Charity English Heritage has announced it will update blue plaques about Enid Blyton to say she was linked to racism and it’s sparked a big debate.
As part of a review into their plaques, the charity decided the author’s information needed updating to reflect controversy about her work.
It now reads: “Blyton’s work has been criticised during her lifetime and after for its racism, xenophobia and lack of literary merit. In 2016, Blyton was rejected by the Royal Mint for commemoration on a 50p coin because, the advisory committee minutes record, she was ‘a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer.
“Others have argued that while these charges can’t be dismissed, her work still played a vital role in encouraging a generation of children to read”.
Blyton wrote over 700 books during her career, selling some 600 million copies. Her characters, like Noddy and the Famous Five, have become beloved household names spanning generations, and have greatly outlived the author who died in 1968.
However, some of the language she used in the books has not stood up to scrutiny and has subsequently been changed. Her use of the term ‘Golliwogs’ in Noddy, for instance, has now been changed to ‘Goblins’ in recent editions.
But reacting on Twitter, some people said it was wrong to judge her on today’s standards and rejected the idea that Blyton was linked to racism:
Now Enid Blyton’s work is being termed as ‘xenophobic’ & is said to ‘lack literary merit’.Like millions of readers… https://t.co/TXnNjxrj7a