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  • Royal Mint blocks Enid Blyton coin

    Royal Mint BLOCKS Enid Blyton commemorative coin because bosses think she is a 'racist, sexist and a homophobe' and fear backlash

    • Proposal for Enid Blyton commemorative 50p coin blocked by Royal Mint
    • Meeting minutes claim she was known to be a 'racist, sexist, homophobe'
    • She created the Famous Five and Secret Seven as well as Noddy character

    By CHRIS HASTINGS ARTS CORRESPONDENT FOR THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

    PUBLISHED: 00:09, 25 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:02, 26 August 2019

    She has sold more books than any other children's author, enchanting millions of young readers with tales of adventure, ginger beer and buns.

    But Enid Blyton was denied the honour of a commemorative coin after Royal Mint bosses branded the creator of the Famous Five and Secret Seven novels a 'racist homophobe', newly-released documents reveal.

    The snub has infuriated fans of the Noddy author who insist her books – which have sold 600 million copies to date and still sell hundreds of thousands a year – have inspired generations of children to read.

    The idea of a commemorative 50p coin for Blyton was discussed at a meeting of the Royal Mint's advisory committee in December 2016.

    • Enid Blyton was denied the honour of a commemorative coin after Royal Mint bosses branded the creator of the Famous Five and Secret Seven novels a 'racist homophobe', newly-released documents reveal
    The meeting's minutes, obtained under freedom of information laws, reveal that members dismissed the plan because 'she [Blyton] is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer'.

    They also reveal that the committee, which was considering producing the coin to mark the 50th anniversary of Blyton's death in 1968, was worried about a potential backlash if members went ahead with the proposal.

    The minutes state: 'Deep concern that this theme will bring adverse reaction… concern over the backlash that may result from this.' The committee decided to seek other subjects to celebrate.

    Blyton, who published her first book in 1922 and went on to write 700 titles, is ranked seventh most successful author of all time.

    • The snub has infuriated fans of the Noddy (pictured) author who insist her books – which have sold 600 million copies to date and still sell hundreds of thousands a year – have inspired generations of children to read

    In the past five years, more than two million copies of her books have been sold. Literary critics in the past have branded her a 'Little Englander' and dismissed her stories as twee and middle-class.

    Criticism subsided in recent years after Blyton's publishers rejigged some of the characters and dialogue to help the author remain relevant to youngsters.

    • Last month, the BBC announced plans for a new 13-part drama based on Blyton's Malory Towers stories. It follows a new stage adaptation of the stories which has opened to rave reviews.

    Novelist Jilly Cooper dismissed the Royal Mint's criticism as 'rubbish', saying: 'Enid Blyton was a brilliant storyteller and her books have got millions of children hooked on reading. She definitely deserves a commemorative coin. I adore her and so do my grandchildren.'

    Michael Rosen, the former Children's Laureate, said: 'On the negative side, she was some of the things she is being accused of. But at the same time she enabled millions of children to enjoy stories.'

    Literary biographer Laura Thompson, who grew up loving Blyton's work, said: 'I don't think she can be described as sexist. George in The Famous Five and the girls at Malory Towers were very sparky and some of the boys seemed feeble by comparison. I also don't get homophobic. Racist I can understand because of the Golliwog in Noddy.'

    Members of the advisory committee declined to comment but a spokeswoman for the Royal Mint said: 'The point of the advisory committee is to ensure that themes commemorated on UK coins are varied, inclusive and represent the most significant events in our history. For these reasons not every event will progress to a UK coin.'

  • #2
    It's a scandal the Royal Mint refused to put Enid Blyton on a coin. She was a genius, not sexist Telegraph - 26 AUGUST 2019


    Enid Blyton with her daughters
    CREDIT: GEORGE KONIG/ HULTON ARCHIVE

    There was something grimly unsurprising about the Royal Mint’s decision not to issue a commemorative 50p coin to mark the 50th anniversary of Enid Blyton’s death last year. Without even being told, you know why the advisory committee – whose minutes were obtained this weekend by a Sunday newspaper – sucked their teeth and decided they wouldn’t want to go there: “she is known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer”. More to the point, they registered “concern over the backlash that may result from this”.

    In other words, because they were worried that there’d be a big deal about it from Twitter (and, with Twitter, Caliban has found his medium) they chose not to acknowledge the extraordinary contribution that this remarkable writer made to the enjoyment of reading and the spread of literacy around the English‑speaking world.

    I’d argue, myself, that Enid Blyton was one of the greatest forces for social mobility in the 20th century. Because reading books and enjoying books, which starts as a child, means you’re at home with stories and words. One of the most dispiriting differences between prosperous homes and poorer ones is that the middle classes tend to have books – of varying quality; the poor tend not to. Whether you read or you don’t matters for your life chances, and still more for your stock of pleasure.

