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List of prolific writers

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Some writers have had prolific careers with hundreds of their works being published. While some best-selling authors have written a small number of books that have sold millions of copies, others have had lengthy careers and maintained a high level of output year after year. Dame Agatha Christie, the most-published novelist in history, is estimated to have sold 4 billion books, having written 69 novels and 19 plays.[1] Her works were published between 1920 and 1976, equating to around three publications every two years. Dame Barbara Cartland has also sold millions of copies of her books but wrote many more than Christie. She spent 80 years as a novelist with 722 books published, averaging one book released every 40 days of her career.[2] While Cartland wrote a significant number of full-length novels, other authors have been published many more times but have specialised in short stories. Spanish author Corín Tellado wrote over 4,000 novellas, selling 400 million copies of her books.[3]

Not all authors work alone. Groups of writers, sometimes led by one central figure, have published under shared pseudonyms. The Stratemeyer Syndicate, started by Edward Stratemeyer in 1905, created numerous book series including 190 volumes of The Hardy Boys and 175 volumes of Nancy Drew. More than 1,300 books were published by the group, and although Edward L. Stratemeyer wrote several hundred, he also employed ghostwriters to keep up with the demand. These writers were given storylines and strict guidelines to follow to ensure a level of consistency within each series. Amongst the writing team was Howard R. Garis, who contributed several hundred books to the collection, one of the most active authors. Sales were estimated at over two hundred million copies before the syndicate was sold to Simon & Schuster in 1984.[4]

Prolific writers[edit]

