Okay, I know it’s the question you’ve all been asking, ever since the Public Lending Right figures, which denote library borrowings in the UK, were announced yesterday: where on the list did I come?
Top of the combined list of Adult and Children’s authors is James Patterson, who also, therefore, tops the list of the 20 most borrowed authors of Adult Fiction [no official mention on the PLR site I visited of the various co-writers he employs, nor any details as to whether he shares a percentage of his PLR earnings around the staff]. Sticking with the Adult list, amongst the crime fraternity, Lee Child clocks in an number 7, Michael Connelly at 9 and Harlan Coben at 10; Ian Rankin coasts in at 20, just behind Agatha Christie.
Longer lists of Adult Fiction authors alone don’t seem to be available; the figures that go beyond 20 – go on, in fact, to 400 – are for Adult and Children’s authors combined, and on that list I am positioned at number 283, a little way behind Michael Bond, of Paddington fame – that’s the bear not the station – and the historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick, with whom I once shared an agent and, I believe, a post code. Close behind me come a varied group including P. G Wodehouse, Andrea Camilleri, Bill Bryson and Robert Harris.
Last year, by the way, I was 220th and the year before that 157th … There’s a message there and I’m doing my best to ignore it.