Hachette Children’s Group is revamping Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series by repackaging the backlist, selling the TV rights and publishing a new title with stories by Narinder Dhami, Patrice Lawrence, Lucy Mangan and Rebecca Westcott.
Next year the publisher will release the six original books, as well as six sequels written by Pamela Cox in 2009, with new covers by Pippa Curnick.
Publisher Alex Antscherl said the series has always been in print but hasn’t been given new covers by HCG since the publisher took over the series from Egmont in 2016. “We wanted the covers to look appealing to new readers as well as older fans so there is no airbrushing of the time. We haven’t got rid of the steamtrains, for example,” she said.
HCG also wanted to hire some 21st century writers to give their take on the canon in New Class at Malory Towers. Featuring four brand-new stories by Dhami, Lawrence, Mangan and Westcott, all set in the time and world of Enid Blyton's original books, with familiar Malory Towers faces as well as new characters, it will publish on 13th June 2019 as a £6.99 paperback.
Antwcherl added. “We looked for people who write brilliantly but also love the Malory Towers. It was also important to me to bring greater diversity to the world. Each author introduces a new character but the old favourites – Alicia, Darrell, Gwendoline – will still be there.”
Lawrence’s new character is a mixed-race girl called Marietta, who has a secret in her background, whilst Mangan introduces Evelyn, a student librarian. Dhami’s story is about Sunita, who Gwendoline believes is a princess, and Rebecca’s is about Gwendoline’s cousin Maggie, who is very different from her stuck-up relative.
In addition, HCG has sold the TV adaptation rights to King Bert Productions.
Jo Sargent at King Bert Productions said: “Malory Towers is such an iconic series, which is so dearly loved across the generations. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with Enid Blyton Entertainment and Hachette Children’s Books to bring the series to the small screen. It’s a tale with such empowering female leads and we can’t wait for audiences to see it.”
Malory Towers is one of Blyton’s most successful series and the first book, First Term at Malory Towers, was published in 1946.
Over the course of her life Blyton wrote more than 600 books, including series such as The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Naughtiest Girl, The Adventure Series, The Magic Faraway Tree, St Clare’s and Malory Towers.
Hachette acquired the intellectual property of the whole of Enid Blyton’s estate, excluding Noddy, in 2012.