Thursday, 3 August 2017

AUGUST'S AUTHOR by Sharon Tregenza


Pamela Lyndon "P.L." Travers was born on the 9th August 1899 in Maryborough, Queensland, Australia. Her mother, Margaret Agnes Goff, was Australian. Her father, Travers Robert Goff, was of Irish descent and born in Deptford, London. Due to his alcoholism, he was demoted from bank manager to bank clerk and died at the age of 43.

P.L. Travers began her career as an actress and toured Australia and New Zealand with a Shakespearian Company, before leaving for England in 1924. There she dedicated herself to her writing.

Travers was a great admirer of J.M. Barrie. Her first publisher was Barrie's ward, Peter Llewelyn Davies, one of the five Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired Peter Pan.

Mary Poppins was Traver's first literary success. The story of the magical nanny with the parrot headed umbrella was published in 1934. Seven sequels followed - the last published in 1988.


At the age of 40 Travers adopted a baby boy from Ireland whom she named Camillus Travers Hone.

It's been well documented that Travers was less than happy with the Disney version of Mary Poppins, but the film, released in 1964, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke garnered universal acclaim. 

Interesting facts about P.L. Travers:

1. She spent two summers living amongst the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples learning about their mythology and folklore.

2. While on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, Travers revealed that the name M. Poppins came from childhood stories she told to her sisters.

3. Her adopted son, Camillus, was unaware of his real parentage until at the age of 17, Anthony Hone, his identical twin brother, knocked on the door of Traver's house.


Penny Dolan said...

Interesting! Thanks, Sharon. These posts always make me want to find out more, which is a good thing!

Helen Larder said...

Brilliant! Thanks, Sharon. I saw a really good film about her xxxx