The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0487 Wednesday, 20 August 2008
Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2008 22:54:15 -0700
Subject: Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl More Popular Than Shakespeare
Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl more popular than Shakespeare, says survey
By Sherna Noah
The Independent, Tuesday, 19 August 2008
The Children's authors Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl have been named as the
nation's best-loved writers - over Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Charles Dickens,
according to a poll of 2,000 people.
The creator of the Famous Five books topped the poll, followed by Dahl and the
Harry Potter author J K Rowling. Austen, the author of enduring favourites such
as Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma, is fourth in the
nationwide survey of readers.
She is followed by Shakespeare, Dickens and The Lord of the Rings author J R R
The murder-mystery writer Agatha Christie is eighth, followed by the horror
writer Stephen King, who shares the honour with Rowling of being the only two
living authors to appear in the top 10. Beatrix Potter and C S Lewis, two other
writers who have been read by millions of children, take 10th and 11th place.
The popularity of children's writers continues throughout the top 50, with the
inclusion of the former Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson and The Cat in the
Hat creator Dr Seuss.
Blyton's creations were criticised as sexist and racist during the 1960s, but
have recently fallen back into favour. She wrote 700 stories over her 40-year
career, and eight million Blyton books, including more than a million Famous
Five tales, are still sold worldwide every year.
Jeff Norton, of Chorion, the owners of the Enid Blyton estate, said: "We are
delighted that the British public has voted Enid Blyton its best-loved author.
Her storytelling is timeless and this result confirms that her books are still a
firm favourite today.
"What makes Blyton so successful is her imaginative, exciting and magical style.
Her writing has sent countless young readers on thrilling adventures and we hope
that new generations will continue to enjoy her enchanting stories."
Philip Pullman, the author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, does not appear in
the top 50.
Other notable omissions include Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond
series, the Winnie the Pooh author A A Milne, Iris Murdoch and the Bridget
Jones's Diary author Helen Fielding. The survey of 2,000 adults was commissioned
by One Poll, the internet market research company, to mark the 2008 Costa Book
Britain's top 10 scribes
1. Enid Blyton
2. Roald Dahl
3. J K Rowling
4. Jane Austen
5. William Shakespeare
6. Charles Dickens
7. J R R Tolkien
8. Agatha Christie
9. Stephen King
10. Beatrix Potter
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