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Irene Byers

Irene Byers Children's writer

Children's writer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Children's writer
Occupations Writer Children's writer
Type Literature
Gender female
The details

Irene Byers, born in 1906 (?), was an English novelist, poet and children's writer who wrote around forty books mostly published in the 1950s and 1960s.


In her early career Byers worked as a freelance journalist specialising in interviews with famous people such as John Gielgud and Sybil Thorndike. Byers gave up her career on marriage, around 1930, to Cyril Byers, but took up writing again after her children were at school. She also wrote poems for her children during the war.

She was a regular contributor to the BBC's Woman's Hour and two of her books were serialised on Children's Hour. She also became an active member of the Croydon Writers' Circle. The circle provided support for her writing which was important as praise from her husband was rare.


Many of Byers' works were written for children, including books on nature study. The Tablet reviewed Byers' 1953 "The Young Brevingtons" in Books of the Week as:

"...a very good adventure story indeed, and with an unusual theme. The Brevingtons, an essentially country family, are transplanted at short notice to a slum neighbourhood where they join their mother in a rent-free house, but their surroundings are the greatest shock to them, and so are the children who live there... The children are real, and so are the problems, and intelligent young readers will enjoy a story which for once deals with facts and not only with adventures for wishful-thinkers."

Her 1954 book Tim of Tamberly Forest was broadcast as "a serial play in four episodes" on BBC radio Children's Hour in 1955. The original novel was reviewed by The Spectator as:

"...the story of a boy who runs away from being sent to sea. Trees are his passion, and he eventually achieves his ambition to work in a forest. We follow him learning his job from the monotonous hoeing of seedlings to the sudden excitement of a forest fire. A rather trite storyteller's tone of voice and some ordinary characters (a gang of toughs, a poor lonely rich girl, an artist living in a caravan) do not take all the shine from a book that is full of the fascination of growing things, and of a particular vocation minutely, enthusiastically explored."

Her book Jewel of the Jungle was broadcast on Children's Hour in July 1956.


Irene Byers' books have been translated into several languages, among them Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese and Swedish.

  • Het geheim van de boerderij, transl. by A. M. van Steyn-Dingjan of Adventure at Fairborough's Farm. Utrecht [etc.]: Het Spectrum, 1957
  • Penny zoekt de dader, transl. by J. Meyknecht-Grossouw. Helmond: Helmond, c. 1958
  • De gevaarlijke bloem uit het oerwoud, transl. by Evelien van Amstel of Jewel of the Jungle. Utrecht [etc.]: Het Spectrum, 1958
  • Bloemen voor Melissa, transl. by J. Meyknecht-Grossouw of Flowers for Melissa. Helmond: Helmond, 1960
  • De rit in de nacht, transl. by E. La Haye of The Strange Story of Pippin Wood, illus. by Mary Shillabeer. Utrecht [etc.]: Het Spectrum, 1961
  • Avontuur op een woonboot, transl. by A. M. van Steyn-Dingjan of The Adventure of the Floating Flat. Haarlem: De Spaarnestad; Antwerpen: Tijdschriften Uitgevers Mij, 1964
  • Silka, der Seehund, transl. by Christa Laufs of Silka the Seal, illus. by Franz Josef Tripp. Stuttgart: Herold Verlag, 1969
  • Jenny und lauter Tiere: Ein Mädchen im Zoo, transl. by Gisela Sieber of Joanna Joins the Zoo. Stuttgart: Herold Verlag, 1967
  • Il ciondolo rapito Turin: SAIE, 1959
  • Três diabretes, transl. by Fernanda Pinto Rodrigues, illus. by Victor Ambrus. Lisbon: Editorial Minerva, 1967
  • Kennelflickan, transl. by Gunvor Håkansson of Kennel Maid Sally. Stockholm: Lindqvist, 1962
  • Familjen på Mappins, transl. by Gunvor Håkansson. Stockholm: Lindqvist, 1965
  • Juvelkuppen, transl. by Gunvor Håkansson of Two on the Trail. Stockholm: B. Wahlström, 1973

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