Biography

Wynne, May

May Wynne (the pseudonym for Mabel Winifred Knowles) is better known as an author of epic numbers of girl’s stories (Blundering Bettina and The Daring of Star are just two). She was active in the first half of the 20th century, and wrote two pony books about the Exmoors, Heather and Pixie. She carried on the equine autobiography theme started by Black Beauty: the ponies tell their own tales.

May Wynne was born on 1 January 1885. Her books were written mostly to raise money for the mission church with which she was involved for most of her life: St Luke’s, in the Victoria Docks. She wrote 211 books between 1899 and 1954. Her earlier works had an emphasis on moral improvement, and her school stories concentrated on dramatic adventure. Her schoolgirl heroines find secret passages and jewels, and meet a varied cast of lowering villains.

She is not an author who is highly thought of. Sue Sims said: 'But as so often, quality is in inverse proportion to quantity, and May Wynne’s work, abounding as it does in clichés and stock situations, has not really stood the test of time.'

Finding the books
Heather the Second is easy to find; Heather a little less so, but by no means impossible.

Links and sources
The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories, Ashgate, 2000: Sue Sims & Hilary Clare

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