Lovely post over at the Rosemary Sutcliff Facebook page from Canadian elementary school principal Laurel Piper The:
My favourite teacher … introduced me to Rosemary’s books when I was in grade 7 or 8 after which I read every one I could find. I wrote to her and sent her some of my awful adolescent poetry and to my complete delight and astonishment, she wrote back. We corresponded until 1979 when I travelled to England and looked for her home in Arundel, Sussex. Her home had no number but was simply called Swallowshaw. After asking many people, I finally got directions and landed on her front door. When she opened the door she exclaimed, “My Canadian friend!”
She invited me into her home (with my mom, sister and aunt in tow) and for one of the most amazing afternoons of my life, engaged in conversation with me about her books. The two of us talked as though we were the only ones on the planet. When it was time to leave she told me to choose a book from her shelf. I chose Sword at Sunset which she autographed for me. This generous lady was so gracious. I didn’t know her arthritis was so horrible. She stood for our entire visit. She wrote her books by hand on a big draftsman’s table on huge sheets of paper. Her fingers were quite gnarled which made me feel humble to think she had corresponded with me in her own handwriting, knowing what it must have cost her to do so. A very strong, intelligent, creative, generous, wonderful lady.