119 Years of Trust Fact File THE TRIBUNE
Saturday Plus
Saturday, November 6, 1999
For children



Enid Mary Blyton
By Illa Vij

PERHAPS the most popular author of children’s book was Enid Blyton and also the first children’s author to appear in paperback editions. She was British, born in London, England, on August 11 1897.

Her parents, Thomas and Theresa, had three children and she was their first child. Soon after her birth, the family moved to Backenham Kent. Here her brothers, Hanly and Carey, were born. Enid became very close to her father and he always encouraged her to read. He greatly appreciated her love for books and even helped her develop this hobby. Unfortunately, he left the family when Enid was barely 13. She missed him terribly and perhaps the most. Unlike her father, her mother did not encourage her reading. At the age of 14 when Enid began writing poetry, her mother declared it to be a waste of time.

At the age of 14, Enid won a prize at a children’s poetry competition. This greatly encouraged her and very soon she began writing short stories and articles for various magazines. Seeing her talent, Enid’s mother gave her a book on poetry on her 16th birthday.

When she was around 19 years old, Enid took training to be a kindergarten teacher and opened her own school for pre-school children. She even contributed to and edited the journal called Sunny Stories. She wrote poems and articles for adults also, but was happier writing for children. Her first book, published in 1922, was a collection of poems for children. The book was titled Child Whispers. A friend of her’s drew the picture for the cover.

In 1924, Enid married a publisher, Hugh Pollock. She ended her teaching career and became a full-fledged writer. She even worked for a teacher’s magazine. The couple moved to Elfin cottage in Bromley, Kent. In 1953, the magazine Sunny Stories was replaced by Blyton Magazine. In 1929, the couple moved to Old Thatch in Bourne End. Here their daughters, Gillian and Imogen, were born. When World War II began, her marriage broke off. Then she married Doctor Kenneth Darrell Waters. (That is why Enid also came to be called Enid Mary Waters). Enid continued writing enthusiastically, as her books were received all over the world. By 1965, Enid had brought out over 400 titles. In 1967 Kenneth died, and in 1968 the children of the world lost their favourite author.

Enid Blyton left a legacy of 700 books and 10,000 short stories. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and over 200 million copies have been sold all over the world, and the demand remains an ever increasing one. Dutch artist Harmsen Van Der Beek painted the pictures for the Noddy books. While children thoroughly enjoyed her books, many adults felt that the creations were not very imaginative and rather monotonous.

Despite all that, children remain captivated and enjoy reading her works — all kinds of works for children of all age groups. Her works include Noddy, The Secret Seven, The Famous Five, The Adventure Series, The Secret Series, St. Clare’s, The Far Away Tree, The Wishing Chair, Naughtiest Girl and Child Whispers.

Dame Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie, one of the most popular detective fiction writers, was born in Devon in 1891. Her father was an American and mother a Britisher. Her childhood name was Agatha Miller and when she grew up she married Archibald Christie. Later she divorced and married an archaeologist, Sir Max Mallown, but her name Agatha Christie as an author continued. She wrote more than 60 detective novels, about 16 collections of short stories and another 16 plays. She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1971. She died in 1976 at the age of 85. Agatha Christie’s well-known works include:

Novels — The Mysterious Affairs At Styles; The Murder of Roger Ackroyd; The Murder at The Vicarage; A Murder is Announced; and Plays — The Mousetrap; Witness for The Prosecution. back

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