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]

Authors carefully craft their work, writing and rewriting several times before publication. Some authors simply use pen and paper, while others such as Isaac Asimov spent hours working at a typewriter.[5] Philip M. Parker, by one measure the world's most prolific author, has an entirely different approach. Parker has over 200,000 titles listed on Amazon.com, having developed an algorithm to gather publicly available data and compile it into book form.[6][7] The computer-generated nature of the books is not detailed on the sales page and the books are printed only when ordered.[6]

Prolific writers[edit]

Name Language Birth Death First publication Last publication Published works Notes
Murray, AndrewAndrew Murray English 9 May 1828 18 January 1917 1907 1966 240[8] Mostly Christian devotional books.
Ibn ul Arabi, Muhammad MuhiyyudinMuhammad Muhiyyudin Ibn ul Arabi Arabic 26 July 1165 8 November 1240 240 Mystical Islamic Books e.g. A 7 volume Futuhat e Makkiya
Suyuti, JallaludinJallaludin Suyuti Arabic 1445 1505 700 Islamic Ideological Books, Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer Works including a six volume Tafseer and a three volume tafseer
Hamid Al Ghazali, AbuAbu Hamid Al Ghazali Arabic 1058 1111 200 Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer
Brooks, Edwy S.Edwy S. Brooks English 11 November 1889 2 December 1965 1907 1966 800+[9] Brooks published his first short story, in July 1907, when he was seventeen.
Asimov, IsaacIsaac Asimov
(bibliography)
English 2 January 1920a 6 April 1992 506[10] Published in 9 of the 10 Dewey Decimal System categories[11]
Goldish, MeishMeish Goldish English Unknown Living 1989? 300+ Mostly books for schoolchildren
Bakin, KyokuteiKyokutei Bakin Japanese 4 July 1767 1 December 1848 470[12]
Bloom, UrsulaUrsula Bloom English 1892 1984 1922 500+[13]
Blyton, EnidEnid Blyton
(bibliography)
English 11 August 1897 28 November 1968 600~[2]
Cartland, BarbaraBarbara Cartland
(bibliography)
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
Creasey, JohnJohn Creasey English 17 September 1908 9 June 1973 600+[14] More than 10 pseudonyms
Dicks, TerranceTerrance Dicks English 10 May 1935 Living 1974 666 Mainly children's books. Includes 75+ based on the television series Doctor Who, of which he was a former script editor.
Dontsova, DaryaDarya Dontsova Russian 7 June 1952 Living 140+[15] A bestselling Russian author of detective novels and kitchen books.
Dumas, AlexandreAlexandre Dumas French 24 July 1802 5 December 1870 277[2]
Garis, Howard R.Howard R. Garis
English 25 April 1873 6 November 1962 500+[7] Member of the Stratemeyer Syndicate
Garvice, CharlesCharles Garvice
English 24 August 1850 1 March 1920 150+[16]
Hamilton, CharlesCharles Hamilton
(bibliography)
English 8 August 1876 24 December 1961 1894 1961 1200 Estimated to have written 100,000,000 words using around 20 pseudonyms, equivalent to 1,200 novels[17]
Ingraham, PrentissPrentiss Ingraham English 28 December 1843 16 August 1904 1000+[18] Wrote around 600 novels and 400 novelettes
Iorga, NicolaeNicolae Iorga Romanian etc. 17 January 1871 27 November 1940 1886~ 1940 1359[19] Another count has "1300 volumes and 25000 articles"[20]
Kalmuczak, RolfRolf Kalmuczak German 17 April 1938 10 March 2007 2900+[21] More than 100 pseudonyms[22]
Kraszewski, Józef IgnacyJózef Ignacy Kraszewski Polish 28 February 1812 1887 350+ 200+ novels and 150 novellas, short stories, and art reviews
Lindsay, KathleenKathleen Lindsay English 1903 1973 900+[7] 11 pseudonyms[7]
Little, PaulPaul Little English 1915 1987 700+[23] Many pseudonyms
Meade, L. T.L. T. Meade English 1854 1914 300+
Neusner, JacobJacob Neusner
(bibliography)
English 28 July 1932 Living 1962 950+
Paine, LauranLauran Paine English 25 February 1916 2003 900+[24]
Roberts, NoraNora Roberts English 10 October 1950 Living 1981 (Active) 200+[25] Romance novels, published under at least four different names
Sadoveanu, MihailMihail Sadoveanu Romanian 5 November 1880 19 October 1961 1904 1952 120[26] The count covers novels and short story collections
Shirazi, MohammadMohammad Shirazi Arabic and Persian 1928 2001 1953~ 2001 1061[27] He made contributions in various fields ranging from jurisprudence and theology to politics, economics, law, sociology and human rights.
Simenon, GeorgesGeorges Simenon French 13 February 1903 4 September 1989 1921 500+[7]
Stine, R. L.R. L. Stine English 8 October 1943 Living Hundreds The best-selling children's author of all time as of 2004, Stine has written hundreds of children's books, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. At one time he produced one book a month for each of those series.[28]
Swan, Annie ShepherdAnnie Shepherd Swan English 8 July 1859 17 June 1943 1878 1943 200+[29][30][31][32] Wrote novels, serials, short stories and other works of fiction
