Enid Blyton is Britain's favourite writer

by Nikki Tranter

20 August 2008

 

As this Guardian article points out, that’s favourite writer. Not favourite children’s writer or young adult writer, but writer. In front of Roald Dahl, J.R.R. Tolkein, Beatrix Potter, and J.K. Rowling. Blyton authored more than 800 books throughout her 50-year career including the Famous Five series and The Magic Faraway Tree. This new honour comes courtesy of the Costa Book Awards people and a poll of more than 2,000 adult readers.

Lucy Mangan at the Guardian explores Blyton’s life and work, and gets to the bottom of her enduring popularity:

I myself can barely bring myself to talk about my Enid Blyton years. Who wants to let daylight in upon magic? From the age of about seven to nine (I deduce from publication dates on my beloved paperbacks, bought from WHSmith by the yard by my parents and shovelled towards the ravenous prepubescent bibliophile welded to the farthest corner of the sofa), I consumed the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Mallory Towers, St Clare’s, the Five Find-Outers and Dog and Island/Castle/Valley/Sea/Any Other Concrete Noun Adventure series. They went down whole and never touched the sides. Milly Molly Mandy, The Worst Witch, Teddy Robinson, Maggie Gumption, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark - they had been good. Blyton was better.

The Telegraph reports on Blyton’s honour. Columnist Rowan Pelling takes a closer look into just how the author “colonised childhood’s most innate comfort zones” in order to directly affect her audience: 

Blyton’s Adventure series is one of my guilty pleasures and, of a winter’s afternoon, I can still be found curled up with Jack, Lucy-Ann, Philip, Dinah and Kiki the parrot as they are abducted in an aeroplane, or uncover an ancient treasure map.

Information about Blyton and her books can be found at http://www.enidblyton.net/. The Costa Book Awards site features a press release on the recent poll, which includes a complete list of Britain’s 50 favourite authors.

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