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The Most Famous

WRITERS from Spain

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This page contains a list of the greatest Spanish Writers. The pantheon dataset contains 5,755 Writers, 213 of which were born in Spain. This makes Spain the birth place of the 7th most number of Writers behind Russia and Italy.

Top 10

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

Photo of Miguel de Cervantes

1. Miguel de Cervantes (1547 - 1616)

With an HPI of 84.65, Miguel de Cervantes is the most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 170 different languages on wikipedia.

Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (Spanish: [miˈɣel de θeɾˈβantes saaˈβeðɾa]; 29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616 NS) was an Early Modern Spanish writer widely regarded as the greatest writer in the Spanish language and one of the world's pre-eminent novelists. He is best known for his novel Don Quixote, a work often cited as both the first modern novel and "the first great novel of world literature". A 2002 poll of around 100 well-known authors voted it the "most meaningful book of all time", from among the "best and most central works in world literature".Much of his life was spent in poverty and obscurity, which led to many of his early works being lost. Despite this, his influence and literary contribution are reflected by the fact that Spanish is often referred to as "the language of Cervantes". In 1569, Cervantes was forced to leave Spain and move to Rome, where he worked in the household of a cardinal. In 1570, he enlisted in a Spanish Navy infantry regiment, and was badly wounded at the Battle of Lepanto in October 1571. He served as a soldier until 1575, when he was captured by Barbary pirates; after five years in captivity, he was ransomed, and returned to Madrid. His first significant novel, titled La Galatea, was published in 1585, but he continued to work as a purchasing agent, and later as government tax collector. Part One of Don Quixote was published in 1605, and Part Two in 1615. Other works include the 12 Novelas ejemplares (Exemplary Novels); a long poem, the Viaje del Parnaso (Journey to Parnassus); and Ocho comedias y ocho entremeses (Eight Plays and Eight Interludes). Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda (The Travails of Persiles and Sigismunda), was published posthumously in 1616.

Photo of Federico García Lorca

2. Federico García Lorca (1898 - 1936)

With an HPI of 75.99, Federico García Lorca is the 2nd most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 104 different languages.

Federico del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús García Lorca (5 June 1898 – 19 August 1936), known as Federico García Lorca (English: gar-SEE-ə LOR-kə), was a Spanish poet, playwright, and theatre director. García Lorca achieved international recognition as an emblematic member of the Generation of '27, a group consisting mostly of poets who introduced the tenets of European movements (such as symbolism, futurism, and surrealism) into Spanish literature.He initially rose to fame with Romancero gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928), a book of poems depicting life in his native Andalusia. His poetry incorporated traditional Andalusian motifs and avant-garde styles. After a sojourn in New York City from 1929 to 1930—documented posthumously in Poeta en Nueva York (Poet in New York, 1942)—-he returned to Spain and wrote his best-known plays, Blood Wedding (1932), Yerma (1934), and The House of Bernarda Alba (1936). García Lorca was gay and suffered from depression after the end of his relationship with sculptor Emilio Aladrén Perojo. García Lorca had a close emotional relationship for a time with Salvador Dalí, who said he rejected García Lorca's sexual advances. García Lorca was assassinated by Nationalist forces at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. His remains have never been found, and the motive remains in dispute; some theorize he was targeted for being gay, a socialist, or both, while others view a personal dispute as the more likely cause.

Photo of Lope de Vega

3. Lope de Vega (1562 - 1635)

With an HPI of 73.14, Lope de Vega is the 3rd most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 94 different languages.

Félix Lope de Vega y Carpio ( LOH-pay dee VAY-gə, Spanish: [ˈfeliɣz ˈlope ðe ˈβeɣa i ˈkaɾpjo]; 25 November 1562 – 27 August 1635) was a Spanish playwright, poet, and novelist. He was one of the key figures in the Spanish Golden Age of Baroque literature. His reputation in the world of Spanish literature is second only to that of Miguel de Cervantes, while the sheer volume of his literary output is unequalled, making him one of the most prolific authors in the history of literature. He was nicknamed "The Phoenix of Wits" and "Monster of Nature" (in Spanish: Fénix de los Ingenios, Monstruo de Naturaleza) by Cervantes because of his prolific nature. Lope de Vega renewed the Spanish theatre at a time when it was starting to become a mass cultural phenomenon. He defined its key characteristics, and along with Pedro Calderón de la Barca and Tirso de Molina, took Spanish Baroque theatre to its greatest heights. Because of the insight, depth and ease of his plays, he is regarded as one of the greatest dramatists in Western literature, his plays still being produced worldwide. He was also considered one of the best lyric poets in the Spanish language and wrote several novels. Although not well known in the English-speaking world, his plays were presented in England as early as the 1660s, when diarist Samuel Pepys recorded having attended some adaptations and translations of them, although he omits to mention the author. Some 3,000 sonnets, three novels, four novellas, nine epic poems, and about 500 plays are attributed to him. Although he has been criticised for putting quantity ahead of quality, nevertheless at least 80 of his plays are considered masterpieces. He was a friend of the writer Francisco de Quevedo and an arch-enemy of the dramatist Juan Ruiz de Alarcón. The volume of his lifework made him envied by not only contemporary authors such as Cervantes and Luis de Góngora, but also by many others: for instance, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once wished he had been able to produce such a vast and colourful oeuvre.

