The Most Famous

WRITERS from Poland

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This page contains a list of the greatest Polish Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 7,302 Writers, 144 of which were born in Poland. This makes Poland the birth place of the 8th most number of Writers behind Italy, and Spain.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Polish Writers of all time. This list of famous Polish 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 Polish Writers.

Photo of Günter Grass

1. Günter Grass (1927 - 2015)

With an HPI of 75.19, Günter Grass is the most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 111 different languages on wikipedia.

Günter Wilhelm Grass (German: [ˈɡʏntɐ ˈɡʁas] ; 16 October 1927 – 13 April 2015) was a German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor, and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Literature.He was born in the Free City of Danzig (now Gdańsk, Poland). At age 17, he was drafted into the military and served from late 1944 in the Waffen-SS. He was taken as a prisoner of war by US forces at the end of the war in May 1945. He was released in April 1946. Trained as a stonemason and sculptor, Grass began writing in the 1950s. In his fiction, he frequently returned to the Danzig of his childhood. Grass is best known for his first novel, The Tin Drum (1959), a key text in European magic realism. It was the first book of his Danzig Trilogy, the other two being Cat and Mouse and Dog Years. His works are frequently considered to have a left-wing political dimension, and Grass was an active supporter of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The Tin Drum was adapted as a film of the same name, which won both the 1979 Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. In 1999, the Swedish Academy awarded Grass the Nobel Prize in Literature, praising him as a writer "whose frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history".

Photo of Adam Mickiewicz

2. Adam Mickiewicz (1798 - 1855)

With an HPI of 75.16, Adam Mickiewicz is the 2nd most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 90 different languages.

Adam Bernard Mickiewicz (24 December 1798 – 26 November 1855) was a Polish poet, dramatist, essayist, publicist, translator and political activist. He is regarded as national poet in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus. He also largely influenced Ukrainian literature. A principal figure in Polish Romanticism, he is one of Poland's "Three Bards" (Polish: Trzej Wieszcze) and is widely regarded as Poland's greatest poet. He is also considered one of the greatest Slavic and European poets and has been dubbed a "Slavic bard". A leading Romantic dramatist, he has been compared in Poland and Europe to Byron and Goethe.He is known chiefly for the poetic drama Dziady (Forefathers' Eve) and the national epic poem Pan Tadeusz. His other influential works include Konrad Wallenrod and Grażyna. All these served as inspiration for uprisings against the three imperial powers that had partitioned the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth out of existence. Mickiewicz was born in the Russian-partitioned territories of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which had been part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and was active in the struggle to win independence for his home region. After, as a consequence, spending five years exiled to central Russia, in 1829 he succeeded in leaving the Russian Empire and, like many of his compatriots, lived out the rest of his life abroad. He settled first in Rome, then in Paris, where for a little over three years he lectured on Slavic literature at the Collège de France. He was an activist, striving for a democratic and independent Poland. He died, probably of cholera, at Istanbul in the Ottoman Empire, where he had gone to help organize Polish forces to fight Russia in the Crimean War. In 1890, his remains were repatriated from Montmorency, Val-d'Oise, in France, to Wawel Cathedral in Kraków, Poland.

Photo of Wisława Szymborska

3. Wisława Szymborska (1923 - 2012)

With an HPI of 73.31, Wisława Szymborska is the 3rd most famous Polish Writer.  Her biography has been translated into 99 different languages.

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska (Polish: [viˈswava ʂɨmˈbɔrska]; 2 July 1923 – 1 February 2012) was a Polish poet, essayist, translator, and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent (now part of Kórnik in west-central Poland), she resided in Kraków until the end of her life. In Poland, Szymborska's books have reached sales rivaling prominent prose authors', though she wrote in a poem, "Some Like Poetry" ("Niektórzy lubią poezję"), that "perhaps" two in a thousand people like poetry.Szymborska was awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality". She became better known internationally as a result. Her work has been translated into many European languages, as well as into Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, Persian and Chinese.

