Saturday, 14 July 2018

Some Phenomenal P's by Lynne Benton


Today we have reached authors whose names begin with P.  Of these I have to start with one of my favourites.

PHILIPPA PEARCE wrote several books for children, but her most famous, and arguably her best, has to be her fantasy time-slip novel Tom’s Midnight Garden.  This is the story of Tom, who, while staying with his uncle and aunt in their small modern flat with an ugly back yard, discovers that at midnight the yard becomes a beautiful garden where a little girl lives.  The little girl grows older each time he visits the garden, and he becomes fascinated by her life which is so much more interesting than his own.   The book won the 1958 Carnegie Medal as the year's outstanding children's book by a British subject.  She was a commended runner-up for the Medal a further four times.   She was born in Cambridgeshire, where many of her books are set, including Minnow on the Say, The Way to Sattin Shore and A Dog so Small.  She died in 2006.



K. M. PEYTON is a British author of books for children and young adults.  Born in 1929, she has written more than fifty novels including the much loved Flambards series of stories which spanned the period before and after the First World War, for which she won both the 1969 Carnegie Medal and the 1970 Guardian Children’s Fiction prize.  In 1979 the trilogy was adapted by Yorkshire Television as a 13-part TV series, Flambards.  She had a great love of horses, so wrote a great number of other pony books, which became very popular.  She was awarded the MBE in 2014 for services to children’s literature.



BEATRIX POTTER needs no introduction.  Her wonderful children’s books featuring animals, such as Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Mrs. Tiggywinkle etc. have delighted children for over a hundred years.  Born in 1866, she was educated by governesses, and grew up isolated from other children, but she had numerous pets which she closely observed and painted.  During holidays in Scotland and the Lake District she also developed a love of landscape, flora, and fauna, and painted these too. In her thirties she self-published The Tale of Peter Rabbit, which became highly successful, so she then began to write and illustrate children’s books full-time.  Her 23 children’s books still sell throughout the world in many languages, and her stories have been retold in song, film, ballet and animation.  Her life too was depicted in the film Miss Potter.  She died in 1943 in her home in the Lake District, by which time she had become a prosperous farmer and prize-winning sheep breeder, and she left almost all her property to the National Trust.  She is credited with preserving much of the land that now constitutes the Lake District National Park.



The PULLEIN-THOMPSON sisters – JOSEPHINE PULLEIN-THOMPSON MBE (3 April 1924 – 19 June 2014), DIANA PULLEIN-THOMPSON (1 October 1925 – 21 October 2015), and CHRISTINE PULLEIN-THOMPSON (1 October 1925 – 2 December 2005) – were British writers, known mainly for their pony books, mostly fictional, aimed at children and mostly popular with girls. They started at a very young age, initially writing collectively, and they were at their peak in the 1950s and 1960s, but their popularity has endured. They also wrote a collective autobiography Fair Girls and Grey Horses.



TERRY PRATCHETT once said he wrote most of his books for an imaginary fourteen-year-old boy called Kevin.   Born in 1948, he was an English author of fantasy novels, especially comical works (which would appeal to said Kevin!)  His first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, but he is best known for his Discworld series of 41 novels, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983, after which he wrote two books a year on average.  The final one, The Shepherd’s Crown, was published in August 2015, five months after his death.  In 1998 he was awarded an OBE, and in 2009 he became a Knight of the British Empire.



PHILIP PULLMAN is an English novelist, the author of several best-selling books, including the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials.  In 2008 The Times named Pullman one of the "50 greatest British writers since 1945".  In a 2004 poll for the BBC, he was named the eleventh most influential person in British culture.  Northern Lights, the first book of His Dark Materials trilogy, won the 1995 Carnegie Medal for the year's outstanding English-language children's book. For the 70th anniversary of the Medal in 2007 it won the public vote for the all-time "Carnegie of Carnegies".  It was adapted as a film under its US title, The Golden Compass.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and was awarded a CBE in 2004.



SUSAN PRICE was born in Dudley, West Midlands, and has written many books for children and young adults, from fantasy, science fiction and ghost stories to historical novels, books about animals and everyday life.  She is also fascinated by folklore, and in 1987 she won the Carnegie Medal for her first Ghost World novel, The Ghost Drum, an original fairy tale using elements from Russian history and Russian folklore.  Another of her books, The Sterkarm Handshake won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1998.  In this book and its sequel, A Sterkarm Kiss (2003), time travel brings together a young anthropologist from 21st century Britain and a young warrior from 16th century Scotland.   Susan still lives and writes in the Black Country.



I could come up with no authors whose surnames begin with Q, so unless anyone can tell me of any I've unaccountably forgotten, next time I will go on to the Rs.



9 comments:

Sue Bursztynski said...

Goodness, you have some special folk here! I. Onfess to not having read the first two you mention, though I’ve heard of them. The others, yes, all of them! I loved the pony books of the Pullein-Thompson sisters, have read all but the last Discworld novel(which I will read as soon as I’ve reread the others, because... it’s his last, you see... the Dark Materials trilogy(which again, I’ll reread before the latest), the Ghost Drum trilogy... I remember holding one of those tiny Beatrix hardbacks in my five year old hand at our local library. It may have been one of th first books I read.

Dotty Jo x said...

Delighted to see some of my favourites here!Just finished reading Tom's Midnight Garden with our Year 5 children. They found the vocabulary challenging, but loved the 'time-slip' concept behind the story. Jo x

Penny Dolan said...

A great collection here, Lynne! Thanks.

Steve Gladwin said...

Everyone should read Sue Price's ghost trilogy. It's dark and constantly uneasy and of awesome power. I am indeed in awe of the writing and atmosphere. And Pullman and Pratchett aren't bad either.

Helen Larder said...

Thanks, Lynne xxxx

catdownunder said...

I love the P list - Philippa Pearce is one of my all time favourite authours. For "Q" Robert Quackenbush? (I think I have that right - but I doubt it is his real name!)

catdownunder said...

Oops - typo there "authors" - eek

Ann Turnbull said...

There was "Q" - pen name of Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. I don't think he wrote anything for children, though.

And yes, I too love Philippa Pearce's books. And Susan Price's. And Beatrix Potter's, especially The Tailor of Gloucester...

Lynne Benton said...

Thank you for your comments, everyone - I've been unable to log in until now so have only just seen them. Must look up Robert Quackenbush: never heard of him but what a great name!