Photo of Quintilian

4. Quintilian (35 - 96)

With an HPI of 72.72, Quintilian is the 4th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (Latin: [kᶣiːntɪliˈaːnʊs]; c. 35 – c. 100 AD) was a Roman educator and rhetorician born in Hispania, widely referred to in medieval schools of rhetoric and in Renaissance writing. In English translation, he is usually referred to as Quintilian (), although the alternate spellings of Quintillian and Quinctilian are occasionally seen, the latter in older texts.

Photo of Pedro Calderón de la Barca

5. Pedro Calderón de la Barca (1600 - 1681)

With an HPI of 71.61, Pedro Calderón de la Barca is the 5th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 81 different languages.

Pedro Calderón de la Barca y Barreda González de Henao Ruiz de Blasco y Riaño (UK: , US: ; Spanish: [ˈpeðɾo kaldeˈɾon de la ˈβaɾka]; 17 January 1600 – 25 May 1681) was a Spanish dramatist, poet, writer and knight of the Order of Santiago. He is known as one of the most distinguished Baroque writers of the Spanish Golden Age, especially for his plays. Calderón de la Barca was born in Madrid, where he spent most of his life. He was born on a boat in the Manzanares river, thus the name "de la Barca" added to his father's last name. During his life, he served as soldier and he was a Roman Catholic priest. Born when the Spanish Golden Age theatre was being defined by Lope de Vega, he developed it further, his work being regarded as the culmination of the Spanish Baroque theatre. As such, he is regarded as one of Spain's foremost dramatists and one of the finest playwrights of world literature.

Photo of Bartolomé de las Casas

6. Bartolomé de las Casas (1484 - 1566)

With an HPI of 70.96, Bartolomé de las Casas is the 6th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Bartolomé de las Casas, OP (US: lahs KAH-səs; Spanish: [baɾtoloˈme ðe las ˈkasas] (listen); 11 November 1484 – 18 July 1566) was a 16th-century Spanish landowner, friar, priest, and bishop, famed as a historian and social reformer. He arrived in Hispaniola as a layman then became a Dominican friar and priest. He was appointed as the first resident Bishop of Chiapas, and the first officially appointed "Protector of the Indians". His extensive writings, the most famous being A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies and Historia de Las Indias, chronicle the first decades of colonization of the West Indies. He described the atrocities committed by the colonizers against the indigenous peoples.Arriving as one of the first Spanish (and European) settlers in the Americas, Las Casas initially participated in, but eventually felt compelled to oppose, the abuses committed by colonists against the Native Americans. As a result, in 1515 he gave up his Native American slaves and encomienda, and advocated, before Charles V, on behalf of rights for the natives. In his early writings, he advocated the use of African and white slaves instead of Natives in the West Indian colonies but did so without knowing that the Portuguese were carrying out "brutal and unjust wars in the name of spreading the faith". Later in life, he retracted this position, as he regarded both forms of slavery as equally wrong. In 1522, he tried to launch a new kind of peaceful colonialism on the coast of Venezuela, but this venture failed. Las Casas entered the Dominican Order and became a friar, leaving public life for a decade. He traveled to Central America, acting as a missionary among the Maya of Guatemala and participating in debates among colonial churchmen about how best to bring the natives to the Christian faith. Travelling back to Spain to recruit more missionaries, he continued lobbying for the abolition of the encomienda, gaining an important victory by the passage of the New Laws in 1542. He was appointed Bishop of Chiapas, but served only for a short time before he was forced to return to Spain because of resistance to the New Laws by the encomenderos, and conflicts with Spanish settlers because of his pro-Indian policies and activist religious stance. He served in the Spanish court for the remainder of his life; there he held great influence over Indies-related issues. In 1550, he participated in the Valladolid debate, in which Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda argued that the Indians were less than human, and required Spanish masters to become civilized. Las Casas maintained that they were fully human, and that forcefully subjugating them was unjustifiable. Bartolomé de las Casas spent 50 years of his life actively fighting slavery and the colonial abuse of indigenous peoples, especially by trying to convince the Spanish court to adopt a more humane policy of colonization. Unlike some other priests who sought to destroy the indigenous peoples' native books and writings, he strictly opposed this action. Although he did not completely succeed in changing Spanish views on colonization, his efforts did result in improvement of the legal status of the natives, and in an increased colonial focus on the ethics of colonialism.

