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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