(Last Updated: 12 April 2012)
Enid Blyton: Needs no introduction, really. One of the most well-loved and popular children’s authors of the 20th Century. However, she has also been one of the most controversial. In her lifetime, she penned hundreds of novels, short stories, plays and poems, as well as numerous journal articles during her teaching career. Her books cover a wide range of genres, from fantasy and fairy stories to juvenile detective fiction, and children aged from 3 to 13 (or above!) can find something that will appeal to them. Notwithstanding the criticism that Blyton has received in some quarters, her popularity endures to this day, and some of her most well-liked series have been continued on by other authors, mainly in countries like France and Germany. But under the stewardship of Chorion, current owner of all Blyton rights, more English-language continuations are starting to come out. Of course, this site is about those continuation novels and not about the works of Blyton herself, but it would be sorely remiss of me not to say something about the woman who inspired these new books, and whose works I personally have a great fondness for (especially the mystery/adventure series). Without Enid Blyton moreover, these continuation novels wouldn’t exist, and neither would this Web site!
Elise Allen: (Alphabetically, “Allen” naturally comes before “Blyton”, but Enid had to be mentioned first!) The author of the Enchanted World series (Magic Faraway Tree continuation novels). There appears to be little information about her. I don’t know whether she is the same as the American Elise Allen who wrote The Traveling Marathoner. However, that Elise Allen has done a little children’s writing, so it’s possible.
Brigitte Blobel: Born in Hamburg on 21 November 1942, this German author and freelance journalist holds a rather curious place in the history of Enid Blyton continuation novels. In 1977 and 1978, she wrote two Famous Five continuation novels, a Barney Mysteries continuation novel and a Secret Series continuation novel that either she, her publisher or both, tried to pass off as translations, when they were in fact entirely original works. Consequently, the books were quickly taken out of print and have never been officially translated into English. But it is still occasionally possible to obtain them second-hand. To this day, Blobel continues to be a very active writer and has written numerous books and stories for both adults and children, some of which have won awards. She has two children from her first marriage and two stepchildren from her second marriage, and currently lives in her home town.
Trevor Bolton: Trevor has been writing continuation novels that have been published online especially for the reading pleasure of Enid Blyton Society members. There are eight altogether: The Canyons of Adventure, The Mystery of McGregor’s Farm, Five Return to Kirrin Island, The Raynam Marsh Mystery, The Adventurous Four to the Rescue, The Boy Next Door Returns, The Secret Seven Under Cover and The Lake of Adventure (the current serial). You have to be a paid-up member to read them, however. General consensus among Society members is that Bolton is the closest to a true Blyton style of any continuation author. You now have a chance to find that out for yourself, as his Secret Series continuation novel, The Secret Valley, has been published in book form and issued along with Enid Blyton’s original five Secret Series novels.
Sarah Bosse: A German author who has written 25 new Famous Five books in German since 2004. She has also written a St. Clare’s continuation novel, which was published in 2000. According to her Web site, she was born in 1966 and loved books from a young age. This is due in part to the fact that her mother managed a bookshop in the German town of Billerbeck for a number of years. At university, she studied German and the Scandinavian languages, and has a particular fondness for the countries, people and literature of Scandinavia. This predilection led her to translate some Swedish children’s books, which in turn made her realise that she could also write her own. One of her translations was nominated for a major German’s children’s book award in 1997. Since 1993, she has had over 40 books (both translations and her own works) published, and written some television scripts as well. Bosse lives in Münster nowadays and is married with one son. (To read about Bosse in her own words, click here.) Oddly, Bosse’s site makes absolutely no mention of her Famous Five books, though pretty well all her other works are covered there, including her St. Clare’s novel.
