|Born||14 December 1920|
East Clandon, Surrey, England
|Died||23 July 1992 71) (aged|
Chichester, West Sussex, England, UK
|Genre||Children's historical fiction, myth and legend|
|Notable awards|| Carnegie Medal |
Horn Book Award
Rosemary Sutcliff(14 December 1920 – 23 July 1992) was an English novelist best known for children's books, especially historical fiction and retellings of myths and legends. Although she was primarily a children's author, some of her novels were specifically written for adults. In a 1986 interview she said, "I would claim that my books are for children of all ages, from nine to ninety."
For her contribution as a children's writer Sutcliff was a runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1974.
Sutcliff was born 14 December 1920 to George Ernest Sutcliff and his wife Nessie Elizabeth, née Lawton, in East Clandon, Surrey.She spent her childhood in Malta and various naval bases where her father, a Royal Navy officer, was stationed. She was affected by Still's disease when she was very young, and used a wheelchair most of her life. Due to her chronic illness, Sutcliff spent most of her time with her mother from whom she learned many of the Celtic and Saxon legends that she would later expand into works of historical fiction. Sutcliff's early schooling was constantly interrupted by moving house and her illness. She did not learn to read until she was nine years of age, and left school at age 14 to enter the Bideford Art School, which she attended for three years, graduating from the General Art Course. Sutcliff then worked as a painter of miniatures.
Inspired by the children's historical novels of Geoffrey Trease, her first published book was The Chronicles of Robin Hood in 1950. In 1954, she published what remains her best-known work The Eagle of the Ninth, part of a series on Roman Britain and its aftermath; they were not written as such or in sequential order but connected by the linking device of an emerald ring, passed down through generations of the same family. Between 1954 and 1958, Sutcliff's works The Eagle of the Ninth, its sequel The Silver Branch , Outcast and Warrior Scarlet were runners-up in the annual Carnegie Medal, given by the Library Association to the year's best children's book by a British subject. She finally won the Medal for her third book in the Eagle series, The Lantern Bearers (1959).Where the first two books and one subsequent one were set in Roman Britain, The Lantern Bearers immediately follows the withdrawal of the Roman Empire, when the British people are threatened by remaining Germanic troops and by invaders.
Sutcliff was Carnegie runner-up again for her retelling of the Arthurian legend in Tristan and Iseult , which in 1971 won the American Horn Book Award. In 1985, The Mark of the Horse Lord was the inaugural winner of the Phoenix Award, created by the Children's Literature Association to recognise the best English-language children's book that did not win a major award when originally published twenty years earlier. It is named for the mythical bird phoenix, which is reborn from its ashes, to suggest the book's rise from obscurity.The Shining Company won the same award in 2010.
Sutcliff lived for many years in Walberton near Arundel, Sussex. In 1975, she was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to children's literature, and later Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1992. She wrote incessantly throughout her life and was still doing so on the morning of her death in 1992.Sutcliff never married and had no children.
The series, also referred to as 'Marcus'is linked by the Aquila family dolphin ring and listed here in fictional chronological order. (They were not written as a series by the author.)
‡ Three Legions (1980), or Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles (2010), is an omnibus edition of the original Eagle of the Ninth trilogy (The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch and The Lantern Bearers, 1954 to 1959).
Raymond Thompson credits Sutcliff with "some of the finest contemporary recreations of the Arthurian story" and names these seven works.The first two are also part of the Eagle of the Ninth series (above) that attempt to depict Arthur as an actual historical figure.
King Arthur Stories: Three books in one (1999), or The King Arthur Trilogy (2007), is an omnibus edition of the Arthurian Trilogy (1979 to 1981).
In 1966 Sutcliff made a small donation to the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. (In this she responded to Lena Grummond's international call for original materials to establish the Collection.) The Sutcliff Papers include a manuscript and two typescripts for the radio play The New Laird. That programme was taped 4 April 1966 and broadcast from Edinburgh on 17 May 1966 as part of the Stories from Scottish History series (BBC Radio Scotland). The collection also includes a small red composition book of research notes for The Lantern Bearers and for two unpublished works, The Amber Dolphin and The Red Dragon.
The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children's books. Sutcliff was one of three runners-up for the writing award in 1974 (and the British nominee in 1968 as well).
She won several awards for particular works.
Besides winning the 1959 Carnegie Medal, Sutcliff was a commended runner-up five times.Alan Lee, who illustrated Sutcliff's posthumously published retellings of The Iliad and The Odyssey , won the companion Kate Greenaway Medal for the former, Black Ships Before Troy (1993).
Linda Sue Park is a Korean-American author who published her first novel, Seesaw Girl, in 1999. She has written six children's novels and five picture books. Park's work achieved prominence when she received the prestigious 2002 Newbery Medal for her novel A Single Shard. She has written the ninth book in The 39 Clues, Storm Warning, published on May 25, 2010.
