Object of the Week: The typewriter author Enid Blyton would use her forefingers to furiously jab at

By Jeannie Swales | 16 March 2016

Enid Blyton's prolific career was achieved through a typewriter perched on her lap - and touch-typing was not one of the author's fortes

A photo of an old typewriter used by author Enid Blyton
© Damien Wootten
One of the most prolific writers of the 20th century wrote many of her books using her two forefingers and a typewriter on her lap. Born in 1897, Enid Blyton starting writing as a child, but her first published work is believed to have been a poem, Have You…? in Nash’s Magazine when she was 20.

Within a couple of years, she’d embarked on the frenetic productivity that was to characterise the rest of her writing career – and all of it in longhand to start with. It wasn’t until 1927 that her husband, Hugh Alexander Pollock, an editor who she’d married in 1924, persuaded her to adopt the typewriter.

A photo of an old typewriter used by author Enid Blyton
© Damien Wootten
But Blyton never learned to type with all ten digits – instead, she would sit with the typewriter on a cushion on her lap, furiously jabbing at the keyboard with just her forefingers.

In her lifetime she’s is believed to have written around 700 books, as well as magazines, articles and poems, including the much-loved Secret Seven and Famous Five adventures, the St Clare’s and Malory Towers school series, the Wishing-Chair and the Faraway Tree stories and, of course, the Noddy books.

  • Enid Blyton’s typewriter is one of the key objects in a new exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery, Mystery, Magic and Midnight Feasts – The Many Adventures of Enid Blyton, created by Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books. Runs March 26 – June 26 2016.

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