Pamela Cox: Seems to be pretty elusive and not especially well-known, as I can’t find any biographical information about her and she does not appear to have a Web site. But in 2000, she wrote two continuation novels in the St. Clare’s series that were intended to fill gaps left by Enid Blyton (Cox’s St. Clare’s books cover the third and sixth form years respectively, which Blyton omitted, for some reason). She has subsequently written a third continuation novel, Kitty at St. Clare’s, which was published in 2008, and has spoken at the 2008 Enid Blyton Society Day. In addition, she has been commissioned to write six Malory Towers continuation novels. These were published in 2009.
Narinder Dhami: A British children’s author who has written the six New Adventures of the Wishing Chair novels. (Thanks to the Enid Blyton Society for this information, which is available here.) She has also penned some 200 other books! Born in 1958, Dhami is the daughter of an Indian father and English mother. Rather like Enid Blyton, she was originally a teacher, but gave up teaching to concentrate on writing full-time. Another popular series she writes for is Rainbow Magic, using the pseudonym Daisy Meadows. One of her most famous novels is Bend It Like Beckham, which was also made into a successful movie. You can visit her official Web site here.
Clive Dickinson: Wrote the new Adventurous Four novel, Trapped!. He has also written some contributions to the Lost Diary series and a couple of Manchester United football annuals, as well as some other books related to Manchester United and soccer in general.
Anne Digby: Better known than Cox, but does not have her own Web site and biographical information is extremely thin on the ground. However, from Wikipedia I have gleaned that she is a well-known British children’s author noted especially for her Trebizon series about a girls’ boarding school in Cornwall. Between 1999 and 2001, she wrote six continuation novels in the Naughtiest Girl series. Click here to read an interview with Anne Digby conducted by Paul Norman of the online Gateway Monthly magazine. According to this interview, Hodder Children’s Books commissioned Digby to write the Naughtiest Girl continuation novels.
Andrew Donkin: A British children’s author who wrote the TV novelisation version of The Valley of Adventure. He has had more than 30 books published since 1996, many of which seem to be in the science fiction genre. Check out his Web site here. An interesting interview with him may be found here.
Rosemarie Eitzert: A German children’s author who also uses the pseudonyms Rosemarie von Schach and Tina Caspari. She has written the Tina und Tini series and many of the German Malory Towers continuation novels. She was born Rosemarie Schach von Wittenau on 25 October 1939 in Berlin. Nowadays, she lives near Munich, and is best known for stories about horses and boarding schools.
Brigitte Endres: A German children’s writer who has authored the latest four St. Clare’s continuation novel, two of which were published last year and two this year. Click here to visit her Web site (although she doesn’t seem to mention her St. Clare’s novels on it).
Robert Houghton: A member of the Enid Blyton Society who wrote the Five Find-Outers continuation novel, The Mystery of the Disappearing Tramp, which is available exclusively to Society members.
Pascale Kessler: A German author who has written a couple of the latest German St. Clare’s continuation novels. According to one profile I found on Amazon.de, she was born in Saarbrücken in 1970 and has a degree in psychology. Her other German-language novels seem to be aimed at teenage girls.
Evelyne Lallemand: A French children’s author. Unfortunately, I cannot find any biographical information, but I can tell you that she appears to be fairly prolific and appears to have been writing for at least 30 years. Among other things, she has translated some of the Little Miss books by Roger Hargreaves into French. But her main claim to fame (as far as this site is concerned), is the series of 12 Secret Seven continuation novels she wrote in the 1970s and 1980s. Nine of these have been translated into English, but three never were (although they will be if I have anything to do with it!).
Alice McCann: I can’t seem to find any information about this author, but I can at least tell you that she wrote the TV novelisations of The Ship of Adventure, The Secret Island and The Secret of Spiggy Holes.
Hugh Morgan: The author of the TV novelisation of The Island of Adventure. It’s very hard to find any concrete information about him, but he seems to write mainly non-fiction books about World War II military aircraft. He also appears to hail from Wales and to be involved in an autistic charity in the Midlands.
