J.K. Rowling One of 50 Greatest British Post War Writers

90

Jan 15, 2008

Posted by SueTLC
Uncategorized

The Times newspaper has compiled a list of the top 50 greatest British writers since 1945, and J.K. Rowling was ranked at number 42. Noting that children read the Harry Potter books “simply because they love them, and because Rowling has an extraordinary ability to hold the reader until the very last page,” the paper continues:

“She has created a world that children want to enter and never leave.Like all the classic British children’s fantasy writers, Rowling sets the epic firmly in the domestic, everyday world. Yes, she uses some familiar elements (show me the “literary” author who hasn’t borrowed themes from previous literary authors), such as wizards, witches, boarding schools and orphans destined for greatness, but she builds a new and very detailed world out of them. With its satires on politics, education and the media, though, her world is far from simplistic. These are well-told stories that will enthral, amuse, scare and delight children for generations to come. One to read: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) ” because you should always start a good story at the beginning.”

Others of note on the list include Philip Pullman (43), Roald Dahl (16), C.S. Lewis (11), J.R.R. Tolkien (6), George Orwell (2), and Philip Larkin was listed at the top spot. Thanks MFC and Klooby!





50 Responses to J.K. Rowling One of 50 Greatest British Post War Writers

Avatar Image says:

She should be ranked way higher, but oh well I suppose the phenomenon is still fairly young in literary terms, so I am sure she will move higher up the list as time goes on.

Avatar Image says:

I agree she should be ranked a bit higher. I see it as the same old snobbery for children’s books. She’s not REAL literature… yet.

-Kio (aka Klooby)

Avatar Image says:

On one hand, I was immediately surprised that she wasn’t ranked higher.

On the other hand, there are a lot of great authors in that list.

On a third hand, I don’t really agree with any of their placements. Phillip Larkin? Really? But then, they do more or less admit the fallibility of their system.

Finally, I bet there are some HDM fans who will be upset that Jo topped Phillip Pullman by one.

Avatar Image says:

Post-War is a fairly large period by now and you hardly can compair the period till ‘80 with after ‘80. It’s compairing peaches with pommagrates and wonder which is the greatest fruit.

But when populairty is taken in account she could give Tolkien a run for his money.

Avatar Image says:

I was really disapointed that she didn’t rank higher. She should be at least round 25, in my opinion. J. K. Rowling has brought a generation back to reading through her fantastic books, and that’s saying a lot. I only started reading seriously after I found the Harry Potter series. I jumped on board after book four. Since then I have read tons of books from almost every genre, and have not found anything nearly as good. But that’s jut my opinion.

Avatar Image says:

I agree I hate it when people think “children’s authors” aren’t worth mentioning. I don’t think Jo is a children’s author anyway. Her books are for absolutely anyone of any age. She should have come higher in that list. Philip Larkin? Hmm I don’t like their top choice. But the rest of the list looks OK. some good writers on there.

Avatar Image says:

Yesss! Take that, Philip Pullman!

Ahem. Excuse me. Very well done, Jo.

Avatar Image says:

Congratulations, Jo! That’s really cool! :)

Avatar Image says:

She’ll always be my number 1 =)

Anyone know if this was in the paper today?

Avatar Image says:

I’m not complaining. This is 42 out of how many authors since 1945. Yes her accomplishments are amazing and I would like to see her higher on the list, but 42 when looking at the big picture is huge. Anyways, that’s just their opinion.

Avatar Image says:

Wow, she’s in the arena with some really great writers and she really deserves it! Way to go Jo!

Avatar Image says:

Larkin got number one which is joke, the man tortured me threw my A Levels. I think JK got a pretty good position, considering the others on the list. Give her a good couple of decades and our generation will put her higher because she is the writer of our childhood. I’m just gla they’ve recognised her. There where lots of other authors who should have got on it, Anthony Horowitz, Malorie Blackman..what about Terry Pratchet?

Avatar Image says:

Philip Pullman and Jo should both have been placed higher on the list, right up there with Tolkien.

Avatar Image says:

All lists like these are silly. What does it all mean ? That “Lord of The Rings ” is a better book than “His Dark Materials” ? Or does it mean that it is better written ? Or does it mean that Tolkien is a better writer ? In whose opinion ? And use the same formula for any of these other writers. By the way, rather strangely, the list excluded what it called “oral writers” such as Harold Pinter but included Ted Hughes, whose wonderful poetry, (especially if you ever heard him read it) was the stuff of thunder and lightning.

I am glad for Jo that she made the list but we don’t need lists like that to tell us who our favourite authors are.