Charles William James Keeping was an English illustrator, children's book author and lithographer. He first came to prominence with his illustrations of Rosemary Sutcliff's historical novels for children, and he created more than twenty picture books. He also illustrated the complete works of Charles Dickens for the Folio Society.
The Eagle of the Ninth is a historical adventure novel for children written by Rosemary Sutcliff and published in 1954. The story is set in Roman Britain in the 2nd century AD, after the building of Hadrian's Wall.
The Lantern Bearers is a historical novel for children by Rosemary Sutcliff, first published by Oxford in 1959 with illustrations by Charles Keeping. Set in Roman Britain during the 5th century, it is the story of a British Roman's life after the final withdrawal of Roman troops. Sutcliff won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject.
Tristan and Iseult, alternatively known as Tristan and Isolde, is a chivalric romance retold in numerous variations since the 12th century. The story is a tragedy about the adulterous love between the Cornish knight Tristan and the Irish princess Iseult ; while the details differ from one author to another, the overall plot structure remains much the same. The narrative predates and most likely influenced the Arthurian romance of Lancelot and Guinevere, and has had a substantial impact on Western art and literature.
Sword at Sunset is a best-selling 1963 novel by Rosemary Sutcliff. One of her few historical novels written specifically for adults, it is her interpretation of the legend of King Arthur.
The Silver Branch is a historical adventure novel for children written by Rosemary Sutcliff and published in 1957, with illustrations by Charles Keeping. Set in Britain in the last decade of the 3rd century, it is the story of Justin and Flavius, two cousins in the Roman legions who find themselves in the intrigue and battle surrounding the struggles between Carausius, a self-proclaimed emperor in Britain, Allectus, Carausius's treasurer, and Constantius, emperor in Rome.
Cyril Walter Hodges was an English artist and writer best known for illustrating children's books and for helping to recreate Elizabethan theatre. He won the annual Greenaway Medal for British children's book illustration in 1964.
The Armourer's House is a children's historical novel by Rosemary Sutcliff and first published in 1951.
Warrior Scarlet is an historical adventure novel for children by Rosemary Sutcliff, illustrated by Charles Keeping and first published in 1958. It is her only novel set in Bronze Age Britain, approximately 900 BCE, and takes place in and around the South Downs in England.
Sheena Porter is a British author of children's novels. She won the 1964 Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising Nordy Bank as the year's best children's book by a British subject.
Black Ships Before Troy: The story of the Iliad is a novel for children written by Rosemary Sutcliff, illustrated by Alan Lee, and published (posthumously) by Frances Lincoln in 1993. Partly based on the Iliad, the book retells the story of the Trojan War, from the birth of Paris to the building of the Trojan Horse. For his part Lee won the annual Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognizing the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject.
Tristan and Iseult is a children's novel by Rosemary Sutcliff and was first published in 1971. A re-telling of the ancient legend, it received the Boston-Globe Horn Book Award in 1972, and was runner-up for the 1972 Carnegie Medal.
The Sword and the Circle, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a children's novel written by Rosemary Sutcliff and was first published in 1981. The story is a retelling of the story of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. According to her own statements in the introduction, The Sword and the Circle follows the myths and folktales of King Arthur, crediting inspiration primarily from Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur; other sources include Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, English ballads, and Irish folktales. She contrasts this telling of the King Arthur story with her previous novels, The Lantern Bearers and Sword at Sunset, which were more an attempt to connect with a concrete historical figure behind the folktales.
The High Deeds of Finn Mac Cool is a children's novel by Rosemary Sutcliff and was first published in 1967. It is a retelling of the stories of Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fenian Cycle. According to her own statements in the introduction, these stories are closer to Folklore and Fairytale, being timeless and contradictory, having organically grown from generations of storytellers; she contrasts them to the Ulster Cycle stories of Cuchulainn, which belong to the Heroic Epic, and compare with the Iliad and the Odyssey.
The Road to Camlann: The Death of King Arthur is the third book in Rosemary Sutcliff's Arthurian trilogy, after The Sword and the Circle and The Light Beyond the Forest. This book portrays the events that lead to the Battle of Camlann and the downfall of Camelot, including Guinevere and Lancelot's secret affair, and the betrayal of Arthur's illegitimate son Mordred.
The Mark of the Horse Lord is a historical novel for children written by Rosemary Sutcliff and published in 1965. It won the first Phoenix Award in 1985.
Barbara Leonie Picard was a British writer of children's books, known best for historical fiction and for retellings of ancient myths and medieval legends. Her works were meticulously researched. She also wrote original fairy tales. Three of her books were commended runners up for the annual British Carnegie Medal, one collection of her fairy tales and two historical novels.
Knight's Fee is a children's historical novel written by Rosemary Sutcliff, first published in 1960. It is set in and around the South Downs in England, near the towns of Steyning and Arundel in West Sussex and covers the period 1094-1106, some 30-40 years after the Norman conquest of England in 1066.