Name Language Birth Death First publication Last publication Published works Notes
Corín Tellado Spanish 25 April 1927 11 April 2009 1946 2006 4000+[3] She wrote over 4000 novellas and magazine's short stories. She was listed in the 1994 Guinness World Records as having sold the most books written in Spanish, and earlier in 1962 UNESCO declared her the most read Spanish writer after Miguel de Cervantes.
Warren Murphy English 13 September 1933 4 September 2015 107+[5] He co-authored (with Richard Sapir) wrote over 100 novels in "The Destroyer" Series. It centered on a US Secret Agency, called "The Cure" and their agent, a martial artist named Remo Williams. Most novels were social commentary. After Murphy and Sapir died, ghost writers continued the series. Over 150 novels were written, not including the movie script, entitled "Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins".
Rolf Kalmuczak German 17 April 1938 10 March 2007 2900+[6] More than 100 pseudonyms[7]
Lope de Vega Spanish 25 November 1562 27 August 1635 2200~[8] Playwright
François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) French 21 November 1694 30 May 1778 1718 1778 2000+ Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.
Nicolae Iorga Romanian etc. 17 January 1871 27 November 1940 1886~ 1940 1,359[9] Another count has "1300 volumes and 25000 articles"[10]
Mohammad Shirazi Arabic and Persian 1928 2001 1953~ 2001 1,300[11] He made contributions in various fields ranging from jurisprudence and theology to politics, economics, law, sociology and human rights.
Charles Hamilton
English 8 August 1876 24 December 1961 1894 1961 1,200 Estimated to have written 100,000,000 words using around 20 pseudonyms, primarily for boys' weekly magazines, including public-school stories[12]
L. Ron Hubbard English 13 March 1911 24 January 1986 1934 1987 1,084 Science fiction, adventure, westerns, mystery, religion.
Ryoki Inoue Portuguese 22 July 1946 Living 1986 1000+ Brazilian surgeon turned pulp novel author, acknowledged by Guinness as world's most prolific writer.[13] Wrote almost a thousand novels in 6 years, under his own name or 39 pseudonyms.[14]
Manuel Jacinto Coelho Portuguese 30 December 1903 13 January 1991 1935 1991 1,000 Brazilian leader of a religion called Cultura Racional ("Rational Culture"). For 56 years, he wrote a one-thousand-volume encyclopedia called Universo em Desencanto ("Disenchanting Universe"), which covers a very wide range of subjects.
Prentiss Ingraham English 28 December 1843 16 August 1904 1,000[15] Wrote around 600 novels and 400 novelettes
Antonio Vera Ramírez Spanish 2 July 1934 1958 1,000 He wrote 500 novels in Brigitte Montford Series and other 500 novels by other genders.
Jacob Neusner
English 28 July 1932 8 October 2016 1962 950+
Lauran Paine English 25 February 1916 1 December 2001 900+[16]
Kathleen Lindsay English 1903 1973 900+[17] 11 pseudonyms[17]
Ishtiaq Ahmed Urdu 1944 17 November 2015 1972 Continuous 800+ Spy thriller crime series
Edwy S. Brooks English 11 November 1889 2 December 1965 1907 1966 800+[18] Brooks published his first short story, in July 1907, when he was seventeen.
Juan Lozano Rico [es] Spanish 1933 1952 1983 800+ He wrote over 800 novellas mainly under the pseudonym of Carlos de Santander.
Enid Blyton English 11 August 1897 28 November 1968 1922 1968 762 Children's literature, adventure, mystery, fantasy.
István Nemere
Hungarian 8 November 1944 Living 1974 732[19] Science fiction, crime, historical, mystery, romance, and more.
Barbara Cartland
English 9 July 1901 21 May 2000 1923 722[2] Holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels (23) written in a single year
Paul Little English 1915 1987 700+[20] Many pseudonyms
Jallaludin Suyuti Arabic 1445 1505 700 Islamic Ideological Books, Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer Works including a six volume Tafseer and a three volume tafseer
John Creasey English 17 September 1908 9 June 1973 600+[21] More than 10 pseudonyms
Isaac Asimov
English 2 January 1920a 6 April 1992 506[22] plus The Return of the Black Widowers / 513[23] Published in 9 of the 10 Dewey Decimal System categories[24]
Howard R. Garis
English 25 April 1873 6 November 1962 500+[17] Member of the Stratemeyer Syndicate
Ursula Bloom English 1892 1984 1922 500+[25]
Georges Simenon French 13 February 1903 4 September 1989 1921 500+[17]
Chico Xavier Portuguese 2 April 1910 30 June 2002 1932 500+ Brazilian spiritist medium whose works are attributed to be psychographies written by spirits. He wrote over 500 books in many different areas of knowledge.
S Rob English 22 February 1975 2013 500+ Mostly occultism, magick rituals books. The author of more occult books than anyone in history. Published by a range of publishers including Finbarr books, deamonic dreams, solar vision publishing etc...
Kyokutei Bakin Japanese 4 July 1767 1 December 1848 470[26]
Józef Ignacy Kraszewski Polish 28 February 1812 1887 350+ 200+ novels and 150 novellas, short stories, and art reviews
R. L. Stine English 8 October 1943 Living 1992 330+ [27] The best-selling children's author of all time as of 2004, Stine estimates that he has over 330 children's books,[27] including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. At one time he produced one book a month for each of those series.[28] Stine has also written many books under the pseudonyms Jovial Bob Stine[29] and Eric Affabee.[30]
L. T. Meade English 1854 1914 300+
Meish Goldish English Unknown Living 1989? 300+ Mostly books for schoolchildren
Alexandre Dumas French 24 July 1802 5 December 1870 277[2]
Surender Mohan Pathak Hindi 19 February 1940 Living 1959 250+[31] Wrote over 250 novellas in crime fiction in India. He is known as a Grand Master of Hindi crime fiction. He has been writing for almost 50 years; his first short story was published in 1959 at the age of 19.
Muhammad Muhiyyudin Ibn ul Arabi Arabic 26 July 1165 8 November 1240 240 Mystical Islamic Books e.g. A 7 volume Futuhat e Makkiya
Andrew Murray English 9 May 1828 18 January 1917 1907 1966 240[32] Mostly Christian devotional books.
Wolfgang Hohlbein German 15 August 1953 Living 1982 (Active) 220+[33] Fantasy novels
Terrance Dicks English 10 May 1935 29 August 2019 1974 223 Mainly children's books. Includes 75+ based on the television series Doctor Who, for which he was a former script editor.
Jacob M. Appel
English 21 February 1973 Living 1998 200+ Has also received 21,000 rejection letters.[34]
Annie Shepherd Swan English 8 July 1859 17 June 1943 1878 1943 200+[35][36][37][38] Wrote novels, serials, short stories and other works of fiction
Nora Roberts English 10 October 1950 Living 1981 (Active) 200+[39] Romance novels, published under at least four different names
Abu Hamid Al Ghazali Arabic 1058 1111 200 Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer
Angel Canann English Living Living 2016 170+ A bestselling ghostwriter of fiction and non-fiction in several genres including fantasy fiction, sci-fi, romance, supernatural, self-help, biographies, and more.

Only one book[40] has been published under the author's true name. All other books written by and for this author have been published under pseudonyms; the most well known being Dash Hoffman. The first Dash Hoffman book was written as the result of a viral meme. This author wrote the first 170+ novels within a six and a half year period and continues to write.

