1. Afzal Ahmed Syed
Afzal Ahmed Syed remains for me Urdu's greatest living poet and prose-stylist. A selection from his poetry Rococo and Other Worlds is available from Wesleyan University Poetry Series.
2. Muhammad Khalid Akhtar
Humorist, essayist, novelist, and travel-writer Muhammad Khalid Akhtar was one of Urdu's great men of letters who lived his later life in near anonymity. A writer's writer.
3. Shafiqur Rahman
Shafiqur Rahman was the master of light humor. I grew up with his books and still long for their innocent world, which was not unlike the world of Wodehouse in the sense that it was both unique and familiar, but ultimately unreal.
4. Ibn-e Insha
Few writers in Urdu possess the mastery on fluid prose like Insha did. He was an essayist, travel-writer, poet, and translator.
5. Khalid Toor
Khalid Toor's Kani Nikah is one of the two most memorable novellas I have read in Urdu. Read this review of his other novella, Mirchi.
6. Abul Fazal Siddiqi
Siddiqi has captured the feudal world of Northern India in his novels and short stories. One of Urdu's great writers but by no means celebrated enough. Read more about him here.
7. Shamsur Rahman Faruqi
The highly acclaimed critic, translator, and fiction-writer Shamsur Rahman Faruqi has produced the best novel written in the Urdu language, Kai Chaand Thay Sar-e Aasman (The Mirror of Beauty). Do read this review.
8. Naiyer Masud
The master of the haunting and the abstract, Urdu scholar and short story writer Naiyer Masud will be remembered in Urdu literature as one of the great masters of the short story genre.
9. Farhatullah Baig
An essayist and humorist, he is rightly considered one of the classic writers of modern Urdu prose.
10. Ghulam Abbas
One of my favorite Urdu short story writers, whose plot and structures were masterful.