Avatar Image says:

i think she was placed properly… her stories are top-notch, no joke, but her writing leaves a little to be desired sometimes. congratulations, jo.

Avatar Image says:

i know that i never want to leave.

Avatar Image says:

It would be nice if JK should be higher but sure enough, there are a lot of great writers on there and we cant say they snob childrens authors because there are a fair share of them on the list. But I am shocked to find Terry Pratchett not on there. Before JK, he was the no 1 best selling author and has written over 40-50 books. I am also surprised Geoffrey Arthur not on the list either. Also Joan Aitken was a great children/adult author (well in my view, anyway). Some of my favourites on there though: Phillipa Pearce, Roald Dahl, Iain Banks, Philip Pullman, CS Lewis.

Avatar Image says:

i dont agree with the selections!!!! Jk should have been at least from the top ten : Jk number 5 JRR number 6!!!! My two favourite authors!!!!!!!

Avatar Image says:

WHAT Only 42nd!? She should be WAY higher up! You cannot have J.K. Rowling at 42nd and Tolkein at 6th! J.K. Rowling’s book are just as good, or even better than C.S. Lewis’s!

Seriously

Avatar Image says:

What I find interesting is comments on the The Times website. If anyone mentions Rowling it is mostly negative saying she doesn’t deserve to be in the top 50 and that her work will be forgotten in a decade. I find these comments so shocking since she is by far the most popular author in the world. I know that my children will read the Harry Potter series and the series will not be forgotten. It sounds like jealousy to me.

Avatar Image says:

holly, remember that c.s. lewis wrote a lot more than just ‘narnia’... and his works as supremely important…

Avatar Image says:

I realise it says more about me than about this list, but of the approx. 10 writers from this list, whom I have never even heard of, Philip Larkin is one. I read the article about him, but not one title he has written, rings any bells. Or has he written only poetry? That would explain things, because I don’t know many poets. And least of all modern ones.

Avatar Image says:

I don`t really think that she’s a children’s author. Harry Potter can be read by children & adults. Rowling should totally be on a better ranking that 42. I expected in the top ten or something. Ah well. Congrats Jo! :)

Avatar Image says:

I agree that Jo should have ranked higher than 42. But prejudice is against her. Ah, well, maybe after her ‘political fairytale’ has been published…? ;o) Anyway, congrats from me too, Jo.

P.S. very nice article by Charlie Higson (now I had heard of him before! ;o) )

Avatar Image says:

I think JKR’s work hasn’t yet had the chance to stand the test of time. Many of the authors on the list have had the benefit of standing the test of time. In many forms of art, things are more critically appreciated as more time passes. For example, I’m pretty sure from what I’ve heard that Tolkein would not have been included on any such list had it been compiled only a couple years after LOTR was first published. (I could be wrong about this, but I remember hearing somewhere that LOTR didn’t really gain its current noteriety until a sudden revival in the 1960s).

Avatar Image says:

”.K. Rowling at 42nd and Tolkein at 6th! “

Just to turn the complaint on its head: How high will JKR score 70 years from now? That’s how long JRRT’s been kicking around, and has permanently warped our world with his world.

It’s not jealousy, but time. Literature measures it popularity in decades, even centuries….Harry’s still the New Kid on the Block.

Avatar Image says:

Go J.K, I would have ranked her a bit higher on the ladder though.

Avatar Image says:

Note to Errol, the poor tired bird

The LOTR trilogy was published in 1954 and 1955; the ‘60s weren’t a revival but the first recognition. Seems the Age of Aquarius had room for the 3rd and 4th ages of Middle-earth….

Avatar Image says:

far out man

Avatar Image says:

This quite an achievement. After only one major opus, HP, to be considered as a major writer is remarquable. We have not heard the last of her. If her next book is not for a young generations book, I will certainly give it a try. She is full of promises as a writer for adults.

Way to go! Jo.

Avatar Image says:

Your always # 1 with us Jo!!!!

Congrats!

Avatar Image says:

JKR is quite youthful, and her full body of work has yet to be written. Her best may be yet to come. Her later Harry Potters were superior to the earlier ones. She is still developing.

Avatar Image says:

She deserves to be on the list. I don’t take much notice of ranking as I always find it a bit subjective.

Never mind the pedants criticizing her writing. She has managed to capture the imagination of adults and children alike with her story-telling and the top-notch research put into creating an authentic ‘other’ world and that deserves a place on the list IMO.

Being a great writer isn’t just dependent on how well you can string a sentence together. That said I must say I’m surprised that Alan Bennett isn’t on this list for both quality and entertainment value.