Charles Garvice
English 24 August 1850 1 March 1920 150+[41]
Darya Dontsova Russian 7 June 1952 Living 140+[42] A bestselling Russian author of detective novels and kitchen books.
Dr. Krishna N. Sharma English and Hindi 24 December 1984 Living 2005 (Active) 132 as of 2017[43][44][45] He writes books on health, medical, music and literature.
Mihail Sadoveanu Romanian 5 November 1880 19 October 1961 1904 1952 120[46] The count covers novels and short story collections
  • Authors with more than 100 books are considered for inclusion.

^a Asimov celebrated his birthday on 2 January but his true date of birth is unclear.

Other notable writers[edit]

  • John Neal is known by historians and was famous in his day for the speed with which he wrote: 6 novels published in 8 years (1817-1825) while engaged in law study, law practice, and making prolific contributions to various magazines, 4 of those novels being published within 2 years (1822-1823): 680 pages in 6–8 weeks, 685 pages in 36 days, 689 pages in 39 days, and 328 pages in 27 days.[47]
  • Augustine of Hippo wrote over five million words.[48]
  • Lin Ching-hsuan claimed that he wrote more than 170 books and had 298 publications.[49][50]
  • Ni Kuang has written over 300 Chinese-language wuxia and science fiction novels, and more than 400 film scripts.
  • Zhang Henshui published more than 100 novels in his 50 years of fiction writing.
  • Evelyn Everett-Green wrote about 350 books: more than 200 of them under her own name, and others using pen names.
  • Sophocles – wrote 123 plays of which only 7 survive today[2]
  • Leibniz about 15,000 letters to more than 1000 recipients plus more than 40,000 other items
  • Bertrand Russell over 30,000 letters, thousands of articles published in nearly 100 books
  • Robert Boyle no complete count, but an incomplete subset filled a huge 14 volume hardback bound compilation set in 2000
  • Elizabeth Linington at 80 books under 4 names, also considered a prolific writer
  • H.P. Lovecraft over 100,000 letters, some of them up to 70 pages in length.
  • Charles Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns.[51]
  • H. G. Wells can be considered a prolific writer.
  • Noam Chomsky is the author of over 100 books on many topics.
  • Gene Wolfe is a prolific short-story writer and novelist.
  • Napoléon I, Emperor of the French, wrote more than 40 000 letters; published from 2004 to 2018 in 15 volumes.[52]

See also[edit]

