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Enid Blyton - top of the class

Back to the Daily Telegraph again today for news of another 'nation's favourite authors' list. This list has brought up a few surprises, however, in that the top three are children's writers. Enid Blyton came first, followed by Roald Dahl and J.K. Rowling. I was also rather surprised to see Catherine Cookson at 12 as, since her death, she seems to be hardly mentioned in bookish circles - but perhaps that's because bookish circles are predominantly middle-class and Cookson had a particular appeal to those like herself and her heroines - working-class girls who pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. It is clear that this is not a list voted for by newspaper critics and fellow writers, but by The Public in a survey commissioned to mark the 2008 Costa Book Awards. Dan Brown at 19 certainly speaks volumes about mass-market publishing, but I doubt he will be a remembered name in fifty years time. And it's sad that Thomas Hardy is at 42.

Nostalgia for simpler times is given as a reason why Enid made the top spot. Like most girls I grew up reading Enid Blyton, though I can't for the life of me remember where I got the books from as I can't recall once buying a book as a child - only comics - although I did get them as presents at times, and did go to the library now and then. I loved Malory Towers - pure escapism and the exact opposite from my life on a council estate and as a serial truant - although if Jacqueline Wilson had been around in the late seventies and early eighties I'm sure she'd have been a strong contender for my own top spot.

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