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The Most Famous

WRITERS from Iran

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This page contains a list of the greatest Iranian Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,755 Writers, 57 of which were born in Iran. This makes Iran the birth place of the 21st most number of Writers behind Austria and Egypt.

Top 10

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.

Photo of Ismail I

1. Ismail I (1487 - 1524)

With an HPI of 76.76, Ismail I is the most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 59 different languages on wikipedia.

Ismail I (Persian: اسماعیل یکم, romanized: Ismāʿīl; 14 July 1487 – 23 May 1524) was the founder and first shah of Safavid Iran, ruling from 1501 until his death in 1524. His reign is often considered the beginning of modern Iranian history, as well as one of the gunpowder empires. The rule of Ismail I 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. Although many Iranian dynasties rose to power amidst this whole period, it was only under the Buyids that a vast part of Iran properly 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, the Republic of Azerbaijan, 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 based upon "checks and balances", its architectural innovations, and patronage for fine arts.One of his first actions was the proclamation of the Twelver denomination of Shia Islam as the official religion of his newly-founded Persian Empire, marking one of the most important turning points in the history of Islam, which had major consequences for the ensuing history of Iran. He caused sectarian tensions in the Middle East when he destroyed the tombs of the Abbasid caliphs, the Sunni Imam Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man, and the Sufi Muslim ascetic Abdul Qadir Gilani in 1508. Furthermore, this drastic act also gave him a political benefit of separating the growing Safavid Empire from its 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 I was also a prolific poet who under the pen name Khaṭāʾī (Arabic: خطائي, lit. '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.

Photo of Hafez

2. Hafez (1325 - 1389)

With an HPI of 73.73, Hafez is the 2nd most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 115 different languages.

Khwāje Shams-od-Dīn Moḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī (Persian: خواجه شمس‌‌الدین محمد حافظ شیرازی), known by his pen name Hafez (حافظ, Ḥāfeẓ, 'the memorizer; the (safe) keeper'; 1325–1390) or Hafiz, was a Persian lyric poet whose collected works are regarded by many Iranians as one of the highest pinnacles of Persian literature. His works are often found in the homes of Persian speakers, 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 Divān, a collection of his surviving poems probably compiled after his death. His works 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.

Photo of Abu Nuwas

3. Abu Nuwas (762 - 814)

With an HPI of 73.40, Abu Nuwas is the 3rd most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 128 different languages.

Abū Nuwās al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī al-Ḥakamī (variant: Al-Ḥasan ibn Hānī 'Abd al-Awal al-Ṣabāḥ, Abū 'Alī (أَبُو عَلِي اَلْحَسَنْ بْنْ هَانِئْ بْنْ عَبْدِ اَلْأَوَّلْ بْنْ اَلصَّبَاحِ اَلْحُكْمِيِّ اَلْمِذْحَجِي), known as Abū Nuwās al-Salamī (أبو نواس السلمي) or just Abū Nuwās (أبو نواس, Abū Nuwās); 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.

Photo of Mansur Al-Hallaj

4. Mansur Al-Hallaj (858 - 922)

With an HPI of 72.93, Mansur Al-Hallaj is the 4th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 45 different languages.

Mansour al-Hallaj (Arabic: ابو المغيث الحسين بن منصور الحلاج, romanized: Abū 'l-Muġīth al-Ḥusayn ibn 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.

Photo of Ferdowsi

5. Ferdowsi (940 - 1020)

With an HPI of 72.24, Ferdowsi is the 5th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 98 different languages.

Abul-Qâsem Ferdowsi Tusi (Persian: ابوالقاسم فردوسی توسی; 940 – 1019/1025), also Firdawsi or 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 greatest epic of Persian-speaking countries. Ferdowsi is celebrated as one of the most influential figures of Persian literature and one of the greatest in the history of literature.

Photo of Doris Lessing

6. Doris Lessing (1919 - 2013)

With an HPI of 71.31, Doris Lessing is the 6th most famous Iranian Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 103 different languages.

Doris May Lessing (née Tayler; 22 October 1919 – 17 November 2013) was a British 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, at age 87.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".

Photo of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi

7. Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (1201 - 1274)

With an HPI of 71.22, Nasir al-Din al-Tusi is the 7th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Tusi (1201 – 1274), also known as Nasir al-Din al-Tusi (Arabic: نصیر الدین الطوسی; Persian: نصیر الدین طوسی) or simply as (al-)Tusi, 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. Tusi is widely regarded as 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. Nasir proposed that humans are related to animals and that some animals have a limited level of awareness while humans have a superior level of awareness amongst animals.

Photo of Shams Tabrizi

8. Shams Tabrizi (1185 - 1248)

With an HPI of 70.42, Shams Tabrizi is the 8th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 34 different languages.

Shams-i Tabrīzī (Persian: شمس تبریزی) or Shams al-Din Mohammad (1185–1248) was a Persian Shafi'ite 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. 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.

Photo of Saadi Shirazi

9. Saadi Shirazi (1210 - 1291)

With an HPI of 69.88, Saadi Shirazi is the 9th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 76 different languages.

Saadi Shīrāzī, better known by his pen name Saadi (; Persian: سعدی, romanized: , IPA: [sæʔˈdiː]), also known as Sadi of Shiraz (سعدی شیرازی, Saʿdī Shīrāzī; born 1210; died 1291 or 1292), was a 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. His book, Bustan has been ranked as one of the 100 greatest books of all time by The Guardian.

Photo of Jami

10. Jami (1414 - 1492)

With an HPI of 67.53, Jami is the 10th most famous Iranian Writer.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Nūr ad-Dīn 'Abd ar-Rahmān Jāmī (Persian: نورالدین عبدالرحمن جامی; 7 November 1414 – 9 November 1492), also known as Mawlanā Nūr al-Dīn 'Abd al-Rahmān or Abd-Al-Rahmān Nur-Al-Din Muhammad Dashti, or simply as Jami or Djāmī and in Turkey as Molla Cami, was a Sunni poet who is known for his achievements as a prolific scholar and writer of mystical Sufi literature. He was primarily a prominent poet-theologian of the school of Ibn Arabi and a Khwājagānī Sũfī, recognized for his eloquence and for his analysis of the metaphysics of mercy. His most famous poetic works are Haft Awrang, Tuhfat al-Ahrar, Layla wa Majnun, Fatihat al-Shabab, Lawa'ih, Al-Durrah al-Fakhirah. Jami belonged to the Naqshbandi Sufi order.

Pantheon has 57 people classified as writers born between 724 and 1978. Of these 57, 9 (15.79%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Cassandra Clare, Kader Abdolah, and Bahram Beyzai. The most famous deceased writers include Ismail I, Hafez, and Abu Nuwas. As of April 2022, 3 new writers have been added to Pantheon including Mastoureh Ardalan, Ahmad NikTalab, and Ruhollah Zam.

Living Writers

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Deceased Writers

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Newly Added Writers (2022)

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Which Writers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Writers since 1700.