Enid Mary Blyton was an English children’s writer whose books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives. People remembered her today for her Noddy, Famous Five and Secret Seven series.
Enid Blyton Early Life
- Enid Blyton was born on 11 August 1897 in East Dulwich, South London, to a cutlery salesman, and his wife Theresa Mary.
- From 1907 to 1915 Blyton attended St Christopher’s School in Beckenham. She enjoyed physical activities and became school tennis champion and captain of lacrosse.
- From her earliest childhood, her parents schooled Blyton in the belief that she would eventually be a musician. However, she had also started to write and send stories, articles, and poems to various periodicals.
- Although her family thought that most of her writing was a waste of time, she remained undaunted.
- Blyton was introduced to the children at the nursery school, and recognising her natural affinity with them.
- Soon she enrolled in a National Froebel Union teacher training course at the school in September 1916.
Enid Blyton Writing Career
- In 1920 Blyton relocated to Chessington, and began writing in her spare time. Publishers rejected Blyton’s manuscripts on many occasions, which only made her more determined to succeed.
- Blyton’s first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922.
- In 1924, Blyton married Hugh Pollock, an editor of the book department of George Newnes. Blyton’s published her first full-length children’s adventure book, The Secret Island, in 1938.
- This fast-moving story, woven around familiar characters, led to such series as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, the Adventure series, the Mystery series, and the ‘Barney’ Mystery books.
- During World War II, when government restricted publishing, Blyton managed to get her works printed.
Enid Blyton Success
- During the following decades, she ruled the field of juvenile literature. Blyton could write 10,000 words a day, which enabled her to keep up her prodigious output.
- In 1940, she published eleven books under her name, including The Secret of Spiggy Holes. Her stories appeared earlier in serial form in Sunny Stories, Twenty-Minute Tales and Tales of Betsy May.
- Under the pseudonym Mary Pollock, she wrote Three Boys and a Circus and Children of Kidillin. Blyton’s marriage ended in 1942.
- Next year, she married Kenneth Darrell Waters, a middle-aged surgeon. He was also genuinely interested in her work and they shared many interests in common, including gardening.
- In 1945, Blyton decided to wind up her column for the Teachers’ World. Seven years later, she withdrew from Sunny Stories.
- After the publication of the first story in 1942, a new title followed each year.
- In 1949, appeared Little Noddy Goes to Toyland, a story of a little toy man, who always ends up in trouble and has to seek help from his Toyland friends. Its sales exceeded expectations.
- At the end of the 1990s, well over 300 Blyton titles were still in print, including editions of the Famous Five stories linked to the popular television serialisation (1995) and modern adventure games, also based on the ‘Famous Five’ series.
Enid Blyton Death and Legacy
- In the early sixties, the author found it increasingly difficult to concentrate to writing. Her husband died in 1967.
- During the months that followed, her own illness grew progressively worse. Blyton died in her sleep on November 28, 1968, in a Hampsted nursing home.
- Although people criticized her books for racism, sexism, and snobbishness, her books always found new readers from new generations.
- “She was a child, she thought as a child and she wrote as a child,” as the psychologist, Michael Woods summarized the secret of her writing.
- Since her death and the publication of her daughter Imogen’s 1989 autobiography, A Childhood at Green Hedges, Blyton has emerged as an emotionally immature, unstable and often malicious figure.