I’m also glad JK’s ranked higher than Pullman. I think he’s rubbish, and shouldn’t be on it at all. Maybe the HDM trilogy is ok but I haven’t read it because I’ve read some of his other stuff and it is absolute crud, which has put me off reading HDM completely. He can’t write convincing situations, his characters are cardboard and his plots are too easily resolved.

Avatar Image says:

this is cooli do agree JKR should have ranked a bt higher say inthe top 25 and i think tolkien should have been #1

Avatar Image says:

50 years from now shell be in top 10—

look at C.S. Lewis—and his books arent all that great

and Roald Dahl behind C.S. Lewis!!!! wow

Avatar Image says:

Hey Jo!!!

She definitly should have been higher, but who cares. Shes still the best EVER!!!

Avatar Image says:

Only 42 out of 50? Come on.

Avatar Image says:

Jo should have been put very first in my view…some of these names I haven’t even heard of!! what kind of criteria is this?????

Avatar Image says:

I think Ian Fleming is way too high on the list. He is primarily remembered for James Bond and while the books are good I don’t think they rank with many of the others including JKR. I am old enough to have read them before all but the first couple of movies appeared.

Avatar Image says:

c. s. lewis’ fantasies are the chronicles of narnia, the space trilogy, the screwtape letters and the great divorce, (have i forgotten anything?). he also wrote a lot of non-fiction, both in his field of literature and about theology. he’s very different from jkr, but in my opinion they’re both great. i totally agree that lists like this contain an awful lot of subjectivity. to get on the list at all is the important hing, and assumes a certain level of both skill and popularity.

Avatar Image says:

i took a look at the first few entrieson the list and noticed that 2 of the top 6 are poets and there are 4 poets and 1 poet/ playwright as well as 1 standalone playwright and to me there would be a valid arguement that they should be on a seperate list for the top 50 British Poets and one for the top 50 british playwrights since 1945, I will not deny they are writers but it seems odd to me to combine 2 such different types of writing as novels and poetry, and plays in the same list and there are 4 entriesonthe list that at least to me seem somewhat debatable to callthem british, Salman Rushdie ( Iranian birth), Kazuo Ishigumo ( Japanese Descent), Isaiah Berlin (Russian) and Hanif Kureshi ( asian descent) all these things lead m,e to wonder what criteria was used to determine who was eligiable for this list and who got to vote on who was on the list. but as with all greatest list there willwalways be some debate and arguement over who is and isn’t onthe l;ist as well as where those on the list ranked

Avatar Image says:

Nothing wrong with 42. Afterall, it is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything!

Avatar Image says:

i don’t think this list really means anything, but i still think that Jo should have been higher, it’s only their opinions though.

Avatar Image says:

She should be number 1!!!! Well, to me she’s number one! Anyway, congrats Jo! You rock!

Avatar Image says:

Megan

Of course the intellectual snobbery latent whenever Jo’s books are mentioned in “lofty publications” is sickening and typical of the old Marxist fervour that if something is popular , then it must be rubbish. You can never over exaggerate the jelousy and bitterness of other writers, publishers and agents towards the likes of Tolkien and Jo.

Avatar Image says:

I think it has to do with seniority rather than the fact that she’s considered a children’s author; funny though because the biggest Harry Potter fans I know are mostly grownups. Roald Dahl (while he has written some good horror) is mostly known for his children’s books and is # 16 on the list. I think that as JKR continues to write more sagas of all sorts and as her writing style continues to evolve, her standing will become closer to #1. I just hope she doesn’t have to wait until she’s dead.

Avatar Image says:

I thought for sure Orwell would be number one. He’d be who I would choose, anyway.

And how nice is it that JKR is considered so great! Go her.

Avatar Image says:

CS Lewis wrote a lot more than just the Narnia stuff. I think Tolkien deserves his spot.

BUT, does anyone know why they make the distinction of 1945?

Avatar Image says:

To be honest, These lists don’t mean anything to anybody. Everybody’s opinion on author’s is different. To me, J.K. Rowling would be first everytime. She lets me into her world like no other author can do, except for maybe Philip Paulman. The people writing these lists, have different opinions to we potter fans. Anyways, congrats.

Avatar Image says:

The whole idea of a ‘fifty greatest’ is bloody stupid. By what criteria are they judging? Popularity – in which case, JKR should be higher. Artistic merit? She shouldn’t be on the list at all then.

Also, I’m a fan of Larkin’s poetry, but putting him in the number one spot is still rather strange.

Write a Reply or Comment

Finding Hogwarts

The Leaky Cauldron is not associated with J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros., or any of the individuals or companies associated with producing and publishing Harry Potter books and films.