Dave Lull has just sent me a link to an article on the BBC website reporting that "Harry Potter author J K Rowling has been named greatest living British writer in a magazine poll." Which magazine? The Book Magazine, of which I have never heard. JKR obtained three times as many votes as the second author, Terry Pratchett. Next were Ian McEwan, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Philip Pullman, Harold Pinter, Nick Hornby, A S Byatt and, in a 10th-place tie, Jonathan Coe and John Le Carre. Zadie Smith (who has just won the Orange prize for fiction) came in at no. 33.
None of the many media sources and blogs reporting this award links to The Book Magazine, and a Google search reveals only one magazine with that title, which ceased publishing in 2003. Strange and mysterious.
Ian McEwan has just won the James Tait Black memorial prize for fiction for Saturday, not one of his stronger books in my opinion, but very good indeed. (I preferred Atonement of McEwan’s more recent novels.)
I don’t know how the J K Rowling prize came about – who voted, etc — but I think it is great. She is a wonderful author. I am also delighted for Ian McEwan. Both novelists write books that people, not least me, really enjoy reading. You see people on the train and the tube all the time reading their books. I have already seen some sneering articles and posts about these particular awards for these particular authors, which I think are misguided.
Thank you, Dave, as ever, for the link.