Peter Dickinson Biography
Peter Dickinson, born in 1927, has written more than fifty novels for adults and young readers; and has won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Award twice.
He is a tall, elderly, bony, beaky, wrinkled sort of fellow, with a
lot of untidy gray hair and a weird hooting voice in fact he looks and
sounds a bit like Gandalfs crazy twin, but hes only rather absent-minded,
probably because hes thinking about something else. Day-dreaming, mostly.
He was born in the middle of Africa, within earshot of the Victoria Falls.
Baboons sometimes came into the school playground. When people went swimming in
the Zambezi they did it in a big wooden cage let down into the water, so that
the crocs couldnt get at them. For the hot weather the family went south to
his grandfathers ostrich farm in South Africa.
Then the family came back to England so that he and his brothers could go to
English Schools, where they taught him mostly Latin and Greek. He didnt have
an English lesson after he was twelve, and nobody ever told him to write a
story. He was fairly good at games.
Hes led an ordinary kind of life not much by way of adventures, but
some silly things. Such as? Well, when he had to join the army, just after World
War II, they managed to turn him into two people; so he was bashing away at
infantry training at a camp in Northern Ireland when two sea-sick military
policemen showed up and arrested him for being a deserter from a different camp
in the south of England, where his other self was supposed to be bashing away.
He was tutoring a boy in a huge old castle in Scotland when the butler (it
was that sort of household) said to him at dinner one day "Ah, sir, its
a long time since we heard screams coming from the West Wing!" (Peters
screams, not the boys.)
And he was knocked down by a tram on his way to the interview for his first
job and arrived all covered with blood and dirt, but they gave him the job
because he was the only candidate. He stayed there seventeen years.
He and his first wife had two daughters and two sons, and he now has six
grandchildren. He and his second wife, the American writer Robin McKinley, live in an almost-too-pretty country town in England.
This biography was last updated on 08/07/2010.
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