Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday's List: These Are the Greats?

I've seen this list on several blogs and websites. It was put together by the (London) Times staff a couple of years ago, and it's supposed to represent the fifty best postwar British writers. I'm not really sure how they arrived at their conclusions, but I think I agree with most of their picks; although I'd order the list a little differently (Barbara Pym, Anthony Powell, and Muriel Spark would be right at the top, and my list would definitely include P.D. James). Those authors whose works I've sampled are the ones in red.
1. Philip Larkin
2. George Orwell
3. William Golding
4. Ted Hughes
5. Doris Lessing
6. J. R. R. Tolkien
7. V. S. Naipaul
8. Muriel Spark
9. Kingsley Amis
10. Angela Carter
11. C. S. Lewis
12. Iris Murdoch
13. Salman Rushdie
14. Ian Fleming
15. Jan Morris
16. Roald Dahl
17. Anthony Burgess
18. Mervyn Peake
19. Martin Amis
20. Anthony Powell
21. Alan Sillitoe
22. John Le Carré
23. Penelope Fitzgerald
24. Philippa Pearce
25. Barbara Pym
26. Beryl Bainbridge
27. J. G. Ballard
28. Alan Garner
29. Alasdair Gray
30. John Fowles
31. Derek Walcott
32. Kazuo Ishiguro
33. Anita Brookner
34. A. S. Byatt
35. Ian McEwan
36. Geoffrey Hill
37. Hanif Kureishi
38. Iain Banks
39. George Mackay Brown
40. A. J. P. Taylor
41. Isaiah Berlin
42. J. K. Rowling
43. Philip Pullman
44. Julian Barnes
45. Colin Thubron
46. Bruce Chatwin
47. Alice Oswald
48. Benjamin Zephaniah
49. Rosemary Sutcliff
50. Michael Moorcock

Remarkably, there's only one name I'm completely unfamiliar with. Benjamin Zephaniah? OK, I'll have to go google that one.

So, what d'ya think? Anybody you'd leave off the list? Anybody you're shocked not to see included?


  1. Looks pretty good to me! I like that Iain Banks is on there! And I have not heard of Benjamin Zephaniah, either!

  2. Yeah, I've never been one for these lists. I know the obligatory few but generally I like more obscure folks.


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