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Famous British Authors - Ten Best-Loved

Which famous British authors made it to The Big Read; a survey conducted in 2003 by the BBC to reveal the UK's best-loved book? What novels are they famous for? and which of their books were in the Top 100 list?

Although the winner was indubitably Lord of the Rings by South African born, fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien, Britain's comic fantasy author Terry Pratchett had five of his titles in that list: Good Omens, Guards! Guards!, Mort, Night Watch and The Colour Of Magic.

Joanne K. Rowling, a fantasy writer of Harry Potter fame was another novelist with four titles making the grade: The Goblet of Fire, The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber Of Secrets and The Prisoner Of Azkaban. Besides these books an additional three are in the series: Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince and Deathly Hallows. There are a few things to consider, though, if you want to enjoy reading the novels written by the best-loved, famous British authors.

First, determine where your interests lie. You may be interested in contemporary novelists, or perhaps you are more intrigued by classic writers? Works of English literature originating prior to World War II is considered by most to be classical in nature, whereas novels written during or after that war could be called contemporary fiction. An example of a classic writer would be Chaucer and Ernest Hemingway is a contemporary.

Another consideration might be which genres interest you most. Loosely defined these fall into ten categories: action-adventure, crime, detective, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, science fiction, thriller or western. Depending on what you find entertaining and that which grabs your attention, this can be an important factor when contemplating reading novels by a an author you are as yet unfamiliar with.

You also need to understand the universal themes associated with the writing of fictional work; they include Imagination, Identity, Conflict, Love, Humour, Belonging, Time, Faith and Place. Be aware that many novels revolve around one or more of these themes and that several themes can be the focus of just one book. One author should not be thought of as the quintessential romanticist, humourist, or even imaginative writer as each author often considers a combination of themes and complex ideas when creating a novel so consider exploring these concepts before deciding to 'pigeon-hole' specific writers with a particular theme or genre.

Another novelist not to be ignored is Jacqueline Wilson, a writer of children's books; also with four titles of distinction: The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Double Act, Vicky Angel and Girls In Love. Wilson's novels are typically realistic stories about modern British children facing problems in their daily lives. In 2005 this writer was announced as the Children's Laureate.

Classic Famous British Authors

Three of the five Brontė sisters became romance writers. Charlotte's Jane Eyre and Emily's Wuthering Heights made the Top 100 but alas Anne's Agnes Grey missed the boat!. For a family plagued with illness these sisters were remarkably successful.

Five of Charles Dickens' masterpieces were given a thumbs up! Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol, A Tale Of Two Cities and Bleak House. Amongst other works he is remembered also for four of his other major contributions to literature: The Pickwick Papers, The Life and Adventures of Nicolas Nickleby, The Old Curiosity Shop and Oliver Twist. Besides Master Twist the likes of such characters as Ebenezer Scrooge, Fagin, Mrs. Gamp, Charles Darnay, Micawber, Abel Magwitch, Pecksniff, Miss Havisham and Wackford Squeers will doubtless live on forever through his books.

Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, inspired by a young girl named Alice Liddell, is among the books recommended. Other works from Carroll include Through The Looking-Glass and Jabberwocky. With the exception of Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson, all other novelists mentioned here were English. Stevenson's Treasure Island was naturally considered one the best-loved books written by a British author. His other famous books include: Kidnapped, The Body Snatcher and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The writers spoken of here are only a few of the best-loved famous British authors but there are many more besides these.

About the Author:

Keith Valentine began researching novels at fifteen, and has read many classic and contemporary best-sellers. Now 52, he studies Renaissance classics as well as postmodernist works of fiction. For stories and tips about English literature, plus a free e-zine, please visit 101 Easy Articles at:

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