British Indian author writes new Famous Five adventures as an ode to Enid Blyton

Sufiya Ahmed from Surat recently published the second in a series of four books commissioned by the publishers behind the bestselling Blyton

Sufiya Ahmed from Surat recently published the second in a series of four books commissioned by the publishers behind the bestselling Blyton

A London-based India-born author who grew up reading the stories of Enid Blyton has written her own series of adventures for five famous characters created by the famous English children’s writer, most representative of British life modern.

Surat-born Sufiya Ahmed recently published the second in a four-book series commissioned by the publishers behind Blyton’s bestsellers and has been buoyed by the characters’ enduring popularity.

While injecting a South Asian flair into ‘Five and the Runaway Dog’, Ms Ahmed believes her new adventures are an ode to the 20th century children’s author’s much-loved writings.

“These new adventures of the Famous Five are more reflective of modern times,” Ms. Ahmed said.

“There are more diverse characters in the village of Kirrin, which is the setting for the Famous Five books, and in the second story I wrote, ‘Five and the Runaway Dog’, we have Simi – a daughter of South Asian descent – and her family who settled in the village. Simi plays a major role in the story and also features on the cover,” she said.

The first book, “Timmy and the Treasure”, was released in January and made waves not only in the UK but also in Spain and Portugal.

The third book in the series, ‘Message in a Bottle’, is being finalized with illustrations and proofreading, and Ms. Ahmed is already working on book number four. All four books are expected to be available by May 2023, including in India.

“Enid Blyton is the best-selling author of Hachette Children’s Group in India, so it is very exciting to be a part of it. I hope to be invited to Indian book festivals with my Famous Five adventures,” said Ms. Ahmad.

The author believes that many adults around the world are nostalgic for Blyton’s books and would like to share them with the children in their lives.

“I was so thrilled when Hachette asked me to extend this series with inclusive adventures for beloved characters Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Tim. It’s part of Hachette’s strategy to keep the books… ‘Enid Blyton engaging, accessible and relevant to children around the world,’ Ms Ahmed shared.

Asked about some criticism of Enid Blyton in the context of modern cancel culture about some questionable references in her books, Ms Ahmed points out that the editions now available are updated with great sensitivity while preserving the period and setting. of origin.

“Whether it’s the Five, the Secret Seven or the girls of Malory Towers, they are beloved characters and I’m only making the setting of their adventures more representative of the world young readers live in, without changing the essence of their appeal,” she explained.

“The Five still love the countryside and the coast, go camping on their island and are good-hearted kids who help friends and neighbors and of course are devoted to Timmy the dog,” she said.

Earlier this year, the children’s author published ‘My Story: Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’, intended to complement the UK school curriculum for nine to 13 year olds around the country’s suffragette movement as he celebrates the tireless campaign royal for women’s suffrage.

Highlighting the story of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s granddaughter and Queen Victoria’s goddaughter has inspired Ms Ahmed to write about more diverse female role models such as Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi, Razia Sultan and Nur Jahan.

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