Biography of Enid Blyton - Author of Children's Books
Enid Blyton was the author of children's books. Her writings were aimed at entertaining children. She opened a new world of fantasy and imagination for children through her writings.
She thrilled her readers with many adventure stories and wrote many poems that have been published.
Even today, children love reading her books. Her books have sold more than a million copies around the world.
Enid Blyton's Early Life
Enid Blyton was born on 11th August 1897 in East Dulwich, South London. She was born to Thomas and Theresa and had two younger brothers Hanly and Carey.
After her birth, her parents relocated to Beckenham in Kent. It was in Kent that Enid Blyton spent many days of her childhood.
Enid Blyton's father, Thomas, was a cutlery salesperson. He loved nature and had extensive knowledge of flowers, birds, and animals.
He loved to take Enid Blyton on long walks and taught her whatever he knew. He encouraged her and loved her very much. He also taught her about life and often told her that if she wanted anything badly, then she had to work hard for it.
Enid Blyton's mother Theresa, was just the opposite of her father. Theresa believed that housework was very important. She did not have any interest in reading or art. She felt that Enid Blyton should be helping with the household work rather than reading or going for nature walks with her father.
Enid Blyton at School
Enid Blyton was a good student. She was brilliant and excelled in art and the study of nature. The very first school she attended was a small one called “Tresco”, just opposite her house.
In 1907 Enid Blyton was enrolled at “St. Christopher’s School for Girls” in Beckenham. She was very popular in school and full of life. She excelled at studies and cultural activities.
Enid Blyton excelled in the field of sports. She became the school’s tennis champion and was elected as the captain of the lacrosse team. She won many prizes and accolades. She was elected as the school’s Head Girl in her last two years as a student.
A Devastating Turn of Events
When Enid Blyton was twelve years old, her father and mother separated. Enid was very close to her father and was devastated.
Enid Blyton continued to live with her mother. She was not happy at all because her mother never supported her writings. Irrespective of her mother's disapproval Enid Blyton kept writing. She sent many of her stories and poems to magazines. At first, many of her works were rejected except for one poem that was printed by Author Mee in his magazine.
Even though her mother did not support her, she was encouraged to keep writing by Mabel Attenborough, the aunt of Enid Blyton's close friend "Mary."
Froebel Based Teacher Training
Enid enrolled in Guildhall School of Music in 1916. She was talented in music, and her family believed that she was going to become a musician. Enid Blyton did not want to become a musician. She felt that practicing playing the piano was a waste of time. She thought that she could spend the practice time in writing.
After having started her studies at Guildhall School of music, Enid Blyton had a sudden change of mind. She wanted to become a teacher. She felt that by becoming a teacher, she would be close to the children for whom she wanted to write.
On September 16th, she started on a Froebel’s teacher training course at Ipswich High School. It was during this time that the relationship with her mother had soured entirely, and she distanced herself from her entire family except for her father. She used to visit her father in his office in London.
Enid Blyton's Initial Publications
Many of her stories and articles were published in periodicals in the year 1920.
Enid Blyton's first book "Child Whispers" was released in 1922.
In 1923 many of her books, short story writings, and poetry were published.
Enid Blyton "Book of Bunnies", her very first novel was published in 1925.
In 1926, she started writing in a fortnightly magazine, "Sunny Stories for Little Folks." This series became a huge hit.
The "Enid Blyton Book of Brownies" was published in 1927.
It was in 1927 that Enid Blyton began using a typewriter. Till then, she wrote in longhand.
On August 28th, 1924, she married Hugh Alexander Pollock, the editor of the publishing firm George Newens. In 1926, the couple moved to their first house, the "Elfin Cottage" in Beckenham.
In 1929, they moved to the "Old Thatch" a cottage near the River Thames in Bourne End, Buckinghamshire. Enid Blyton loved the cottage, and it was here that she enjoyed a social life. She loved to play tennis and bridge.
On July 15th, 1931, she gave birth to a daughter whom she named Gillian, and on October 27th, 1935, she had another daughter, Imogen.
In 1938, she published a book of adventures titled the" Secret Island." Enid Blyton plunged herself into more writing and had little time to spend with her children. She relied on her domestic staff for all the housework. In 1950, she released the book "Pole Star Family and Ship of Adventure".
During this time, her husband Hugh was working with Churchill for his work about the First World War. He slowly went into depression, knowing that they were about to enter into a Second World War.
Enid and her husband Hugh were very busy and spent a little time together. They slowly grew apart and finally divorced.
It was during this time Enid became very close to Dorothy Richards, a maternity nurse who had helped her after the birth of her child Imogen. Enid relied heavily on Dorothy Richards for mental and physical support.
In 1938, Enid Blyton moved to another house in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, with the help of Dorothy. This house occupied a space of two and a half acres built in the Tudor style.
This house was named "Green Hedges" by her Sunny Stories readers.
Her Second Marriage
Enid Blyton married surgeon Kenneth Fraser Darrell Waterson on 20th October 1943. She released her autobiography, “The Story of My Life” in the year 1952.
Kenneth and Enid Blyton loved to play tennis and golf. They loved the outdoors and shared common interests.
Kenneth was hit by a torpedo when he was in the army, and his hearing was permanently damaged.
During this time, Enid Blyton published three books - Queen Elizabeth Family, Five on Finnston Farm, Five Have a Mystery to Solve.
After her daughters had joined a boarding school, Enid Blyton found a lot of time to write.
Many of her book series was very popular among children.
To mention a few -
Cherry Tree/ Willow Farm
Secret Seven Books
The Malory Tower series
The Six Cousins
In 1949, Enid Blyton published her Noddy book series. Noddy was a big hit among the children.
After the Noddy series, Enid Blyton started to publish the magazine "Sunny Stories" again. Through her writings in this magazine, she encouraged her readers to be responsible, kind, and helpful. She encouraged them to contribute to society in any way they could.
She formed groups for her magazine readers to get involved in social work -
"Busy Bees Club" who were involved in helping animals,
"Famous Five Club" who were involved in raising money for needy children
"Magazine Club" who were involved in raising money for children affected by cerebral palsy
Demise of Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton’s health deteriorated after the death of her husband. She was detected with Dementia in 1960. Her husband, Kenneth, died on 15th September 1967 due to kidney failure. This affected her even more.
Enid Blyton was admitted to a nursing home in Hampstead in 1968. She passed away in her sleep on 28th November 1968, leaving behind her legacy of books for children all over the world to read and enjoy.
© 2013 Nithya Venkat