Best-selling writer J.K. Rowling suffered a rare literary defeat on Tuesday when Enid Blyton was voted as Britain’s best-loved author.
In second place was “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” author Roald Dahl; Rowling came third.
Blyton has sold more than 500 million books worldwide and is best known for her "Famous Five" books. Critics have branded her books sexist, racist and simplistic, but Blyton’s stories remain popular, selling more than 10 million copies a year.
“We are delighted that the British public has voted Enid Blyton its best-loved author,” said Jeff Norton, director of brand development at Chorion, owners of the Enid Blyton estate.
With the top three of the poll dominated by children’s authors, Jane Austen came fourth and Shakespeare was fifth.
The poll of 2,000 adults, commissioned for the 2008 Costa Book Awards, was conducted in August.
“The research demonstrates how influenced we are in later life by the authors we read as children,” said a Costa spokesman.