Who was the author of the Manusmriti?
Now many of you might say "Manu", but it's actually not quite clear from the text itself.
First of all, the word "Manusmriti" means "recollection of Manu", where "smriti" means "recollection."
And second, the first line of Medhatithi's Manuscript of the Manusmriti says this:
The Great Sages, having approached Manu, paid their respect to him in due form, and finding him seated with mind calm and collected, addressed him these words—(1).
And the last verse:
The twice-born man who reads these Ordinances of Manu, shall be ever equipped with virtue and shall attain whatever state he may desire.—(126)
It's referring to Manu in the 3rd person, which means that Manu did not write the verses of the Manusmriti.
If you continue reading, you'll notice that the Manusmriti reads like a story with a certain narrator.
So who was this narrator who wrote the Manusmriti?
From scripture, we know that Valmiki wrote the Ramayana and Vyasa narrated the Mahabharata, which was penned by Ganesha.
But who wrote or penned the Manusmriti?
According to Medhatithi on this Manusmriti verse which talks about the nature of the Dharma Shastras, he says the words of Manu were recorded in an "unbroken lineage."
Which basically means this, according to Indologists: