- Determining the individuality of handwriting in ancient manuscripts is an important aspect of the manuscript analysis process. Automatic identification of writers in historical manuscripts can support historians to gain insights into manuscripts with missing metadata such as writer name, period, and origin. In this paper writer classification and retrieval approaches for multi-page documents in the context of historical manuscripts are presented. The main contribution is a learning-based rejection strategy which utilizes writer retrieval and support vector machines for rejecting a decision if no corresponding writer can be found for a query manuscript. Experiments using different feature extraction methods demonstrate the abilities of our proposed methods. A dedicated data set based on a publicly available database of historical Arabic manuscripts was used and the experiments show promising results.