Alexandra Parsons: This children’s author wrote the TV novelisations of The Mountain of Adventure and The Secret of Moon Castle. She has written both fiction and non-fiction books for children (including some Lost Diary books), and according to this profile, she has also been a ghost writer and editor for various cookery and interior design books. Married with three grown children, she now lives in London.
Gillie Russell: There is a Gillie Russell who is Children’s Publishing Director at HarperCollins UK. I can’t find references to any other Gillie Russell, so I can only assume that it is the same Gillie Russell who wrote the TV novelisation of The Secret Mountain.
Nigel Robinson: A British author who is significant enough to have his own Wikipedia entry. He has been heavily involved in the Dr Who novelisations, both as an author and editor. He has also written a number of other TV and film novelisations, including The Circus of Adventure and The River of Adventure (based on the TV episodes that were in turn based on the Enid Blyton books of the same name).
Sophie Smallwood: The author of a brand-new Noddy book, Sophie Smallwood is none other than Enid Blyton’s granddaughter. She is the daughter of Imogen Smallwood, Enid’s youngest (and only surviving) daughter. Not a great deal is known about her, but you can at least see what she looks and sounds like by clicking here to watch an interview that features Smallwood and Noddy illustrator Robert Tyndall.
Claude Voilier: Like Evelyne Lallemand, Voilier is a French author who is not an easy person to find concrete information about. But some French sites do have a little bit of information, and I put it together in this Wikipedia article about her, which I created from scratch. Voilier’s output is almost as prolific as that of Enid Blyton herself, from what I can ascertain. Interestingly, like Blyton, she is a teacher. She is also a journalist and a translator of some note, having translated a number of popular children’s series such as The Three Investigators and The Dana Girls into French. In the 1970s and 1980s, she wrote 24 Famous Five continuation novels, 18 of which have been translated into English. One of them, The Famous Five and the Strange Scientist, has a Three Investigators connection, in that the strange scientist hails from Varania, a fictitious East European country that originally featured in Robert Arthur’s The Mystery of the Silver Spider, the 8th Three Investigators book. These days, Voilier lives in Arcachon, in the southwest of France.
Sue Welford: A British author who wrote the “Just George” spinoff series of books in 2000. Her other works include mystery, romance and science fiction books. In this thread in the Enid Blyton Society forums, she states: “I was commissioned by Hodders to write the Just George books on the strength of my other published children’s and young adult novels”. These days, she lives in New Zealand, and has in fact resided in Northland for the past nine years. Click here to visit her page on Fantastic Fiction, which contains a pretty comprehensive overview of all her books, including the Just George series.
Helen Wire: Wrote the continuation novel, The Woods of Adventure, based on the Adventure TV series. Also wrote the TV novelisation of The Secret of Killimooin. Apart from this, she also appears to have collaborated in a couple of non-fiction books. I’d tell you more if I could, but information about this author is extremely difficult to come by.
Anthea Bell: Perhaps best known for her work with Derek Hockridge on the Asterix comics, Anthea Bell has been practising literary translation for nigh on 40 years. She specialises in the translation of children’s literature, and her main languages are French, German, Danish and Polish. Born in Suffolk, she is the daughter of Adrian Bell, an author who was also the first compiler of the famous Times cryptic crossword from 1930 to 1978. Her brother is Martin Bell, who among other things has been a BBC war reporter and an independent member of the British parliament (from 1997 to 2001). Nowadays, he is a UNICEF ambassador. Her son, Oliver Kamm, is a columnist for The Times. Anthea Bell currently lives in Cambridge. She has won at least four major awards, including two Marsh Awards for Children’s Literature in Translation (2003 and 2007). The reason she features on this site is that she has translated 18 Famous Five books by Claude Voilier and nine Secret Seven books by Evelyne Lallemand. To the best of my knowledge, they are the only foreign Blyton continuation novels to have been published in English.
