As this will be my 50th blog entry, I thought I would succumb to some list writing – in this case my 50 favourite authors. Now I haven’t prepared this list in advance, although I have of course given it some thought, so who knows if I will get to 50?

  1. Shakespeare. Of course.
  2. Stella Gibbons – see earlier blogs for some fan mail.
  3. Mervyn Peake, the stunningly brilliant author of the Gormenghast trilogy
  4. George Orwell. Never wrote an uninteresting word. If you have read 1984 and Animal Farm, and chances are you have, try the essays or journalism, or even the much under-appreciated (including by GO himself) minor novels such as Burmese Days, Coming Up for Air, or Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
  5. Raymond Chandler – see blog entry 49.
  6. Anthony Burgess – best known for Clockwork Orange, but I have a real soft spot for the Enderby novels – really funny. There is a scene where Enderby, the poet, cooks spaghetti carbonara badly – doesn’t sound funny I know but try it.
  7. Kingsley Amis – 95% of which is for Lucky Jim of course.
  8. Evelyn Waugh – try “The Loved Ones”.
  9. Jane Austen – an author you are supposed to like, but I wonder how many people just make do with the TV adaptation? But I genuinely believe she is better on the page, where the subtlety can emerge at it own speed.
  10. Charles Dickens – I have read all the principal novels many moons ago, but there is so much more to explore.

Ten is enough for now – if I had just these authors and no more I think I could probably rest happy for many years. But ten more tomorrow.