Georgia Center for the Book
Wylly Folk St. John

Wylly Folk St. John

Georgia Connections

  • Atlanta, Fulton County

Notes of Interest

Wylly Folk St. John was a popular and successful author of children's mystery books and an Atlanta journalist whose work was much admired across America in the mid 20th century.

She was born in 1908 in Bamberg County, SC. She loved to read and maintained an interest in reading and writing from an early age; she even published a poem at the age of 9. She grew up in Savannah where her family had moved and was graduated from Savannah High School. She received a A.B. in Journalism at the University of Georgia in 1930.

She was hired for the staff of the Atlanta Journal and Constitution Sunday magazine in 1941 and remained there until 1954 when she joined her husband, an Army officer who was stationed at a hospital in Germany. When they returned home, she resumed working for the newspaper and began freelancing stories.

Redbook magazine published several of her book-length novels, which focused on mysteries but with a wide range of appealing young characters whose adventures were sometimes "torrid," in one colleague's words. When it came to writing children's stories, she said in 1966, "You have to be careful about what expressions might offend parents, teachers and librarians." But she nonetheless took pleasure in surprising her reading with some unexpected words.

Her mystery novels for young readers included "The Ghost Next Door," "Uncle Robert's Secret," "The Secret of the Seven Crows," "The Mystery of the Other Girl," "Christmas Tree Mystery," "The Mystery Book Mystery," "The Mystery of the Gingerbread House," "The Secret of Hidden Creek" and "The Secrets of the Pirate Inn," the latter of which was adapted for a television series by Walt Disney. she was named Georgia author of the Year by the Dixie Council of Authors and Journalists in 1968.

She spent the last years of her life in Social Circle in Walton County with her family, and she died there of cancer in 1985.

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