Since I am a writer, not an historian, I will sacrifice historical accuracy. I really very seldom have to do it, and then it is only a matter of perhaps reversing the order of two events, or something like that. But if it does come to the crunch, I will choose a good story over absolute historical accuracy.
Source: Interview with Rosemary Sutcliff by Raymond H Thompson (here, on this blog)
Posts Tagged ‘young adult fiction’
Rosemary Sutcliff’s thank-you address to the American Children’s Literature Association in Arbor, Michigan, 19th May 1985 | For the Phoenix Award for The Mark of the Horse Lord
Posted in Autobiography & Biography, Sutcliff Discovery of the Day, The Mark of the Horse Lord, tagged children's literature, historical fiction, writing, young adult fiction on January 30, 2014 | Leave a Comment »
Rosemary Sutcliff sent an address to the Children’s Literature Association in Arbor, Michigan, 19th May 1985 when she received the Phoenix Award for The Mark of the Horse Lord. This is an excerpt.
The Mark of the Horse-Lord is one of my best-beloved books, amongst my own, and has remained so warmly living in my mind, though I have never re-read it, that when I heard that it had won an award for a book published twenty years ago, my first thought was “How lovely!! But my second was, ‘But it can’t be anywhere near twenty years old; it’s one of my quite recent books; there must be some mistake!” And I made all speed to get it out of the bookcase and look at the publication date, to make sure. And having got it out, of course I started reading it again.
Re-reading a book of my own is for me (and I imagine for most authors) a faintly nerve-wracking process, (more…)
Chronicler of Occupied Brittania | Rosemary Sutcliff’s life and work | Obituary from The Guardian newspaper
Posted in Arthurian, Autobiography & Biography, Criticism, Research, and Reviews, Influence and Inspiration, Newspapers, tagged Arthurian, books, Carnegie Medal, children's literature, historical fiction, Romans, young adult fiction on January 23, 2014 | 3 Comments »
Let us not be solemn about the death of Rosemary Sutcliff CBE, who has died suddenly, aged 72, despite the progressively wasting Still’s disease that had been with her since the age of two. She was impish, almost irreverent sometimes, in her approach to life. Her favourite author was Kipling and she once told me she had a great affection for The Elephant’s Child – because his first action with his newly acquired trunk was to spank his insufferably interfering relations.
But it was Kipling’s deep communion with the Sussex countryside and its history that was her true inspiration. Settled as an adult in Arundel, Rosemary shared with him his love for his county as well as his vision of successive generations living in and leaving their mark upon the landscape.
Rosemary Sutcliff, at the peak of her form in her ‘Roman’ novels, was without doubt an historical writer of genius, and recognised internationally as such. (more…)
Slightly Foxed is, in their own words, “a rather unusual quarterly book review”, as I posted last year. It professes to be “unaffected by the winds of fashion and the hype of the big publishers” as it introduces readers to “some of the thousands of good books that long ago disappeared from the review pages and often from bookshop shelve.” ”Companionable and unstuffy”, its contributors – some well-known, others not – all write “personally and entertainingly about the books they choose”. It appeals to me that it is “not so much a review magazine as a magazine of enthusiasms – some of them quite quirky”.
In the autumn of 2011 they launched a new paperback series, putting into paperback those Slightly Foxed Editions that have now sold out. I remain delighted that Rosemary Sutcliff’s autobiography Blue Remembered Hills was released. It is pocket-sized and very elegantly produced.
… The Shining Company (1990) … (is) a vintage volume, the work of a writer who has a distinctive view of her readers, a view which many may not know that they can have of themselves. To read Rosemary Sutcliff is to discover what reading is good for.
…. this accomplishment make me ask what might be the contemporary appeal or, more simply, the enduring attraction of the historical novels for the young. After all, much has clearly changed in children’s books and reading since television became their more immediate storyteller, and novelists, now more matey and informal, adopted a more elliptical vernacular prose, in which the readers’ ease is more visible than the challenge to read.But, given her isolation, Rosemary Sutcliff needs her readers. Like her characters they people her world, so she devises means of coming close to them and drawing them into the worlds she makes out of the dark places in history.
Sometimes the trick is a first-person narrative: `I am – I was – Prosper, second son to Gerontius, lord of three cantrefs between Nant Ffrancon and the sea.’ Or there’s a dedication, `For all four houses of Hilsea Modern Girls’ School, Portsmouth (my school) who adopted me like a battleship or a regimental goat.’ The first page swings the characters into action in a situation as clear as a television image. The names of the people and places set the rules of belonging; the relations between the sexes are formally arrayed; the battles are long and fierce. Readers who are unaccustomed to the building up of suspense in poised sentences may need a helping hand. Again, the best way into a Sutcliff narrative, a kind of initiation, is to hear it read aloud. Then you know what the author means when she says she tells her tales `from the inside’.
Source: Margaret Meek in Books for Keeps, Issue 64. Reproduced with permission.
The Lantern Bearers by historical novelist and children’s writer Rosemary Sutcliff, first published in 1959, won the prestigious Carnegie Medal that year. An American reviewer wrote some twenty years later …
I discovered Rosemary Sutcliff in my early teens, and she quickly became one of my favorite authors. I can still vividly recapture the magic of reading her books. It was a real pleasure to return to The Lantern Bearers, which I first read when I was about thirteen, and find the magic still intact. … The Lantern Bearers is a wonderful book. Sutcliff possesses a unique gift for character and description, evoking a sense of place and person so intense that the reader can almost see her characters and the world in which they move. She has a matchless ability to establish historical context without a surfeit of the “let’s learn a history lesson now” exposition that mars many historical novels for young people. Her books are never less than meticulously researched, but her recreation of the past is so effortless that one has no sense of academic exercise, but rather of a world as close and immediate as everyday.
… The Arthurian theme was one of Sutcliff’s favorites: she produced several young adult books on the subject, as well as a beautiful adult novel, Sword at Sunset, to my mind one of the best ever written in this genre. But the Sutcliff’s Arthur is rooted as much in history as in myth–not just the tragic king of Le Morte d’Arthur or the heroic/magical figure of traditional Arthurian fantasy, but a man who might actually have existed, heir both to the memory of Rome and to the last great flowering of Celtic power in Britain.
… her enduring popularity … is richly merited: she is, quite simply, one of the best.
Copyright © 1997 Victoria Strauss
(First posted, April 29th, 2009)