Photo of Janusz Korczak

4. Janusz Korczak (1878 - 1942)

With an HPI of 72.89, Janusz Korczak is the 4th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 55 different languages.

Janusz Korczak, the pen name of Henryk Goldszmit (22 July 1878 or 1879 – 7 August 1942), was a Polish Jewish pediatrician, educator, children's author and pedagogue known as Pan Doktor ("Mr. Doctor") or Stary Doktor ("Old Doctor"). He was an early children's rights advocate, in 1919 drafting a children's constitution. After spending many years working as a principal of an orphanage in Warsaw, he refused sanctuary repeatedly and stayed with his orphans when the entire population of the institution was sent from the ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp during the Grossaktion Warschau of 1942.

Photo of Isaac Bashevis Singer

5. Isaac Bashevis Singer (1902 - 1991)

With an HPI of 72.00, Isaac Bashevis Singer is the 5th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 90 different languages.

Isaac Bashevis Singer (Yiddish: יצחק באַשעװיס זינגער; 1904 – July 24, 1991) was a Polish-born Jewish-American novelist, short-story writer, memoirist, essayist, and translator. Some of his works were adapted for the theater. He wrote and published first in Yiddish and later translated his own works into English with the help of editors and collaborators. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978. A leading figure in the Yiddish literary movement, he was awarded two U.S. National Book Awards, one in Children's Literature for his memoir A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw (1970) and one in Fiction for his collection A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories (1974).

Photo of Henryk Sienkiewicz

6. Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846 - 1916)

With an HPI of 71.92, Henryk Sienkiewicz is the 6th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 98 different languages.

Henryk Adam Aleksander Pius Sienkiewicz (US: shen-KYAY-vitch, -⁠KYEV-itch, Polish: [ˈxɛnrɨk ˈadam alɛkˈsandɛr ˈpjus ɕɛnˈkʲɛvit͡ʂ]; 5 May 1846 – 15 November 1916), also known by the pseudonym Litwos (Polish pronunciation: [ˈlitfɔs]), was an epic Polish writer. He is remembered for his historical novels, such as the Trilogy series and especially for his internationally known best-seller Quo Vadis (1896). Born into an impoverished Polish noble family in Russian-ruled Congress Poland, in the late 1860s he began publishing journalistic and literary pieces. In the late 1870s he traveled to the United States, sending back travel essays that won him popularity with Polish readers. In the 1880s he began serializing novels that further increased his popularity. He soon became one of the most popular Polish writers of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, and numerous translations gained him international renown, culminating in his receipt of the 1905 Nobel Prize in Literature for his "outstanding merits as an epic writer." Many of his novels remain in print. In Poland he is known for his "Trilogy" of historical novels – With Fire and Sword, The Deluge, and Sir Michael – set in the 17th-century Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth; internationally he is known for Quo Vadis, set in Nero's Rome. The Trilogy and Quo Vadis have been filmed, the latter several times, with Hollywood's 1951 version receiving the most international recognition.

Photo of Gerhart Hauptmann

7. Gerhart Hauptmann (1862 - 1946)

With an HPI of 70.51, Gerhart Hauptmann is the 7th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 99 different languages.

Gerhart Johann Robert Hauptmann (German: [ˈɡeːɐ̯.haʁt ˈhaʊ̯ptˌman] ; 15 November 1862 – 6 June 1946) was a German dramatist and novelist. He is counted among the most important promoters of literary naturalism, though he integrated other styles into his work as well. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1912.

Photo of Andrzej Sapkowski

8. Andrzej Sapkowski (b. 1948)

With an HPI of 67.96, Andrzej Sapkowski is the 8th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 53 different languages.

