The first major exhibition celebrating the life and work of one of Britain’s best known children’s authors opens at Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery this week.
Born in 1897, Enid Blyton was the best-selling English language author of the 20th century and remains one of the most popular writers of all time. Her first book was published in 1922 and her work has been in print ever since.
The ‘Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts’ exhibition, which is touring the UK, explores Blyton’s creative imagination and the events that shaped her life and storytelling.
Created by Seven Stories, the national centre for children’s books, it brings to life the worlds of the Famous Five and Secret Seven, Malory Towers, Magic Faraway Tree and Noddy’s Toyland in a fun and interactive way for youngsters as well as grown-ups.
Exhibits – many of which are on public display for the first time – include original hand corrected typescripts from Five Have Plenty of Fun (1954) and Last Term at Malory Towers (1951) to Look Out, Secret Seven (1962) and Cheer Up, Little Noddy (1960).
Personal and nature diaries spanning the 1920s, 1930s and 1960s, family photographs and her famous typewriter are also included.
Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories said: “It’s impossible to celebrate Britain’s literary heritage for children without including our most successful author, Enid Blyton. She was a prolific writer with a lively imagination and a remarkable gift for connecting with children. She was a master of plot, pace, suspense and the moral tale.”
Deputy Council Leader Peter Smith said: “In a career that spanned five decades, Enid Blyton wrote more than 700 books and some 4,500 short stories. Although some of her work has attracted controversy, she remains one of the most popular writers of all time and her contribution to children’s literature is beyond doubt.
“When we became aware this exhibition was going on a national tour we were really keen for the Museum and Art Gallery to be one of the venues – especially over the summer break when lots of families visit. I’m sure they’re going to have a great time.”
Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts is also providing the inspiration for a number of fun, family-friendly activities over the summer holidays, many of which are being delivered in partnership with our library service.
The exhibition will be on display from Wednesday 17 June until Saturday 29 August and opening hours will be 10am to 5.30pm Tuesday to Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturdays. Admission is free.