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50 Greatest Writers > The Times list of 50 greatest writers since 1945

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message 1: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (last edited Feb 13, 2010 01:50PM) (new)


message 2: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
Well there are a few names on the list I'd not heard of:
Jan Morris, Alasdair Gray, Derek Walcott, Geoffrey Hill, Isaiah Berlin, Colin Thubron, Bruce Chatwin, Alice Oswald & Michael Moorcock.

Am I the only one who's never heard of them????

I just looked them up - half of them are poets - (school did a fine job, turning me off poetry...) there's a couple of travel writers, a fantasy writer & a biographer. Shows where my reading gaps are!!!!

There's alot of names on the list I've heard of but never read and I'm happy to try them!


message 3: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
I've heard of Alice Oswald but not the others. There are more that I haven't heard of though!


message 4: by Jo (new)

Jo I haven't heard of many of the names on the list. J G Ballard is one that i will be reading a lot of this year.


message 5: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
Jo wrote: "I haven't heard of many of the names on the list. J G Ballard is one that i will be reading a lot of this year."

Why J G Ballard?




message 6: by Jo (new)

Jo Because i have been planning on reading Empire of the Sun for a while and after that i want to read more of his work. I've also got Cocaine Nights at home. Then i want to read the sequel to Empire of the Sun. A lot of his other books sound interesting too. I read an article about him aswell that said he is such a great writer because he has lived through so much stuff. I think he went to war at some point and did lots of other stuff. It was saying thats why there are lots of mediocre authors because none of them have lived.


message 7: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
Ahh fair enough!! I haven't had much of a look at a lot of these authors yet, will have to do some research when I get home from uni :)


message 8: by Jo (new)

Jo Yeah i think i will look into them more aswell seeing as i haven't heard of most of them. If you find anything interesting then let me know!


message 9: by Lynne - The Book Squirrel (last edited Feb 12, 2010 06:34AM) (new)

Lynne - The Book Squirrel (SquirrelsEnd) | 3539 comments I went through the list and using amazon found a book from each author but one! I have read a few of the authors so won't read them again!

William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Doris Lessing - 5th Child
Rauld Dahl - Charlie and The Chocolate Factory/Great Glass Elevator
Ian McEwen - On Chesil Beach
JRR Tolkein - LOTR/Hobbit/Children of Hurin
George Orwell - Animal Farm
J K Rowling - Harry Poter 1-7
Phillip Pullman - Amber Spy Glass series

I do own a few of the other authors books so will definitely read them soon.


message 10: by Liz, Moderator (last edited Feb 12, 2010 05:34AM) (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
I've read 23 of the 50 authors here, which I recon's pretty good!
I might see if I can knock off any of my remaining A-Z's with the others....



message 11: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
Lynne - was Alice in Wonderland not Lewis Carroll? I thought CS Lewis wrote Chronicles of Narnia..?


message 12: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
And that is good Liz!


Lynne - The Book Squirrel (SquirrelsEnd) | 3539 comments Ooops My mistook! I have been up all night so brain is not in gear!


message 14: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2791 comments Mod
I've read 18 of them so plenty left to try eh! I've read a couple of Bruce Chatwin books. The Songlines is a travel book about aboriginal myths and history and was very interesting but I really preferred a novel he wrote called On the Black Hill about identical twins lifetime in a small village (would you believe) in the Black Hills. Haven't read it for years but it's one I'd like to read again


message 15: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
I've heard of On the Black Hill wasn't it made into a film quite a while back?


message 16: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2791 comments Mod
Yeah, you're right. There was a film. I did see once but can't remember if it's good or not.


message 17: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
I've had a look through the books I've read and have only read books from 7 of these authors! Though I have read more than one book from these 7.


message 18: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2791 comments Mod
Can't speak for anyone else, but I reckon I got about 15 year headstart when it comes to reading - I doubt I'd read anyone apart from the childrens authors when I was 20 and come to think of it, JK Rowling hadn't even invented Harry Potter back then!


message 19: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
I keep quiet about my age.... but it may also account for the fact I've read quite a bit....


message 20: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
Hey Zoe, Any thoughts about the monthly book for April? Could chose another author from the 50 greatest writers or a theme (eg historical fiction)?


message 21: by Zoe, UK Book Club Creator (new)

Zoe (zobo77) | 536 comments Mod
Heya, sorry I'm a bit behind with everything on here at the mo! I'll make sure to come online tomorrow morning and we can all think of a book for April :)

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what they want to read with the group?


message 22: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2791 comments Mod
Are we going to look at the greatest British writers list again? I have wanted to read The Remains of the Day for while.... also, I bought a complete set of Roald Dahl for the kids (honest)! The set did include Going Solo and Boy: Tales of Childhood which I think are more auto-biographical and for adults - I try to read something other than fiction once in a while. I'd be happy to read others though...


message 23: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) How about a Graham Greene? My reading schedule might not allow for another Greene this month though. but can I recommend The Quiet American? It'd be lovely to talk about it.


message 24: by Jacky (new)

Jacky (jackyann) | 62 comments Have read 38 of them (but I am 60!). Not sure of the criteria here - all write in English, but not necessarily of British origin; however, it excludes American writers.