Andrzej Sapkowski (Polish: [ˈandʐɛj sapˈkɔfskʲi]; born 21 June 1948) is a Polish fantasy writer, essayist, translator and a trained economist. He is best known for his six-volume series of books The Witcher, which revolves around the eponymous "witcher," a monster-hunter, Geralt of Rivia. It began with the publication of Sword of Destiny (1992), and was completed with the publication of standalone prequel novel Season of Storms (2013). The saga has been popularized through television, stage, comic books, video games and translated into 37 languages making him the second most-translated Polish science fiction and fantasy writer after Stanisław Lem.He was born in Łódź and initially pursued a career as an economist after graduating from the University of Łódź. He turned to writing, first as a translator and later as an author of fantasy books, following the success of his first short story The Witcher published in 1986 in the Fantastyka magazine. Described as the "Polish Tolkien", he wrote ten novels and eight short story collections, which sold over 30 million copies worldwide. The influence of Slavic mythology is seen as a characteristic feature of many of his works. He is a five-time recipient of the Zajdel Award, Poland's most popular science fiction and fantasy prize, as well as many other awards and honors including David Gemmell Award, World Fantasy Life Achievement Award and the Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.

Photo of Władysław Reymont

9. Władysław Reymont (1867 - 1925)

With an HPI of 65.76, Władysław Reymont is the 9th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 85 different languages.

Władysław Stanisław Reymont (Polish: [vwaˈdɨswaf ˈɾɛjmɔnt], born Rejment; 7 May 1867 – 5 December 1925) was a Polish novelist and the laureate of the 1924 Nobel Prize in Literature. His best-known work is the award-winning four-volume novel Chłopi (The Peasants). Born into an impoverished noble family, Reymont was educated to become a master tailor, but instead worked as a gateman at a railway station and then as an actor in a troupe. His intensive travels and voyages encouraged him to publish short stories, with notions of literary realism. Reymont's first successful and widely praised novel was The Promised Land from 1899, which brought attention to the bewildering social inequalities, poverty, conflictive multiculturalism and labour exploitation in the industrial city of Łódź (Lodz). The aim of the novel was to extensively emphasize the consequences of extreme industrialization and how it affects society as a whole. In 1900, Reymont was severely injured in a railway accident, which halted his writing career until 1904 when he published the first part of Chłopi. Władysław Reymont was popular in communist Poland due to his style of writing and the symbolism he used, including socialist concepts, romantic portrayal of the agrarian countryside and toned criticism of capitalism, all present in literary realism. His work is widely attributed to the Young Poland movement, which featured decadence and literary impressionism.

Photo of Osip Mandelstam

10. Osip Mandelstam (1891 - 1938)

With an HPI of 65.73, Osip Mandelstam is the 10th most famous Polish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 58 different languages.

Osip Emilyevich Mandelstam (Russian: Осип Эмильевич Мандельштам, IPA: [ˈosʲɪp ɨˈmʲilʲjɪvʲɪtɕ mənʲdʲɪlʲˈʂtam]; 14 January [O.S. 2 January] 1891 – 27 December 1938) was a Russian and Soviet poet. He was one of the foremost members of the Acmeist school. Osip Mandelstam was arrested during the repressions of the 1930s and sent into internal exile with his wife, Nadezhda Mandelstam. Given a reprieve of sorts, they moved to Voronezh in southwestern Russia. In 1938, Mandelstam was arrested again and sentenced to five years in a corrective-labour camp in the Soviet Far East. He died that year at a transit camp near Vladivostok.


Pantheon has 156 people classified as Polish writers born between 1415 and 1983. Of these 156, 12 (7.69%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living Polish writers include Andrzej Sapkowski, Olga Tokarczuk, and Adam Michnik. The most famous deceased Polish writers include Günter Grass, Adam Mickiewicz, and Wisława Szymborska. As of April 2024, 14 new Polish writers have been added to Pantheon including Maria Wirtemberska, Jan Chryzostom Pasek, and Karl Wilhelm Ramler.

Living Polish Writers

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Deceased Polish Writers

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Newly Added Polish Writers (2024)

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Overlapping Lives

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