Famous Playwrights - List of Famous Playwrights

Playwrights are the persons who write dramatic literature. Most of the times, these dramas are written specifically for performance by actors though some dramatists may also write ‘closet dramas’ which are literary works written in a dramatic format, but not meant for performance. The work of a playwright is similar to that of a screenwriter though it must be noted that playwrights have limited creative freedom as compared to screenwriters. Playwrights create scripts which tell stories through the words and actions of the characters. The success of a play depends a lot upon the storyline and characterization. Thus to be a good playwright one needs a vivid imagination to produce stories that would interest the audience and hold their attention. Like most writers, playwrights often work alone though they also have to collaborate with the actors and directors in producing the final script. The art of writing plays for the stage is an ancient one and some of the earliest known playwrights were from ancient Greece. The best known playwright of all time is undoubtedly William Shakespeare, the 16th century English writer. Coming to the modern times, Samuel Beckett is regarded as the greatest playwright of the 20th century. Browse on to learn more about the life and works of famous dramatists and playwrights from all over the world.

The Most Famous Playwrights

NameBirthdayNationalityBio
Aeschylus525 BCGreekAeschylus was an eminent Greek tragedian
John KaniAugust 30, 1942South AfricanJohn Kani is a South African actor, voice actor, playwright and director
Langston HughesFebruary 1, 1902AmericanLangston Hughes was an African-American poet who made significant contributions to the Harlem Renaissance
Henrik IbsenMarch 20, 1828NorwegianHenrik Ibsen was a famous Norwegian playwright often considered as the father of modern theater
J. B. PriestleySeptember 13, 1894BritishJ.B
D. H. LawrenceSeptember 11, 1885BritishD
Luigi PirandelloJune 28, 1867ItalianLuigi Pirandello was a Nobel Prize winning Italian writer and dramatist
Samuel BeckettApril 13, 1906IrishSamuel Beckett was an Irish playwright, novelist, theatre director and poet
Tennessee WilliamsMarch 26, 1911AmericanTennessee Williams was one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century
Nora EphronMay 19, 1941AmericanNora Ephron was an American journalist, essayist, screenwriter, novelist and blogger
Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard was an actor and filmmaker famous for his work in ‘The Right Stuff.’

George Bernard Shaw

George Bernard Shaw was an Irish playwright, literary critic and a fervent socialist who received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1925.

IrishJuly 26, 1856115 views

Aphra Behn

Aphra Behn was of the most prolific English writers, authors and poets of English Restoration era

BritishJuly 10, 1640134 views

Antonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud was one of the most influential playwrights of the 20th century

FrenchSeptember 4, 1896135 views

Maxim Gorky

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, better known as Maxim Gorky, was a Russian author

RussianMarch 28, 1868188 views

Irwin Shaw

Irwin Shaw was an American author, novelist and playwright best remembered for his poignant and compelling style of writing

AmericanFebruary 27, 1913147 views

Eugene O'Neill

Eugene Gladstone O'Neill was a renowned American playwright

AmericanOctober 16, 188880 views

John Galsworthy

John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright, who won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932

AmericanAugust 14, 1867157 views

Harold Pinter

Harold Pinter was an English playwright, poet, screenwriter, director, actor who won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature

BritishOctober 10, 1930105 views

Patrick White

Patrick Victor Martindale White was an Australian novelist and playwright

AustralianMay 28, 1912132 views