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Posts Tagged ‘children’s literature’

A Crown of Wild Olive was the new title given to the Rosemary Sutcliff story The Truce of the Games (1971) when it was re-published ,in 1972 in the USA, in an omnibus collection of stories Heather, Oak and Olive. That collection also included two other stories: The Chief”s Daughter and  A Circlet of Oak Leaves.

Omnibus book of Rosemary Sutcliff

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In 1966 Rosemary Sutcliff made a donation to the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi in the USA.  The Sutcliff Collection has a manuscript  and two typescripts for the radio play The New Laird. (Taped in April 1966 and broadcast on 17 May 1966 as part of the BBC Radio Scotland series—Stories from Scottish History. The collection includes a red note-book of research for The Lantern Bearers, and for two unpublished works, The Amber Dolphin and The Red Dragon.

I have never found either published or unpublished the actual stories by those titles. What happened to them may be illuminated by her diaries, which are as yet unpublished. I have not read the notebook at the library.

However, The Amber Dolphin may have become The Capricorn Bracelet (1973). For an early paragraph begins:

Excerpt from The Capricorn Bracelet

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Publishers Farrar, Straus and Giroux produced a teachers’ and readers’ guide about the books of Rosemary Sutcliff (that they pubished!). It is undated, covering ” the award-winning trilogy set in Roman Britain as well as Outcast, The Shining Company, Sword Song, Tristan and Iseult, and Warrior Scarlet”. The historical novels of Rosemary Sutcliff, it says: (more…)

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Rosemary Sutcliff, historical novelist

Rosemary Sutcliff was the subject of a fascinating, insightful article (‘Of  The Minstrel Kind’) in the children’s literature magazine Books for Keeps. First published only in print form, it has for some time been reproduced online.

Margaret Meak was paying tribute to a seventy-year-old Rosemary.

I met Rosemary Sutcliff for the first time thirty years ago in a London hospital where she was recovering from an operation. (more…)

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When the BBC adapted and broadcast Rosemary Sutcliff‘s historical novel The Eagle of the Ninth in 1977, the BBC Radio Times wrote about her approach to children, writing, the Romans and her hero Marcus—’part of me was in love with him’.

Her passion for the Romans stemmed from her childhood. Her mother read aloud to her from books like Rudyard Kipling‘s Puck Of Pook’s Hill.  His three Roman tales entranced her.

I didn’t read myself till the last possible minute, about nine. I was brought up on Arthur Weigall’s Wanderings In Roman Britain and Wanderings In Anglo-Saxon Britain. He mentions this eagle dug up at Silchester and I’ve been fascinated by it since I was five.

(more…)

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Ursula Le Guin book cover(Adapted from first post: April 25, 2012)

On Twitter … Nick Cook quotes fantasy and science fiction author Ursula Le Guin on writing for children: “Sure, it’s simple, writing for kids. Just as simple as bringing them up!”  I was minded to find the context for the comment. It was was new to me, and Rosemary did not have children, just her appallingly untrained dogs, but I imagined she would have agreed.

Mind you, Rosemary Sutcliff did firmly resist using the word ‘kids’ for children; a kid, she used to say to me, is a young goat.

Anyway, the context is this: Le Guin wrote in an essay first published in 1979.  (more…)

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Rosemary Sutcliff, author of The Eagle of the Ninth, drew on a ‘large lump of unlived childhood’ as she tried to show in her children’s books that good beats evil, and satisfaction can come from doing ‘right.  Because of  Still’s Disease she missed much usual childhood activity with long bouts of illness and many lengthy hospital stays.

I was trained at art school, but then the desire to scribble came over me. I got my interest in history from my mother who had a sort of minstrel’s, rather than historian’s knowedge. Inaccurate, but full of colourful legend. I disliked history at school.

They do say that to be a successful children’s writer one has to have a large lump of unlived childhood in one. I certainly think I have that.

You have to show children that good does overcome evil, but that does not necessarily mean that the old lady you helped then paid for your ballet lessons. The satisfaction should just be coming from the fact that you have done right.

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