Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Favourite English-Language Novelists?

Everyone likes a nice poll, don't they? It is supposed to be the male brain that likes a list, but I daresay it's a fun thing for everyone - and Norm of www.normblog.typepad.com has obliged. Listen up, though, because closing date is 31st January i.e. very soon.

See his post here for the original question - or just read my little summary. It's quite simple: choose your ten favourite English-language novelists. Favourite, not best. English-language, not necessarily English. Novelists, not any other sort of prose or poetry (which is why I had sadly to relinquish Katherine Mansfield). Norm will compile the entries and provide a run-down, I imagine, though I think (and hope) that there will be lots of authors receiving one vote each. As I mentioned in this week's Booking Through Thursday, obscure writers hold a special place in my heart.

The ten don't have to be in order, but the top three do. I.e. give 1st, 2nd, 3rd and then another seven, unsorted.

Once you've racked (or perhaps wracked?) your brain, send in answers to normblog@yahoo.co.uk - but don't take too long about it!

And my answers? To be honest, I can't remember.
Let's see.
Woolf and Austen definitely fought it out for top spot. Hence today's sketch. Sorry it's a bit blurry.
Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, E.M. Delafield, Richmal Crompton, Dorothy Whipple, Monica Dickens, Oscar Wilde (for that one novel), AA Milne, Frank Baker... that's nine. Who on earth was my tenth? Might have been Anne Bronte. She was a definite contender. Or Daphne du Maurier. Or Dodie Smith. Or perhaps David Lindsay or Edith Olivier. Truth be told, could be any of 'em... if you're feeling more decisive, give Norm an email!


  1. Who's that sparring with VW? Is it JA?

  2. sent mine in..will not surprise you Simon that some of yours are also some of mine

  3. Great list; definitely think Dodie Smith, E.M. Delafield and Monica Dickens are up there. Haven't read any Daphne Du Maurier so definitely thinking I should.

  4. There are those who scorn Daphne du Maurier - she herself considered her grammar and spelling weak (but JA didn't do too well with the spelling either!) However, she can tell a 'ripping yarn' and, if there are sometimes weaknesses, one can ignore them and plough on. If some of the subjects are weird - well, read Margaret Forster's biography and all will become clear!

  5. Thanks so much for posting about this, Simon. I submitted my ten yesterday and it will be fascinating to see who tops the poll.


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