Enid Mary Blyton (11 August 1897 – 28 November 1968) 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. Blyton’s books are still enormously popular, and have been translated into 90 languages; her first book, Child Whispers, a 24-page collection of poems, was published in 1922. She wrote on a wide range of topics including education, natural history, fantasy, mystery, and biblical narratives and is best remembered today for her Noddy, Famous Five, Secret Seven and Malory Towers series.
Writing style and technique
Blyton worked in a wide range of fictional genres, from fairy tales to animal, nature, detective, mystery, and circus stories, but she often “blurred the boundaries” in her books, and encompassed a range of genres even in her short stories. Blyton’s daily routine varied little over the years. She usually began writing soon after breakfast, with her portable typewriter on her knee and her favourite red Moroccan shawl nearby; she believed that the colour red acted as a “mental stimulus” for her. Stopping only for a short lunch break she continued writing until five o’clock, by which time she would usually have produced 6,000–10,000 words. From the mid-1950s rumours began to circulate that Blyton had not written all the books attributed to her, a charge she found particularly distressing. She published an appeal in her magazine asking children to let her know if they heard such stories and, after one mother informed her that she had attended a parents’ meeting at her daughter’s school during which a young librarian had repeated the allegation, Blyton decided in 1955 to begin legal proceedings. The librarian was eventually forced to make a public apology in open court early the following year, but the rumours that Blyton operated “a ‘company’ of ghost writers” persisted, as some found it difficult to believe that one woman working alone could produce such a volume of work.
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