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The BBC's Rosie Millard
"Roald Dahl's worlds of imagination and irreverence are still an winning combination"
 real 28k

Friday, 10 March, 2000, 07:34 GMT
Roald Dahl voted UK's top author
Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl is popular among both children and adults
Writer Roald Dahl, whose darkly entertaining creations have delighted readers for decades, has been named as the UK's favourite author.

The late creator of James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate factory took the title in a major survey of readers to mark World Book Day.

Dahl, who has long been recognised as one of the most successful authors in the world took nearly one in 20 of the votes. Although best-known for his children's stories, he also has several books of adult short stories published.

Top ten authors
1. Roald Dahl
2. J K Rowling
3. Terry Pratchett
4. Catherine Cookson
5. Jacqueline Wilson
6. Maeve Binchy
7. Jane Austen
8. Dick Francis
9. Stephen King
10. Danielle Steele
The result has been seen as a testimony to the author's enduring appeal among both young and old.

JK Rowling, creator of the bestselling tales about Harry Potter the trainee wizard, was voted as runner up just three books into her career.

Literary greats

Both authors beat literary greats such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy.

Others shunned by the list include contemporary writers Ian MacEwan, Roddy Doyle and Salman Rushdie.

Mr Dahl's widow Felicity expressed her delight at the result.

"I am just thrilled for Roald's sake that he continues to be so popular almost 10 years after his death," she said.

Catherine Cookson, who died in 1998, was voted top choice among adults, finishing fourth overall.

JK Rowling
JK Rowling is in second place
Third place was taken by comic fantasy writer Terry Pratchett whose Discworld novels have drawn a large cult following.

World Book Day, featuring a number of literature-related events, is held annually to help promote the written word.

This year around 1m-worth of book tokens will be handed out.

Normally held on 23 April, it began in Catalonia in Spain where it is the tradition to give a book and a rose on St George's day.

This year the event has been brought forward to avoid the Easter holidays.

Among the events being held to mark the day in the UK, the British Library in London opens its Chapter and Verse exhibition, displaying original versions of some of the most important works of the past 1,000 years.

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See also:

23 Apr 99 |  Entertainment
Reading up for World Book Day
11 Mar 99 |  Education
The books children are reading
09 Mar 00 |  UK Politics
Harry Potter is MPs' choice
15 Sep 99 |  Entertainment
Death shadows Harry Potter
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