Britain’s most prolific fiction writers

Edgar Wallace listed as one of the main fiction writers on the cover of The Strand magazine in 1930 (June)

Edgar Wallace listed as one of the main fiction writers on the cover of The Strand magazine in 1930 (June)

Edgar Wallace was the ‘King of Thrillers’ with a plaque in Fleet Street to this day and the BBC radio series The Man Who Wrote Too Much credits him with writing a quarter of all new books read in Britain by the late 1920s. This ‘fiction factory’ of a man was not only a best-selling author, journalist and playwright but also film director and creator of King Kong.

It was a similar story with Ursula Bloom – who will no doubt one day also be the subject of a BBC radio series. She was once in the Guinness Book of Records as the most prolific woman writer in the world, and has been credited with 560 novels to her name from, appropriately, The Great Beginning in 1924 to No Lady Meets No Gentlemen and As Bends the Bough published after her death in 2000.

Woman's Own liked clean cover designs in the 1930s with few cover lines - but notice Ursula Bloom promoted her for a special article (30 July 1938)

Woman’s Own liked clean cover designs with few cover lines – but notice Ursula Bloom promoted her for a special article (30 July 1938)

And in the 1930s Bloom was a big name for her journalistic writing too, as shown by Woman’s Own promoting her ‘special article’ on this cover.

The British Library lists 336 titles as Bloom, but she also wrote under the pen names Sheila Burns (102 titles), Mary Essex (87), Rachel Harvey (25), Deborah Mann (7 with a Biblical theme such as Judas Iscariot – Traitor?) and Lozania Prole (who thinks up these names? – 69). It seems that the pen names were used to establish ‘sub-brands’, so the Harvey name was carried on hospital romances with titles such as Nurse Judy’s Secret Passion, and Prole for historical romances such as The Enchanting Princess. She died in 1984 at the age of 91. Barbara Cartland, then aged 83 with 395 books under her belt, was quoted as saying in tribute: ‘I may catch up, though, if I live long enough.’

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2 Responses to “Britain’s most prolific fiction writers”

  1. Pulp fiction and off-the-shelf thriller plots | Magforum Says:

    […] the writers became popular). Cook’s output pales into insignificance when compared with the most prolific British writers – Ursula Bloom (560 romance novels in her 92 years), Barbara Cartland (359 romances in 99 […]

  2. Kitchener, Ernest Noble and the Nignog Club | Magforum Says:

    […] Pick up a magazine and you never know where you’ll end up next. A copy of the first issue of the 6-part Kitchener’s Army & the Territorial Forces arrives in the post. This was a part work published by George Newnes, probably starting in January 1915, though it does not carry a date.  It was written by Fleet Street legend Edgar Wallace. […]

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