Hmmm... I have so many favorite authors, it's hard to pick. I'll narrow it down to five.
I love William Goldman, and his book The Princess Bride. I loved how he was able to narrate as both himself and another author, and through that show the effect of fairy tales on his life. I thought his setting up a 'book within his book' was absolutely genius--it allowed you to see how the book affected your life, too, while you were in the midst of reading it. He really took the process of narrating a book to a whole different art form.
One of my absolute, die-hard favorites is Markus Zusak, even though I've only read two books of his. Both The Book Theif and I Am The Messenger are extremely powerful, moving, beautiful pieces of art and I savored every single word of his. In terms of actual poetic writing style, his is by far my favorite.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is also a hero of mine. I've stuck through every single Sherlock Holmes story and his book The Lost World and he's never disappointed me. He has an excellent, bare-facts style of writing and I love his first person narration with Dr. Watson. There's a particular feeling you get when you're reading his books that you can't get anywhere else. He's an oldie but a goodie.
Neil Gaiman is my all-around favorite author. He has one of the most brilliant imaginations ever, and his books are always conceptually brililant and extremely deep and well written. He can do no wrong in my book.
I'd say J.R.R. Tolkien has to show up on this list, too--even though I have difficulty reading LOTR because they make me depressed. He's attained a "hero status" with me for a different reason--in just four books (the three LOTR books and The Hobbit), he almost singlehandedly brought an entire literary genre into legitimacy. Back when he was writing, fantasy was looked down upon until his work forced people to say, wow, this is amazing--and also a fantasy. He paved the pathway for generations of writers of fantasy, and since it's been my lifelong goal to be one of them, he's a huge hero of mine.
So yeah. Those are my top five.