Royal Mint BLOCKS Enid Blyton commemorative coin because they 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
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.’
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