigonometry, biology, and chemistry. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi left behind a great legacy as well. Some consider Tusi one of the greatest scientists of medieval Islam, since he is often considered the creator of trigonometry as a mathematical discipline in its own right. The Muslim scholar Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) considered Tusi to be the greatest of the later Persian scholars. There is also reason to believe that he may have influenced Copernican heliocentrism.
With an HPI of 76.14, Shams Tabrizi is the 9th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 28 different languages.
Shams-i Tabrīzī (Persian: شمس تبریزی) or Shams al-Din Mohammad (1185–1248) was a Persian poet, who is credited as the spiritual instructor of Mewlānā Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Balkhi, also known as Rumi and is referenced with great reverence in Rumi's poetic collection, in particular Diwan-i Shams-i Tabrīzī (The Works of Shams of Tabriz). Tradition holds that Shams taught Rumi in seclusion in Konya for a period of forty days, before fleeing for Damascus. The tomb of Shams-i Tabrīzī was recently nominated to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
With an HPI of 75.46, Attar of Nishapur is the 10th most famous Iranian Writer. His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.
Abū Ḥamīd bin Abū Bakr Ibrāhīm (c. 1145 – c. 1221; Persian: ابو حامد بن ابوبکر ابراهیم), better known by his pen-names Farīd ud-Dīn (فرید الدین) and ʿAṭṭār of Nishapur (عطار نیشاپوری, Attar means apothecary), was a Persian poet, theoretician of Sufism, and hagiographer from Nishapur who had an immense and lasting influence on Persian poetry and Sufism. He wrote a collection of lyrical poems and number of long poems in the philosophical tradition of Islamic mysticism, as well as a prose work with biographies and sayings of famous Muslim mystics. Manṭiq-uṭ-Ṭayr [The Conference of the Birds] and Ilāhī-Nāma [The Book of Divine] are among his most famous works.
Pantheon has 51 people classified as writers born between 724 and 1976. Of these 51, 9 (17.65%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Cassandra Clare, Bahram Beyzai, and Kader Abdolah. The most famous deceased writers include Ismail I, Hafez, and Ferdowsi. As of October 2020, 6 new writers have been added to Pantheon including Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani, Raffi, and Mohammad-Reza Shafiei Kadkani.
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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 23 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.