Eleanor Doughty is dismayed at the news that some universities and colleges are offering rewards like fee reductions or laptops to students with good grades

Blyton: the wrongs and writes

Few writers have suffered such opprobrium as Enid Blyton. Fifty years ago her work was pronounced `ephemeral' by one librarian, there were accusations of classism, sexism and racism and more esoteric interests such as the use of spanking came under scrutiny in the Faraway Tree. She was attacked for undemanding, repetitive vocabulary, weak, unrealistic plots, and poor characterisation. Nevertheless, Blyton, who would have celebrated her centenary this month, sold 700 books, and The Famous Five, Secret Seven and Noddy are back on the shelves. What do her readers think of her now? Gwenda Joyce-Brophy finds out

Top-shelf torments

Is the road to hell paved with centrefolds? Michael Arditti has some doubts; Hope by Glen Duncan, Viking, pounds 9.99

Personally speaking: `But the douh in the hooven intill its backed'

I'm sure most primary school teachers are adept not only at deciphering scrawled handwriting but also at understanding what is meant. But the above was written by a 16-year-old. During the summer, the writer will be deciding whether to remain at school, go to college, or get a job.

Trocadero sale heralds fresh tack

Trocadero, the AIM-listed group headed by Nigel Wray, yesterday signalled its intention to get back to its roots in leisure with a deal worth up to pounds 210m to sell its main Trocadero and London Pavilion properties back to Burford, the property group from which it was spun out of in 1995, writes Magnus Grimond.

The truth about how Noddy was framed

After almost 20 years, a case of wrongful conviction has been exposed in a prize-winning essay by a 14-year-old New Zealander. The Toytown One, also known as Noddy, has been found innocent of all the charges of political incorrectness on which he was convicted in the 1970s.


Prue Leith, 57, started Leith's Good Food Ltd, Leith's restaurant and Leith's School of Food and Wine, all of which she has recently sold. Her books include Leith's Cookery Bible. A former board member of British Rail, she is chairman of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

Travel: Do people going abroad ever have proper adventures?

`Would Enid Blyton have approved of the twins' adventure?'

Worldwide travel and lashings of ginger beer

A generation (or two) of travellers owe their wanderlust to the books they read as children. Gosh! says Jeremy Atiyah

Blyton debate to assess author's literary merit

The decades-long argument over Enid Blyton's influence on her millions of young readers will ignite again tomorrow. A major conference to mark the centenary of the author's birth will set defenders of her lasting power to cast a spell on children against accusers who condemn her books for their snobbery, racial bigotry and sheer escapism.

The soul behind the facade

SELECTED LETTERS OF EDITH SITWELL ed Richard Greene Virago pounds 20

Accent on Noddy in transatlantic adventure

Hard on the heels of reports that Winnie the Pooh is to get a Glasgow accent in a new version of the children's books, comes news that Noddy and The Famous Five are to be turned into Americans.

Scardino starts to hunt away from the Forest

People & Business

Trocadero toys with idea of Noddy spin-off oveyr 2

Noddy & Big Ears could find themselves spun off into a separate publicly quoted company under plans being considered by Trocadero, the property and leisure group which owns the rights to the characters, writes Nigel Cope.

Can you write the story of the year? Here's your chance to win pounds 2,000 and have your story published ...

The Independent Scholastic Story of the Year Competition, now in its fifth successful year, aims to encourage exciting writing for the hard-to-please 6- to 9-year-old age group. Andrew Marr invites you meet the challenge

Right-on books a turn-off for young

Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton remain the most popular authors among British children, who apparently do not care whether characters in the books they read are much like themselves.
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
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Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

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Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
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Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

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It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little