Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

English Heritage say Enid Blyton's work is 'racist and xenophobic'


English Heritage have had a re-appraisal which linked the children's author Enid Blyton's work to 'racism and xenophobia' after a review of its blue plaques following last summer's Black Lives Matter protests. 

The prolific English children's writer has enchanted millions of young readers for a century with tales of adventure, ginger beer and buns, selling 600million books in 90 languages.

But Ms Blyton, whose novels have been among the world's best-sellers since the 1920s, has been linked to racism in updated English Heritage information about the blue plaque on the Chessington home where she wrote her first stories while working as a nursery governess between 1920 and 1924.

The updated description on the EH website and app says: '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".'

It adds: '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'. 

Further, English Heritage has also updated the online profiles of Benjamin Franklin and Rudyard Kipling, both blue plaque recipients, with fresh sections on their attitudes to race, slavery and empire.

Underneath a subheading titled 'Peter, King and Franklin's attitudes to slavery', English Heritage writes that Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, 'viewed black people as inferior' and 'owned enslaved people from about 1735 until 1781'. The change was made between May 16, 2019, and August 13 last year.

And in an update made some time after August 29, 2019, the charity said author Kipling's political views have been 'widely criticised for their racist and imperialist sentiments'.