Famous Five creator Enid Blyton beats Tolkien and Shakespeare as best-loved author of all time

Posted on 7:16 PM by Sameer Shah

It's a victory for Moonface and the Angry Pixie, not to mention Noddy and Timmy the Dog - Enid Blyton has been named the best-loved author of all time. The creator of the Famous Five, Malory Towers and The Faraway Tree has topped a poll by Costa, which unusually covers books for both children and adults. Second place is taken by Roald Dahl, and J.K. Rowling is third - showing many of our favourite books are those we associate with childhood. Blyton wrote more than 700 stories over a 40-year career and her books have sold more than 500million copies. Although she died in 1968, her books are still popular, with eight million sold every year. A million of these are the adventures of the Famous Five - Julian, Dick, Anne and George, and of course Timmy the Dog. These stories depict carefree childhoods in a more genteel time - summed up by the often-quoted phrase, 'lashings of ginger beer!'. Jeff Norton of Chorion, owners of Enid Blyton's publishing estate, said: '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.' The research, commissioned to mark the 2008 Costa Book Awards, asked 2,000 adults to name their favourite authors. Only two contemporary writers - Rowling and Stephen King - made it into the top ten. Jane Austen was fourth, William Shakespeare fifth, Charles Dickens sixth and J.R.R. Tolkien seventh. They were followed in eighth place by Agatha Christie - a writer who could rival both Blyton's prolific output and lasting popularity, with more than 80 novels and two billion sales to her name. King, another author with a prodigious output, was ninth. The thriller writer has seen many of his stories, such as Carrie, Misery and The Shawshank Redemption, turned into films. Beatrix Potter, another enduringly popular children's writer, completed the top ten. There were some surprising omissions from the top 50, including His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman, James Bond creator Ian Fleming and A.A.Milne, who brought us Winnie-the-Pooh. However, populist writers such as Jackie Collins (21) and Jilly Cooper (47) made an appearance.

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