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Philip Pullman

UK flag (b.1946)

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

Genres: Young Adult Fantasy, Children's Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Series contributed to
Anthologies edited
Non fiction
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British Fantasy Society Best Novel nominee (1995) : The Golden Compass
Carnegie Medal Best Book winner (1996) : The Golden Compass
World Fantasy Best Novel nominee (2001) : The Amber Spyglass
YA Book Prize Best Young Adult nominee (2018) : La Belle Sauvage

Books about Philip Pullman
Philip Pullman recommends
Mr Corbett's Ghost (1969)
Léon Garfield
"The tension is as forceful as any high-tech thriller."
The Great Ghost Rescue (1975)
Eva Ibbotson
"This kind of fun will never fail to delight."
Pereira Maintains (1995)
Antonio Tabucchi
"The most impressive novel I've read for years."
Tiger Without Teeth (1998)
Bernard Ashley
"Bernard Ashley's great gift is to turn what seems to be low-key realism into something much stronger and more resonant."
The Kin (1998)
Peter Dickinson
"A magnificent work from one of the real masters."
Silent Snow, Secret Snow (1998)
Adèle Geras
"A strange and delightful tale."
Malkin (1998)
(Star Maker, book 2)
Sophie Masson
"Watching a story unfold when you know the story but don't know how the storyteller is going to make it work this time is a particular delight."
The Eclipse of the Century (1999)
Jan Mark
"Read it and be amazed."
Shadows (1999)
(Hex / Void, book 2)
Rhiannon Lassiter
"HEX shows a considerable narrative style and a real flair for atmosphere."
Coram Boy (2000)
Jamila Gavin
"Strong naratives with vivid characters and exciting events... Jamila Gavin's Coram Boy is exactly the sort of thing I mean."
A Single Shard (2001)
Linda Sue Park
"Delightful... I read the novel with enormous pleasure and admiration."
Antrax (2001)
(Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, book 2)
Terry Brooks
"Antrax is great, and it confirms Terry's place at the head of the fantasy world."
Country Loving (2002)
Julie Highmore
"It's lovely. It's delightful. It's funny and observant and truthful."
Staying Alive (2002)
Neil Astley
"A magnificent anthology."
Mr. Golightly's Holiday (2003)
Salley Vickers
"Salley Vickers is....a presence worth cherishing in the ranks of modern novelists."
King of the Middle March (2003)
(Arthur Trilogy, book 3)
Kevin Crossley-Holland
"I was spellbound."
Jacob's Ladder (2005)
Brian Keaney
"I applaud the author's seriousness of purpose."
The Waiting Time (2005)
Sara Banerji
"Sara Banerji's view of the world is completely original and vivid... she is always worth reading."
Beyond Black (2005)
Hilary Mantel
"One of the greatest ghost stories in the language."
The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)
Mohsin Hamid and Moshin Hamid
"A tale of enormous tension - more exciting than any thriller I've read in a long time."
Waves (2007)
Sharon Dogar
"... a remarkable novel... both sensuous and sinister."
The Cry of the Sloth (2009)
Sam Savage
"A work of great originality."
The True Deceiver (2009)
Tove Jansson
"Tove Jansson is a genius."
The Monkey's Wedding (2011)
Joan Aiken
"Joan Aiken's invention seemed inexhaustable, her high spirits a blessing, her sheer storytelling zest a phenomenon. She was a literary treasure, and her books will continue to delight for many years to come."
The Art of Being Normal (2015)
Lisa Williamson
"A life-changing and life-saving book."
Darke (2017)
(James Darke, book 1)
Rick Gekoski
"I was beguiled and charmed by the vivid personality being revealed. By that, and by the fact that I couldn't stop reading. Gekoski puts words together with a sure touch and deep craftsmanship."
Peculiar Ground (2017)
Lucy Hughes-Hallett
"Immensely vivid, full of rich and deeply imagined life, and glowing with energy. Her Wychwood estate is utterly real, her characters entirely convincing, and the story moves with a masterful assurance."
Thornhill (2017)
Pam Smy
"Pam Smy has created a wonderful piece of work in Thornhill. The drawings are full of atmosphere, the words are full of tension and emotion all the more powerful for being so sparingly revealed. . . . A story of friendship and courage and of the power of black-and-white images. I think it’s terrific."
Heather, the Totality (2017)
Matthew Weiner
"Heather, The Totality is superb. It gripped me at once. There was no question of turning away at any point. Weiner conveys the sense that beyond the brilliantly chosen details there was a wealth of similarly truthful social and psychological perception unstated. Then there was the ice-cold mercilessness, of a kind that reminded me (oddly, I suppose, but there it was) of Evelyn Waugh. This novel is something special."
The Wall (2018)
John Lanchester
"John Lanchester writes with such clarity and effectiveness that his prose is a pleasure I always look forward to. His previous novels have all been memorable evocations of the world we're familiar with, but The Wall is something new: almost an allegory, almost a dystopian-future warning, partly an elegant study of the nature of storytelling itself. I was hugely impressed by it."
I am NOT adorable (2018)
Julie Hearn
"Someone whose work I always read with pleasure."
The Infinite (2020)
(Leap Cycle, book 1)
Patience Agbabi
"The Infinite is vivid, funny, exciting and inventive. But there are books that are all those things and still don't work. This works brilliantly, and the characters are so delightful that I don't think anyone could fail to like them. I was so fond of Elle and Big Ben that I'd have followed them anywhere. Patience Agbabi has created something fresh and original here, and I look forward very much to what she writes next."
Barcelona Dreaming (2021)
Rupert Thomson
"I don’t know how Rupert Thomson does it. Each novel he writes is a new vision of a new world; he’s the least predictable, the most surprising of writers. Barcelona Dreaming is set in that city, and it seems as if Thomson knows every corner of it, and every kind of human being who might live there. My astonishment is only surpassed by my admiration."
Murder Before Evensong (2022)
(Canon Clement Mystery, book 1)
The Reverend Richard Coles
"Murder Before Evensong has all the elements that make up a classic detective story: a pitch-perfect setting, a genuine puzzle, a gruesome murder (or more) and engaging characters. I enjoyed it very much."

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