    Blyton was a genius; she had few equals as a storyteller – just try her Sea of Adventure – and I couldn’t care less if the literary quality wasn’t remarkable. Neither is J K Rowling’s. But she could create memorable characters in a few words.

    One of them, obviously, was George of the Famous Five, who would nowadays unhesitatingly be assigned an initial: intersex, bisexual, trans? In happier days, you didn’t need to know. Here was a character who could declare: “I hate being a girl. I won’t be. I don’t like doing things that girls do. I like doing the things that boys do.” In fact, you could probably give George one more initial: F for Feminist.

    Actually Enid Blyton’s values, friendship and kindness, have worn pretty well. As George observed: “I used to think it was best to be alone. But now I know that was silly. It’s nice to be with others and share things and make friends.”

    So what if Noddy didn’t end up on a 50p piece? He’s still one of the immortals.
    Last edited by Maurice; 27th August 2019, 07:51 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      I'd say that the refusal to commemorate Enid Blyton, now it has become publicly known, paints the Royal Mint in a far worse light and could cause a much bigger backlash than if they'd decided to issue of Blyton coins.

      I wonder which other people might not be commemorated for similar reasons. Slipperly slope, censorship...

      Comment


      • #4
        The way things are carrying on in this PC world of ours, I'm guessing in about 50 years from now, they'll probably be saying the same sort of comments about J.K.Rowling as they're now saying about Enid Blyton. No doubt the politically correct snowflakes of the future will find something offensive in a Harry Potter book, or any other children's book which happens to be popular at this moment in time.

        Comment


        • #5
          I had no idea that the Royal Mint was churning out so many commemorative 50p coins - looks more like a branch of Bradford Exchange.

          It's not a joke, but they are even planning a 50p piece to commemorative the 50p piece !!!

          The decision not to go with a Blyton coin was just a commercial decision based on market research - there is just more appeal in Paddington and the Gruffalo.

          This is another one of those off-topic topics designed to create outrage and a sense of indignation - wind them up and watch them go - what fun!

          We can be better than this - can't we?
          Last edited by Anthony McKay; 27th August 2019, 11:37 AM.

          Comment


          • Ian Fryer
            Ian Fryer commented
            Editing a comment
            Dear God, I hope so. As soon as I see the words 'Snowflake' and 'Political Correctness' I just switch off.

        • #6
          Originally posted by Anthony McKay View Post
          It's not a joke, but they are even planning a 50p piece to commemorative the 50p piece !!!

          The decision not to go with a Blyton coin was just a commercial decision based on market research - there is just more appeal in Paddington and the Gruffalo.
          That's news to me, I didn't even realise they were planning a 50p piece to commemorate the very same coin.

          Incidentally, my earlier post wasn't criticising the Royal Mint for their decision, as I agree with you in that it's more than likely a commercial decision as you say.

          My point was merely the fact that Enid Blyton's books were a product of their time and were perfectly acceptable in the 1940's/50's, in the same way as TV comedies from the 70's were fine for that particular time, but wouldn't sit well today. I mentioned the Harry Potter books as an example of today's children's literature, which as far as I'm aware, nobody has expressed any objections to any of the characters in the stories. But I can't help wonder if in the future, say 40 or 50 years from now, someone may find something offensive in current books which are deemed perfectly acceptable today, in the same way as Blyton was OK back then when her books were originally published.

          Comment


          • Bonekicker
            Bonekicker commented
            Editing a comment
            I largely agree - the idea of a 50p piece commemorating Blyton being much of a success is unlikely, to say the least. And yes, she is a formulaic writer, whose treatment of her own kids wasnt exactly stellar, plus yes, the books are pretty stereotypical, at best.

            Its a very Mail/Telegraph thing to put such a spin on whats a very minor story - outrage for the sake of it.

        • #7
          J.K Rowling! I say jail her she writes about Witches and you all know where that leads.

          Comment


        • #8
          Typical "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" fodder.

          Whether you liked her books or not, and I did, there's no denying that her name carries too much baggage nowadays. As has been suggested above, this is just a sensible commercial decision.
          Last edited by narabdela; 27th August 2019, 06:02 PM.

          Comment


          • Carl V
            Carl V commented
            Editing a comment
            As a very young child, I did read some of the Famous Five books. I didn't realise she wrote 21 adventures in total, as I only read perhaps a dozen of them at the most. They were OK at the time, but I'm sure today's kids would probably be more entertained by the likes of Harry Potter than about the escapades of four kids and their dog. I don't recall reading anything else by Enid Blyton however.

          • Shirley Brahms
            Shirley Brahms commented
            Editing a comment
            I loved the Magic Faraway Tree stories.

          • narabdela
            narabdela commented
            Editing a comment
            So did I, as did my two children when I read them as bedtime stories 30+ years ago. I'm not sure that Dame Slap is considered acceptable for kids nowadays though.
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