  • Book series
  • List of best-selling fiction authors


  1. Fleming, Michael. Agatha Christie gets a clue for filmmakers. Variety. 14 February 2000. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Womack, Philip. Being a prolific author isn't a bad thing. The Telegraph. 25 October 2010. Accessed 22 September 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Corín Tellado: Spanish romantic writer". The Sunday Times. 18 April 2009. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2017. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)(subscription required)
  4. Woodmansee, Martha. Osteen, Mark. The new economic criticism: studies at the intersection of literature and economics. Routledge. 1999. p. 11.
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Murphy
  6. Obituary by Kalmuczak's German publisher: "Wir trauern um Rolf Kalmuczak" (in Deutsch). Random House / cbj. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  7. "Rolf Kalmuczak". German National Library catalogue (in Deutsch). Retrieved 27 February 2012.
  8. Warner, Charles Dudley (2008). A Library of the World's Best Literature – Ancient and Modern, Volume XXXVIII: Vazoff-Wesley. Cosimo, Inc. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  9. Iova, Victor. N. Iorga: Istoria lui Mihai Viteazul (I): "Tabel cronologic". Bucharest: Editura Minerva. 1979 (pg. xxxiv).
  10. Veiga, Francisco. Istoria Gărzii de Fier, 1919–1941: Mistica ultranaţionalismului. Bucharest: Humanitas. 1993 (pg. 69).
  11. [1].
  12. Lofts, W.O.; Adley, D.J. (1970). The Men behind Boys' Fiction. London: Howard Baker. p. 170. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  13. Bahé, Vanessa (14 November 2011). "Erro pode ter dado recorde a escritor Ryoki, que lança livro em Olinda: Médico brasileiro conta que correu para não perder prazo de contratos. Atualmente, ele contabiliza 1.104 livros publicados" [Error may have given record the writer Ryoki, who launches a book in Olinda: Brazilian doctor tells that he ran not to lose contract deadline. He currently counts 1,104 published books.]. G1 (in português). Globo Comunicação e Participações S.A.
  14. "Perfil" [Profile]. Ryoki Inoue (in português). 2013.
  15. Hill, Charlie. "Colonel Prentiss Ingraham". Mississippi Writers and Musicians. Retrieved 23 September 2011.
  16. Varner, Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature. Scarecrow Press. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 Rosen, Judith. David Slavitt Joins the 100 Club at 76. 29 August 2011. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  18. Caldicott, Mark (1995). "Edwy Searles Brooks - Biographical Outline". Archived from the original on 22 July 2011.
  19. http://nemere.hu/konyveim?evszam=igen
  20. Heise, Kenan (23 June 1987). "Paul Little, 72, Author of More Than 700 Novels". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  21. "John Creasey". Owantonna Media. Archived from the original on 2 April 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2011. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  22. Seiler, Edward. "A List of Isaac Asimov's Books". Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  23. http://www.asimovreviews.net/Books/Book512.html
  24. Seiler, Edward (11 July 2014). "Frequently Asked Questions about Isaac Asimov: Did you know that Asimov is the only author to have published books in all ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System?". Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  25. "Ursula Bloom, 1892-1984". Literary Heritage - West Midlands. Shropshire Council. 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  26. "Kyokutei Bakin, 1767 to 1848: Japan's first professional writer". National Diet Library. 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  27. 27.0 27.1 "FAQ". The World of R.L. Stine. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  28. "R. L. Stine". Ohio Reading Road Trip. Greater Dayton Public Television. 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  29. "Jovial Bob Stine Books, Author Biography, and Reading Level | Scholastic". scholastic.com. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  30. "Eric Affabee Book List - FictionDB". fictiondb.com. Retrieved 2018-09-14.
  31. Kaul, Vivek (22 May 2010). "Bollywood's functioning is authoritarian: Surendra Mohan Pathak". Daily News and Analysis (DNA). Mumbai. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  32. Ross, Thomas D. (2014), "Andrew Murray, Keswick / Higher Life Leader: a Biographical Sketch", The Doctrine of Sanctification: An Exegetical Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective, to which is Appended a Historical, Exegetical, and Elenctic Evaluation of Influential Errors, Particularly the Keswick Theology, Great Plains Baptist Divinity School
  33. Mit Buecherserien.de in der richtigen Reihenfolge lesen, retrieved 7 February 2019
  34. Schultze, Emily (19 December 2013), "Sitting on Nails and Staring at the Wall: An Interview with Jacob M. Appel", Fiction Writers Review
  35. Aitken, William Russell. Scottish Literature in English and Scots: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. (pg. 170) ISBN 0-8103-1249-2 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  36. Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8047-1842-3 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png. (pg. 200–201)
  37. Varty, Anne, ed. Eve's Century: A Sourcebook of Writings on Women and Journalism, 1895–1918. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. (pg. 254) ISBN 0-415-19544-6 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  38. Anderson, Carol and Aileen Christianson. Scottish Women's Fiction, 1920s to 1960s: Journeys Into Being. East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 2000. (pg. 165) ISBN 1-86232-082-9 Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png.
  39. Clark, Blanche (30 November 2010), "The $60 million woman", Herald Sun, retrieved 6 December 2010
  40. The Risen Woman. 7 July 2016. ISBN 978-1534987203. |Authors list= missing |1= (help) Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  41. Matter, Laura Sewell (Fall 2007). "Pursuing The Great Bad Novelist". Georgia Review.
  42. Official bibliography (in Russian)
  43. "Dr. Krishna N. Sharma". Amazon.
  44. "Books". http://DrKrishna.co.in. Retrieved 9 July 2017. External link in |work= (help)
  45. "Victoria University Dean of Health Sciences releases his 125th book". Xpress Times Uganda. Archived from the original on 18 February 2019. Retrieved 2017-05-14. Unknown parameter |url-status= ignored (help)
  46. "Books: Rural Life in Ruritania". Time. 22 June 1962. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  47. Sears, Donald A. (1978). John Neal. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers. p. 34. ISBN 080-5-7723-08. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  48. 5,000,000 words: How St. Augustine's works made it into the Middle Ages
  49. 林清玄:从人生的最底层出发
  50. [2]
  51. "BBC - Religions - Christianity: Charles Wesley".
  52. "La Correspondance de Napoléon". Fondation Napoléon (in français). Retrieved 2020-03-10.

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