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It is nice seeing the Guardian record article history on the web version of articles – when was it originally published, what are the details of print publication, revisions. This shows that they are serious about what they publish as part of an ongoing part of the historical record.
Incidentally, the article I link to here is about a poll of best loved authors in the UK commissioned by Costa. Enid Blyton came top, a name not as well known in the US as in the UK.
But this latest nomination is not for best children’s writer, it is for best-loved writer, full stop. Blyton’s gold medal position in this table, along with the high preponderance of children’s writers elsewhere on Costa’s list (Roald Dahl took second place and JK Rowling third, while JRR Tolkien and Beatrix Potter made the top 10), is evidence that it is the books we read, wholeheartedly, passionately, uncritically, in childhood to which we remain most firmly and irrevocably attached. The flaws we see in them as adults, the criticisms – and some pretty hefty ones, in the shape of accusations of sexism, racism and class snobbery have been flung Blyton’s way over the years – do not weaken those bonds. For hundreds of thousands of us, Blyton was the wedge that cracked open the pleasure-filled world of reading and allowed us in. Our rational adult sides reject and mock Kirrin Island and all the adventures played out there; our inner children remember it rightly, and gratefully, as the promontory from which we caught our first glimpse of the promised land. [Lucy Mangan celebrates the literary talents of Enid Blyton | Books | The Guardian]
This article was amended on Friday August 22 2008. About 8m copies of Enid Blyton books are sold worldwide every year, rather than 800m. This has been corrected. [Lucy Mangan celebrates the literary talents of Enid Blyton | Books | The Guardian]