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Frank Richards Index


Billy Bunter books

The fictional character Billy Bunter first appeared in the boys' story paper 'The Magnet' between 1908-1940. The creation of Charles Hamilton, the stories of Billy Bunter appeared under the name Frank Richards, one of the many pseudonyms used by Hamilton who never wrote under his own name.

Distinguished by his dramatically overweight appearance and greediness, Bunter possesses a number of character failings including laziness, deceitfulness, racism and self-conceit. While this makes his character frequently entertaining, many readers find it hard to feel any long-term sympathy for him.


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I have often thought that the question 'Who is the most prolific writer of children's fiction?' would make an excellent question for televised quizzes. I can imagine 'Who wants to be a millionaire?' providing three good possible answers plus the obligatory outsider to beguile the competitor, eager to grab the £1,000,000 prize: Enid Blyton, W.E.Johns, Roald Dahl would be the obvious frontrunners.

Or perhaps University Challenge could offer this starter for ten: 'Which prolific writer of children's fiction's name never appeared on any of his works?' The answer is the man the fiftieth anniversary of whose death passed almost uncelebrated last Christmas Eve, Charles St-John Hamilton. He never wrote under that name, preferring a plethora of pseudonyms, the most common of which was Frank Richards of Billy Bunter fame.


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Billy Bunter is the most famous creation by the author Charles Hamilton, written under the pen name Frank Richards. Charles Hamilton used upwards of twenty pen names and is the most prolific author of boy's stories of all time. You will find him in the Guinness book of records and it is estimated that he wrote over 80,000,000 words or the equivalent of 1,000 average length novels. Born in Ealing, Middlesex, England on August 8, 1876, it is thought that he wrote his first story just nine years later, in 1885.

Billy Bunter was brought to fame as part of The Magnet, a boy's magazine which ran between 1908 and 1940 for a total of 1683 issues. Billy Bunter featured in well over a thousand of these magazines, with his part growing as Hamilton realized the comic potential of Billy Bunter.


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