Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Costa 2008 Poll: the British Public’s Cherished Authors of all Time


One of the world’s favourite storytellers, children’s author Enid Blyton, has been named the best-loved author of all time, in a new poll released today.

The creator of The Famous Five, Malory Towers and Noddy wrote more than 700 stories over a 40-year career, and has sold over 500 million books around the world. Despite her death in 1968, around eight million of her books are still sold worldwide every year, including more than a million Famous Five tales.

The results form part of a research project, commissioned to mark the 2008 Costa Book Awards, which looked into the British public’s most cherished and best-loved authors of all time. The poll proves that children’s classics are still held to be the best. J.K. Rowling came third and is one of only two modern writers in the top ten.

A spokesman for Costa, which carried out the poll, said,

”Enid Blyton has kept millions of children entertained over the years with her tales of mystery, adventure and magic. To top the poll of best-loved authors, as well as still selling millions of books around the world, shows her stories are timeless and will be read by children for years to come.”

Jeff Norton, Director of Brand Development at Chorion, owners of the Enid Blyton publishing estate, responded: “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.”

The Costa Book Awards is unique in that it’s the only literary prize where children’s books are judged alongside adult books.

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So who was Enid Blyton? What is it that makes Enid Blyton’s writing timeless? And why then is the Famous Five currently undergoing a revamp in a new series of books and on TV?

Nineteen Forty-Two. January 17: the birth of Muhammad Ali, American boxer. June 12: Future essayist Anne Frank receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday. November 19: WWII: Battle of Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR's favor. Daily war events of significance in the struggle for dominance, in Europe, South Asia, Africa and at sea.

Against this backdrop, a writer, already in her mid-forties, wrote the first in a world famous fiction series. Now, sixty-six years later, the British Enid Blyton stories, 'the Famous Five' have undergone a revamp.

A News Feature: "Enid Blyton: Modernising the Classic?" will continue in three parts.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Enid Blyton certainly made an impact on children's fiction, and I can see why JK Rowling is placed third. I've always felt there's a similarity in style between these two, even if JK Rowling still has a while to go to prove her versatility.