Skip to main content

Home News News UK

Enid Blyton had lesbian affair before her death, academic claims

A university professor has claimed the alleged affair took place between the author and his grandmother, an illustrator who worked on one of her books

By Dale Fox

Stack of three Enid Blyton books
It's been alleged that Enid Blyton had a lesbian affair (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

An academic has claimed that British children’s author Enid Blyton had a lesbian affair with his grandmother decades ago.

Sussex University professor Nicholas Royle writes in his book David Bowie, Enid Blyton and the Sun Machine that his mother had disclosed the relationship to him when he was younger, telling him: “Your grandmother had an affair with Enid Blyton,” The Times reported.

The academic’s grandmother, Lola Onslow, was an illustrator who worked with Blyton on The Book of Fairies. Royle says he didn’t inquire further about the alleged affair as a youth but became more intrigued after rereading Blyton’s classics during the pandemic.

“I was beguiled by the regularity with which I came across references to Enid Blyton’s bisexuality or to Blyton having had relationships with women,” Royle writes in his book.

“I am almost blushing to be talking about it now”

“I am almost blushing to be talking about it now because, when my mother said it, why didn’t I ask for more details?

“I was in my twenties and I was an angry young man who wasn’t interested in the least in a dead grandmother I’d never met, or Enid Blyton. Looking back, when I think about it, I think how could I have let that just go like that?”

The author of children’s series like The Famous Five and The Secret Seven passed away in 1968 at the age of 71. She was married twice, including to editor Hugh Alexander Pollock for over 15 years.

Blyton has faced criticism in recent years for alleged racism, sexism and homophobia in some of her stories and character descriptions.

Plans for a commemorative 50p coin in 2019 were reportedly scrapped as she was “known to have been a racist, sexist, homophobe and not a very well-regarded writer,” according to the Guardian.