Articles in Folly Magazine
This excellent magazine has carried the following articles by Jill Goulder.
Jill met Monica Edwards and visited her several times in her latter years. Her short articles are a delight to read, and throw a lot of light onto the books' origins, from the horse's mouth as it were !
Number 18 July 1996 p31 Dream Hero: Monica Edwards' Real Characters
Number 21 July 1997 p22 Whose Childhood? - More about Monica
Number 22 November 1997 p21 A Picture of Meryon
Number 23 March 1998 p14 A Farewell to Monica with Sue Sims
Folly is an amateur, non profit-making publication. It is non-stuffy, but
stuffed with interesting material. Originally devoted to Girls School Stories, it has
a much wider range now.
An index of the first twenty issues is on the Collecting Books and Magazines website.(see 'Links' above)
Back copies of the above issues can be obtained; for further information about them or about the magazine, contact the Editor Sue Sims. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
[NOTE: this information accurate at 7th October 2003]
Two contrasting early appraisals are found in:
Geoffrey Trease Tales Out of School (Heinemann, London, 1948)
Geoffrey Trease was not too flattering of Monica's early work in his extensive review of children's literature. But we must remember neither was she.
'No Mistaking Corker', by Monica Edwards, is pure escapism, but on a lower income level. Mother goes no further than "Aunt Bea at Cannes". After all, she has had her appendix out. The children go on a riding-tour to Granny's in Dorset. Father is actually allowed to go with them- someone has to drive the horse-caravan with all the gear, and no uncle seems available.'
In the second edition, 1964, he repeats the above comment and adds:
Miss Edwards has now about twenty such books to her credit. They are pleasantly evocative of the countryside, especially Romney Marsh, and in the view of at least one County Library (Hertfordshire) 'should help the pony-mad child to take a broader view of life'.
Nerina Shute Favourite Books for Boys and Girls (Jarrolds 1955)
This book evolved from a series of articles looking at the reading habits of children.
It takes each age group in turn and looks at their reading, from interviews/discussions with the children, their parents, teachers and librarians. At the end of each chapter is a list of most popular reading, with short explanatory notes. The account is anecdotal and an enjoyable read. Monica Edwards gets one mention, on page 109 in the 11-16 book list for Girls: The White Riders Collins. 8/6 (12) 'A richly satisfying book. A fight against turning a castle and its surroundings into a holiday camp. Exciting, with characters alive and likable. One of many by this author, all of a high standard.'
An excellent appraisal of her work is found in the classic review of Children's Literature:
Intent Upon Reading by Margery Fisher (Brockhampton Press 1961, extended in the enlarged second edition in 1964.)
Here are two quotes from two pages of comments in which she deals with the 'pony story' label:
'In these splendid, humorous, human stories, with their direct, accomplished style, we are a long way from the pony story that is written to a formula.'
'Although ponies play their part in the stories, they are not the object of adulation or of excessive care. Sometimes they are used as casually by the girls as their boy companions in adventure use their bicycles. Monica Edwards is not setting out to please the pony obsessives. She writes stories full of common sense and with a sound knowledge of young people, and in a rare and effective way she puts these young people firmly in their environment. Their homes, the village where Tamzin's father is Vicar, the neighbours they respect and the visitors they examine with caution - everything is part of a balanced whole.'
Further academic accounts can be found in:
Brian Doyle The Who's Who of Children's Literature (Hugh Evelyn,
London 1968) pp86,7
and in the Twentieth Century Children's Writers editor: Tracey Chevalier (St James' Press, London, 1989, 3rd edition) pp313,4
Mary Nettlefold writes:
'. . . she is now being seen to influence the writings of younger authors. Much of her style of writing is apparent in the books by Tasmanian author Anne Farrell, who quotes Edwards titles as Edwards quotes Ransome. Such developments are proof of the author's quality: that her writing ability is admirable, and that her stories are memorable.'
Book and Magazine Collector Magazine No. 191, Feb 2000 pp77-85 inc.
An article by Clarissa Cridland who lived near Punch Bowl Farm as a child.
It is a very good resume of the author's life and work, illustrated by several pictures of the dustwrappers, other photographs and a bibliography.
For back issues contact them.
Evergreen Magazine The Autumn 2008 issue has an eight page article by Christine Butler about Monica Edwards. A personal view - and mentions of the books being republished by Girls Gone By and even of this site ! Photographs of Rye Harbour and of the artist as well as some dustwrapper covers are used for illustration.
Although she avoided inclusion in Who's Who she did appear in:
Authors' and Writers' Who's Who 1960 (Burkes Peerage)
Writers' Directory 1982-4 (Macmillan 1981)
Following her death, OBITUARIES were published in the following national papers:
The Daily Telegraph Thursday 5 Feb 1998
The Times Sat 7 Feb 1998, p25
The Independent Friday 13 Feb 1998, p18
The Guardian Saturday Feb 14 1998 p. 19
the Surrey Advertiser Friday 6 Feb 1998
Children's Books History Society In Liaison with the Library Association.
Newsletter No. 60, March 1998, pp 23-26