Enid Blyton, one of the most beloved, yet controversial children’s authors of all time, was born in London on 11 August 1897.
She showed a strong literary bent in her school years with her emerging talent extending into essays, short stories and poetry.
Her first book, Child Whispers, was a collection of poetry that ran for 24 pages, and was published in 1922, when Blyton was 25 years of age. She then blossomed into an author, writing on a wide range of subjects that included educational texts, children’s poetry, plays and stories relating to Greek and Roman mythology.
During the 1930’s Blyton concentrated more on children’s subjects and became increasingly prolific, turning out an astonishing amount of material that led to increasing commercial success. This was strongly assisted by her marketing and publicity skills that propelled her books onto the best-seller lists on a regular basis.
She developed several children’s series books that included the Famous Five, Secret Seven and Noddy, all of which were major publishing hits and helped launch her into literary stardom. Her output was so prodigious that she was suspected of employing a team of ghost-writers, a claim that she denied vehemently.
In more recent times her work was criticised for being bland, of limited literary merit and containing elements of racism and sexism that grate somewhat with modern society. She dismissed criticism of this type as arising from jealousy produced by her tremendous success.
Her private life was somewhat tumultuous. Both she and her husband had extra marital relationships and the marriage ended in an acrimonious divorce.
Enid Blyton died in 1968, at 71 years of age, one of the most successful authors of history as well as a tireless charity worker and supporter of worthy causes. She left behind a dazzling legacy, with over 600 million book sales that were translated into some 90 languages.
Image: An image of children’s author Enid Blyton courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.