Rowan Morrell: The author of this Web site. So a bit about me now:
I am 38 years old and have been a translator since 1997. From an early age, I loved books and excelled in the arts subjects. At secondary school, I won several prizes for French (the only language I was able to study at my school) and one for History. I completed my tertiary education at Victoria University of Wellington, where I majored in French and obtained a BA with First Class Honours in French in 1994. However, I also studied some German, Latin and Spanish at university and did very well in those subjects also. I make my living as a translator. To begin with, I was an “on-call” translator for a Wellington-based translation company, but from late 1998, I went into business on my own as a self-employed freelance translator trading under the name of WriteWord Translations. In the time that I have been a translator, I have translated many different kinds of texts, from instruction manuals and legal contracts to advertisements, and just about everything in between. Most of the work I do is from German to English, but I have also translated a number of French and Spanish texts, and even the odd Italian and Portuguese text! I am quite an active member of the outstanding site for freelance translators, ProZ, and you can check out my profile on that site here.
My hobbies including collecting, making Web sites (generally about things I collect), managing virtual sports teams and of course, reading. I have a pretty large collection of books that includes works by many wonderful children’s authors such as Elisabeth Beresford (most of the Wombles books are in my personal library), Michael Bond (I have all his Paddington Bear novels), Richmal Crompton (I have an entire set—mostly McMillan paperbacks—of the William books, and also have both Jimmy books), Roald Dahl, Kenneth Grahame, A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter (I have all 23 of her “Peter Rabbit” books and some other books by her), Willard Price (I have a complete set of Adventure books, all in the same Knight edition, with uniform cover styles), Arthur Ransome (I have all 12 of his Swallows and Amazons books in Puffin paperback form) and many more. Plus of course, Enid Blyton. My Blyton collection includes a complete set of Famous Five books (all Knight paperbacks), a complete set of Adventure books (mainly Piper paperbacks), and a complete set of Secret Seven books (a mixture of Knight and more recent Hodder paperbacks), among other things. But I also have a set of the Claude Voilier Famous Five books translated by Anthea Bell, and a set of the six Voilier FF books that have not been translated, as well as a number of Secret Seven books by Evelyne Lallemand (also translated by Anthea Bell).
But lest you think I only collect and read children’s books, let me assure that this is certainly not the case. I also have most of Jeffrey Archer’s novels, all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, numerous books by Gerald Durrell and James Herriot and a wide assortment of classic novels by authors such as Jane Austen, the Brontë sisters, John Bunyan, Charles Dickens, George Elliott, Henry Fielding, Oliver Goldsmith, Robert Louis Stevenson and William Makepeace Thackeray. Plus I have a fairly big collection of novels by Christian authors Brock and Bodie Thoene. Recently I acquired Q + A by Vikas Swarup. It is the book on which the movie Slumdog Millionaire is based (and I also have that in my fairly large DVD collection).
Such a love of reading and languages has led me to develop an interest in literary translation, which seems to perfectly combine my deep love of both language and literature. Whilst I generally enjoy the current translation work I do (it helps to pay the bills!), some of it can get a bit dull (if I never see another legal contract for instance, it will be too soon!). Literary translation would add a new dimension to my translation portfolio. It is rather different from commercial/technical translation in a number of ways though. And what project should I tackle first? Well, what I have settled on is tackling the Famous Five and Secret Seven books that have not yet been translated into English. My first project (which was in fact my first serious literary translation project of any kind) was Claude Voilier’s book, Les Cinq et le rubis d’Akbar. I have completed that now, and enjoyed it immensely. While possibly not the hardest piece of literature that I could translate, it was not especially easy either and presented a number of interesting challenges. I hope to do her five other hitherto untranslated books and the new German Famous Five books by Sarah Bosse. But along with these projects, I have recently completed a translation of one of the German Three Investigators books. If that is published and is successful, it may lead to further work in that area too.
You can read much more about my work on Les Cinq et le rubis d’Akbar and other translations of Blyton continuation novels in the New Translations section.