Jane Austen tops list of Britain’s greatest authors | Sunday Observer

Jane Austen tops list of Britain’s greatest authors

4 December, 2022

She has won the good opinion of countless readers with her sparklingly witty prose.

And now – in something of a snub to the Bard – Jane Austen has been voted the greatest British author of all time.

The Georgian-era novelist beat Shakespeare to take top spot, with 44 percent of the vote.

Born in 1775 in Hampshire, Austen began writing poems and short stories at the age of 11, before publishing her first novel, Sense And Sensibility, in 1811.

She followed this with Pride And Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey – which are still enjoyed by readers all over the world today.

Second place in the multiple-choice survey with 43 percent of the vote was the creator of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling, with 500 million book sales. The books inspired a hugely successful film franchise and three theme parks.

Close behind in joint third were Shakespeare and Roald Dahl, author of children’s favourites Matilda and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, with 42 percent.

The results of the study, commissioned by Amazon Books, put Animal Farm author George Orwell and Lord Of The Rings writer JRR Tolkien next with 35 percent.

Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle was hot on their heels with 33 percent.

Other great writers chosen by voters were Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Terry Pratchett, Thomas Hardy and Mary Shelley.

The poll was carried out to celebrate the Amazon Literary Partnership, which supports under-represented voices by funding non-profit literary organisations.

The study of 2,000 Britons also revealed there are plenty of aspiring authors in the UK, with a fifth believing they have a novel in them.

A quarter of those think they could write a gripping crime novel, 21 percent would write a drama and 19 percent think they will write their own autobiography one day. In fact, 13 percent said they are tempted to give up the day job and fulfil their dreams of being a full-time author.

Darren Hardy of Amazon.co.uk said, “Our latest research shows just how well-loved British authors continue to be with today’s readers. However, when it comes to writing, we know that there are so many more, often under-represented, voices out there.”

- Daily Mail