Photo of Alfonso X of Castile

7. Alfonso X of Castile (1221 - 1284)

With an HPI of 70.64, Alfonso X of Castile is the 7th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 57 different languages.

Alfonso X (also known as the Wise, Spanish: el Sabio; 23 November 1221 – 4 April 1284) was King of Castile, León and Galicia from 30 May 1252 until his death in 1284. During the election of 1257, a dissident faction chose him to be king of Germany on 1 April. He renounced his claim to Germany in 1275, and in creating an alliance with the Kingdom of England in 1254, his claim on the Duchy of Gascony as well. Alfonso X fostered the development of a cosmopolitan court that encouraged learning. Jews, Muslims, and Christians were encouraged to have prominent roles in his court. As a result of his encouraging the translation of works from Arabic and Latin into the vernacular of Castile, many intellectual changes took place, including the encouragement of the use of Castilian as a primary language of higher learning, science, and law. Alfonso was a prolific author of Galician poetry, such as the Cantigas de Santa Maria, which are equally notable for their musical content as for their literary merit. Alfonso's scientific interests—he is sometimes nicknamed the Astrologer (el Astrólogo)—led him to sponsor the creation of the Alfonsine tables, and the Alphonsus crater on the moon is named after him. He also sponsored the work of historians, who for the first time placed Spain—he would have called it that—in the context of world history. As a lawmaker he introduced the first vernacular law code in Castile, the Siete Partidas. He created the Mesta, an association of sheep farmers in the central plain, but debased the coinage to finance his claim to the German crown. He fought a successful war with Portugal, but a less successful one with Granada. The end of his reign was marred by a civil war with his eldest surviving son, the future Sancho IV, which continued after his death.

Photo of Lucan

8. Lucan (39 - 65)

With an HPI of 69.91, Lucan is the 8th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus (3 November 39 AD – 30 April 65 AD), better known in English as Lucan (), was a Roman poet, born in Corduba (modern-day Córdoba), in Hispania Baetica. He is regarded as one of the outstanding figures of the Imperial Latin period, known in particular for his epic Pharsalia. His youth and speed of composition set him apart from other poets.

Photo of Martial

9. Martial (40 - 104)

With an HPI of 67.88, Martial is the 9th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 51 different languages.

Marcus Valerius Martialis (known in English as Martial ; March, between 38 and 41 AD – between 102 and 104 AD) was a Roman poet born in Hispania (modern Spain) best known for his twelve books of Epigrams, published in Rome between AD 86 and 103, during the reigns of the emperors Domitian, Nerva and Trajan. In these short, witty poems he cheerfully satirises city life and the scandalous activities of his acquaintances, and romanticises his provincial upbringing. He wrote a total of 1,561 epigrams, of which 1,235 are in elegiac couplets. Martial has been called the greatest Latin epigrammatist, and is considered the creator of the modern epigram.

Photo of Seneca the Elder

10. Seneca the Elder (-54 - 39)

With an HPI of 67.34, Seneca the Elder is the 10th most famous Spanish Writer.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Elder (; c. 54 BC – c. 39 AD), also known as Seneca the Rhetorician, was a Roman writer, born of a wealthy equestrian family of Corduba, Hispania. He wrote a collection of reminiscences about the Roman schools of rhetoric, six books of which are extant in a more or less complete state and five others in epitome only. His principal work, a history of Roman affairs from the beginning of the Civil Wars until the last years of his life, is almost entirely lost to posterity. Seneca lived through the reigns of three significant emperors; Augustus (ruled 27 BC – 14 AD), Tiberius (ruled 14–37 AD) and Caligula (ruled 37–41 AD). He was the father of Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeanus, best known as a Proconsul of Achaia; his second son was the dramatist and Stoic philosopher Seneca the Younger (Lucius), who was tutor of Nero, and his third son, Marcus Annaeus Mela, became the father of the poet Lucan.

Pantheon has 213 people classified as writers born between 64 BC and 1986. Of these 213, 35 (16.43%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living writers include Fernando Arrabal, Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and Jaume Cabré. The most famous deceased writers include Miguel de Cervantes, Federico García Lorca, and Lope de Vega. As of April 2022, 13 new writers have been added to Pantheon including José Luis de Vilallonga, 9th Marquess of Castellbell, Moses ibn Ezra, and Émile Henry.

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.