Tellado, CorínCorín Tellado Spanish 25 April 1927 11 April 2009 1946 4000+[3] Wrote over 4000 novellas
Pathak, Surender MohanSurender Mohan Pathak Hindi 19 February 1940 Living 1959 250+[33] 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 being published in 1959 at the age of 19.
Vega, Lope deLope de Vega Spanish 25 November 1562 27 August 1635 2200~[34] Playwright
Inoue, RyokiRyoki Inoue Portuguese 22 July 1946 Living 1986 1000+ Brazilian surgeon turned pulp novel author, acknowledged by Guinness as world's most prolific writer.[35] Wrote almost a thousand novels in 6 years, under his own name or 39 pseudonyms.<http://www.ryoki.com.br/tudosobre.htm>
Xavier, ChicoChico Xavier Portuguese 2 April 1910 30 June 2002 1932 450+ Brazilian spiritist medium whose works are attributed to be psycographies written by spirits.
Notes
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]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming, Michael. Agatha Christie gets a clue for filmmakers. Variety. 14 February 2000. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d e Womack, Philip. Being a prolific author isn't a bad thing. The Telegraph. 25 October 2010. Accessed 22 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b Corín Tellado: Spanish romantic writer. The Sunday Times. 18 April 2009. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  4. ^ Woodmansee, Martha. Osteen, Mark. The new economic criticism: studies at the intersection of literature and economics. Routledge. 1999. p. 11.
  5. ^ Nichols, Lewis. Isaac Asimov: Man of 7,560,000 Words. The New York Times. 3 August 1969. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Cohen, Noam. He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work). The New York Times. 14 April 2008. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e Rosen, Judith. David Slavitt Joins the 100 Club at 76. 29 August 2011. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  8. ^ Andrew Murray (minister).
  9. ^ [1].
  10. ^ Seiler, Edward. A List of Isaac Asimov's Books. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  11. ^ http://www.asimovonline.com/asimov_FAQ.html#others11
  12. ^ Japan's first professional writer. National Diet Library. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  13. ^ Ursula Bloom. Shropshire Council. 5 October 2009. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  14. ^ John Creasey. Owantonna Media. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  15. ^ Official bibliography (in Russian)
  16. ^ Laura Sewell Matter, "Pursuing The Great Bad Novelist", Georgia Review, Fall 2007
  17. ^ Lofts, W.O.. Adley, D.J.. The Men behind Boys' Fiction. Howard Baker, London. 1970. pp. 170. Online excerpt.
  18. ^ Hill, Charlie. Col. Prentiss Ingraham, Mississippi Writers. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  19. ^ Iova, Victor. N. Iorga: Istoria lui Mihai Viteazul (I): "Tabel cronologic". Bucharest: Editura Minerva. 1979 (pg. xxxiv).
  20. ^ Veiga, Francisco. Istoria Gărzii de Fier, 1919–1941: Mistica ultranaţionalismului. Bucharest: Humanitas. 1993 (pg. 69).
  21. ^ "Wir trauern um Rolf Kalmuczak" (in German). Random House / cbj. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2012.  Obituary by Kalmuczak's German publisher
  22. ^ "Rolf Kalmuczak". German National Library catalogue (in German). Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  23. ^ Heise, Kenan (23 June 1987). "Paul Little, 72, Author of More Than 700 Novels". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  24. ^ Varner, Paul. Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature. Scarecrow Press. 2010.
  25. ^ Clark, Blanche (30 November 2010), "'The $60 million woman'", Herald Sun, retrieved 6 December 2010 
  26. ^ Books: Rural Life in Ruritania. Time. 22 June 1962. Accessed 25 September 2011.
  27. ^ Full List of Mohammad Shirazi's books.
  28. ^ R. L. Stine, Ohio Reading Road Trip (Greater Dayton Public Television, 2004). Accessed 25 September 2011.
  29. ^ 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
  30. ^ Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8047-1842-3 (pg. 200–201)
  31. ^ 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
  32. ^ 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
  33. ^ Bollywood’s functioning is authoritarian: Surendra Mohan Pathak. DNA (daily newspaper). 22 May 2010. Accessed 04 January 2015.
  34. ^ Warner, Charles Dudley. A Library of the World's Best Literature – Ancient and Modern – Vol.XXXVIII (Forty-Five Volumes); Vazoff-Wesley. Cosimo, Inc., 2008.
  35. ^ http://g1.globo.com/pernambuco/fliporto/2011/noticia/2011/11/erro-pode-ter-dado-recorde-escritor-ryoki-inoue-que-lanca-livro-em-olinda.html