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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 09:30 GMT 10:30 UK
Austen leads female author list
Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice
Austen's classic became a popular TV adaptation
Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is the UK's best-loved book by a female author, according to a survey.

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre came second, followed by her sister Emily's Wuthering Heights in third.

Middlemarch by George Eliot was fourth, and Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca came fifth.

The list of the top 50 books written by women was based on more than 6,000 public votes.

Top 10 books by women
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
3 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
4 Middlemarch - George Eliot
5 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
6= Persuasion - Jane Austen
6= Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
6= Emma - Jane Austen
9= Unless - Carol Shields
9= To Kill A Mocking Bird - Harper Lee
It was compiled by Orange, which sponsors the annual prize for the best novel by a female author.

Pride and Prejudice, first published in 1813, centres on heroine Elizabeth Bennet's romance with the brooding Mr Darcy.

The book's popularity grew after the BBC screened a TV adaptation starring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy.

Pride and Prejudice was one of four Austen novels to make the list alongside Persuasion (six), Emma (eight) and Sense and Sensibility (joint 23rd).

The top 50 was evenly balanced between the classics and more modern works.

Zadie Smith
Zadie Smith makes number 12 in the list
JK Rowling's Harry Potter books made three appearances, with the first - The Philosopher's Stone - highest placed at 13.

Literary sensation Zadie Smith featured at number 12 with her debut novel White Teeth.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding was at joint 23rd.

Virginia Woolf - subject of the Oscar-winning performance by Nicole Kidman in The Hours - appeared three times, with To The Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway and Orlando.

Unless by Canadian author Carol Shields - shortlisted for this year's Orange Prize - was the only book from the past 40 years to make the top 10.

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