It amuses me that detective novels are always overlooked until someone suddenly decides they are worth considering. So, no PD James, Jill Paton Walsh, Val McDermid; no Susan Hill although she writes across genres.
Whilst I accept the subject is "writers" not "storytellers" - not Jilly Cooper or Catherine Cookson? Not H.E. Bates or Paul Gallico? Any of those can keep a page turning!


message 25: by stan (new)

stan (stanthewiseman) | 27 comments Interestingly as mentioned the lack of Crime and thriller writers and also the popular Genre of adventure writers.

I suggest an alternative list
A ---Jeffrey Archer
carry on


message 26: by Liz, Moderator (new)

Liz | 2575 comments Mod
If anyone's looking for a fresh challenge to start the New Year, how about reading the 50 Greatest British writers since 1945 (according to The Times)?

Knowing me, it would take more than a year! (Especially as I'm doing the genre challenge and the around the world challenge!

If you haven't read Zoe's original post, here's the list:
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 Carre
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

BTW How come it includes Ian Fleming, but excludes Graham Greene?


message 27: by Jacky (new)

Jacky (jackyann) | 62 comments I really don't know! IF not at all a good writer IMO, but I guess the originator of the Bond franchise had to get a mention. GG a bit tortuous, but much, much better.
I'm passing on this challenge, as I don't fancy any that I haven't actually read. And although I have moaned about some inclusions, I am glad to see the often-overlooked Rosemary Sutcliff included as well as dear Barbara Pym.
Can I say that if anyone hasn't heard Benjamin Zephaniah with The Imagined Village doing his re-working of Tam Lynn, then try to do so - it is stunning. By co-incidence the other day I heard Anne Brigg's unaccompanied singing of the opriginal, Sandy denny & Fairport Convention rocking it up, and BZ taking the story to new places, wonderful!


message 28: by Ellie (new)

Ellie M (elliemcc11) | 549 comments Liz - know what you mean re Graham Greene, he's excellent.

Like Jacky I shall probably pass on this challenge. I've read about 60% of the list so feel I have made some headway...But I can't bear to read JRR Tolkein. Have tried and miserably failed that test. Haven't seen the films either. Just not my cup of tea. And the others? Well I can't forsee it in future.

Interesting list all the same. I like this kind of thing...


message 29: by Angela (new)

Angela (Bookangel2) | 684 comments I've read books/poetry by 26 of these authors and there are still some on the list whose work I intend to read:
Doris Lessing, V.S. Naipaul, Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie and Iain Banks especially.


message 30: by Michael (new)

Michael Parker (MichaelParker) | 98 comments Lists like these are subjective. I have read two of those authors although I have been a reader (as well as a writer) for years. Hammond Innes? Wilbur Smith? C.J. Sansom? Nigel Tranter? My list would go on and on but would probably only include a couple of names that others might agree with.


message 31: by Robert (new)

Robert (BobHE) | 785 comments Think will wait for THE SUN top 10


message 32: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Kuo (dkuo) | 2 comments Zoe wrote: "Here's a link to the Times list: http://entertainment.timesonline.co.u...
And this is a list of all the authors on it:
1) [author:Philip Larkin|647..."


I have not heard the others either except Jan Morris. Her (his) books are now seen often in used bookstores in the states. S/he has a way with words in travelling writing. I read several of his books. Even not one of those grands, but I am surprised that he is so little known in UK. Possibly he mainly wrote traveling; or his sex change? Either way, his writing is superb.


message 33: by Linda (new)

Linda Kelly | 233 comments Glad to see Angela Carter on the list. Been my favourite author forever but nobody seems to share my enthusiasm! I would also put Joanne Harris and Jane Harris on the list too. Excellent writers and storytellers.


message 34: by Linda (new)

Linda Kelly | 233 comments Oh and would also have put Isabelle Allende, Michelle Lovric and Karen Maitland on the list.


message 35: by Daphne (new)

Daphne Kuo (dkuo) | 2 comments Linda wrote: "Oh and would also have put Isabelle Allende, Michelle Lovric and Karen Maitland on the list."

Without doubts Allende is great, but I think the list is "British writers". Spanish is her mother tongue even though she is living in California now.


message 36: by Em, Moderator (new)

Em (EmmaP) | 2791 comments Mod
I share your enthusiasm for Angela Carter! So that's at least two of us... also I love Isabelle Allende too - the magical realism is clearly my thing! I thought the list was of British writers - I could be wrong - it's a while since I visited this thread and I've forgotten the details!


message 37: by Bill (new)

Bill | 2054 comments Has this list ever been updated? I've just discovered and wonder if an updated list has been provided by The Times as the original list was in 2010... This will definitely give me another group of authors to explore; there are a few I've not heard of.


message 38: by Wend (new)

Wend Starting with Michael Moorcock, suggestions please of the best of his work to read. I've read very little poetry so will be interesting as I work from bottom to top of this list how I feel about the poets. Planning on trying one book from each on the list a month, none of the authors have I read all of their work. Several I have read none, looking forward to the read into the unknown.


message 39: by Neil (new)

Neil McDowell | 1 comments Where's Graham Greene? I'd have him in the top ten...


message 40: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (sophiesworld) | 54 comments I don't know if there is a newer list. I'm surprised Neil Gaiman isn't on there.


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Books mentioned in this topic

On The Black Hill (other topics)
The Songlines (other topics)
The Remains of the Day (other topics)
Boy: Tales of Childhood (other topics)
Going Solo (other topics)
More...

Authors mentioned in this topic

Rosemary Sutcliff (other topics)
George Mackay Brown (other topics)
C.S. Lewis (other topics)
Julian Barnes (other topics)
Philip Pullman (other topics)
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