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Thursday, 5 April 2012

E is for Enid Blyton

I've been trying to think who was my earliest influence when it comes to writing, and there is only really one person. Enid Blyton. When I discovered her books at the age of four, it opened a door to me that made me want to write stories too. For me Enid Blyton was one of the most entertaining storytellers of all time.

Enid Mary Blyton was born in August 1897 in South London, with two younger brothers for company Enid spent all of her childhood growing up in the area. She had a close loving relationship with her father, and they would often spend time together, in the garden, on nature rambles or out at the theatre. They had many shared interests which they enjoyed whenever time permitted.

However, her relationship with her mother wasn't as joyful, and the pair didn't see eye to eye. Her mother was of the opinion that girls should be domesticated and should be doing housework. Enid wasn't this way inclined, and resented having to do chores whilst her brothers were given a lot more freedom.

Unfortunately, her parents had little in common, and as the years passed the situation got unbearable, there were many upsetting rows and eventually they split up, and her father left. This had a devastating effect on young Enid, and she all but locked herself away in her room where she wrote compulsively. Her mother didn't understand why her daughter wanted to spend her time scribbling stories, and gave her little support. Enid already knew by this time that she wanted to be a writer. She sent off many stories and poems, but apart from one poem, had many rejections. It wasn't until years later she became successful.

She eventually became a teacher, after realising this would bring her closer to the children she wanted to write for, and it would give her a better understanding of what they wanted to read. Eventually in the early 1920's she began to get her stories and articles published in periodicals. She also wrote verses for greeting cards and had her first book, Child Whispers a slim volume of poetry published in 1922.

It is believed Enid wrote over 700 books including the Famous Five books, the St Clare's books, the Cherry Tree/Willow Farm series and the Faraway Tree, and Wishing Chair books. These were later to be joined by Secret Seven books, and the the Mallory Towers series to name but a few. Noddy appeared in 1949, and was a huge success, making Enid a fortune.

She died in 1968, at the age of 71, her books sell all over the world, and she continues to entertain, educate  and inspire. My own favourites are the Faraway Tree series, I loved the characters who lived in the magic land, and made up my own stories long after the books had been read. I devoured the Famous Five, lingered over the Secret Seven, and spent many happy hours reading the books two or three times over because I loved them so much.

Enid was a 'panster' writer, she never plotted a story, preferring to let the story unfold as she typed. She was tireless in her pursuit of writing for children of all ages, and couldn't imagine her life without writing. What a wonderful legacy she has left behind for generations of children.

14 comments:

  1. I think one of my early influences was Judith Viorst. Sometimes now I still wish I could move to Australia.

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  2. I also grew up on Enid Blyton, I LOVED her books, the Faraway tree books and the Famous Five were some of my favorites. I still own a lot of her books, makes me nostalgic for my childhood =)

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  3. I loved Mallory Towers, because I always enjoyed anything set in boarding schools. That was such a different kind of environment from mine, and it just fascinated me.

    An interesting post, thanks. Our early influences really stay in our minds don't they.

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  4. Famous Five books are on the shelves in Tesco with original artwork. Great to see. Enid Blyton's work is timeless.

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  5. Hers were the first books I read. The Secret Seven was my favourite and also Mallory Towers, I read them under the bedcovers at night with a torch.I didn't know anything about her and found it very interesting.

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  6. Hi Maria, I remember reading Enid Blyton books when I was a young child! Good memories!

    This is me, Duncan D. Horne, visiting you from the A-Z challenge, wishing you all the best throughout April and beyond.

    Duncan In Kuantan

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  7. I was so obsessed with Enid Blyton books as a child that I believe it held me back from reading more 'worthy' books for many years. I just wanted to be spoonfed her 'jolly hockysticks' style of children's lives. I think I wanted life to be like that... and it's not. So though I loved Blyton I don't think she did me a lot of favours.

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  8. I don't think I've read anything by Blyton. Apparently my childhood was definitely lacking.

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  9. Thank you for sharing your blog with us. I really enjoyed Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt (romantic, historical mysteries). If you have a minute, visit my blog at www.dianeweidenbenner.com I'll keep reading, thanks again!

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  10. I've not read her books, but it's never too late!

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  11. I loved the Famous Five, and also Mallory Towers. I really really wanted to go to boarding school when I was little... but I'm really glad now that I didn't!

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  12. I wish I could be a "panster" writer. I tried it before and wrote myself into a corner. Thanks for sharing, I'd never heard of her.

    ScribblesFromJenn
    Happy A to Z-ing

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  13. I have never heard of her but will check it out sometime, great post for E today.

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  14. This is the first time I've seen a picture of Enid Blyton. Thanks. I read her in childhood and have bought some of her books for my son.

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