Fictional favourites

Great characters - Alan Patridge, Gregory Peck and the dust jacket for Rabbit, Run

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Ernest Hemingway once said: "When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people not characters. A character is a caricature."

With that pearl of wisdom dispensed, we asked you to nominate the fictional people who have stayed with you long after you have shut the pages of a book or turned off your television. It's our tribute to great characters, which will be celebrated by Radio 4's Character Invasion Day on March 29.

Here is what you told us:

In the past I've always chosen characters from the classics, Bathsheba Everdine being a particular favourite of mine, but for a change I want to put in a word for Hobie, the most memorable of a beautifully evoked cast of dozens from Donna Tartt's latest novel, The Goldfinch. Hobie is a great bear of a man, a craftsman from another age who tends and restores his beloved antiques in a dusty bow-fronted shop in Lower Manhattan. He is also, beneath his gruff exterior, a man of wise council and deep kindnesses, with an old-fashioned morality. He could have sprung from that superb creator of character, Dickens, an inspiration his author acknowledges, and he will stay with you long after discovering him.

Di Speirs, editor, radio drama

I'm a little obsessed with Steve Coogan, because I really relate to his his alter ego Alan Partridge. He makes being a loser look so cool, and his anal and cynical approach to everything and everyone is just so hilarious. He doesn't need to say much to make me smile - it's the facial expressions that I totally get. He is a very talented actor/writer/director. Coogan's last movie, Philomena, showed just how clever he is at telling a hard-hitting story; yet he managed to inject some light-heartedness in exactly the right places and didn't overdo it.

Beverley Bainbridge, team assistant, business management

One of my favourite characters in a book and on film is Vivian "Vivi" Abbott Walker from Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. She is a bit of a mess but you love her anyway. In some weird ways she reminds me of myself. I was also taken with Hadley Richardson from The Paris Wife and Mrs Hemingway. In both books she is portrayed as someone who is madly in love with her husband Ernest Hemingway, but can't do anything to keep him. I think it's a really sad story, and out of all of Hemingway's wives she's the one who stands out most for me.

Alva King, team assistant, internal comms

V S Naipaul in BBC studio, 1961 Novelist and critic V S Naipaul in a BBC studio in 1961

One of my favourite characters is the hapless Mr Biswas from V S Naipaul's finest novel, A House for Mr Biswas, set in rural Trinidad. Mr Biswas (who is known by that name from birth) is down on his luck for much of the book and the victim of the abusive in-laws, the Tulsi family, whose sole pleasure seems to be dreaming up ways of making Mr Biswas's life a misery. But he has a dream to escape their malign influence by building a house of his own. It may be a ramshackle affair but there is a wonderful sense of triumph in achieving it. Biswas is a poignantly pitiful figure but he is also heroic. He is based on Naipaul's own father, who dreamt of becoming a published author. Naipaul Snr passed on that exalted ambition to his son, who succeeded magnificently. My own book, Bageye at the Wheel, portrayed my father Bageye as a Biswas-like character in 1970s Luton, and is my way of paying back Mr Biswas for the pleasure he has given me over the years.

Colin Grant, producer, science

I studied To Kill A Mockingbird at school and fell in love with Atticus Finch. He's a fair and caring man, a great father and a lawyer with integrity. In the 1962 film Atticus Finch was played by Gregory Peck - perfect casting!

Vickey Roberts, HR

Harry ("Rabbit") Angstrom, the central hero of John Updike's Rabbit books, is kind, flawed and hates authority. I first met him in Rabbit, Run when I was sixteen, a time when Updike's prose was almost impenetrable. I said goodbye to him almost 30 years later in Rabbit at Rest - so he feels more like a fondly remembered uncle than a character in a book.

Gary Lonergan, graphic designer

I first read Dodie Smith's I Capture The Castle when I was 12. Cassandra, the 17-year-old narrator, lives in a crumbling castle in the countryside with her penniless family of eccentrics, and famously starts her journal "sitting in the kitchen sink". Clever, dreamy and charismatic, her experience of falling in love is glorious, heartbreaking, and captures everything there is to say about love, both unrequited and in all its guises.

Clare Bolt, assistant publicist

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